Why Hello There! Yes, D and I have been back home for nearly a week now, and I’m only just getting around to doing a post. And I think it’s safe to say that my grand plan of doings posts while on holiday didn’t happen either! D and I were too busy seeing everything in London! Honestly, it was exhausting (D and I have already decided our next trip is going to be somewhere warm and beachy and relaxing. D turns 30 next year in June – so winter here – so we’re thinking Pacific Island trip as they are quite cheap to get to from NZ. It’s about the US equivalent of going to Mexico).
England was great though. Three weeks was a good amount of time to explore London and some of its neighbors (Oxford, Bath and Cardiff). We felt like we had enough time to properly explore many of the sites and museums that we wanted to see (wiyhout much rushing around and feeling like we had missed out). Because there really is a TON to see in London!
I’m really at a bit of a loss as to where to even begin, so I’ll just start from the beginning and we’ll see how it goes.
Our flights went really well (3 hours Christchurch to Sydney, 9 hours Sydney to Hong Kong, 12 hours Hong Kong to London), all smooth and nothing to complain about apart from Virgin’s crappy uncomfortable seats. The food and service was all excellent on Virgin. The seats themselves just sucked. D was particularly uncomfortable and didn’t sleep much.
We had a 7 hour layover in Sydney, which is just enough time to get out of the airport and over to Circular Quay to see the harbour, Opera House, etc.
We arrived in London at about 6 am on April 3 and made it to my sister’s house no problem by about 8 am. The fact that we were able to stay with my sister and her family really made the trip for us! It was great to have a base so near to town, and someone to help advise us once in a while. And of course, it saved us thousands of dollars!
I won’t bore you with every single detail of every day. Lets just say we pretty much ate and museumed our way through London and a few surrounding towns. I’ll just make a list.
- Covent Garden (Thursday – Real Food Market – highly recommended)
- The British Museum (Viking exhibit) (D went 3 times, I went twice)
- The London Museum (also went twice)
- St. Pauls Cathedral (£18)
- The Wallace Collection
- Primrose Hills
- Warwick Castle (Day trip with my sister)
- The Natural History Museum
- Camden Market
- The National Gallery
- Oxford Street (many times)
- Dave Gorman’s Screen Guild
- Tower of London
- V & A (again, we went twice)
- Parliament Tour (£18)
- National Portrait Gallery
- Ashmolean Museum (Oxford)
- History of Science Museum (Oxford)
- Thames River Cruise ( ~£8)
- National Maritime Museum
- The Comedy Store
- The Royal Observatory ( ~£10)
- Hyde Park
- Kensington Garden and Palace
- St. James Park
- Courtauld Gallery (£6, or £3 on a Monday)
- Geffrye Museum
- Brick Lane
- The Roman Baths Museum (Bath – £17 combined with fashion museum)
- The Fashion Museum (Bath – £17 combined with roman baths museum)
- The Assembly Rooms (Bath)
- Bath Sightseeing Tour (Bath – Rebecca only ~£15)
- Bath Abbey (Bath – Dylan only)
- Herschel Museum (Bath – Dylan only)
- Kew Gardens & Palace (£16)
- Kew Bridge & Steam Museum (Dylan only – £10)
- Cardiff Castle (Cardiff – £17 including tours)
- St. Fagans Natural History Museum (Cardiff)
- The Tate Modern
- The Book of Mormon
- Jeeves and Wooster
- The Tate Britain
Um, hence the exhaustion.
Here were some of my trip highlights (after seeing my family and spending my birthday with them, of course!).
The Wallace Collection was really cool. I’m not going to lie, I LOVED all of the art galleries. The National Gallery was possibly my fave, with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers on special exhibition, plus a number of Monets, Renoirs, Rembrandts, Matisses, Cezannes, Picasso, more Van Goghs, etc. Honestly some of their works literally sent shivers down my spine they were so beautiful and evocative. I also loved the Dalis on Display at the Tate Modern, the Henry Moores at the Tate Britain and all the Tudor portraits, as well as Shakespeare at the National Portrait Gallery. The Courtauld also had some excellent Van Goghs and Reniors. And the Ashmolean had many beautiful Cezannes. It was amazing, our first visit to the National Gallery and it was just like – Whoa! In the last 3 hours, I’ve seen more art, and more exceptional and famous art, than I have in the last 7 years combined!
Our day trips to Warwick Castle, Oxford, Bath and Cardiff were also highlights. Bath and Oxford are the most beautiful, picturesque cities! The architecture in both is fantastic. They’re just lovely to wander around – especially on a beautiful spring day. Yes, we DID have amazing weather the entire time we were away. I think it rained twice. Yeah, I’m that person, you know, the one who always seems to get good holiday weather.
Other highlights, the Fashion Museum in Bath, and of course, the V & A. Pretty much anywhere there were garments and textiles on display, I was happy.
OH! Of course, our shows. 2 comedy shows – The Comedy Store and Dave Gormans Screen Guild, and our 3 show shows… Wicked, The Book of Mormon and Jeeves and Wooster. The production of Wicked was incredible, the sets, the lighting, the costumes! The Book of Mormon is so clever and hilarious (love the music! so catchy!). And the acting in Jeeves and Wooster – there were only 3 men in the entire show! They changed costumes, moved the sets around – it was really impressive. It starred Robert Webb and Mark Heap (if you’ve seen any British Period piece in the last 10 years, you will recognize Mark Heap), but I think Mark Hadfield really stole the show.
Finally, the London Markets: The Covent Garden Thursday Real Food Market is a must, Brick Lane and Camden were all fantastic. The food. Seeing all the goods (there is a ton of vintage for sale both in Brick Lane and Camden, which was fun to look through). And of course people watching at markets is also excellent.
My apologies if this post was a little overwhelming, but well, that’s England! So much art, culture, food, people, shopping – just sheer everything!!!
I’m going to top it off with a few more “highlights” photos (I took over 1600 and that was being restrained. There are many things now I’m wishing I had just taken photos of but I was also trying to enjoy the moment and not be too obnoxious with the photography. I narrowed it down to a mere 400 to post to facebook… yes, I’m that person)…
I think you get the idea. Anyways, I promise there will be more London posts to come.