18.04.2011 - 22.04.2011 27 °C
Staying at Natalie and Jays place in Hatchend, Harrow we decided to get up early and get into London by tube. Took tube from Rayners Lane into Knightsbridge and got out at the Victoria and Albert Museum…..what an entry into London…busy, hustle and bustle of a fantastic museum…. After a couple of hours there we had lunch at Harrods food hall and marvelled at such a fantastic place to shop!....things we’d never imagined possible all rolled up in this foodlovers mecca!
Harvey Nichols was close by with terrific window displays….From there we ventured to Hyde park for a Sunday afternoon stroll with a few thousand other people all lazing about enjoying the unseasonally hot London weather….I reckon I could do a English toilets guide with my middleaged frequency….something which is problematic with 5 women tourists! (well, me particularly!) and facing endless queues for everything makes it all a little trickier at times….( apols to my fellow eurogirlies!)
London is amazing, huge, historic, interesting, quaint and frantically hectic- all rolled into one..and not for the faint-hearted if you don’t like crowds! I guess with the Royal Wedding next week, Easter and local school holidays its even busier than normal-
So to finish our first night in this great city we had a few drinks at “Bunch of Grapes”pub
( such fantastic names for places here- or maybe the owner has a haemorrhoidal problem!) and headed back…I reckon we walked our legs off that day! Stuffed and ready for bed and and prepare for another day…
Day 10 – Hey, its Lisas birthday!! She’d planned on spending the day with her brother Andrew and family so Robyn, Clare, Mahony and I got on the tube again…we got a 26pound on/off bus ticket and did a couple of hours on top of a double decker bus…we saw all the major sites and with an open topped bus…you really feel the perspective and size of the city…Nelsons column in Trafalgar Sq,Tower bridge,Westminster Abbey,Tower of London,Big Ben and the houses of Parliament…after a quick lunch stop at the National Gallery we took in an hour or so of culture( fabulous,free and easy to get around!) we got back on the bus, got down to the Thames and caught the ferry back to Westminister by water.What a way to see the sights of London!
Quote of the day-
Whilst walking across Westminister” and under the incredibly huge and ornate Big Ben….Clare asked ‘has anyone got the time…?.”
To which Mahony replied ‘Just a minute I’ll get out my phone to see”
Pardon the logic…but I couldn’t help myself….Big Ben is the biggest bloody clock in the world…so I said… ‘ why don’t you look up ! ha!
We found a great little pub- The Victoria at Victoria station and had typically stodgy English pub meal….Roast beef and Yorkshire pud!
I gotta say…most of the food here is rather stodgy and the coffee is pretty crappy…but I think tea is the best way to go…it seems to taste a whole lot better in England!!
And speaking of all things fantastic here…..the Underground was brilliant for us…
- Easy to navigate (once you get used to the map!)
- Feels safe…always full of people
- Incredibly quick and efficient
- Swiping on with our Oyster card(like our Myki)but at least this one works everytime!
Day 11- Tues 19th April
Last full day at Natalies and Jays- they’ve been wonderfully hospitable putting the whole lot of us up for these few days! Very, very kind of them and we loved their gorgeous kids, Arthur,Oscar and little Ruby….I think they enjoyed having us there but I’m sure they were glad to get their house back to normal!
Lisa had rels and friends to visit the the rest of us set off again…this time in another direction.. we went to northwestish…and got ourselves to Richmond where we planned on spending the day at Kew gradens- but first we got ourselves to Petersham nursery where Clare really wanted to visit-
It’s the home of Skye Gyngell- an aust chef living in the UK and running a Michelin star restaurant in the middle of this gorgeous rustic little nursery right on the river Thames…apparently, Mick Jagger et al live around here…a beautiful area,seeming like rural England but very close to town by tube….not that Mick would travel by tube I’m guessing!
Mahony and I left Robyn and Clare to the nursery where they enjoyed a sample of her beautiful cuisine …we got ourselves onto the walking path along the Thames and walked into Richmond….beautiful setting and postcard perfect from every angle…punts on the river with gorgeous little pubs, cafes along the rivers edge.
