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Welltravbrit's London Sojourn - An Ongoing Trip Report

Welltravbrit's London Sojourn - An Ongoing Trip Report

Old Apr 2nd, 2015, 01:33 PM
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Loving this wtb. The Courtauld is one of my favourite London galleries and all the better for being slightly under the radar. If you had continued through the courtyard of Somerset House you could have looked at the Gilbert Collection where they have all kinds of stuff on display and often special exhibitions too. Then you go out onto the terrace by the river and across Waterloo Bridge to the South Bank where there is any amount of stuff to see and listen to. But you have another 3 months to do all that!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2015, 01:44 PM
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Hi WELLTRAVELEDBRIT,

Lucky you - three months in London! I will certainly be following along. Not familiar with the East End so I look forward to reading about your experiences there.

Several destinations on your "wish list" were also on mine, but I didn't make it to them: GOEFFREY MUSEUM, KENWOOD HOUSE, KEATS HOUSE, DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY, and SPENCER HOUSE (the latter only open on Sundays.) Really enjoyed APSLEY HOUSE though.

I am not that into live performance, but enjoy lectures - and there are so many free ones in London. Suggestions LSE events, Gresham College (I believe connected with the Museum of London), and the events listings in the major museums.

Last summer I spent ten days solo scouring greater London.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-business-.cfm

Highlights on that trip were:

• the SUPREME COURT BUILDING (Guildhall) in Parliament Square
• tour of MANSION HOUSE - residence of the Lord Mayor - tours most Tuesdays at 2PM, restricted to 40 people
• SAMUEL JOHNSON HOUSE - just off Fleet Street, charming - they also list events and tours on their website
• boat ride on REGENT'S CANAL from "Little Venice" to Camden Town - or vice versa
• LONDONWALKS of Hampstead

would also recommend from former trips the BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOUSE near Trafalgar Square (multi media "historical presentation") and the newly renovated CHARLES DICKENS MUSUEM in Bloomsbury

Tagging along.

PATRICK, thanks for the link to the London podcasts.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2015, 01:54 PM
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WTB, I am back so soon. Just checked my email and received a notification about spring vents at the BRITISH LIBRARY.

http://email.bl.uk/sbLpCY~5afQAbyYHf...m/WebView.aspx

Forgot to add that a tour of the BL was one on my best stops last summer. Tours are given twice a day, I believe - so interesting.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2015, 09:24 PM
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If you're interested in such things, as I am, consider the free British Library conservation studio tour. It appears this month's was today (Thursday) but since you'll be around, there's time:

http://www.bl.uk/events/conservation...os-guided-tour
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Old Apr 3rd, 2015, 03:49 AM
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It's been many years, but we loved our visit to Sir John Soane's house & museum. An idioscyncratic house by an important 19th century architect, with an amazing collection of art -- a wonderful place to immerse one's self for a while:

http://www.soane.org/
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Old Apr 3rd, 2015, 07:49 AM
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WTB, another venue that I missed was the LONDON LIBRARY, 14 St. James Square in the heart of the gentlemen's club district. Not to be confused with the BRITISH LIBRARY, this is a private subscription library founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle. Membership include literary greats from Dickens through T.S. Eliot and beyond.

Reminds me of the prestigious BOSTON ATHANAEUM. Free tours of LONDON LIBRARY are offered monthly on a Monday evening starting at 5:45. I missed it but would try to schedule the next time.

http://www.londonlibrary.co.uk/
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Old Apr 3rd, 2015, 08:54 AM
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For a special dining occasion be sure to eat at The Corner Room in the Town Hall Hotel. We were there last October for lunch and the food was divine and beautifully presented. The meal was also reasonably priced compared to similar fine establishments in the heart of London. Book well ahead. The room is small, only 30 covers. Ambiance is fun and casual, so you don't have to dress up. Two course lunch £19, three course £23. Check out photos on websites such as tripadvisor to see if the cuisine is your style.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2015, 09:37 AM
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About Jewish geography...in village in India at Heritage hotel (a genuine Marigold hotel). Chatting with an American couple not eating the grilled pig liver..turns out we went to same. Small summer camp when I was 8 years old. No I did not remember her.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2015, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions I'm thinking we may need several years in London with all the interesting things you are coming up with! We had the same experience in Paris, where several months seems like a long time until you're actually there, especially when the whole thing is broken up with family visits, work etc.

