A Travellerspoint blog

July 28 2011 - London - City walk


semi-overcast 24 °C

At 10am we were first through the doors of the Hunterian Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields. This is the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, a fascinating if sometimes gruesome history of surgery and research through the ages. An exciting find was the preserved brain of Charles Babbage


From there we walked along Holborn and into Gray's Inn and then into Ely Place, a gated road where the church of St Etheldrede has been standing since the 13th century; it is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ely and in theory the London Police have no right to enter the street!

Next was St Bartholomew's the Great in Smithfield


And then the disappointingly shabby Hercule Poirot's apartment block (Florin Court) in Charterhouse Square; although the square is lovely

The Bank of England museum is very interesting but don't be put off by the extremely boring display in the entrance hall, the rest is great inclding Joseph Haydn's bank ledgers showing he had GBP17,500 at his death (the equivalent of about 2.6 million today)

On Monday, we didn't get as far as Little Venice on our canal walk so we decided to get the tube over to Warwick Avenue and walk down to the Little Venice Basin where the Regent's Canal meets the Grand Union Canal; apart from a reasonably nice canal vista, it's boring and very suburban with almost no cafes, despite what the guides may say

In the evening, we met Richard at the Hope and then had an exceptionally fine Thai meal at Siam Central just down the road from our apartment

Posted by kforge 10:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

July 27 2011 - London - Wallace Collection


semi-overcast 20 °C

First stop today was the Wallace Collection, an off-the-beaten-track private museum containing an amazing number of old masters and other works of art. There are 9 Canalettos as well as paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyke, Murillo, Titian and Hals (The Laughing Cavalier) displayed in an intimate grand town-house. And incredibly, admission is free


From there we took a tube to High Street Kensington to visit the Roof Gardens (now owned by Virgin). They are quite astonishing and the fixed-price lunch menu in the Babylon restaurant looks good value. Surprisingly, there were very few people there



We were meeting Roisin and Angela near Carnaby Street for a late lunch, so strolled through Kensington Gardens and Hyde park to Knightsbridge to pick up another tube

That evening we fancied a riverside drink and after a lot of messing around, finally came across the Founders Arms to watch the Thames glide by. This pub is just down from the Millennium Footbridge on the southside of the river (near the Tate Modern and Globe Theatre). The pubs on the other side are really awful and have virtually no views

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July 26 2011 - London - Saatchi Gallery


semi-overcast 23 °C

Our first stop was the Saatchi Gallery just along from Sloane Square in Chelsea and housed in the enormous Duke of York Headquarters building dating from 1801. It contains some really interesting modern art and admission is free. If there is one piece of artwork to see in London, it has to be Richard Wilson's 20:50 in the basement



From there we walked down towards the Thames to spend an hour or so around Cheyne Walk and Cheyne Row. There is the fascinating Chelsea Old Church there, that has an incredible history (Sir Thomas More built his own private chapel here in 1528) - this is the area to live in London, just a stone's throw from the Thames


A word or two about travelling around London on the tube and buses - even if you're only staying a day or two, get a Travelcard; getting an Oyster Card and loading it with GBP5,10 or 20 is what most people suggest but it's really not a good deal if you plan to do a lot of travelling around. We bought an Oyster Card with GBP5 credit (there is also a GBP5 refundable deposit) and after just a 4-stop tube ride and a short bus-ride we got the message "Seek Assistance" when we next tried to use the card. Those 2 trips cost us GBP3.20 and as we had only GBP1.80 left on the card, there wasn't enough for the minimum tube-fare of GBP1.90. A very kind London Underground guard spent ages asking how much travelling we intended to do and suggested the only real answer was a 7-day Travelcard (GBP27.60) and also said that a Travelcard was really best for any tourist in London; the Travelcard can be "loaded" onto the plastic Oyster Card which is better to carry around than the cardboard Travelcard ticket

From there, we took the tube to Charing Cross and spent a very pleasant couple of hours at the National Portrait Gallery, in the Tudor and Stuart rooms - those artists really knew how to paint a portrait unlike the insipid works from Gainsborough's era

Jeni then left for the Indonesian Embassy, in the optimistic hope that her visa would be ready for collection. Not only was it not ready, she was told it couldn't be done, despite having had assurances in writing over the last 2 months that there would be no problem. So after hours and hours putting the application together, getting photos and supporting documents she is defeated and is hoping that she can drop a new application into the Sydney Embassy on her way back to Byron Bay

Posted by kforge 04:28 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

July 25 2011 - London - Regents Park


semi-overcast 22 °C

We caught the train from Bury St Edmunds to Liverpool Street (GBP 18 each one-way) and then the Underground to Warren Street so that we could take up residence in our rental apartment in Fitzroy Street for 7 days - a very good value 1-bedroom apartment (GBP100 per night) in a central London location

Rob Poleykett soon arrived and we all walked up to and across Regent's Park to the Regent's Canal for a 2-mile towpath walk to Marylebone and a welcome pint of Fuller's London Pride at the Windsor Castle in Park Road. Our walk back took us past the depressingly filthy area around Madame Tussaud's in Marylebone Road and I must say that after our few days in here, London is right up there with filthy cities of the world


On thw way, we saw a London Blue Plaque for Matthew Flinders at the top of our street


In the evening we met up with Jo and had a nice meal at an Indian vegetarian restaurant nearby - the Sagar

I hadn't realised, but we are staying close the Spaghetti House restaurant in Goodge Street (this is the first one of what is now a large franchise). The memories of my late father came flooding back - we used to have lunch there every time we came up to London on the way the Cup Final at Wembley. Sometimes my sister and mother would come with us and then go off shopping while Dad, my Uncle Derek and I would take our seats in that terrible old Wembley Stadium!


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July 24 2011 - Bury St Edmunds


sunny 18 °C

Supervising the morning feeding of Trojan and Ace:


Sampling a couple of beers in Suffolk's and maybe the UK's smallest pub (in Bury St Edmunds); it holds about a dozen people:


Viewing the ruins of the old Bury St Edmunds Abbey that have been incorporated into church buildings:


Enjoying the floral arrangments in the Abbey Gardens:


And really enjoying the final day of the Tour de France:


Posted by kforge 11:47 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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