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A day in London

November 2, 2014

I absolutely love cramming as much as possible into a day in London. I think it’s partly down to the cost of the train ticket – if I’m paying that much to go, I’m getting my money’s worth! Yesterday was definitely one of those days. Nine hours of fun, in fact.

We visited the poppies at the Tower of London – it was absolutely packed with people, but thankfully there was plenty of room to take a look and everyone was kind and took it in turns for a closer view. It was a pretty stunning sight. On our walk back to the station we stopped at the church nearby for a wander down to the crypt museum. I really love churches; I spent every Sunday at church until the age of 16/17, and when I visit a grand church like this it reminds me of Christmas Eves spent with my family in the most beautiful church in Ealing. The smell of incense is so comforting. As I grew older I turned away from the church due to a difference in opinion (anti-abortion, homophobia, anti-divorce and a general isolation from any kind of open-mind) but I think that as buildings, churches are so special.

Thankfully we were blessed with beautiful weather, so took full advantage in getting in as little tube-time, favouring walking as much as possible. We walked to Liverpool St and then decided to look up how long it would take to walk to Covent Garden, our next destination. 49 minutes. We decided we weren’t quite ready for that kind of walk, so hopped on a tube.

One thing I love about London is how many small details you can see in an unexpected places. It’s something we don’t really have in Brighton (although you can find the odd bits and pieces dotted around) so I take full advantage of photo opportunities.

We went to Covent Garden to check out an animal rights stall that were giving out free vegan food to raise awareness of how good vegan food is, and a few leaflets on reasons why you should go vegan. I felt a little bad stuffing my face knowing full well that I was already vegan, so I donated some money before stuffing another burger in my mouth and wandering down to the river.

Both in Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, the street performers were all hovering – it must be the latest craze for them! It was incredible to watch and try to understand.

I love the Southbank Centre. The Hayward Gallery is a fantastic space, and the area feels so creative and inspiring. And the graffiti! Brilliant. We were going to a Q&A with Quentin Blake and Oliver Jeffers, followed by a showing of the film Lost and Found, one of Oliver Jeffers’ books.

Our pre-Q&A excited faces. Shortly after we took this photo my sister popped off to the loo while I waited outside, taking in the view of the river and the warm air. She’s been gone only a few minutes when she burst back through the doors shouting, “CHRISSIE – M2S[W[@N!*PA$31!!”

I know better than to try and translate, I just had to chase after her as she ran 72mph through the hall. As we rounded a corner I understood the excitement. Mr Jeffers was doing a signing. We joined the queue, thankfully with minutes to spare before they closed it. It was amazing to meet him (not that I really said a word…starstruck, much!) but I got my ticket signed which I will be framing today.

The event was fantastic – they talked about their early work, their careers, where they find inspiration from, their favourite pencils and tools, their studio spaces. What I would give for one of Oliver Jeffers’ sketchbooks! They are so inspiring and beautiful.

After the talk we watched the film, which was amazing and stunning and so lovely.

Live art in front of the entrance.

As it was the 1st November, it is officially time to get (even more) excited about Christmas. We walked to Liberty to check out their Christmas department (I don’t think I’ve ever been before?!) and it was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas period. The smell of cinnamon hit you as soon as you stepped through the archway, and there were so many decorations to choose from. It took me so long to decide which one decoration I would treat myself to, but finally settled on a partridge for my sister and a pear for me. On our way to Liberty we walked passed a gallery and I couldn’t believe it: Matthew Barney was exhibiting. I had no idea, which is odd because I looked him up not that long ago to see when his next exhibition was. We walked in for a look, but I’m sad to say that I didn’t really like his sculptures – which is odd, because they’ve always been my favourite part of his work. He had the most beautiful etching plates hung on the walls though, so that made up for it. He is my favourite artist, his work is brilliant.

After our wonder around Liberty, we headed into Soho to grab some dinner, settling on a tiny Tuscan restaurant. The food was really good, if a little slow, but we did get front-row seats for a couple’s full-blown argument, complete with cutlery throwing, storming out and crying over their cured meats. It was quite bizarre, and no doubt alcohol-fuelled, but it is quite difficult to pull off anger when you’re wearing facepaint.*

*they were dressed up for Hallowe’en.

So that was my day in London. I don’t miss living there at all, but I do really love popping up to visit whenever I get an opportunity. It’s such a fantastic city. Today I’m meeting up with a friend for coffee, and then visiting another friend’s photography exhibition, before probably heading home to get some good old housework done. I should probably shower and get dressed and brush my teeth now, before I have to leave in 20 minutes ;)

Have a great Sunday, everyone! What do you have planned?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2014 12:53 pm

    Always look forward to your blog posts and loved this. Thank you, Inspires me to actually go out and explore London more. This weekend though, I am back in the Shire at my parents house catching up with friends and their very offspring. Have a great Sunday. :) x

  2. November 3, 2014 9:47 am

    What?! How do they hover?…That’s crazy!
    I really want to go and visit the Tower of London. My Facebook feed has been filled with images all week and it looks absolutely stunning. I imagine even better in person.

    • November 9, 2014 3:52 pm

      If you can, you should definitely try to visit the Tower of London. I think they’ve extended it by another month so you’ve got a bit more time!

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