Category Archives: London Things-To-Do

London: V & A Museum’s coffee shop

I go to the Victoria and Albert Museum not only to admire the artworks, but also to get the chance to sit in my favorite café – the stylish, the opulent, the Victorian Rennaissance style V&A Café Museum…

Dining here is the epitome of style in a pauper’s budget!  For a price of a scone and cup of coffee, or lunch of lentil salad and sandwiches,  you get to experience all this 5-star quality surroundings with a grand chandelier, Morris columns, ceramic tiled wall complete with the mural theme of the  four seasons and Greek gods and goddesses.  I feel like someone important everytime I dine there.

This is, by the way, the first café and dining section ever incorporated in a Museum – in the world!

And in order to earn the right to sit there and feel like a ‘goddess’ again,
I just had to order some lunch, indeed, a very healthy lunch!

 

This column in the Morris and ceramic section of the Museum is exactly what you see in the V&A Café

London in bloom

London is one of the greenest cities in the world 

Statue of Queen Victoria infront of Kensington Palace

Albert Memorial, commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband, Prince Albert,
at Kensington Gardens

Daffodil field at Kensington Gardens

City yuppies in suit at daytime, in their cycling gears after work, Liverpool Street

London: My museum fix at V & A

A visit to London is not complete without stopping by at one of her 240 museums and topping my list of favorites is the Victoria and Albert!

It’s actually my dream that if ever I had the chance to live in this vibrant city, I would like to scour the entire museum, not in a day as that is physically if not overwhelmingly impossible, but one section each week! There are just too many artworks to absorb and each one of them is worth a detailed scrutiny!

At the Auguste Rodin section of the museum, a number of sculptures
of the human body is what greets the visitor

Cupid kindling the Torch of Hymen
Marble, by George Rennie 1802 – 60
Cupid, the winged god of love, here blows on the torch held by Hymen, the god of marriage,
perhaps signifying the igniting of his passion.

 

Peasant Woman Nursing a Baby
Terracotta, by Aimé-Jules Dalou, 1838-1902

 

 

Eve listening to the Voice of Adam
Marble, by Edward Hodges Baily, 1788-1867
The artist illustrates a passage from Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost,
in which Eve sits beside a lake in the Garden of Eden and describes to Adam
‘a shape within the watery gleam’.
Adams warns her that this is her own reflection.

 

The Lamentation over the Dead Christ
Glazed and painted terracotta
Workshop of Andrea della Robbia, 1435-1525

Even the floor is a museum piece!

Some touristy things to do in London


– Join the 3.5 million tourists who ride the iconic London Eye each year. At 135 meters high, on a clear day you can see as far as 25 miles away.

– Pose with a Royal Guard, even if he is a fake!

– If you are in the bar scene and you want to do a most ridiculous act in your life, try the bar on wheels, the PediBus, with your friends.

– It’s actually sitting in a mobile bar that you and your friends will move yourself.  How?  By pedalling!

…. Yes, pedalling along the famous sites of London. It’s  a surefire way to attract stares and snaps from the public.

– For the young at heart, watch the soap bubble show in Jubilee Park.

– Pose with the London Metropolitan Police.  They are only too willing to “say cheese!”

– London is a city of artists.  You only have to look around you to see their art. Have your photo taken with it for souvenir.

– As one of the greenest city in the world, there are parks and gardens to laze around or picnic.


– It’s also one of the largest cities in the planet so one of the best ways to do sightseeing is by bike.  Join a bike tour group for a more pleasurable experience.

– Get to one of the most famous streets of the capital and ogle at the black door where the British Prime Minister officially resides.

 

….. also meet the men in uniform whose work is to  make sure that you and the others are prevented from loitering through this road.

– Do your most romantic act ever, with your special someone.

– And take that romance up to the next level.  Get married – in style – by riding the red vintage Routemaster.

– Do London with your best friends forever!

– Hang out at the Buckingham Palace gates.  You might be lucky to catch a glimpse of a member of the Royal Family.

– Create history.  Get a crazy shot next to one of London’s greatest icon, the Big Ben.

– Take that magazine cover photo of yourself.  London St Pancras International is an ideal venue.

– Amble at one of the most famous tailoring street in the universe.  Previous customers were Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson, and Napoleon III.  In these modern times, Prince Charles and Jude Law top the list.

– Create that creative shot of the Parliament and the Big Ben.

Day 2 – London Eye and River Cruise

Previous:  Day 1 – Sightseeing in London

This morning, we are hitting the London Eye and after that the Thames river cruise.

But first, let me confess that I never really liked ferries wheels.  I have fear of heights.  I was eight when I first tried one and  still remember how my stomach turned upside down when the wheel started descending rapidly. Never again, I thought.

(Fast forward)

When my sister and her family announced that they are coming to the UK for their holiday, I found myself making an online search for the London Eye.  The reviews say the landscape is breathtaking when viewed from 135 meters above and the  rotation so slow that it takes half an hour to complete a single revolution.   I didn’t need any more convincing.

We wanted to avoid the queue so we pre-booked online but, alas, when we got there,  we still  had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we could get into the capsule.   But it was well worth it.

The London Eye is the most popular paid for tourist attraction in the UK, with over 3.5 million visitors each year.  It was built to celebrate the millenium in London.  Designed by the husband and wife team, architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, it was the world’s tallest ferris wheel when it was erected in 1999.

It costs £70 million to build,  has 32 air-conditioned capsules or glass-pods and each pod can  carry up to 25 people.

Each pod is spacious enough to enable everyone to walk around freely….

… and there is a center bench provided.

You get a staggering view of famous landmarks  such as the Big Ben and the Parliament building  with the Westminster bridge below.

You can indulge in “Guess-the-name-of-that-bridge” game with friends and family.
This is the railway Hungerford Bridge sandwiched by two pedestrian Golden Jubilee Bridges

The roof of London Waterloo station and above left is the UK’s tallest building, The Shard

 The former London County Hall now a commercial space for several businesses,  hotels and aquarium.

 

Next in the agenda, the River Sightseeing Cruise.
I really like this one!  Nothing beats seeing the famous landmarks of London from the water!

Actually, a boat tour is my all-time favorite when sightseeing in river cities and if I had my way, I would do a day tour as well as a night tour!  I have done this in Paris,  truly a breathtaking experience to see the City of Lights in all her lit up glory!

There are many spots in the city that look  more magical when seen from the water and if you are lucky enough to have the same  bubbly tour guide as ours narrating their history, it will leave you hungry for more of London’s secrets and mysteries!

This one on Temple Pier is called the King’s Reach Memorial, so-named because it commemorates the  25th anniversary of the accession of King George V (plaque dated May 1935).

These red columns are the remains of  a dismantled bridge, one of the two bridges that comprised the Old Blackfriars Railway Bridge.  The remaining one is currently in operation .    In the background is the road and foot traffic Blackfriars Bridge.

The infamous water-gate entrance to the Tower of London which is called Traitors Gate.
Many prisoners, accused of treason, have passed through it, hence, the name.

 You can guess this bridge with closed eyes – it’s the Tower Bridge, of course!

And to round off our day:
The 4D cinema experience that made us almost jumped off from our seats trying to fend off the seagulls that seemed to come out from the screen flying  straight over us!  Such a excellent film documentary about London, Bravo!!

London eye + river cruise + 4D Experience
Adult – £21.42, Child – £12.68 (plus VAT)

Next:  Day 3 – Buckingham Palace