Gariem - I walked past the Town Hall Hotel today and thought I must go in, we will certainly check out the restaurant which sounds lovely.

Paule, we love the Soane too, it's always a good suggestion. It's much busier these days than it was when I first went in the 1980s, when it really was a secret. They told me they blame Time Out! Their popularity is a problem for them to manage as they cannot charge for entry by an act of parliament.

LateDayTraveler I've just checked out the London Library which looks interesting, their tours are sold out already for the next few months but I'm waitlisted. Thanks for all the suggestions.

I've been booking things like mad -

A music evening at the charming Leighton House, it’s really worth looking at the events section of these small museums as they often have interesting stuff on.

A free behind the scenes tour of the National Theatre compliments of American Express. It’s also worth knowing that if you have an Amex card you get a couple of days presale on NT tickets which make a big difference especially for the cheaper Travelex tickets.

A lecture on Vanishing London (by a chap who wrote a great book on walking the lost rivers of London) at a very quirky looking small "museum" near by. It's new Museum of Curiosities that looks very Brooklyn, particularly as they offer taxidermy and cocktail classes!
http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org

Tickets to the Sky Garden, though the confirmations haven’t been emailed yet.

Another suggestion which is worth keeping an eye on is the Guildhall Library Events page as they have quite a number of free talks and events.

MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD
Today I walked down to the Museum of Childhood which is part of the V&A and very nearby. Predictable it was filled with LOTS of kids. Clearly this is a popular place for families. If you have small children and you are in London it may be worth a look. There’s an exhibit on dolls houses which included some interesting modern and historic examples. I enjoyed it but it’s not something I felt was worth going out of your way to see. Interestingly, the Museum was built as part of the mid/late Nineteenth Century progressive/health/social movement that focused on bringing education and culture to the East End. The Bishopsgate Institute (mentioned above) was a product of the same time and ethos.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2015, 02:24 PM
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City of London Festival (sometime in June) usually has chamber music recitals in some of the city churches. These places are often hard to get into because they are kept locked up and largely unused. The music recitals are a good excuse to see inside them. This is the book I have, quite old now...
http://www.amazon.co.uk/London-Churc...+city+churches

and it looks like there is a Friends Group
http://www.london-city-churches.org.uk/
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 07:55 AM
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TWO EAST END MARKETS
Our flat is close to to two local markets, the Sunday Colombia Rd Flower Market and the Broadway Market next to the Regents Canal in Hackney. Both were a short walk for us and are popular with Londoners. I enjoyed both markets and if you are looking to see a very London scene they are interesting but I don’t think they’d draw your average tourist out of the center of town as you could go to Borough Market, Spitalfields or Brick Lane. Both markets draw a number of fashionable/affluent/young Londoners and here you can see that Hackney and Bethnal Green are just a short jump from the already gentrified Shoreditch.

THE BROADWAY MARKET was a smaller Borough Market without the throngs of tourists, though there were quite a number of stylish young Japanese visitors. The whole place is a bit of a scene, hipsters, young families, trendy buskers and lots of prepared food. Vegan burgers, bagels and smoked salmon, Indian food, gourmet pies, small producer cheeses, Gauyanese food, French crepes, Persian food, gourmet Scotch eggs, homemade granola, juices of ever color and description and lots and lots of cakes. There are secondhand clothes and the requisit vinyl stall too. It’s a very happening scene and clearly a lot of people do their shopping here. While the market is only open on Sundays the street (also known as Broadway Market) is home to many fine food purveyors including; fancy coffee places, gesture pubs, upmarket bakers and several bookstores. It had been recommended to us several times but I must admit it was far more upscale than I had imagined.

THE COLUMBIA ROAD MARKET is a great place for plants of all kinds of plants and cut flowers. It is incredibly popular and runs till about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. We strolled down here after lunch and passes innumerable people holding armfuls of flowers of all kinds. Clearly no one can resist a Cockney barrow boy selling cut rate flowers on Easter Sunday. It was so packed it was almost impassable but somehow I still ended up with two large orchids and a large bunch of narcissus for six pounds! The flat is suddenly looking more like home. There was certainly plenty of local color and I enjoyed the experience.

