Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:30 AM
  #41  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
EUROPEANNOVICE, as always the problem of making choices with so much to see!

I would definitely do a tour of the BRITISH LIBRARY which start at 10:30 and 3PM weekdays & 11:30 and 3PM on Sundays. The building is vast and there is so much you will learn about its history and use. After the tour, you can examine the "treasures" in a separate area - Magna Carta, Shakespeare's folios etc.

I enjoyed the WWI exhibit there - not too big, but interesting.

A would also vote for the WALLACE COLLECTION which you could combine with a lovely lunch in their courtyard.


PATRICKLONDON, thanks for your input. Interesting -"the Inns are all more less equidistant between the City and Westminster, away from the immediate authority of both Crown and powerful City interests"

Such a rich history in the whole area- obviously the Templars were gaining too much strength and had to be suppressed. If I recall, the Templars were the bad guys in Scott's IVANHOE.


TARQUIN, very interesting about your post -grad student studying these "round churches" built by the Templars. Our guide made reference to that style during out tour. The church was not opened when we passed by in the evening.

Below is a short explanation. Thanks for following along.


http://www.templechurch.com/history-...-round-church/
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:36 AM
  #42  
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi LDT, I just found your report and have caught up with your great adventures. Following along now.

Welcome home.
cw is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 05:59 AM
  #43  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again THURSDAYSD,

"The Knights Templar were attacked and suppressed by the King of France for political and financial reasons." What else is new? Some things never change. Obviously the Templars gained too much power and had to be restrained. So much for chivalry.

Hi CW,

Nice to hear from you. On Saturday, I took a tour of the BRITISH LIBRARY. The docent was terrific (you know the type). He said that the craziest time of year there is Easter vacation when all the grad students are fighting for space and attention as they try to finish up their dissertations.

Sound familiar?
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:03 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,403
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
Temple Church is one of my favorite spots in London. I love the effigies of the knights.

Well, once again along for one of your trips. Although I lived in London for several years, you've been to a number of places I missed! I'm afraid between your report and Ian's visit to Greece I'll be reading more reports than I really have time for . . . but thanks!
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:54 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,860
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Things to do next time:

1. Pub crawl with London Walks
2. Mansion House
3. British Library tour (I've been, but not done the tour - love the place)
4. Temple Church

And this is only the first day of your trip report!!
LCBoniti is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:53 AM
  #46  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi FRADIAVOLO,

"Temple Church is one of my favorite spots in London. I love the effigies of the knights." I am sorry that we were not able to enter the church.

Thanks for following along - you always have interesting observations.

LCBONITI,

Glad you find this TP helpful in planning your next trip to London. I tried to take as many tours as possible rather than use an audio device at museums.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:10 PM
  #47  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18

After my long day Tuesday, I wasn't quite as chipper on Wednesday, I must admit. Slept in till after nine. According to the news, the pollen count was extremely high, a circumstance that slowed me down last summer in London also - I going through tons of tissues.

My destination was the TATE BRITAIN so I took the Circle Line at Embankment and changed at Victoria for Pimlico. "Changing," by the way, entails more stairs, passageways, and convolutions, but using the Tube is the fastest way of navigating the city. It's about a 10 minute stroll from the station through Pimlico, a residential area I had not seen before, to get to the museum.

Truth be told, I found the spaces at the Tate Britain (with British art from 1500 on) somewhat vast and impersonal compared to those at the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square (with European art from 1300-1900).

I joined the 11 o'clock tour. The docent, whose career is in art restoration, walked us through several of Tate's masterpieces including the enigmatic 17the century CHOLMONDELEY LADIES.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cholmondeley_Ladies

She also elaborated on Thomas Gainsborough's (1727-1788) work including one of his last portraits, GIOVANNA BACELLI. Loved those beautiful blue ribbons on her dress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Th...1782._Tate.jpg

I had enjoyed seeing many of Gainsborough's portraits in the HOLBURNE MUSEUM in Bath last summer in a more intimate setting. The artist was in great demand among the dandies of Bath in its heyday. You can't speak about Gainsborough without referencing his contemporary and the founder of the Royal Academy Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) so we proceeded to examine his works too.

