22 January 2011

London 2010

I just realised that I never returned to post on my trip to London in November. I arrived on a Thursday evening and on the Friday Karen and I took the underground into the city centre and had a wander around Soho. I wanted to visit Cloth House on Berwick Street to buy some wool felt. There are a number of amazing fabric shops in the area, established years ago to support the costume design industry for local theatres - so believe me when I say - some of the fabrics were definitely "out there". But Cloth House, in 2 locations on Berwick Street has some beautiful fabrics - linens, cord, felt and is beautifully laid out, particularly the store at No. 47. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Cloth House

Converted Hat Factory, Soho

Soho Square

Then it was on to the British Museum to see their exhibition about the Egyptian Book of the Dead - the books buried with mummies to provide them with guidance in the afterlife. It was an interesting exhibition but hard to remember as you gazed at the scrolls that many were over 3000 years old - they seemed too perfectly preserved to be that old.

British Museum Atrium

The British Museum

The British Museum really is the most amazing place and I love how they have glassed over the courtyard surrounding the Reading Room, to create a beautiful atrium, covering 2 acres and creating the largest covered public space in Europe. Next visit I will spend more time seeing the general collections.

After lunch at Wagamama (an all time favourite) we went to the Sir John Soane Museum - an eclectic collection in the house of architect Sir John Soane, a house that he designed and built on Lincoln Inns Field, one of the finest squares in London. The museum houses Soane's own collection, which he wished to ensure "amateurs and students" had access to. His collection of antiquities is impressive and his house an interesting place to visit. Soane himself is famous for designing the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the dining rooms of Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street.

Sir John Soane Museum

We walked along the banks of the Thames on our way home, and as ever, the night time views of the river were spectacular.

London Eye, Big Ben

Saturday we headed to Highgate and took a tour of Highgate Cemetery, a private cemetery opened in 1839 to provide space to bury people in the city. It contains the graves of many famous and interesting people in the Victorian section, many in gothic tombs. The oldest section is only accessible on a tour - so we took a tour. Whilst the newer section, which is still used for burials, is more generally accessible and houses the graves of people such as Karl Marx, Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) and author George Eliot.

Highgate Cemetery

Sunday I headed off to meet my friends and their twins - beautiful 16 month olds - had a lovely day with them all!

Monday I had a meeting at the V&A in London - we're looking to have our own V&A in Dundee (more in a later post) and this was a work related meeting. The V&A is the greatest collection (over 2.7M items) of decorative arts in the world and is another must see in London - the Renaissance Galleries, amazing collections of fashion, furniture, ceramics, glass, Asian artifacts etc. Really there is just too much to see in London!!

V&A in London

I can't wait till my next visit!


la ninja said...

hey, you're getting a V&A dependance in dundee? I hope you do. the V&A is just fantabulouslouslous :)

never heard of that cemetery before, so it's on the list for my next london visit :)

lykkefanten said...

Fascinating visit! I've wondered about Highgate for a while now, ever since I read the last Nieffenegger novel, situated in and around that cemetary... perhaps it's time for a visit the next time...

Bethany Hissong said...

That must be a Chihuly hanging from the domed window! He is at every museum! Your photos are just gorgeous as usual! I think I am going to move there. Seriously. It's so beautiful and historic.

Di said...

Hi Beth
It is a Chihuly and I love it!

You must at least come and visit even if you don't move here!

Fei An said...

I had bookmarked this post. So next time I visited London, I will be flowing your steps. Thanks for sharing! Have a great week!

ibb said...

WOW! Just so much thing in so little time...and it makes time to everything, interesting places...thanks for sharing...must go back, someday!

Thimbleanna said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I'm not sure where Soho is -- is Liberty in Soho? One of my very favorite London places is the V&A -- I LOVE it. And they have wonderful scones (ok, admittedly, I'm not scone expert) in their cafe!

Anne Marie said...

I need to bookmark this post too and find out what Nieffenegger novel that is reffered to.

Hope your week is good so far!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Oh wow. I want to jump on a plane and go over there - so many fabulous places to go!