Living so close by I’m sure we will be going to both markets regularly. There are also a number of design-y shops on Columbia Road selling an eclectic range of vintage furniture and antiques along with a lovely selection of shops selling stationery and handbags and household items. All in all we were happy to have had a quick "look/see" and look forward to seeing more. Perhaps next week we'll have a walk along the Regents Canal if the sun comes out!
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Broadway market sounds great, but what is a gesture pub? (Online search didn't help...)
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 08:30 AM
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Wondering if it is a gastro pub courtesy of auto correct!
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 09:18 AM
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I think gertie gets the gold medal

That must be it . . .
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 09:25 AM
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Very likely! (I have auto-correct turned off, all spelling errors are mine alone...)
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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>>Wondering if it is a gastro pub courtesy of auto correct!<<

Possibly, but in the hipster heaven of Broadway Market and London Fields, there might well be more than one "gesture" pub!

If the weather allows a walk down Regents' Canal, take the time to explore Victoria Park and Mile End Park, and if you get all the way to Limehouse Basin, go through Ropemakers' Fields to the Grapes on Narrow St.
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 09:56 AM
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Ah The Grapes Now there's a gesture pub for sure.
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 12:45 PM
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WTB, how fun. Great report. I'll be picking up tips. I've also been meaning to explore further east next time fates allow.
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Old Apr 6th, 2015, 04:33 AM
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"Vegan burgers, bagels and smoked salmon, Indian food, gourmet pies, small producer cheeses, Gauyanese food, French crepes, Persian food, gourmet Scotch eggs, homemade granola, juices of ever color and description and lots and lots of cakes."

WTB, wow, now that's a great description. Continuing to follow along with interest....
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Old Apr 6th, 2015, 01:54 PM
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I wish I could say it was a deliberate mistake just to see if anyone was following along!

If it really was a "gesture" pub I wonder what i said to all those people?!!! I was indeed felled by auto correct again, though I'm not a competent enough speller to turn the damn thing off so prepare to read more rubbish, hopefully I should catch it before I start blogging. I really should read this stuff through before I post it, if only I had I would have seen I should have used the plural, narcissi.

Patrick, today we did a short section of the Regent’s Canal from the Kingsland Rd down to Victoria Park. I saw the sign for LImehouse Basin and it looks like it's just under three miles which sounds very doable. We will be sure the check out the Grapes, thanks for the recommendation. Too funny you described Broadway Market as "hipster heaven" as I just tagged it as exactly that on Instagram...


ROYAL OPERA HOUSE
Well, I'm a sucker for a cheap seat and surprisingly to some London is a great city for it. Overall, we find theatre is cheaper than New York and at places like the ROH they offer a real range of pricing. There really is something for everyone and modern works are often cheaper than the old favorites. However, the secret to the cheap seats here is to book as soon as you can because the best of the cheap seats go very quickly.

What I like about the ROH website is that they show the view from every seat and they even include a picture of the seat. This is important because in the cheap seats they have so many dubious options which even includes not having a seat at all! Though you'll be reassured to know your standing space will come with a number, which you can find on the floor! There are padded benches, high stools with backs and individual chairs along with the more conventional theatre seating.

We booked to see Weill and Brecht's "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany" which we were completely unfamiliar with, though we know much of their other works. It was good to see it put on and the second act was superior to the first but it won’t win any awards. I did find it ironic that in a production all about the power and corruption of money the ROH had a thirty minute intermission which is about nothing but selling more champagne. We were in the very last row, but with a center view of the stage. I though it was a great value. For twelve pounds we had a decent though distant view, a real seat and my husband didn’t worry when he dozed off in the first act. It’s well worth going to see the building which has been very interestingly renovated with several elegant bars and restaurants.

Tomorrow we are heading to the National Theatre to see Ralph Fiennes in Man and Superman, a three hour forty minute marathon. Often stagings omit the third act but the NT is including it, thank goodness we've opted for a matinee, hopefully I’ll be able to stay awake. We were thrilled to discover that the 26 bus goes from the end of our road straight to the South Bank for the grand total of $1.50. I love the buses, they are such a wonderful way to traverse London.

I won’t be posting for a few days as I’m off to Dublin to see my mother, it's so easy to hop over on flights out of London City - by far my favorite airport in London. Family is a big part of this trip and the sibling has already driven down to torment us.

Glad you are all following along…

I’ll start posting on my blog when I finished my current chatter on Egypt which should be in a couple of weeks.
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