This is quite a late post, as once again I have been so busy, I never got around to writing it at the time. During the glorious summer, I went to London with my husband and our youngest daughter and her boyfriend. We arranged to spend some time with our eldest daughter whilst we were there. We had an amazing weekend, with beautiful food and gorgeous weather. We were so busy and saw so many things, so were exhausted by the time we got home, but it was well worth it.
The British Museum and a Pleasant Surprise
We travelled by train, dropped our cases off and et our eldest daughter. Our first stop was the British Museum. It was extremely hot inside and we started off by looking at all the Egyptian relics. I had read reviews before I went and I had to agree with some of them, that there is nothing British about the museum. It is full of items “recovered” from other countries. It is great to see the artefacts, but I question the need to have so many items out of their natural environment. Although I love history and I am no expert, it did feel like there was just loads and loads of the same things for miles and miles. After about an hour, we decided to leave the museum and go and have some fresh air.
We walked down to Trafalgar Square and were excited to see the whole area was set up for the Women’s Euros. There were music acts on stage, food and drinks and football events around the square. The steps had been covered with coloured Astro turf. We got drinks and sat on the steps, spending the afternoon in the sun watching the events and people watching.
Come From Away
In the evening we were booked in to see Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre. On the surface, this musical has a strange premise, as it is about the terrorist attacks of 911, where the aeroplanes were diverted from landing in America, to Newfoundland, where thousands of people were accommodated by a small community.
The show was incredible. The small cast played several different characters in such a believable way. The singing and acting was astounding. There were moments of laughter and some very moving scenes. It was one of the best performances I have seen in a long time.
Changing of The Guard and New Introductions
This is an event that really surprised me. I remembered watching the Changing of The Guard as a child, but it was so much better than I remembered. The ceremony lasted about an hour altogether, with some beautiful band music, marching, ceremony and tradition. I love the sound of a brass band in the open air and this did not disappoint.
Recently, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and seeing all the pomp and ceremony on TV, it made me feel so privileged to have seen this in real life.
Later in the day we went to The Bike Shed, a restaurant in Shoreditch. When I say restaurant, it also has a tattoo and barbers’ shop, merchandise and a motorbike workshop. The motorbikes arrive through the outside seating area. It is a fascinating place, with excellent food. This evening we also met our eldest daughter’s boyfriend for the first time. It was lovely to finally see him and to see our daughter so happy.
Afterwards we went to Junkyard Golf, where we had cocktails and great fun playing the crazy golf. It was a lovely, relaxed evening and we laughed constantly.
The Tower of London
We visited the Tower of London a few years ago, but there is plenty to see, so it is always worth another visit. On this occasion, we also walked through the moat area, which has been planted with a sea of wildflowers. As it had been quite hot, some of the flowers were probably past their best, but it was a lovely day, so it was nice to wander through in the sunshine.
We enjoyed looking around the historic Tower and visited as many of the areas as we could, learning lots about the Tudor buildings, but also the interesting exhibition about the Tower during more recent conflicts, where it was utilised for training the armed forces.
We couldn’t visit without seeing the Crown Jewels and although it was busy, the queue soon moved forwards and we were able to see the amazing exhibition. They are so impressive and beautiful to see under all the lights, which makes them look exceptionally sparkly and regal. In these times of austerity, it seems strange to enjoy looking at something so lavish and extravagant, knowing that the value of the jewels could help so many people in need, but I love the history attached to them and the amount of people waiting to see them, is testament to the value of them as a tourist attraction as well as their monetary value.
This has always been one of my favourite films and I have watched it so many times over the years. I have also seen the stage musical a couple of times in the past. The production at the Dominion Theatre was slightly different, with some aspects that were great and some not so good. The dance numbers and ensemble pieces were impressive and lively. However, Danny and Sandy seemed to have very little chemistry. The transformation of Sandy in the finale was lack lustre but did not spoil the amazing singing and dancing in the final stages of the show. There were times when the musical seemed to merge with the storyline of West Side Story, which was unnecessary and a little confusing.
It was an enjoyable show, very uplifting with great songs and Peter Andre was amazingly funny and entertaining.
Imperial War Museum and Camden Market
As well as all this, we managed to fit in a visit to the Imperial War Museum. This is an amazing place which really makes you think about the tragedy of war and the cruelty that humans can inflict on each other. It may not sound like the most uplifting of places, particularly the section on the Holocaust, but the personal stories make the experience moving and fascinating as well as horrifying.
We were all a little subdued when we came out of the museum but followed this up with a visit to Camden Market. I have never been her before, but really enjoyed the atmosphere of the market, the variety of shops and stalls, but most of all the extremely tasty street food.
All in all, we had a superb weekend. There was certainly a lot of variety from hilariously funny laughs to thoughtful, sombre moments. It was great to spend some time together as a family and I can’t wait to do it all again. The other thing, which was good to see, was the business of London itself and the return of international tourists to our country after a tough couple of years for the travel and hospitality industry.