Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our London List

Obligatory photo of the London Eye. This is as close as we got.

We're finished unpacking (except for souvenirs, strewn about as happy reminders of our trip, much more appealing in that role than piles of unwashed tee shirts and socks). We're having tea from Harrod's and spicy buns from Marks & Spencer for breakfast. And we're collapsing from exhaustion early in the evening, which is why I haven't posted more photos from the trip. I'll do more of that today.

I'm realizing now that the list of things we didn't explore in London looks similar to the Must-See lists of many tourists: We skipped:

  • Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard
  • London Eye (saw it, didn't get near it)
  • Tower of London (saw the outside)
  • Tate Modern
  • Natural History Museum
  • Madame Tussaud's
  • Princess Diana's Memorial
  • Kew Gardens, Kensington Garden, Hyde Park
  • Selfridge's
  • Riding in a double-decker bus
  • Fish and chips in a pub

Parliament. We stood in line for a while here, only to discover it was closed. 
It was the only time stood in line except for Westminster Abbey and the Tube.

There's always next time. So what DID we do in six days? More than we thought possible. It was bright and sunny every single day, and since I'd forgotten my contact lenses, I couldn't wear sunglasses (I wear them all the time outside) and suffered accordingly. On the other hand, I can't really see in my contact lenses since I need bifocals — reading maps, examining art, and browsing in bookshops are especially frustrating — so it was nice to have everything in focus when I wasn't squinting from the sun.

  • Dennis Severs House
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
  • British Museum
  • Petrie Museum
  • Sir John Soane House
  • Leighton House
  • Linley Sambourne House
  • Foundling Museum
  • Antiquing in the overcrowded Portobello Road
  • Houses of Parliament (exterior only, not in session)
  • Shopping at Liberty and Harrod's
  • Ploughman's lunch in a pub
  • Dreadful dinner pies in a pub
  • Tea at Fortnum & Mason
  • Westminster Abbey
  • St. Margaret's
  • St. Paul's during Evensong
  • The Brompton Oratory
  • Tea in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields (church was closed)
  • Many bookstores: multiple Waterstones plus Foyles, Hatchards, and Maxwells
  • Walked the Tower Bridge and along the Thames
  • The London Silver Vaults
  • Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn

We ate a lot of French food. There are 30 branches of Paul, a Paris patisserie and boulangerie, in London, so we had breakfast there a couple of times and bought sandwiches and pastry for the flight home. Eating breakfast in their familiar yellow dining room was like being in Paris and London at the same time. We also found a charming brasserie, Côte, in Sloane Square, also a chain but with delicious, affordable food and very friendly service. We ate dinner and breakfast there as often as we could.

Tower Bridge. We walked across it on our last day.

1 comment:

  1. On your next trip you might consider sitting in on a trial in progress at the Old Bailey. It was great theatre (but without the pricey ticket). The costumey attire, wigs, and formal language seemed bizarre considering the rather more informal way that testimony and evidence were allowed to be presented.
    I've always found that a good 50% of the pleasure of travel is in the planning, anticipation, and memories recalled years later. It sounds like you had a wonderful & memorable time. I am enjoying your photos!

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