The Tate Britain has undergone extensive renovations in late years - all art works are now chronologically arranged - so visitors can "walk through the history of British art." As a sample of Victorian art "with a moral," our docent chose "Derby Day" a huge social panorama exemplifying contemporary virtue and vice with emphasis on the latter. Painted by William Frith in the mid 1850s, Victorians loved it.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/...rby-day-n00615

Before leaving I spied one of my favorite John Singer Sargent pieces "Carnation, lily, lily" (two darling young girls in a garden with lanterns) which had pride of place last year at the Sargent watercolor exhibition at the MFA in Boston - so glad to see it again.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/...ly-rose-n01615

By then I was winding down so I drifted through the JMW Turner (1175-1851) famous seascapes at the Clore Gallery at the Tate. By now they all seemed a bit misty, but I am glad that I saw them.

I had entered from the rear of the building, so I went around to the front (Thames side) to see the rotunda and the recently restored spiral staircase that had been closed to visitors since the 1920s - truly breathtaking, a geometric symphony in black and white. Have a look -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NgSI...bFS9dG8oo366ds

I had considered proceeding from Victoria station to the ROYAL MEWS, but a few clouds were rolling by and I decided to return to the Strand Palace and crash with the London Times. After all, I was going to be there for ten days, right?

Around five o'clock, I took the Tube from Embankment (with a crush of commuters) back to Victoria. I was heading for a talk at the QUEEN'S GALLERY, a charming small museum attached to Buckingham Palace housing parts of the Royal Collection which I had visited last summer. Unfortunately, I zigged when I should have zagged leaving the station and could not find my way to the Palace through the maze of construction sites along the way. In frustration, I jumped in a cab and was there in short order.

Again, we passed through tight security. Time was allowed for us to visit the gift shop, of course. I noticed that the charming blue dishware designed for Prince George's arrival last year has been reduced in price by half. Seated beside me was a friendly gal (a retired teacher like myself) who attends many of these events. When I mentioned that I hoped to attend the State of London debate the next week with London's mayor BORIS JOHNSON, she said I must tune in that night to the acerbic Jeremy Paxman's last program on BBC's NEWSNIGHT which would feature a clip of him with the irrepressible Johnson.

The evening's talk, "Life at Court through the eyes of Queen Caroline," complimented the Gallery's current exhibit "The First Georgians Art & Monarchy, 1714- 1760," on the occasion of the dynasty's tercentennial. (Note: the exhibit did not include George III and the "late unpleasantness" in the colonies.) The presenter was LUCY WORSLEY, an attractive television presenter and author who discussed the life of CAROLINE OF ANSBACK (1683-1737), wife of George II. Caroline and George, both of German extraction, enjoyed a happy marriage although she was much his superior in intellect. Her scholarly interests enlivened life at court. Upon her untimely death, George vowed never to marry but to satisfy himself only with his mistresses.

I thought that this talk would have been about the colorful and controversial Queen Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821), wife of the dissolute George IV, who was barred from her husband's coronation although she beat at the doors of Westminster Abbey during the ceremony. She was also subjected to a messy divorce trial after which she was vindicated. Now that Caroline would have been more interesting!

After asking for more specific directions back to Victoria, I followed the Buckingham Palace Road to the station. I did watch Jeremy Paxman's farewell after a 25 year run. Except for the hilarious episode with Boris and him riding a tandem bicycle around the City Hall, the show was most understated with Jeremy signing off as usual. In the States, he would have been feted by Oprah and a bevy of celebs on his last night. Viva la difference!
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:11 PM
  #48  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
************************************************** **************
Tomorrow: Boat ride across the Thames, Matisse Cutouts at the TATE MODERN, SOUTHWARK CATHERAL, the GEORGE INN, and evening at the PORTRAIT GALLERY

************************************************** ***************
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:21 PM
  #49  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry, here is the clip of the fabulous black and white staircase at the Tate Britain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWhfO...bFS9dG8oo366ds
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:38 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Latedaytraveler. I am jotting down notes. How much time did you spend at Tate Britain? That is also on our must see list.

