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!
I realise the first photo is wonky, but I joined together two pictures to give an idea of the size of the store.
Fifth Floor (Café)
And, if there weren’t already enough photos – The Lego Store…
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.
There are some very famous landmarks near this branch. Here are some of them…
Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery
Currently reading: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
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!
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.
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 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.
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:
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!
Some of Chester’s beautiful buildings
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!
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.
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
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.
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.