Richmond is a pretty town/suburb with great shopping. We found a pub had x 2 brandies! and could’ve spent the entire day there…..but had to meet the others so hopped a bus and met them at the main gates of Kew Gardens-
Kew Gardens is a great place to visit….especially when you’re coming down with a dreaded London lurgy…so while I had a very relaxing snooze beside the glasshouse and lake the others explored these beautiful grounds.
After a few hours there we got back to t and met Lisa, her brother Andrew,Rita, Lucia and Sasha,Lisas cousin Mark and Clarissa, Natalie and her boys- at an Italian eatery called –Ask- very nice dinner too!
We got home and packed up our gear again for our next leg!!!
Early start to the day, Lisa dropped Moy and I off at Pinner Station, whilst she, Robyn and Clare prepare for their jaunt to Hampton Court and Great Dixter.
We got off at Baker St and after initially heading in the wrong direction made it to our hotel, the Sherlock Holmes Park Plaza. Settled in- must say Moy and I are grateful for our own space, (a slight reprieve for leaving our dirty undies lying around is sometimes necessary), and unfortunately Moy is feeling pretty lousy and doesn,t feel up to doing much, so this way she can have a bit of valuable time out.
I leave Moy in peace and set off to Oxford Street with a view to reach Leceister Square and purchase ½ ticks. Four hrs later I return, having shopped till I dropped and ticket to see Dirty Dancing in my purse. My god, what an experience Oxford Street was, I’ve never seen so many people shopping in one place and I’ve never walked so far when I’ve shopped in my life. Rob will be pleased to know I am spending all his money!!
Moy is feeling a bit rested- poor old love,- so she and I go for something to eat, then Moy had a bit of a wander while I go back to the hotel and make myself beautiful for this evening.
Show starts at 1930, leave about 1815 as I am to negotiate the tube. Won,t bore you too much with the ins and outs of this but was pretty relieved when I got there and even more relieved when I got back seeing as how familiar train travel at 2200 is not high on my agenda much let alone unfamiliar train travel. Show was fantastic and the theatre was gorgeous, so very pleased with this experience.
Moy is feeling a little better so into bed after a lovely day in anticipation of further experiences hoping Moy will be back on track tomorrow.Lisa, Robyn and Clare hopefully had a lovely day at Hampton court and The Great Dixter gardens…then staying at a pub in Rye- they’re travelling over to France on the ferry and we’ll meet them in our Paris Appt on Sun….hopefully, they’ll get to blog their travels asap!
Got up, feeling much better and the 2 of us got ourselves in Buck Palace….quite a to do there with mega preps for the Royal Wedding next week….we had hope that we’d see the changing of the guard but for some reason it was cancelled….maybe the new guards had taken sickies…and the old ones had to stay there….boy, they sure know how to stand still and now I know where the term- straight as soldiers comes from!
Did you know that if they feel faint…they have to fall directly forward even at risk of breaking their noses….if they don’t faint correctly they can be charged with not following protocol!!?>??? what the??
We were a bit underwhelmed by the whole palace thing and very disappointed that Liz didn’t show her face to her colonial constituents!! However, we took a few snaps and off we toddled to the Tate Modern!! And wow, was I impressed there>?
Such a fabulous gallery on the Thames and was surrounded by my very favourites…and all free ( gotta love the freebies!)
Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Klimt, Klee, Kandinsky, Warhol, and Lichtenstein!! Talk about wow factor- I got all overcome at being in the presence of such masters! Art heaven!
From there we hopped another bus up to Covent garden….fantastic place to explore and shop…had lunch at ‘the Marquis of Anglesea- fish n chips with mushy peas…mmmhhh!
Then continued up to Leicester square…We split up and I visited the British museum, then took hours to make my way back up Oxford st to the hotel…lots of fantastic shopping to be had there!!!
we had a really quiet night....feet really sore....and had an early on!! up early to get the Eurostar to
Look our Europe here we come!