We managed to get out a little earlier today but the local breakfast places were still closed so we went down to St Pancras, thinking we might enjoy some hot porridge at the Camden Food Co cafe. Unfortunately, it too was still closed.
Next door, the AMT cafe was open where we could buy toasted paninis and coffee. Even though it is a very small cafe, because the rooms in St Pancras are high, they have cleverly made a tiny balcony or terrace where you can sit and watch the coming and goings of the people below.
Next door to St Pancras, King’s Cross station is being remodelled and this domed roof is being created.
As usual, Tigger had a destination in mind, and as usual, I didn’t ask but just waited to see where we would end up. Although this was not our final goal, we stopped off along the way in Kensington Gardens.
This pretty building, dated by the plaque above the window to 1858, is called Buckhill Lodge. I assume that it was once the park keeper’s lodge though today a notice warns that it is “private”.
This extraordinary structure is called Queen Anne’s Alcove. It was designed by Christopher Wren and built in 1705. The seated figure gives you an idea of the scale of the thing, surely the most ornate of London’s park benches!
The ornamental ponds were frozen over and there were notices warning that the ice was thin. The black-headed gulls were keeping busy, perhaps hoping people would have food for them, though they were still too nervous to approach very close to us.
Edward Jenner was seated deep in thought, apparently oblivious of the gull perched on his head.
We returned to the main road and took another bus. This one delivered us at the bottom of a steep path that leads to where we were heading.
We were on our way to Holland Park, once the grounds of a beautiful house, but now a public park, and a very fine one.
Hardly had we arrived when we met this hopeful squirrel. He came up close, obviously hoping for a handout but, unfortunately, we had nothing for him. Next time we will remember to bring some nuts.
A little further along, Lord Holland, at least in effigy, casts an avuncular eye upon the scene from his plinth in the pond named after him.
Parks and gardens are not usually at their best at this time of year but where they are well-kept, something of their charm remains, as in the Dutch Garden shown above.
There is a lot to see in Holland Park. There are several sorts of gardens and some interesting buildings. The original house, dating from the Jacobean period, was unfortunately badly damaged during WWII, and only one wing remains in use. The rest of the house presents a sad if picturesque aspect.
One of my favourite features of Holland Park is the cafe. Well, of course! As well as providing a pleasant venue for refreshments, the cafe also displays works of art. The ones on show this time were, respectively, The Maid (also often known as The Virgin) by Eric Gill and Sun Worshipper by Jacob Epstein, both made around 1910.
The cafe’s terrace was prettily illuminated and the lights were like a beacon drawing us towards a warm cup of tea!
Holland Park is possibly my favourite park at the moment. It is seen at its best in summer when the gardens are flourishing and alive with birds and other creatures but even in winter it is worth a visit. And there is always the cafe where one can warm up after a walk in the frozen grounds!