This past week, The D&O Diary was on assignment in London. London has many attractions, but weather is not usually one of them. However, during the recent early July days while we were visiting, the weather was just great. As a result, we spent almost all of our time there exploring London out-of-doors.
The primary purpose of my visit was to participate in an event sponsored by the insurer, Inigo. The event was an afternoon session held at the Four Seasons Hotel just steps away from the Tower Hill underground station. The event consisted of a panel discussing “Hot Topics in D&O,” followed by a reception. Turnout for the event was terrific; virtually every seat in the room was filled. The London D&O Insurance market was well represented at the event. (My impression was the everyone was just glad to be able to get together again as a market.) I would like to thank Yera Patel and her Inigo colleagues for inviting me to participate in this well-organized and well-attended event.
While I had several additional meetings to attend while I was in London, we did also have the opportunity to enjoy being in one of the world’s great cities while it was covered in sunshine. Upon arrival, we went first to Richmond-Upon-Thames, a leafy green river city to the west of London proper. Richmond’s most distinctive feature is its massive Royal Park. At nearly 2,400 acres, the Richmond Park is the largest of the Royal Parks. Among the Park’s many distinctive characteristics are its famous red deer.
We were in London for the July 4th holiday, and since for me July 4th means going to the beach, we jumped on a train and headed for Brighton, on England’s southern coast. The Gatwick Express goes straight to Brighton with only one stop, at Gatwick Airport, along the way. It was a comfortable one hour trip each way.
After our visit to Brighton, we returned back to London proper. The glorious weather encouraged us to spend out time outdoors, so we went to several London parks, starting with Hampstead Heath, and going on from there to some other great London sites.
We extended our London sojourn this past weekend. We took a day to visit Cambridge, the famous University town in East Anglia. The sunny weather we had enjoyed all week continued over the weekend, although the temperatures, which had had been pleasantly warm all week, turned hot. Cambridge is a beautiful town and we are glad we visited. However, it turned out that we visited during the “Open Days” when admitted undergraduates visit with their parents. The town’s narrow sidewalks were crowded with fledgling students and their parents, and a number of the University’s colleges were closed to non-student visitors. It was a challenge navigating the narrow, crowded sidewalks, an experience that was not enhanced by temperatures in the Upper 80s. The experience was also not enhanced when we made our way back to the train station only to learn that our return train to King’s Cross station had been cancelled. Instead, we had to take a regional train that meandered through East Anglia; the train was so crowded we had to stand for much of the journey. We finally made it back to our hotel three hours after starting our return from Cambridge. All part of the joys of travel I suppose; even with all of the various challenges, I am still glad we made visited Cambridge.
For our final day in London before returning home, we stayed within London itself. We toured through the East End, where, among other things, we visited Spitalfields Market , a recently renovated roofed market that was more modern and more crowded than we expected. The high point of the visit to the East End was a walk along Brick Lane, which runs through the city’s Bangladeshi community (sometimes referred to as Banglatown). The area is full of curry restaurants, vintage clothing shops, book stores, and bars. The area is also known for its street art. The buildings along the street provided just enough shade to make walking pleasant, despite summery temperatures.
The next day, we were off on an early morning flight to return home. It was a great visit, confirming my view that July is a great time to visit London.