For two excellent Gainsborough paintings--both Pinkie and Blue Boy can be found at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino California (near Pasadena) if you ever get out there. A first rate series of gardens (fabulous actually--especially the Chinese and desert gardens) and a really good art collection as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkie_(Lawrence_painting)

Did you venture to take the buses? Less stairs than the tube.
europeannovice is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:41 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oops--only Blue Boy was a Gainsborough the other was by Thomas Lawrence.
europeannovice is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:59 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,624
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Great clip, thanks!
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:18 PM
  #53  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,929
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is brilliant lateday. I cant wait to see the newly restored Tate, the video clip was inspirational. And yes, Jeremy and Boris on that tandem were a hoot. A good final Newsnight. You are making me very homesick, have to hang in here until September.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 04:36 AM
  #54  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again EUROPEANNOVICE,

"How much time did you spend at Tate Britain?" The building is huge with pictures well spread out. About 2 1/2 hours is my limit in most museums. Is your son going with you? How old is he now? Not sure how much time a teenager would want to spend there.

Regret to say that I have never been to CA so I have not seen those paintings - maybe some day.

"Did you venture to take the buses?" I took two. If I had been there longer, I probably would have taken more - so many buses with so many numbers!

THURSDAYSD, glad you liked the clip or the restored staircase at the Tate Britain - really spectacular!

GERTI3751, I do get a kick out of Boris and Jeremy. Hope you have a great trip in September.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 06:14 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,624
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
"so many buses with so many numbers"

Back when I lived in London (long, long ago) people only knew the buses they took to work or to visit friends/relatives, but it is SO much easier now. For one thing, tfl.gov.uk has some good maps and trip planning tools, and for another, the bus stops now come with handy strip maps showing where the buses go. And I see that hopstop.com now covers London, although I haven't used it there it was great for NYC.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 08:37 AM
  #56  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
THURSDAY, thanks for the update on the London buses. One that I did take up Fleet Street at mid day was pretty slow though.


No doubt for commuters who live outside central London, buses are more reasonable than the Tube for everyday use, right?
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:11 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,624
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
In general, if you want to get somewhere fast you take the Tube. If you want to admire the scenery you take the bus. So if you're commuting I would think you'd take the Tube or light rail or even rail depending on what was available. But if you live south of the Thames you might have fewer choices. If you mean the bus is cheaper I'm not up on that.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:12 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,929
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, if you live outside the central area, buses are sometimes handy for getting to the tube or overland train. And they go on routes not served by the tube, rather like an outer circle line. For example, I can get an X26 bus direct from LHR to my son's place in south London, whereas it would be several changes on the tube and a roundabout route.
Buses are slower of course, as you found out going along Fleet Street, but usually tourists are not in a hurry. If they are, they take a tube or a taxi. The top of a double-decker is a great sightseeing opportunity for almost free.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 04:09 PM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When we went to London the first time we had mother in law with us and she found it difficult to go up and down the stairs of the tube so I researched the bus routes we wanted to take and we used the buses extensively and the tube a few times when it made the most sense. The tfl journey planner site is very helpful.

We won't spend long at the Tate Britain but I do want to see the John Singer Sargeant painting and some of the Turner collection.
europeannovice is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 04:44 PM
  #60  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
THURSDAYSD and GERTIE3751, thanks for sharing your info about London transportation options.

EUROPEANNOVICE, glad you can make it to the Tate Britain. With a venue that large, better to pick and choose beforehand what you want to see in my view.

Hope you can make the WALLACE COLLECTION too - elegant setting with world famous art.
latedaytraveler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -