St. James’s Park, London

The D&O Diary is on assignment in Europe this week, with a first stop in London for meetings and for an industry event. I have been to London many times before but I have to say I think I like it more every time I travel there. And it is particularly enjoyable to be there in the Spring, when the flowers are in bloom and the trees are blossoming.


The most important reason I traveled to London was to participate in an event co-sponsored by Beazley and Zurich. This well-organized annual event was held at Beazley’s offices and attended by a large number of people from around the London insurance market. I participated on a panel moderated by Beazley’s Tracy Holm and that included Zurich’s Adrian Jenner and Beazley’s Tom Ielapi. During the reception following the panel, I had a chance to greet many friends from around the London market. It was a pleasure to be a part of this event again this year. I would like to thank Beazley and Zurich for inviting me to participate, and to Tom, AJ, and Tracy for organizing this event.


With Adrian Jenner of Zurich and Tracy Holm and Tom Ielapi of Beazley


While I had many meetings during my time in London, I did have some time to enjoy the city a little bit as well. I was fortunate that the rain predicted for much of the time never really materialized, and instead I enjoyed pleasant albeit a bit chilly spring weather. On my arrival day, I enjoyed my obligatory arrival stroll through St. James’s Park, Green Park, and Hyde Park. The well-tended gardens were filled with a profusion of blooming flowers, making for a very enjoyable ramble through the royal parks.




The wysteria and lilacs were also in bloom during my visit, making it pleasant to stroll around the residential neighborhoods as well as the parks.


One of my long-standing practices when visiting London is to try to do only things I have never done before. It is amazing after many visits over the years, I continue to find new things to do and places to explore. On this trip, my new things and new places included visits to Richmond-upon-Thames and to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Both Richmond and Kew can be reached on the District Line and are surprisingly easy to reach – only about 25 minutes from the underground station near my hotel.


A view of Richmond Park


Richmond is famous for its huge royal park, which I enjoyed visiting and exploring. However, I found myself drawn to the river. Richmond is located on the Thames, and the Thames pathway stretches for miles along the river. The woods along the riverside were filled with birdsong and I found myself walking along the river for several hours. The riverside stroll was completely unplanned, but the river and the springtime air seemed to require it. I would have been content to walk on indefinitely, but I needed to make it make into town for another meeting.


A view of the Thames and of Marble Hill House


A view back toward Richmond from the Thames riverside




I have always wanted to visit the Kew Gardens, and now that I have been there and seen how easy it is to get there, I can’t believe I never made time to go out there. The Gardens are vast, far beyond what could be seen in a single day. I was fortunate that the azalea and rhododendron were in bloom while I was there. But the real treat was that the bluebells, for which the Garden is famous, were also in bloom while I was there. There were vast areas of the woodland floors that were carpeted with the blue flowers. There was also an exhibit of interesting and extraordinary glass sculptures by the American artist Dale Chihuly. I really enjoyed visiting Kew, and because there is still so much of the Gardens that I didn’t get to see, I will have to go back another time.



The blooming azalea in Kew Gardens


Bluebells carpet the woodland floor









More Pictures of London


For those who are fans of the TV show. a version of the Police Box where Dr. Who kept the TARDIS time machine is located just outside the Earl’s Court underground station.



A trio of pelicans in St. James’s Park



A quiet tribute on a residential side street — this statue of Mozart as a child memorializes the time he spent in London. On Ebury Street, near Sloan Square.


One of the pleasures of wandering around London’s residential streets is the chance to discover hidden treasures, like this wall painting on a side street in South Kensington