Monday, 24 July 2017

Postcards from London

A few weeks ago I went on a birthday trip to London with my lovely friend. We have had a few visits to London and had such fun on each one and this was no exception. We go for two nights and three full days and pack in as much as possible in that time. We come away knackered with fabulous memories and it is just the best. I was born and raised in London and I still miss many things about it so it is great for me to get a visit home!

As soon as we deposited our bags we went to the Vivien of Holloway shop as we had promised ourselves a good look and trying on session. I wanted to get a feel for the sizing so that should I wish to order online in the future I would know what worked for me. The shop assistant was so amazingly helpful. I thought I might get myself a birthday dress but I ended up with a fabulous pair of shorts instead!

We then went to the Sir John Soane Museum, shown above. Sir John Soane was a 19th century architect; he built the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery. Over time he acquired these three houses and converted them to be his home, his library and his museum. He collected architectural models, plaster casts, statues and art amongst other things. He left it all to the nation on his death, stipulating that people must be able to visit for free and that it was to remain as he had left it.

It is a fascinating place if ever so slightly bonkers. The corridors are very narrow and the basement houses all the casts and statues and is rather erie. Hogarth's series of paintings - The Rake's Progress is here and we got a good look at it with a wonderful guide who told the story of the paintings in a very amusing fashion.

The museum is near Lincoln's Inn which is both a society of lawyers and the area where many lawyers and barristers are based. We had a good wonder around looking at the great Georgian architecture and all the interesting buildings.

After a power nap back at the hotel we got spruced up and went out to Brasserie Zedel for a lovely tea in it's fantastic Art Deco restaurant. We enjoyed both the food and the location very much. Before and after the meal we went to the bar, Bar Americain and enjoyed a couple of cocktails and the lovely atmosphere. It was a great night out.

The next day we headed over to Kensington. We walked past this amazing 1930's building which used to house Barkers department store.

We were heading for Kensington Palace for a look around and an exhibition.

You can explore several periods of history at the palace: the reign of William and Mary from 1689, the early life of Victoria (born 1819) and three 18th century German princesses Caroline, Augusta and Charlotte. We had a good wander around everything.

Part of an amazing staircase and ceiling
A rather smart curtain and wallpaper combo.
This dress was made of paper
So was this suit
We went to Kensington to see their current exhibition - Diana: Her Fashion story.

Diana inspired wallpaper
The exhibition was looking at the evolution of Diana's style, from the early eighties pie crust blouses to the glamorous evening gowns with powerful suits in between. It also looked at her relationship with various designers. It was interesting and there were some lovely and iconic outfits but there really were not that many. I think if we had not looked around the palace too we would have felt like we had spent a lot of money to get in for not very much.

These two dresses were my favourites, probably because of the spectacular beading and embroidery. Excuse the reflections on the photos, everything was behind glass.

The birds continued down the back of the gown.

After a walk through the grounds we went on to the Victoria and Albert Museum to an exhibition which will be the subject of my next post!

That evening we went out to the theatre.

We got marvellous seats, at half price, for 42nd Street. You can watch a trailer here and it is well worth it. I really can't recommend this show highly enough. It is a perfect musical spectacular packed full of big tap dance numbers. The scenery and costumes are marvellous and we just had the best time watching it. It was brilliant.

Inside the theatre
Inside the theatre
After all that excitement we had a slightly quieter next day. We went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Award which was fantastic. Then we fancied a good walk so we went through Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall so that we could take in all the sights.

Women's war memorial
We walked over Westminster Bridge and along the South Bank. Some of this was the route of the Moonwalk so we relieved some memories and were grateful to be wearing more than a decorated bra!

It was lovely walking along by the Thames past the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall and Tate Modern. We went over Millennium Bridge to St Pauls and then, sadly, it was time to catch the train home. We may have had a little sleep on the train!

Such a birthday treat!


  1. What a great time you had. Very Interesting, thank you x

  2. It looks like you had a fabulous birthday trip! My mum and I tend to do this kind of quick break in London, 3 days and 2 nights and cram in as much as humanly possible. And yes, we come back knackered too. I always have to make sure I'm not working the next day! xx

    1. How lovely that you and your mum do this. It is the best way to fit lots in. We need to coordinate our next trips!

  3. That looks like a fantastic trip to London. I've never been to the Soane Museum, it sounds really interesting. I really want to go to Brasserie Zedel too, and your cocktails look lush.

    Such a shame there aren't any time machines - that department store must have sold some amazing things when it opened.

    1. Oh for a time machine! I think you would enjoy the Soane museum for its bonkersness! The cocktails were delicious though our inner Yorkshire women did quail at the prices!!

  4. What a fun time! I am making note of these places you visited for my next trip to London because they are look so wonderful. Thanks for sharing your adventures :)

    1. Next time you visit London do let me know because I would come down and meet you for a cocktail!

  5. What a great way to celebrate (happy belated birthday!). You sure did cram in a lot of activities! I love that bird dress of Diana's.