Thursday, 25 May 2017

I have been to ... Mark Masons' Hall, St. James's, London

Every so often Sue and I like to go out to lunch ... and yesterday we went to the carvery restaurant at Mark Masons' Hall, 86 St James's Street, St. James's, London.

We have been there several times before, and because I registered with 86 St James (the catering arm of Mark Masons' Hall) I get notification of special offers for lunch. Yesterday was one of the days when lunch was 30% off its usual price ... so Sue and I decided to book.

We had booked lunch for 1.30pm, and left home just before midday. The local 244 bus took us to Woolwich Arsenal Station, where we caught a South Eastern train to Cannon Street Station. (We had hoped to go directly to Charing Cross Station, but the train that we were due to catch was delayed, and then the service was going to be terminated at London Bridge Station. Cannon Street seemed like a better option ... and choosing to use it turned out to be the right decision to make.)

From Cannon Street Station we travelled by London Underground to St. James's Park Underground Station. At Westminster a group of musicians got on the train, and entertained us with some live music between stops!


On leaving St. James's Park Underground Station we walked up Queen Anne's Gate, ...


... crossed over Birdcage Walk, and into St. James's Park.


Our route took us across the bridge over the Serpentine ...


... from where we had excellent views of Westminster ...


... and Buckingham Palace in the distance.


We continued to walk through St. James's Park ...


... and then across The Mall.



We saw two female Metropolitan Police officers from the Mounted Branch on patrol in The Mall ... and they kindly stopped still long enough for me to take a photograph.


Sue and I then made our way up Marlborough Street ...


... and past St. James's Palace ... which was being guarded by members of the RAF Regiment.


From there it was but a very short walk to 86 St. James's Street. (Mark Masons' Hall is the building with the Union Flag flying at half-mast as a sign of respect to those who died in the recent terrorist attack in Manchester.)


We had reached 86 St. James's Street in plenty of time to have a drink in the Second Floor bar.



Just before 1.30pm we made our way down to the First Floor, where the carvery restaurant is situated.


The meal comprised three courses. The starters are a selection of hors d'oeuvres from a trolley the waitresses wheel to your table, after which you go up to the carvery to select the main course you want to eat. Yesterday the choices were beef, pork, and salmon. As can be seen from the following photograph, I decided to have the slimmers lunch!


The desserts are also brought to your table on a trolley, and one can finish with either tea of coffee. The total cost of our meals (including drinks) was less than £50.00 ... and we both left feeling rather full!

We decided to walk back to Westminster to try to catch the Thames Clipper service that goes along the River Thames to Woolwich. We strolled down Pall Mall ...


... until we reached Waterloo Place.


We then turned right and made our way down towards The Mall. Along the way we passed a statue of King Edward VII (who was know as 'Edward the Caresser' because of the number of other men's wives that he enjoyed 'entertaining'!) ...


... and the column atop of which is a statue of the Duke of York. (He was the second eldest son of George III, and became a professional soldier. The famous nursery rhyme, 'The Grand Old Duke of York' was written to mock his lack of success in the 1799 military campaign in the Netherlands.)



We crossed The Mall close to the Royal Artillery Memorial ...


... and then paid our respects at the National Police Memorial.


From there our route took us past Horse Guards Parade (which has been prepared for the Queen's Birthday Parade AKA Trooping the Colour), ...


... the Guards Monument, ...


... and the statue of Clive of India.


After turning up Great George Street ...


... we soon reached Parliament Square.


We continued on towards Westminster Bridge ...


... from where we had an excellent view of our destination, Westminster Pier.


Sue and I walked down the steps to the Pier, only to discover that the first Thames Clipper to Woolwich was not going to run for another hour and a half. Despite the fact that we were both feeling tired and rather hot, we decided to take the Underground from Westminster Station back to Cannon Street Station, where we were able to catch the 4.07pm train to Woolwich Arsenal Station.

On reaching Woolwich we took one look at the massive queues at the bus stop ... and walked across the road to the taxi rank. Some ten minutes later we were home, still feeling very full, rather tired, and in great need of a cold drink and a hot shower!

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like a delightful day and certainly resulted in some delightful photos!

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    1. Ross Mac,

      Despite the heat, humidity, and pollution, it was a very enjoyable day. The stroll through St James's Park was relaxing, and the walk through the streets of Westminster brought back memories of the days when I worked in the centre of London back in the late 1960s.

      The food wasn't bad either!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob, lovely shot of the 'Slimmers option' Looks delicious! What I enjoy about reading your out and about posts is that I know the area so well, one thing that I miss about living as we did for 18 years just off PLumstead Common is the ability to be in central London within half an hour. China Town was our regular Sunday trip with the children, taking in Covent Garden and St. Martins in The Field, coffee in the crypt :) My daily walk to work used to take me through Horse Guards under the arch and behind Downing Street, which was accessible in those days.

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    1. Lee,

      The roast beef was cooked to perfection ... as were the potatoes and vegetables.

      I would love to spend more time in central London. We tend to forget just how many interesting places there are to see in such a small area.

      I was born just to the south of Westminster Bridge, and worked in the Strand for several years. Walking around that area yesterday brought back all sorts of memories.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. As one who has lived his entire life in London, and therefore takes it largely for granted, it's good to be reminded what a great place it is to live in.

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    1. Brian Carrick,

      London is a great place to live ... and as you comment, it is worth reminding ourselves of that fact every so often,

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Bob,

    Re your comment on 'The Grand Old Duke of York': in THE GRAND OLD DUKE OF YORK: A Life of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, 1763-1827(Pen & Sword Military Books, 2016)author Derek Winterbottom examines the various origins that have been suggested for the nursery rhyme, in which the Duke is said to have marched ten thousand men up and down a hill for no apparent military purpose, which does not appear to have been current in Prince Frederick’s lifetime, and considers alternative ideas about the identity of the ‘Grand Old Duke’, ranging from Richard, Duke of York, at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, to King James II, formerly Duke of York before his accession to the throne.

    He concludes that the rhyme probably does refer to Prince Frederick, but that it was more an affectionate celebration of the man who became known as ‘The Soldier’s Friend’ than the satirical verse it was assumed to be in the more cynical era after the Great War of 1914-18.

    Best wishes, Arthur


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    1. Arthur Harman,

      Thanks very much for this most interesting information. I understand that Prince Frederick had an interesting life that included a duel (where he refused to fire after his opponent missed) and disgrace that was engineered by his mistress and a political rival.

      All he best,

      Bob

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  5. Bob I am amazed that you resisted 'just popping along' St Anne's Gate and Birdcage Walk to visit the Guards Model Toy Soldier shop? I always stop off there when rarely travelling through London to ogle the old Britain's figures.
    Mark, Man of TIN blog.

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    1. MIN ManofTin (Mark),

      Had this been an unaccompanied trip, I might have paid the shop a visit. As it was my wife and I were both in rather desperate need of some liquid refreshment, and the bar at 86 St. James's was only a short walk away.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. London is a beautiful place. Sadly, working there tends to be so full-on, we rarely have the time to notice the surroundings.
    My work takes me all over the city, but Westminster is regularly on my Travels.

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    1. Jon Meech,

      What never ceases to surprise me are those small havens of peace and quiet one can find only a few steps away from even the most crowded parts of London. I recently went to the Royal Over-Seas League, and it is located overlooking Green Park with its entrance in a quiet cul-de-sac just down the road from the Ritz.

      All the best,

      Bob

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