Discovering the Back-Streets around London Bridge

Secrets of Southwark

This iconic area of London with its cobbled streets, winding alleyways and array of exciting bars and restaurants is one of London’s most popular areas. Step away from the tourist track and be amazed with the hidden gems and bustling back-streets.

Within walking distance from London Bridge Hotel you will find all of the top tourist attractions such as The Shard, The Golden Hinde, The Globe Theatre, Tower of London and The River Thames. Take a step back from all of these areas and discover what this area really has got to offer

Gelateria 3BIS- Borough Market – Park St

For a welcome and friendly Italian experience head on over to 3BIS gelateria where you can grab home made gelato, frozen yoghurt, crepes, waffles and much more. Within walking distance from London Bridge station, it’s the ideal place to stop off for a sweet treat after a busy day shopping or sight seeing. They offer a broad selection of flavours that you can enjoy inside or out.

3Bis gelateria borough market
3BIS Gelato

We opted for a Mango and Rasberry sorbet in a cone, but you can also choose to have it in cup, and some chocolate filled cannoli’s. A new product that are selling is the chocoshot cup – a flavoured cone cup filled with your favourite gelato flavours.

3BIS also supply to events, such as weddings and parties. You can hire a gelato cart to turn your event into a special and unique one.

Bird & Blend – Borough Market – Park St

Bird & Blend is an award winning tea company who are on a mission to spread happiness and reimagine tea. The shop is light and airy and the staff are friendly and full of knowledge about all things tea. They offer a wide selection of tea blends and if you’re not sure on what to buy the staff are more than happy to make one up for you to try.

Not only at Bird & Blend can you get a perfectly brewed tea but you can also grab tea gifts, tools to make tea and even book onto one of their mixology tea blending and tea tasting experience workshops.

We are big fans of Matcha tea so was pleasantly surprised by the huge selection of flavoured tea to try. The member of staff that served us was brilliant and very friendly, offering us lots of advice on what delicious blend of tea to try. As it was a hot day we went with cold blend tea, which he mixed in front of us and even allowed the children to join in with making their own tea; they were shown how to use a bamboo whisk and how to add the special ingredient that made Unicorn Fizz drink change colour.

Bird & Blend shop front

We tried and Iced Black Matcha and Coconut, MojiTEA, Unicorn Fizz and an Iced Gingernut Matcha & Apple drink.

I couldn’t recommend this place enough, the staff were friendly and approachable, the quality and taste of the tea was perfect and reasonably priced.

Backstreets

One thing I noticed about the area around London Bridge was that no matter where you turn there is always something to catch your eye. The street art and buildings are amazing. Wander through the railway arches and follow the Low Line walk, which spans the length of the Old Victorian Rail viaducts from London Bridge to Bermondsey. The Low Line connects the neighbourhoods and communities, celebrating the heritage of the railway arches, unlocking places of interest along the way.

Drawing of swans in a railway archway
Art work under a viaduct on the Low Line walk
Malagonisa street art
Colourful wing street art at Cluedupcoffee

The buildings still show signs of the old days. Something I always tell my children when we are visiting a new area is to look up. When walking along we tend to just look straight forward but when you look up you will notice the infrastructure and architecture of old buildings. There is always an historical, strange or artistic inspirational find.

Flat Iron Square

Flat Iron Square is a new foodie hub in Bankside that is nestled in the heart of London Bridge. It offers a unique cultural and culinary experience with tantalising food vendors, restaurants, street food, bars and live music. It’s a great outdoor space that runs along the railway arches and hidden behind a grass wall. The garden is a welcome space to sit and enjoy time with family and friends in a casual and vibrant environment.

This is a nice little hidden secret within London, very vibrant and a great place for lunch. Head over here for a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere and a variety of food and drink options. Not only was there a DJ on when we was there but they had a big screen up showing a sporting event.

We opted for some light bites from the summer menu at the Lime Hut, which were zesty and rich in flavour, all freshly cooked on a huge pan in front of you.

The younger of of our group opted for a sugary treat from Waffle On. Yep, you guessed it, they sell freshly cooked waffles with a selection of toppings.

Crossbones Graveyard

Whilst walking around we came across a very interesting, but rather odd yard and was lucky that we managed to have a quick look just before it closed for the day. Crossbones Graveyard is the site of an old burial ground with an extraordinary background. Back in medieval times it was a graveyard for prostitutes, by the 18th century it became a burial ground for around 15,000 paupers and is now a sacred place and sanctuary in the heart of the City dedicated to the ‘Outcast Dead’.

Now a garden of remembrance, with shrines, open to the public and to celebrate life in all imperfection.

