Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A few days in London

So here are the touristy things we did while we were in London.

Thu 13th April   Little Venice (Rembrandt Gardens)

We went by tube to London Bridge for our visit to the Shard. On arrival at the tube station, we were expecting a sign to say which exit to use, but there wasn’t one, so we walked a lot further than we needed.  There were fairly rigorous security checks, similar to those in airports, as it would a fairly obvious target for a terrorist.

There were two lifts that took us to the viewing areas, and the views were amazing.  We could see some of the tall ships arriving in Greenwich.  They were serving teas and coffees and other drinks, but there was nowhere to sit down, so we passed on those.

The Shard

The view

We had lunch in one of the eateries in Hays Wharf, and then went to the pier and took a fast catamaran to the O2.  After HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge, the boat put on speed and went shooting ahead.
 Fast boat

 Tower Bridge

Tall ship

Disembarking at the O2, we found our way to the Emirates Airlines experience, where we had tea and cake in the cafe, before taking the gondola across the Thames.


Gondola terminal

We then took the Docklands Light Railway and tube back to Paddington. We visited Daedalus and found Pat. She said Simon had gone to see us on our boat!!

We waited until he was back, with their two grandsons before saying farewell and returning to our boat.

Chloe Pat Simon Edward on Daedalus

No boating today

Fri 14th April   Little Venice (Rembrandt Gardens)

We took a bus to Notting Hill Gate (aren’t bus passes useful?) and walked down past all the embassies to Kensington Palace, where we were planning to see the newly opened “White Garden” in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.  We had also wanted to visit the Palace and see the collection of Diana’s dresses which are on display there, but we were unable to get tickets online.

We saw that there was a queue, and discovered that this was for people without reservations, so we tacked on at the end. It took about 45 minutes to get to the ticket desk, and then we had a look around the palace. There was a very interesting talk in the Kings chambers about lift in the Georgian era, with powdered wigs and huge wide dresses.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace Queue

Wide dress

 Ornate ceiling

We then had another queue for the exhibition of Diana’s dresses, which Hazel enjoyed a lot.  Some of them were stunning. Afterwards we went to look at the White Garden which was lovely.

Diana’s dresses

The White Garden

We walked through Kensington Gardens to pay a visit to the Museum of musical instruments, just south of the Albert Hall

 Mandarin duck

Albert Memorial and Albert Hall

We found the Royal College of Music, where the museum is located, but the man at reception said it was closed until 2019!!!

We tried to get over things by having a Mexican meal, and then we took a bus to Trafalgar Square, where we caught the final stages of the Wintershall passion play.

Trafalgar Square passion play

We went to a ticket booth in Leicester Square and bought tickets for Stomp. We then found a restaurant nearby (Bill’s) where we had a pudding and a drink before the show.

Stomp was a lot of fun with percussion, using household objects such as brooms, plumbing pipes and dustbin lids. There was absolutely no story line or words, but a lot of humour and mime. No photos allowed, so no pics here.

Bus back to the boat

No boating today

Sat 15th April   Little Venice (Rembrandt Gardens)

We went to Oxford Street by bus and found a guitar shop. James needs some finger and thumb picks as his nails keep breaking.  They only had plastic ones which were too small and the wrong shape. Otherwise they were fine.

From there we walked to the Wallace Collection, where we spent far more time than we had imagined, looking at lots of paintings and furniture.

Wallace Collection


In need of a late lunch, we found an Indian Restaurant which was advertising 25% of all foods between 3pm and 5pm. As it was by then 3.30pm we went in and had a very nice meal. When it came to the bill, there was no discount shown. We queried this, and were told “Oh that is a separate menu”. We pointed out that it said ALL foods, and after some further grumbling the man reduced the price, and we subsequently paid.  We wondered how many overseas visitors without the same grasp of English would have been stung in this way.

We took a bus to Vauxhall where we had booked seats for a concert by a young folky singer-songwriter called Emily Mae Winters.  This was at a venue called the Tea House Theatre, which was a cafe which they changed into a theatre with a few scaffold poles and some curtains.  The place was packed, but only takes about 50.  Before the concert we had a massive slice of cake.

Tea House Theatre

Piece of cake

Bus back to the boat

No boating today

Sun 16th April   Little Venice (Rembrandt Gardens)

Today we went by bus to Notting Hill Gate, where we visited Kensington Temple for their Easter Sunday Service at 11am.  They have four services on a Sunday, each of them full.  It was a very international congregation. There were some songs we didn’t know and may learn.

Kensington Temple

Worship team

We had lunch in a restaurant nearby, and took a bus back to the boat, where we fell asleep. All this sightseeing has taken its toll.

No boating today

Next: Through the London canals to the Lee

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