Leave Blackfriars pier and turn…

LEFT: Temple is a hidden gem that is well worth exploring. Every barrister in England and Wales must, to this day, belong to one of the four legal societies, the ‘Inns of Court’ which are located here. Make your way to Fountain Court, a tranquil space with a fountain which has been at its centre for 300 years: INFO

Fountain Court

From there, wander over to Temple Church, which has been on this site for 400 years in the care of Inner and Middle Temple; two of London’s four Inns. The church prides itself on serving those who protect the rule of law in our land. INFO It really does feel like a view into another world when exploring this part of town. If you fancy an al fresco drink or bite to eat, visit Pegasus. Now, this is a members club, but on quieter days non-members are welcome to drink and dine. I’ve always managed to get a table. I recommend a crisp white wine while sat outside watching the barristers and other very important looking people rushing about carrying paperwork. The bar is currently under renovation and is due to reopen in October 2021: INFO

Temple Church entrance
Temple Church

Ever heard of a talking cat? Situated in Gough Square is Hodge, the world famous black cat belonging to Dr Johnson, who is immortalised in a bronze statue – that talks! Simply scan the QR code on the statue to receive a phone call from this friendly feline. Opposite here is Dr Johnson’s house which is now an independent, fully accredited museum that runs a vibrant programme of education workshops, exhibitions and events: INFO

Hodge Calling
Dr Johnson’s House
Dr Johnson’s Curators Cottage

STRAIGHT: St Pauls’ Cathedral – need I say more? When visiting, if you can climb the 528 steps, be sure to visit the Golden Gallery. 85m up from the cathedrals floor, you can see some spectacular views of London. The Whispering Gallery, a mere 259 steps, runs around the interior of the Dome and gets its name from a charming quirk in its construction; if you are on one side of the Dome and whisper against its walls someone else can hear it on the opposite side. INFO

St Pauls Cathedral dome

If climbing steps isn’t for you, check out the surrounding gardens and also Paternoster Square where the Paternoster Chop House – the original setting for the brilliant TV show ‘First Dates’ was situated. They have now moved 5 minutes around the corner, so if you fancy eating some of what you’ve seen on the telly, book in for lunch or dinner: INFO

Paternoster Square from St Pauls (pic by @mylensonlondon)
First Dates cast in the Paternoster Chop House (pic from Radio Times)

RIGHT: The Oyster Shed, with its modern nautical theme, is a 15 minute walk along the river to your right. It’s waterside location, floor to ceiling wall of windows and great view of the Shard has made it a popular venue for wedding receptions and parties, but its not just about the view, the food is delicious too! The menu features British classics as well as tantalising seafood platters: INFO

The Oyster Shed
Seafood Platter (pic by @theoystershed)

North of here, you will find Guildhall Yard* where every year in September The Pearly Kings and Queens celebrate the Harvest Festival. This is a fantastic afternoon filled with traditional entertainment such as Morris dancing, donkeys and carts, maypole dancing and marching bands. The Pearly Kings and Queens, dressed in their finery, then parade through the streets to St Mary Le Bow Church for a service of thanksgiving. This event is free for everyone and will take place on 26th September! INFO *Sadly the Guild Hall celebration cannot take place due to covid, however you are welcome to join the Pearlies in the church yard.

Pearly Kings and Queens Singing (pic source)
Pearly King of Finsbury (pic source)
Pearlies Dancing (pic source)

If you visit any of these places, or perhaps somewhere I haven’t mentioned, please let me know via Instagram @coventgardenmum or by email. Id love you hear your experience and perhaps even see some photos! Have a great time…