It was once the final resting place for the’ Winchester Geese’ which is a rather quaint term for medieval prostitutes who were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work in the brothels.

As you enter the yard you will walk under a wooden structure which is in fact carved out to be the wings of a Goose

crossbones graveyard geese wings wooden structure
Carved wings

Along the top it says

‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your book of hours

your fingers, your thumbs, your ‘miss you, Mums’.

Here hang your hopes, your dreams, your might have beens,

Your locks, your keys, your mysteries’

A very interesting place full of history, there are plenty of places to sit and contemplate and reflect on life. An incredible space that truly moves you, despite being in the City it has a peaceful silence.

An unusual find but one that we were glad that we had stumbled across. Possibly somewhere that we wouldn’t have normally visited but has definitely opened our eyes to exploring backstreets a little more.

This is a collaboration post. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views and pictures are my own

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Encouraging your child’s Passion

As a parent you want to encourage your child’s passion. As they learn and grown, their interests and talents begin change, we need to foster their natural abilities. Our children have been given a gift and we should try our best to encourage and support them. Our child’s hobbies and interests can set the course for what they will later do in life.

Attempting to guide our children into a specific area of interest, could do more harm than good. Children need time to find their own passion and flourish; to explore without pressure or limits.

My partner and I both have hobbies and interests, this is a good way of setting an example to the children. By showing them that we too are involved in activities that we enjoy doing.

Encourage your child to try different things, explore different areas, try new sports – open the door for your children to new experiences and opportunities. If your child is never exposed to a new experience then how will they know that it will make them happy and what sparks their interest. It will help to build up their confidence and develop lifelong skills

My older two boys have followed in their Fathers footsteps and taken up running. All three of my boys have been introduced to the sport and all three enjoy doing it. At first it was a way for their dad to find a common ground with the boys; a way to reconnect with them as they became older. But now, they run side by side at the training ground, in races and over the park. Sometimes they may run in silence, others they a may chat about their day or how their training regime is going. Something that started as a hobby for their dad has now become their hobby. Both boys have joined a running club and compete not only for the club, school and borough but have also competed for their County. They have found that they have a natural talent for running and have learned that the more effort they put in the better they become.

Running together

The youngest boy, although loves to run, has taken a different path with his hobby. Football. He loves to play football. Now, no one in the family are followers of football so this is a sport that he has taken up completely by himself. He came home from school one day and asked if he could play football over the park. My son has a deep love for playing Football but not really in watching it, he is not a supporter as such. I remember as a baby, he loved to watch ball sport on TV, he would become enthralled with what he watching. At times it was the only way to keep him quiet – put him in front of a sport on TV and he would calm down and just watch it.

Because our boys have taken different sport paths, it means that Dad and I both have to put in the time to take them to training. Dad, obviously, takes the older two to running and races and I take the youngest to his Football training. We both like to attend the races and matches together as a family, I think this is important as it just shows how much we all support each other.

Through my sons love of Football and taking him over to the park every Saturday morning for training I have also started to play walking football with Westham Foundation. I absolutely love it – it’s keeping me fit and I am still there on the same field watching my son play.

We have noticed that the youngest boy has shown some natural talent in Football so we took him along to a soccer school run by Westham Foundation. After a few weeks he was asked to come along and train with their advanced development squad. So, he now trains with them on a Thursday as well as his training with his club. This is his choice of commitment, given the chance i think he would train every day.

Playing football

They have all shown to have natural talents in sport and I think this is because they have grown up in an active family; they have watched their Dad compete in races and have wanted to do the same. They not only participate in sports but also attend drama lessons, debate clubs and are members of an acting agency.

I will continue to support their choices and will offer guidance when needed.

What way do you encourage your child’s passion?

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Mother Shipton’s Cave and Knaresborough

Mother Shipton

Mother Shipton is England’s most famous prophetess. As well as making traditional remedies she had the gift of foretelling the future.Known to locals as a witch, because of her rather large crooked nose and bent back, she earned her living by telling the future of those that paid for her words.

Ursula (Mother) Shipton was born, on the night of a terrifying storm, in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd in Knaresborough in 1488. As Ursula grew up she studied the forest, the flowers and herbs that were growing around her and she began to make remedies and potions with them.

The Prophecies

Mother Shipton foretold many predictions, some of them more famous than others are as follows:

Carriages without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe.
Around the world thoughts shall fly,

In the twinkling of an eye.
Said to predict cars, telephones, internet, satellites and planes.

Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride sleep shall talk:
In the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black and in green.

Said to predict, submarines, hot-air balloons or planes.

She is also said to have foretold the Black Death of 1665 and the Great Fire of London.

