Kensington Palace has spruced up the rooms where Princess Victoria grew up to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth. Alongside these permanent rooms is a temporary exhibition Victoria: Woman and Crown which examines her role as matriarch and monarch. Victoria spent her formative years at Kensington Palace and became Queen here before moving the short distance to Buckingham Palace, the first sovereign to live there. Continue reading
It’s summer in London, it’s a lovely Sunday morning, my sponsored half marathon is looming so what could be better than a full circuit of Hyde Park? It turned out to be an excellent idea and I zoomed round taking in all the sights in no time.
I saw the work going on to completely reinvigorate Kensington Palace and give it a grand garden entrance; the wonderful formal fountains on the north side of the park; people take a horse ride around the park, those jogging and more unusually those ski-ing! The Horse Guards were returning to their barracks and the Albert Hall and Albert Memorial were looking at their best. The photo in the order listed here and you can see what a wonderful morning it was!
After completing a full circuit I decided to treat myself to a visit to the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Each year this fine gallery holds a competition for the best design for its summer outdoor pavilion – this year’s competition was won by Peter Zumthor, a Swiss architect, with his design Hortus Conclusus, meaning Enclosed Garden. It has a plain dark exterior with several doors through to an interior garden and cafe via interior dark passageways. The garden is conceived as a peaceful place which is enclosed and protected. The cafe bustle somewhat disturbs the peace but it is an impressive and interesting structure. Here are some photos: of the Serpentine Gallery itself; the Pavilion exterior with people entering and a view taken further back to give more perspective; and, the interior garden.
London has great night life so I should mention a visit to a venue completely new to me – the Bush Hall in west London. As part of the inaugural London Blues Festival Ray Gelato was playing a set here and it was a great night. Ray was born close by but has had a long and illustrious career playing with many bands as well as his own Giants so he can put on a really fun show as the singing and saxophone playing lead man in a band with plenty of good brass. The hall itself is a star – a small ex theatre decorated in a wonderful Victorian music hall style and I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for future events there.
This weekend saw some visitors from America who wanted to pack as much in one evening as possible, so I took them up on that challenge. Take a deep breath and here goes…
- Early evening dinner at Momo getting the first table after they opened at 6.30. Yummy couscous and tagines with some good Moroccan red wine.
- Off to the theatre to see Mountain Top at the Trafalgar Studios, a two-hander about the last night of Martin Luther King’s life. Front row seats meant we were very much in the action including a covering of pillow feathers following an on stage fight! Wonderful play, truly excellent performances and unexpected plot lines. The experience left us buzzing
- Walked through Trafalgar Square to show them the art project One & Other, also known as the Fourth Plinth. We saw 2 of the 2400 people who have one hour on the empty 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square to do whatever they want (if legal!). These people weren’t doing much but good to see public participation and acknowledge the brilliant concept.
- On to Pizza Express Jazz club in Soho for a show – Sarah Gillespie and Gilad Atzmon – he was particularly good managing to play accordion, various sizes of sax and the clarinet. We stayed on for the jam session afterwards and they were set for the night with some great sax players.
- Home! Bit tired but felt we’d squeezed in as much as we could and got some great variety in there too.
Saturday and Sunday were brunch days and walks. Brunch number one was at the Waterway in Little Venice overlooking the canal boats followed by a London Walk around the area. Can’t recommend London Walks highly enough, always knowledgeable and entertaining guides give you insights into an area even if you live there. Brunch number two at the Orangery by Kensington Palace which is such a beautiful terrace (see photo) followed by a walk around Hyde Park on another sunny day.
I’m currently battling technology as I can’t update the rest of my website (http://itsyourlondon.co.uk/) so I’m currently still showing August on the front page which is very frustrating – hoping for progress soon.
Bye for now. Sue