It was always going to be a long day; so much to see and so much to do, we needed to plan carefully and with military precision.
We promised ourselves a proper London day out; and we definitely got one!
A proper London day out!
The early morning train, tube ride and coffee stops on the way out East to the O2 Arena, Emirates airline to (nowhere really) and amazing views back towards the city and Canary wharf.
The Emirates Air-Line is a pretty nifty cable car, it certainly gives you some height, rising straight up to 90m and a wonderful view of London.
Looking down onto the river we had a change of plan and the Thames river clipper service was a great last minute idea, taking time to swoop around between piers.
We gained a real tourist’s eye view of London as we chugged from the O2, past the Isle of Dogs, to Canary Wharf, Royal Naval college at Greenwich and the the Cutty Sark and under Tower Bridge before getting off at a busy Tate Modern pier.
After pizza and posing in Paternoster Square (Dinner Date), a walk around St Paul’s Cathedral and back over Blackfriars bridge, the fun continued with a stroll along the embankment, past the OXO tower and sand sculptures of Kevin Spacey to the South Bank, National Theatre, skate-parks and eventually the London Eye amidst the thronging crowds and street performers.
The London Eye never fails to impress – it’s at least ten years since I have been on this amazing cartwheel, and it’s as good now as it ever was.
That’s enough for one day!
Onto the tube, up to Kings Cross, a drink or two and a train home, phew!
Yesterday I went to the National Portrait Gallery in London; it was fabulous!
My main objective was to get into the ground floor Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition – a very reasonable £4 charge was levied and I was in.
The blurb says this is the leading competition to celebrate and promote the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.
Certainly the many images were spread across both traditional and contemporary approaches to photographic portraits, I don’t even know who Taylor Wessing are, but well done on them, because this was a great show.
Having moved on upstairs, I was allowed to get my camera out; I only took a couple of pictures, I hope you like them.
I don’t think they like you taking pictures in here….of course there was one addition that was rather poignant; Mr Bowie.
And that’s all I have to say about that. Except that afterwards I had to get some fresh air and walk around Trafalgar Square, and say hello to some old friends my wife and I had both been perched upon for pictures as young children.
But now, it is more famous for Chiswick salmon en croute.
And this is the man that made it famous…
Historic figures who lived in Chiswick include the poet Alexander Pope, the Italian revolutionary Ugo Foscolo, the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro and the novelist E. M. Forster; none of these can hold a candle to our family members, who in their own Gavi-fuelled way have contributed far more to the cultural fabric of the local community.
And here they are…
Chiswick occupies a meander of the River Thames which is heavily used for competitive and recreational rowing, and Chiswick itself is home to several clubs. The finishing post for the Boat Race is just downstream of Chiswick Bridge.
I don’t know if salmon swim in these waters, I suspect that is rather unlikely – we are not in the highlands of Scotland here, none the less, Waitrose down the road is stocked with our aquatic friends, and they can be purchased and wrapped in pastry to form the infamous national dish of W4; Chiswick Salmon en Croute.
And the kitchen environment is so important if you are serving up a masterpiece….
We went on a family trip to London to see some important relatives; there was an undisputed star of the show – and he was crowned, King Henry of Brentford
It would seem that he is the very latest in a long line of royals, who have given their respective families a right royal run-around.
Looking at the statistics, he is indeed in good Royal company…
8 in England, of whom the last departed in 1537 and is rather well-known
5 in France, the last Henry V being around as recently as 1830
17 Dukes of Bavaria, Henry XV11 cavorting between 1483 and 1512 to be precise.
A full list of rulers named Henry can be found here courtesy of Wikipedia.
And now we have the 1st King of Brentford to add to the history books, born in 2014 and wreaking havoc across West London for the last 14 months, intensifying his activities since learning to walk in early 2015
Get out of my room!
Storming the battlements at Kew
Eating and drinking and merry-making at the royal court
Ticking off one of the royal cour staff
…but most of all, being a good King, and a worthy heir to the throne for his mum and dad!
Thanks for looking in, we will revisit henry in years to come I am sure!
We visited the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew this week.
It was everything we were hoping it would be, and more besides.
Located near to family, it seemed an afternoon strolling through the gardens, greenhouses and grasslands of Kew would be the perfect activity for our group, young and old, o a sunny Sunday afternoon in West London.
Kew Gardens is the world’s largest collection of living plants. Founded in 1840 from the exotic garden at Kew Park in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, UK, its living collections include more than 30,000 different kinds of plants, while the herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over seven million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. It is one of London’s top tourist attractions. In 2003, the gardens were put on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The Kew site, which has been dated as formally starting in 1759, though can be traced back to the exotic garden at Kew Park, formed by Lord Capel John of Tewkesbury, consists of 121 hectares (300 acres) of gardens and botanical glasshouses, four Grade I listed buildings and 36 Grade II listed structures, all set in an internationally significant landscape.
Kew is a fabulous place to enjoy an afternoon with family.
The treetop walk gave a fantastic view across to the large greenhouses that were being renovated. As well as providing a viewing platform for the constant bombardment of huge jets cruising down into Heathrow, 10 miles beyond.
The lillies lillies in this greenhouse were amazing
Some wildlife was also on hand to observe proceedings
The cacti in the Prince of Wales Greenhouse were stunning
To cap off the trip, a nice cuppa and slice of cheesecake in the Kew cafe is highly recommended after all that walking.
I hope you enjoyed this post, I will be adding some more plants when I have sifted through all my pictures from a fabulous weekend