Monday, 11 July 2011

A Quick Trip to London

London Eye

When you come to England you'll learn very quickly that you can get a train to almost anywhere, for a fairly reasonable price. If you're below 25 you can apply for a railcard that will make each ticket price 1/3 cheaper, so if you book in advance you can easily get to London for about £20 return (once I managed £11 return!): I just came back from there and my ticket cost £25 purely because I fancied travelling back First Class: you get free drinks and snacks, big comfy chairs and a complimentary newspaper too, so why not?

Natural History Museum

Anyway, the reason I went down to London was to go to two new exhibits at the Natural History Museum (above), which houses one of the best biological collections in the world. One thing you should definitely take advantage of: most Museums in the UK are free entry unlike the ones I visited in America: most are run off of voluntary donations (not like the Natural History Museum in New York: voluntary contribution but you have to queue and make one before they let you in!). Even the building itself is pretty cool: all the decorative columns and gargoyles are animals or plants, from a school of architectural thought that says you should know what a building contains before you read the name over the door. The theme continues inside the entrance hall (look at the pillars and tiles in the photo below), with a statue of Charles Darwin now presiding over it all.

Gibbons in the Natural History Museum

The two new exhibits were photography free sadly, but I can highly recommend them: especially the 'Age of the Dinosaurs' which features anamatronic dinosaurs: when the Museum first opened its original robotic attractions when I was little there were day long queues just to see the model Tyrannosaurus rex which not only moved, but focused on audience movement and reacted to people, sniffing them and breathing smelly dinosaur breath on them!

Beach Huts on the South Bank

After leaving the exhibit we wandered down the Thames, where part of the South Bank has been turned into a beach complete with Brighton style beach huts (above) and sand. We even got to meet William and Kate: sadly they were carousel horses though!

William and Kate Carousel Horses

Sadly it did storm when we hit Covent Garden for shopping, but not before we'd visited some of my favourite shops (Cath Kidston for kitch 50's style clothes and accessories: you can't go wrong) and restaurants (Wagamama's for Japanese food... mmmmm). Thankfully in London it's always warmer than the rest of the UK so a quick shower was actually nice: not cold at all.

Before I knew it it was 8.30pm and I was back on the train, heading towards Grantham (albeit in my fancy First Class seat!). It's not really possible to get all of London in on a day trip, but at least you can be assured that the fare is reasonable, the trains are easy to manage and you can always go back while you're here: that's what weekends at Harlaxton are for!

1 comment:

  1. Covent Garden is my favourite place in London. I love the little independant shops. The place has got personality in a way that Oxford Street, for example, hasn't.

    Once, there was a singer there and she was singing an operatic piece. I can't remember for the life of me what it was called but it was the piece that British Airways used to use in their advertising. But whenever I hear it now, I always think of Covent Garden. And whenever I'm in Covent Garden, I always think of that piece.

    And at Christmas, there's nowhere better. Last December, mum and I booked into serviced apartments London in Covent Garden for a weekend and it felt like we'd had a week's holiday. Best atmosphere to be had in London.