When the alarm clock went off this morning at 3.45am, I did question why on earth I’d be getting up so early during my week off work! For a split second, I contemplated going back to sleep and foregoing the £20 no-show restaurant fee if I didn’t get myself up to London but the ‘adventurous me’ thankfully gave the ‘sleepy me’ a good talking to!
With one more sunrise photo needed for my photography bucket list and having decided that this would be over London, I felt there were two main options: going to Primrose Hill (by Regents Park) which gives stunning views of the capital city or a restaurant called Duck and Waffle in the ‘City’. Having kept an eye on the weather forecast, I knew that the sunny start would make today a brilliant time to do this but it would also be rather cold. So, I thought that it couldn’t get better than watching the sunrise whilst eating breakfast! Luckily, I managed to book a table yesterday (especially when I know that evening bookings can fill up for weeks in advance).
The Duck and Waffle restaurant, which is open 24/7, is close to the Gherkin and located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower. The online reviews looked great and I googled some images of sunrise so I knew that this would be amazing location as well as amazing sunsets.
An advantage of an early start was easy parking at the train station, which was especially needed for catching the 4.36am train! The train took me from Sussex right through to Farringdon station which is north of the Thames. As I’m still on crutches, I thought I’d get a taxi rather than use the underground and I expected there to be plenty of taxis driving past the train station. However, I had quite a wait and in fact quiet a walk before I could flag one down to take me to the restaurant. It was only on my return to Farringdon a couple of hours later that I noticed underground trains are actually visible from the train and would have been very easy for me!
On arrival, you get checked in by a member of staff on the ground floor and that get ushered to the lift which takes you up to the 40th floor. Even the glass lit-up lift was funky as it’s on the outside of the building and the streets get smaller as you ascend! You walk through a lovely bar to get to the restaurant and then….wow….you have THE most stunning view! Jaw-dropping stunning! I’d put on the comments part of the online reservation form that I was hoping to catch sunset and I was given a table on the ‘right’ side of the restaurant with floor–to–ceiling glass windows. It reminded me of the film Sleepless in Seattle on Valentine’s Day when Annie is breaking off her engagement but she’s perfectly positioned to see a huge red heart-shape appear on the Empire State Building, as if that table had been chosen for her. And that’s how it felt in the early hours of this morning. I could not have had a better table. I could see Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the Thames snaking its way through the city towards Canary Wharf.
With sunrise due at 6.52, I booked my table for 6.15 and that paid off. Before the sun rises, the sky lights up with oranges, yellows and reds, making for some stunning photos. There were so many people who turned up for breakfast 7am but I personally felt as if they’d missed the show! By that time, the sun was shining incredibly brightly, actually making it a little bit tricky to look in certain directions. Also, being one of the first people there, we were automatically given the best tables and other people who had to walk over to our side to take photos.
I had smoked salmon royale which was smoked salmon, eggs and hollandaise sauce on a waffle. Yum! The service was amazing and it just felt like the most incredible experience. I was happy to head straight home after breakfast so I was there until 7.30am but, as my table was needed by the next lucky people, I could have move into the bar area which was decorated in a rather unusual but cool style that still offered some nice views (although not as nice as ‘my’ table!). I’d love to go back with hubby.
I’m feeling a bit more human now as I had a sleep when I got home. After my ‘flight’ over Brighton yesterday, I feel as if I’m got my week off work to a good start. Nothing planned for the next couple of days but I’m going away overnight on Saturday …..to find a little piece of Italy! I’ll keep you in suspense but I’m so excited about where I’m going! My bucket list is back on track and my adventurous side has returned after going a bit quiet for a few weeks.
Have you seen a stunning sunrise? Or perhaps a sunset? I’d love to hear about it!