There’s something just so very special about this city. Maybe it’s because its where I met nearly all of my best friends, maybe it’s because its where I came to mend a broken heart after one of the worst years of my life – or maybe it’s because it was the first place I ever lived where I truly felt like I was home.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have approximately 1,000 lists. I make written lists (look in any notebook in the house and you’ll find ‘To Do‘ scrawled above a series of numbered items), even in the notes section on my phone, I bold *to do*, and any time an item gets completed, I put the green tick emoji next to it (yep, I’m that anal about it).
Growing up, I was adamant you would never find me in a city. But then I got a job here, and I commuted, and every day getting the train and leaving London in the distance felt like saying goodbye to a boyfriend I couldn’t stop thinking about.
Since that love affair began, there’s been one thing at the very top of one of my very special ‘To Do’ lists – my London Bucket List: watch the sunrise from Duck & Waffle. Imagine my delight when I mentioned this in passing to one of my best friends who pointed out that, as a newly qualified doctor in A&E, he worked nights and that meeting for breakfast would be like going for after work drinks for him.
Let’s start at the beginning if you’ve not heard of Duck & Waffle – they are a super cool restaurant placed happily above Sushi Samba in the Heron Tower. The extra special thing about them, is that they’re a 24 hour restaurant. To get there, head to the city. As if I wasn’t feeling a massive renewed love for London, I had the most cockney cabbie I’ve ever had. I couldn’t help but have a little smile as I listened to his tales – even if it was 04:45am…
He dropped me outside, and as per usual, I was approximately twenty minutes earlier than I needed to be. No bother, I thought, I’ll head up the lift by myself (with my eyes shut tight!), grab a coffee and read my book… This was short-lived, after the security guard told me I couldn’t go in until the time of our booking – another 30 minutes. So, I headed to Polo Bar, the 24 hour greasy spoon opposite Liverpool Street Station. The less said about that, the better though 😂.
My friend arrived and this time, we walked straight in, got in the lift and hurtled up and up – it’s actually the fastest lift in Europe. We stepped into the restaurant to be greeted by the most wonderful Maitre D’, who gave us the best seats in the house for sunrise. We ordered two mimosas, and settled into chat; him about life as a doctor, me about some of the difficulties the last month had bought. We’ve been friends for 14 years, so there’s always plenty to talk about.
We kept a close eye on the time; sunrise was scheduled for 06:21, but as it turned out, we needn’t have worried, because soon enough, the sun lazily raised it’s head, breaking a slow and beautiful dawn over London. There’s something so magical about that half an hour just before sunrise in London, when it seems like the entire city is quiet and there’s a total sense of calm.
The view is enough to take your breath away on a grey day – but on a day like we had? It’s enough to make you never want to leave the building.
I’ve been to D&W a couple of times before and I can never resist their signature dish – the eponymous Duck & Waffle – but there are plenty of other delicious options if thats not your bag!
Finishing breakfast, we continued to take in the view, enjoy another mimosa and with delight, realised it was still only 7:30 in the morning, and that there was still plenty of time for us to catch up.
We were ushered into the bar where we took up a seat and continued to put the world to rights; if anythings going to give you perspective, its being 42 floors up, watching over London as the city wakes itself up.
Eventually, work loomed for me, and after a stint of nights it was high time for him to head home to bed. We got into the lift which took us back down to the ground far too quickly – before we knew it we were stepping out into the mix of people scurrying out of Liverpool Street; East Londoners dressed edgily, hurrying alongside suits, whilst black cabs and big red buses wove in and out of crowds of people all going about their days.
We said goodbye, and I made my way onto the tube to become another person hurrying along in a very busy, and now very awake, city.
Gorgeous photography and a great blog. I really want to go!! xxx
I’ve always wanted to visit, I’m so glad you got a gorgeous sunrise. The food there sounds amazing and there’s nothing quite like a couple of mimosas before 7:30am to start your day! I feel similarly about London, it’s definitely the place for me. Plus it’s the city that you live in, so that’s an extra bonus :p
Beautiful photos as always, can I come with you next time? 😀
This place looks wonderful and what a spectacular view of our Capital! I don’t live in London however I try to visit at least once a year because of everything you’ve described about this city. One of the best feelings I have associated with London is when I’ve returned from Paris on the Eurostar and stepped back into the big city where I call home, it’s so strange how a city I barely know feels so homely after a week away in another country. Breakfast at such an early time sounded like an absolute dream with your friend, not surprised it was on your bucket list! x x
Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk
This is such a beautifully written post, I felt like I was there and you’re so lucky to have witnessed the sunrise, we’ve been to Duck & Waffle twice now, both in the evening but never for the sunrise and now it’s sonething I want to do. James and I currently have a bet going on and the loser has to take the other to Sushi Samba which as you know is in the same building! So that might be something to think about and change to do this haha glad you had a great time!
Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk / http://www.foodandbakertravels.co.uk
Oh wow, what an amazing experience! Your photos are just stunning so I can’t even imagine how beautiful it was in real life. I’m really bad with heights – and that fast elevator sounds kind of terrifying! – but even I would venture up for a view like this. I’m so glad you got such a perfect sunrise too. I wish I got to visit London more, it’s an amazing city – although a little too big and overwhelming for me to live in full-time.
Beth x Adventure & Anxiety
Your photos are so nice !
I’ve wanted to visit here for years. I love London, I definitely don’t visit enough
Great post! I love London and I’m dying to go back again. Your photos are fabulous! The Duck and Waffle sounds fantastic. Next time I come to London I’d definitely like to go there. Its definitely be great to see the sunrise.
What an absolutely glorious sunrise! I can see why this was on your bucket list of things to do in London! I’m such a country bumpkin (everything shuts at 3pm in the town where I’m originally from 😂) that I thought the only places that did 24 hour food were McDonald’s haha! How wrong I am! Your breakfast looks absolutely delicious and it sounds like there was great service and an amazing view too – what’s not to love! I’m glad that you got to spend quality time with an old friend too, these are the experiences that you just don’t forget!