Capital City

09Apr09

The first trip of the year, to London.

We arrived mid morning on Saturday (after a somewhat circuitous route) and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon ambling across central London to The British Museum, passing Charles Babbage in blue plaque form and Anthony Gormley in the flesh (rather than in bronze) and realising that walking is the very best way to stumble upon the plethora of idiosyncratic diversions that can be found along almost every street. Arriving at the British Museum we had a good look at the wonderfully impressive Great Court Roof – I know it might seem somewhat obtuse to visit a museum for the building rather than the contents but believe me when you go you’ll realise it’s not as obtuse as it sounds.

From the British Museum we headed South towards Covent Garden, passing Broadcasting House – which is always somewhere one should stop and give praise at and a stone commemorating The Women’s Freedom League. On arriving at our confusingly popular destination the various travelling parties separated to allow one of us to concentrate on kick starting the economy whilst the other (ie me) visited The London Transport Museum – and in particular the small but perfectly formed Art Of The Poster exhibition.

Then back to our somewhat faceless (but hey entirely comfortable) hotel via Wahaca (highly recommended) and the hookah lined pavement of the Edgware Road.

Sunday morning was a bright clear Spring morning so once again rather than descending beneath the ground to reach my intended destination I decided a walk across a rather lovely sun drenched Hyde Park, which was filled with daffodils, dogs and mostly empty deckchairs. My intended destination for the morning was the The Museum of Brands which was hidden away (rather too well as it happens) in deepest, darkest Notting Hill (well not exactly deepest, darkest but you get my drift . . . ) and it was an absolute joy – small, friendly, passionate, perfectly formed and absolutely rammed with exhibits it’s exactly what a museum should be and I can’t recommend it enough.

Having a limited amount of a time and with an increasingly decreasing walking speed I decided that the next destination, Postman’s Park, would require a journey below ground so down down deeper and down I descended before reappearing in the daylight at St Paul’s – to a deserted edge of the financial district. A coffee and a short walk and then the unassuming thrill of Postman’s Park which I’d been looking forward to for ages (thanks to Anne I Like) and where I sat alone albeit briefly disturbed by the occasional walking tour.

Once the travelling parties had reconvened a quick trip was taken over the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern (for a peek at the Rodchenko exhibition), then back across the bridge to travel at somewhat higher speeds than we could have achieved ourselves, back to the comfortable confines of the hotel.

Monday saw the weather deteriorate somewhat with the Spring sunshine making way for overcast skies and alarming winds, unfortunately I was also feeling under the weather (and no before you ask I wasn’t suffering with alarming winds) which is perhaps why I was hugely underwhelmed by the Design Museum – I’d not been before and I won’t be rushing back – it was wildly unwelcoming, austere in the extreme and most importantly lacking in any great number of exhibits – the complete opposite to the wonderful Museum Of Brands.

Walking back towards Tower Hill tube station I was cheered up by the sight of Tower Bridge opening for something or other (boat based mind), and with this increased cheer, and the minimal time I had spent at the Design Museum I was finished much earlier than I had planned so a change of direction was taken and I followed a sign pointing me towards Shoreditch to engage in a search for graffito – and graffito I found.

A slow trundle back across town to stagger about at the car park where we’d left the car on Saturday (£73 thank you kindly) and then home – a great weekend in fine company and very much recommended.

As ever I didn’t get to every destination planned, namely the Cartoon Museum (because I didn’t know where it was and my energy levels were waning) or Barrier Park (which we skipped because the weather was deteriorating as quickly as the day progressed) although given that this was my first trip to the capital in a good while where I didn’t feel like a complete stranger (in a strange land) I’m sure we will be returning sooner than later.



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