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First night-time visit to London in 18 months

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Like most people, my world shrunk during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve spent much of the time living in about 10 square kilometres which is why this image is so significant. I took it earlier this week when I paid my first night-time visit to London in 18 months.

night-time london
Night-time London: I snapped this image earlier this week during my first night-time visit to Central London in 18 months.

The photograph was taken from the Hungerford Footbridge, a spot I have taken night time images many times in the past. What I’d never done before was take one in this direction, focusing on the Southbank. As I was passing, I noticed all the bright colours and thought it looked pretty. I was rushing for a train so quickly threw my camera into ‘no flash’ mode (sorry for the geeky detail, I usually shoot in manual mode) and fired off a couple of shots, this being the best.

As for the trip to London, well, it was interesting. I have done a couple of daytime visits to the capital since COVID-19 struck, so visiting during night-time made for an interesting comparison, especially as many restrictions in England were eased back in July.

I was quite surprised at how many people were wearing face masks. On public transport, I’d say more were than were not. Out where I live, mask wearing has become a niche activity. In fact, when I went to collect my youngest child from school on Friday afternoon, I think I only counted two parents wearing face masks. This took me by surprise as I’ve found the school run crowd to be very conservative until now.

Getting back to my trip to Central London, the city was busy, but noticeably quieter than pre-pandemic days. I had no issues whatsoever getting seats on trains, despite travelling at peak times. Interestingly, pubs and restaurants seemed to be doing a great trade, although it was a pleasant evening which probably attracted more people to the outside seating.

It was also quite odd when I reached my eventual destination and met up with the gang I was seeing. How do you greet people in this era? Are we still bumping elbows or have we moved on to shaking hands and hugging? Every time I met someone, it seemed to kick-off this amusing dance routine as we rhythmically moved our arms around trying to figure out what we each wanted to do!

Have you made any trips out to any big cities yet? If so, how did you find it? For me, this was one further step out of lockdown and adjusting to the ‘new normal.’ A slightly-less-busy London is probably going to be the way forward and if I’m to be totally honest, I quite liked it. It made me realise just how uncomfortably busy it always used to be.

I can’t end this blog post without quickly sharing this link. It’s an image I took from the roof of the Southbank Centre when I was previously in London 18 months ago. How typical of me, a former journalist, to have a photographic record of both occasions!

I have added this image to the #MySundayPhoto linky hosted by Darren Coleshill’s photography blog. Click here to pay the linky a visit.

13 thoughts on “First night-time visit to London in 18 months”

    1. thanks for your comments on what was a very hurriedly taken photo. Yes, I also try and remember to take a mask wherever I go and it’s meant to be mandatory on London transport.

  1. I’ve noticed the same with masks, a lot more round here in Scarborough have not being wearing them. Its become a habit and routine to wear a mask so I’m going to continue to do so.
    For a quick shot John its an amazing photo. London is one place I haven’t graced with my presence.

    1. I was just amazed, Eddie, that London would be the one place where everyone was still wearing masks! That said, the Mayor said it would remain compulsory on public transport so that may have something to do with it. As for London, best visited and then escaped from quickly! Great city, but wouldn’t want to live there again.

  2. How exciting to get back to London, especially on an evening. Everything looks so different when it’s dark.
    We went to Hull a few weeks ago and it didn’t seem too bad, busy but most people were still wearing masks. x

    1. You’re right Kim, that scene looks incredibly different in the dark compared to daytime. That said, I think some of those lights are a new feature. Good to hear people still wearing masks up north.

  3. Great picture! I love London, especially at night. Glad to hear people remain wearing masks there, very similar to Brighton to be honest. Although, we went away to Selsey last week and only a very few were wearing them.

  4. I love the colour in this photo. I haven’t been to London at all since Boxing Day 2019 and would really like to visit again soon, but goodness knows when that will happen!
    There are still a lot of people wearing masks round here. I wore one when I went to the theatre, but other than that I’ve given up. I’m claustrophobic, so for me the world is a better place without them, but I totally respect others who choose to wear them.

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