One New Change review
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I don't normally recommend visiting a shopping centre on a day out, but One New Change is no ordinary shopping centre -- because this one has got an open-air observation deck on the roof.
You can find it round the back end of St. Paul's Cathedral (it's that big dark-glass building across the street). But whatever you do, don't climb up the stairs or use the escalators... because if you do that you'll be missing out on a treat. What you need to do is find the central lift and have a ride in that instead. As you rise up the building you can stare out of the window and see the back end of St. Paul's climbing up with you. When you're about level with the bottom of the dome you can step out onto the roof and take in the skyline. They've got a little cafe up there too, but you don't have to go in it if you don't want. You can just walk over to the barrier and peer over the edge.
The last time I came here I inexplicably described the view as being a bit so-so (I must have been in a terrible mood!) but I have totally changed my tune since then, because now I think it's well worth a visit. Maybe I just like looking at St. Paul's more than I used to, because I'd happily stare at that pile of bricks for thirty minutes. I actually like looking at the lines and the decorations on the sides of buildings now (I'm starting to lose my mind). I don't watch pretty women anymore... I stare at the stones and the rooftops. And standing up here in the breezy wind is a great way to see the stuff you can't glimpse from the street -- it's almost like your prize for riding the lift. I think that's one of the reasons why I don't like modern architecture... because it invariably looks the same all the way up to the top. If you've seen the bottom three floors then you've seen the whole lot -- they don't bother putting carved columns and gargoyles on the 50th floor because there's no point. The most you'll get is a load of aerials and satellite dishes. Compare that with the green dome and golden cross of Christopher Wren's attempt...
You get a great view of the dome -- in fact, it's probably the best view of the dome from anywhere in the City. You also get a nice view of The Shard and the top half of the London Eye. If you can't see Tate Modern across the river then you need to get your eyes tested, but see if you can pick out the top of Parliament and the Ministry of Defence building (you will really need to know your London for that one). I will give you some bonus points if you can spot the top of Westminster Cathedral... and I do mean the cathedral, not the Abbey!
If you really want to show off then try and find the line of Fleet Street. [Hint: you need to look for the spire of St. Dunstan's.] If you follow that along then it will lead you to the clock hanging off the side of the Royal Courts of Justice. You're not allowed to leave until you locate that!
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