Whether she existed or not is perhaps not really important, but she leaves behind a cave and one of England's oldest tourist attraction, which people have been visiting since 1630.

The Walk

Mother Shipton’s cave is a wonderful place to visit. With a children’s play area, beautifully landscaped areas to picnic in, wonderful carvings among the trees and of coarse the cave and petrifying well, there is plenty of things to see and do for all ages.

The park is unique and unspoilt. As you enter through the visitors entrance you are instantly drawn to how beautiful the landscape is and drawn into the natural beauty of the surroundings. Once you pay your entry fee, you are given a wristband. This entitles you to entry into Mother Shipton all day long, so if you exit at the end of the walk and go across the bridge to visit the Castle, you can gain entry again with the wristband. Before visiting the cave and petrifying well, you walk along the mile long Sir Henry Slingsby’s Walk, which runs along the bank of the River Nidd.

Walk along the River Nidd to Mother Shiptons Cave
Sir Henry Slingsby Walk

Witches and Wizards

Throughout the year Mother Shipton’s attraction runs events and we were lucky enough to visit whilst they were holding the Witches and Wizards; a transformation into a mystical and magical event for all of the family. Where we visited the Wuthering Woodland, got sorted into a school house and met magic teachers. The boys got given a trail to follow and had to tick off certain things that they did along the route. The best of all had to be the sorting hat, where the boys got sorted into a house. Once all of the lessons that included Flying and Potions were completed they were awarded with a certificate of graduation to be a qualified Wizard!

Apart from the Witches and Wizardry event there are plenty of sights to see along the route.

Sir Henry Slingsby Walk

The first would be the first bridge that you come across. This is the bridge that Mother Shipton had said “The world shall end when the High Bridge is thrice fallen” It has already fallen twice! eek!

Carrying on you will pass by the oldest building in Knaresborough, just across the River, The Old Manor House. You will then pass under the magnificent Viaducts which was built for the Railway.

As you walk along you will hear the roaring of water as you pass by the castle mill and weir. This place once made the finest linen in the country, but now it is luxury riverside apartments.

Knaresborough Castle mill and weir

The pathway leads up to an adventure playground on the right and some fallen down tree trunks that people can hammer in their pennies for good luck.

Surrounding the Sir Henry Slingsby Walk are some magnificent tall trees that are possibly over three hundred years old. As you walk through the tree lined pathway you get the sense of mystery but calmness. Although these spiders are quite creepy.

Mother Shipton

It’s not long until you pass by the natural underground lake, this is the spring that provides the well with its magical waters.

The natural lake is about a mile underground. As the water comes to the surface it travels along a narrow and of porous rock called ‘aquifer’ and a huge amount of minerals are dissolved. Which is just right for turning objects into stone. Following some steps down and passing through some doors we soon stood in amazement as we saw the petrifying well doing its magic by turning everything it touches into stone.

For many centuries people believed that the well had healing powers and they used to carry their sick/dying relatives across the water in order for the magical, mystical waters to miraculously cure them.

The boys and I spent most of our time here, just watching the water fall down into the well. We were mesmerised by the natural beauty of it. I think we saw every shade of green going.

Behind the petrifying Well there is a wishing well, that is said that if you place your right hand into the water and make a wish then it will come true. We placed our hands into the cold, fresh water and made our wishes. You can not wish for money and obviously if you tell it to anyone it won’t come true.

Wishing well at mother shiptons cave
Making a wish

To the right of the wells is the cave itself. Looking around the cold, grim cave Its hard to believe that once a young woman gave birth to a baby in it and that baby would then make this place her home and sanctuary.

At the back of the cave is Mother Shipton herself

A statue of what Mother Shipton is believed to look like

Could imagine what it was like to spend your days in the dark, surrounded by the cold stone?

Once exiting the cave and well area, you can go back the way you came in or continue to end of the walk which is where the Museum and gift shop is located. Inside you can see a selection of items that have been petrified by the well and turned into stone.

I visited Mother Shipton cave and well as a child with my family and it has always been a place that, if visiting Yorkshire, I would take my boys back to experience. Mother Shipton’s is situated along the banks of the River Nidd in Knaresborough. The town is a beauty in itself and really makes a great day out for all ages. The area is unique and unspoilt and I have never seen anywhere so picturesque as here.

It is definitely a place that, hopefully, we will be visiting again.

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Brimham Rocks #silentsunday

I now it’s silent Sunday but I have to add some text to this picture.

Over 25 years ago, I visited Brimham Rocks with my Dad and brother and we posed in the same position at this rock.

Last week whilst visiting my Dad and staying in Harrogate we had a day out at Brimham and my boys posed in the same position at the same rock.

https://mummyconstant.com/category/photography/silent_sunday/
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