London is quiet

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Last week I made a day-trip to London, the first time I had been in the capital for twenty months.

Looking down Baker Street towards Oxford Street. I’ve never seen so much tarmac and so few vehicles!

I was in the Edgware Road and Euston Road, not major tourist thoroughfares other than to go to the Plantarium, Madame Tussauds and to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum but very busy at the best of times in a busy November.

Except it wasn’t particularly busy. I can gauge that with the ease that I crossed the Euston Road and the fact that I could see pavements and wasn’t being jostled by the determined Londoners striding down the streets.

Talking to others who remembered London back in January 2020, they also agreed that London was quieter than when they knew it. One who had been down in Kensington said it was almost like being there between Christmas Day and New Year – eerily quiet!

I haven’t been to any of our big cities other than London and Plymouth since 2019. Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow Leeds, Manchester – places I used to visit a couple of times a year at least – could be just like London for all I know.

As I passed through Reading on the train, there were far fewer people on the station. My train would normally be ten coaches and packed after leaving Bristol Parkway. That day it was just five and there were still seats after Reading, an almost unheard of thing back in 2019.

The first train leaving London that I could catch on a super-saver leaves just after 7.15 in the evening. It used to be a scarp to get onto the train to get a seat with people carefully workin g out from which platform the train would leave in order to give them a better chance. That day there were free seats as we left and people could walk up and down, something unknown on that service for years.

Smaller places like Cowbridge, Totnes, Haverfordwest, Abergavenny, Redhill, Aberystwyth and Dartmouth seem busier per population numbers than London.

Could it be that people are staying local or not getting out and about as much as they once were?

Despite there being fewer pantomimes scheduled or shows, London would normally have coachloads of visitors coming in for them and a stayover. Are people reluctant to travel because of increasing case numbers or have they found out that they don’t really need to travel further afield?

Given that organisations like the National Theatre stream content for a subscroption as well as provide streaming to local theatres/cinemas and that you can see some exhibitions online, some people might be wondering whether travel is worth the hassle.

Cities may be wondering whether this is a short term effect or not

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: ,