London – Foyles – Charing Cross Road – Saturday 5th January 2019

Our next venue after the Trafalgar Square branch was the Lego Store in Leicester Square.  After leaving there we headed up to Charing Cross Road to visit the Foyles flagship store.  Waterstones are keeping the branding (at least, for the time being).   This store is set over 8 half floors (up a half-staircase, shop floor taking up half the floor plan, up another half-staircase, another half floor – if that makes sense!).  I absolutely adore this store – we must have been in there nearly an hour but I could easily have spent half a day (probably longer) wandering round the bookshelves!

Please be warned that there are going to be a LOT of photos!  giggle

I realise the first photo is wonky, but I joined together two pictures to give an idea of the size of the store.

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Foyles Charing Cross Road map

Ground Floor

 

First Floor

Second Floor

Third Floor

Fourth Floor

Fifth Floor (Café)

Basement

And, if there weren’t already enough photos – The Lego Store…

 

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London – Trafalgar Square – Saturday 5th January 2019

I went to London for a weekend to meet up with friends – the same friends I met up with last March. We stayed in Beckton in East London, and on the Saturday we went into town for the day.  Our first planned stop was the Lego Store at Leicester Square so we stopped off at the Trafalgar Square branch of Waterstones on the way!  The building it is housed in was built as the Grand Hotel in the 1870s.

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Ground Floor

First Floor

Basement

London Trafalgar Square Map

There are some very famous landmarks near this branch.  Here are some of them…

Admiralty Arch

Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery

Currently reading:  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Shrewsbury – Sunday 30th December 2018

Our final stop on the way home was to Shrewsbury, the gorgeous county town of Shropshire which is almost entirely circled by the River Severn.  The town is filled with mediaeval buildings in streets with names that hint at their former businesses such as Fish Street and Butcher Row and the amusing Grope Lane (the original purpose of this lane is pretty self-explanatory!).  The Waterstones is situated in the centre of the town near to the Old Market Hall building which now houses a cinema!

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shrewsbury map

The Market Hall and Shrewsbury Square

St Chads Church

This pretty church was the baptismal place of Charles Darwin who was born in the town.  In the churchyard is a gravestone that acted as a prop in the 1984 adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, protagonist of Charles Dickens’ wonderful novel.  

The Quarry

This beautiful park has a fantastic floral area in the middle called The Dingle which was created by celebrity gardener Percy Thrower, probably best known for presenting Gardeners’ World and Blue Peter.

So, as you can see, Shrewsbury is beautiful and definitely worth a visit!

Wrexham – Sunday 30th December 2018

Wrexham is the largest town in North Wales and we decided that as we were so close we would stop there on our way home to visit the Waterstones.  Wrexham was a large mining town before the industry went into decline.   As it was Sunday the town was really quiet.

wrexham map

The Arc Sculpture

This sculpture, located near to the Waterstones, depicts a miner and a steelworker, two industries that were very important to the area.  It was created by David Annand and has a plaque containing lines from a poem by Myrddin ap Dafydd on the base:

wrexham poem

Chester – Saturday 29th December 2018

Chester is a great city, with lots of gorgeous black and white buildings – a few mediaeval, most Victorian restorations – and a stunning cathedral.  Founded in Roman times, Chester has an almost complete set of city walls, great for walking round on a warm day (which we have done in the past).  The Waterstones here is in ‘The Rows’.  The Rows are a bit difficult to describe, but are essentially two storeys of shops, the top ones accessed by a continuous high pathway and the lower level are slightly underground!

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chester map

Some of Chester’s beautiful buildings

Eastgate Clock

The Eastgate tower and clock stand on the site of the original Roman entrance to the city. The clock is thought to be the second-most photographed clock in the UK after the clock at the Palace of Westminster (popularly known as Big Ben).  This gateway was built in 1768 and the clock was added in 1899 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee two years earlier.

I love the old-fashioned sign outside WH Smith!

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Ormskirk – Friday 28th December 2018

We stopped in Ormskirk for lunch (a great little bar/restaurant called Mimi & Gin – sadly they don’t have a website but the place was funky and the food excellent) on our way back to our hotel.  According to Wikipedia, Ormskirk is known for its gingerbread, although we didn’t notice any evidence of this on our visit!  It’s a fairly compact market town with the usual mix of shops and restaurants.  We didn’t spend a great deal of time in the town but did make time to visit the Waterstones, which is in a modern building close to the centre of the town. 

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ormskirk map

Town Centre

Once done, we headed back to the hotel via the Mersey Gateway (toll) Bridge.  I may seem bonkers, but I have a bit of a thing for bridges!  😀

Currently listening to: Let It Bleed (Inspector Rebus #7) by Ian Rankin

Southport – Friday 28th December 2018

Our next stop was Southport.  The seaside town was founded in 1792 and grew extensively in the Victorian era – the main shopping street is Lord Street which is where the Waterstones is located.   The gorgeous building, which was originally a branch of the National and Provincial Bank is set over two floors and has a really cosy feel, especially downstairs. 

southport map

Southport

Clockwise from top-left – The Atkinson Theatre and Arts Centre, Cambridge Arcade, Wayfarer’s Arcade

As we were heading to Southport we saw a sign for an Antony Gormley art installation called ‘Another Place’ at Crosby Beach just north of Liverpool, and being fans of his ‘Angel of the North’ sculpture that overlooks the A1 in Gateshead in the North East of England, we decided to stop.  The artwork features 100 life-size cast-iron naked figures, based on Gormley himself, that face towards the water at varying intervals.  Originally considered too risqué to be made permanent, the artwork has actually increased tourism in the area.