Friday, 28 February 2014

Four and a half highlights of London (for tourists)

So a wee while ago I posted about planning a visit to the UK and kind of dissed London. The lovely Duchesse mentioned that I was possibly being a little unfair as it is one of the great cities of the world. So I thought I'd let you know about some of my favourite places of visit and things to do while in London town.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, LondonThe V & A
I've written before about how much I love this place. It's very me. A repository of the most beautiful things made by people. My favourite bits are the dresses and jewellery but even things you think won't be interesting like say 'ironwork' have amazing examples of craftsmanship and are nicely displayed with information to put them in context.

On a practical note, unlike the nearby Science museum, I've never seen a queue to get into the V & A and there's always room to move inside. The temporary exhibitions like the recent David Bowie retrospective get very busy with sold out shows and timed entry, but there's plenty to look at without bothering with them.

Also, the tearooms are worth a visit of their own accord. Squeeze into the William Morris room (you might have to share a table) and enjoy the view with your Devonshire tea. Admission is free.

Kew Gardens
I've only been once so far, but it was one of the highlights of an earlier visit to England. Kew Gardens are huge and varied and just beautiful. I saw two and a half squirrels (the half is a probable but not definite sighting). The little shops and tea rooms are excellent. It's not particularly cheap to get in, but it is a whole day's entertainment. Did you know there were historic buildings there as well as all the lovely garden stuff? I recommend having a good look at the Royal Palace where King George III was held during his periods of 'madness'. 

The Wallace Collection art gallery, London
The Wallace Collection
This is my top recommendation of all the huge and amazing art galleries in London - largely because it's not so huge! Also, it's in a lovely old building and does have a good collection of art and object d'art. Admission is free.

Paddle boats in Regent's Park, London
 Regent's Park
Mainly the Boating Lake and the squirrels. There are very fat, tame squirrels to be seen in Regent's Park which is nice if you're from somewhere lacking in the squirrel department. Also, you can (and should) hire pedalo boats and paddle about the Boating Lake, admiring the different types of water fowl and generally taking the air. 

One last recommendation - check what's on and book something that takes your fancy. It could be a concert at the O2 arena, some theatre at Shakespeare's Globe (highly recommended if you're into that sort of thing), opera, stand up comedy, a big flashy musical... there is always so much going on and while a lot of it is quite expensive, it is amazing.

So, what do you think - have I missed anything vital? Any suggestions.


  1. Oh thank you! I might add, The National Portrait Gallery, walking across Tower Bridge at twilight, go to an all-night marathon or sing-along-a movie at the Prince Charles... and just get lost.

    1. I'm with you on the Tower Bridge - or just wandering down the South Bank of an evening and admiring the city lights. I did one floor of the National Portrait Gallery and got bored of looking at people's faces... I do find many of the big galleries in London just too big but it's nice to go and look at a bit then go back another time and look some more.


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