UrbEx near St Paul’s London

Watling Street

I went on my first UrbEx outing this weekend, and boy was it fun – I really knew nothing about the world of Urban Exploration prior to this trip, and since my youth I don’t think I have really stepped a foot off the path, as it were, and always stuck to where I know is safe.

As a child I remember being a keen explorer and would often work my way around water drains, scrap yards and derelict buildings. Partially this was out of curiosity, but mostly to be in a place that I knew was forbidden. I remember stumbling upon a house that was being built in a forest one time and entering it through the open doorway. It was in a strange stage of completion with no windows, doors, furnishing etc, but I do remember having a fright as I turned into one room and found myself face to face with my reflection in a mirror. What a mirror was doing in a place that was so far from being complete I do not know, but it sure gave me a scare before I realised it was me.

St Paul's Cathedral

I saw an image recently taken by a great London photographer, Mark Blundell (linked in the blogroll in the site footer). It was of St Paul’s and the surrounding area, and that inspired me to enter the world of UrbEx. After establishing the correct building and a point of entry we went there on Saturday night and found it a nice straightforward entry and ascent to the roof where we spent an hour taking photos of the beautiful city around us. I was nervous as I sat in the car waiting to go, less nervous as I walked to the subject and then the adrenaline kicked in from there. All nerves were gone and replaced by the curious feelings and sense of adventure that I remember from my childhood. We headed up 14 or so flights of stairs to the top floor and found access to the roof. I understand this location is an ‘easy’ one, which was of course perfect for my first ever UrbEx adventure.

I would have happily stayed longer, but after an evening of firework photography my batteries were running low, plus we had someone waiting in a car nearby which we felt rude to keep there for hours on end.

London really is a beautiful place from up high.

Ray of Light

5 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. Mark Blundell

    Nice write up and great shots. glad you had a good time!

    Nov 08, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  2. Lennyd

    Fantastic shots ! – especially the top one.

    Nov 16, 2010 @ 5:40 am

  3. Maurice

    Great photos
    WHatare your tips to getting access to rooftops?
    cheers from Australia

    Nov 16, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  4. Wayne Frost

    I really appreciate the strong converging lines and the perspective in the image looking down on the intersection. Very nice use of HDR techniques.

    Dec 02, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

  5. murphyz

    @Mark @Lenny – thanks very much.

    @Maurice – cheers; my tips are to get permission where you can, look to see where others have gone and only do what you feel is right and safe. Stair access = good. Rickety ladders, scaffold and jumping gaps = not worth it.

    @Wayne – thanks very much, this remains my personal favourite out of my images.

    Dec 03, 2010 @ 10:44 am