Warning. Another image heavy post with only a small amount of sewing content.
PSA over. Still with me?
Okay, lets start.
Felicity and I continued to pack a lot in to our remaining 5 days away. World’s best tourists? Most walking between the sights as possible? Most use of bandaids on feet? All of the above? Perhaps.
Big Ben and Westminster
This was our first afternoon in London. We had beautiful sunny weather most days, and this was no exception.
There were one or two rowdy protesters (Tony Blair and the Iraq war was the issue of the day), and a sobering tribute to Jo Cox among the statues of Churchill, Gandhi, Mandela and other famous leaders of Britain and the Commonwealth.
This is a must see even if you only have a passing interest in English history. The audio tour in the interior of the Church is excellent. The cloisters are beautiful. Even the tiles are great!
“A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river” said Frank Brangwyn soon after it was built. Really??!
I love the blue paint. It’s been painted in this colour scheme since the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977, and was most recently repainted for the Olympics in 2012.
The Tower of London
Another must see.
The tour led by the Beef-eaters is fantastic. The Crown Jewels are magnificent. All of the buildings are fascinating and the level of detail provided in exhibits and signs is great. Well worth the entrance fee.
Our accommodation in Wapping
We stayed in another excellent Airbnb property in London. This was in a block of flats in Wapping, with several good local food shops, including a butcher, just around the corner, and very close to the Thames. There was a festival in Wapping Green on the weekend, which added a lovely vibe. And the local fish and chips were pretty good!
Our flat’s front door was a good blog photo shoot opportunity for BurdaStyle 03/2016 #113 shorts, as was platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross.
I’ve blogged about sewing these shorts, but this is the first time I’ve had a photo of a real life model in them. The scallop pocket detail is very cute.
Buckingham Palace, Green Park and the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade
Pomp and ceremony, splendid palaces and lovely green parks. How delightfully English!
The National Gallery
Our love of art continued in London. So many glorious paintings.
We were not the only ones enjoying the gallery: we overhead the following at one of the school group sessions.
- Guide: Have you been to other art galleries?
- Students (in chorus): Yes.
- Guide: What have you seen there?
- Student: Paintings.
This is lovely to visit just on its merits as a royal palace. There’s rooms to explore, exhibits about famous royal tenants, fabulous furniture to look at, clothes to try on, cards to play, beautiful gardens..
..and special exhibits like ‘Fashion Rules Restyled’: four decades of dresses from the Queen, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana.
That orange caftan style dress of the Queen’s from the seventies is pretty fabulous.
Portobello Road Market
This is a fun place to visit and browse.
Among the alternative fashion, second hand goods and antiques…
..I found some fabulous lace and antique buttons and notions
Afternoon tea in Harrods Food Hall
What better place to have a cuppa?
I’m wearing my chambray jacket made from a Japanese sewing book over a RTW Liberty fabric shirt. The jacket’s roomy pockets and easy going style are perfect for being a tourist. Yes, that’s a Beefeater lapel pin. Newly purchased. All style, that’s me.
A stroll along the Thames: Cleopatra’s Needle, Millennium Footbridge and St Paul’s Cathedral
A clever reconstruction of the playhouse originally built in 1599. It even includes standing only “seats”, to give the authentic Elizabethan experience (2 to 3 hour performances too – so that requires stamina!). We ran out of time this trip, but attending a Shakespeare production at the Globe is now on my bucket list.
Lunch and Liberty
Our last day had more of my favourite things: a long leisurely lunch with Australian friends now living in London and a trip to Liberty. Perfection!
Alright, lets look at those fabrics a bit closer.
The blue and red small floral is a silk, the other two are lawn. Fabric has got to be one of the best souvenirs.
And speaking of that, this Saturday I fly to Philadelphia for another conference and some work meetings. I know. Ridiculous amount of flying this year.
It looks like my schedule will include a few hours free on one of the days. I’m thinking of getting to the Vlisco exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Or should I perhaps check out Philadelphia’s fabric shopping (not that I need any more fabric). Decisions, decisions. Any advice for me?