Monday, August 12, 2013

London Herself

You've already seen an Instagram primer from my trip in the form of a mosaic and the special Liberty Fabric post is here. Yesterday I posted more about the Fat Quarterly Retreat including the people I met, handmade goodies I swapped, and projects that I made in workshops.  Today, I'll take you on a little photo tour of the city (or at least the small portion that I saw). For those of you wanting to sit through a slide show of all 186 photos in my Flickr London set, head here.

Keep in mind I only had one full day of sightseeing, which also had to include shopping for gifts and a momento or 3 for me, lunch, dinner, many drinks to keep hydrated in the heat, a show and visiting with new friends!  Leanne and I met at 8:00 a.m. to start the day with a quick coffee/breakfast at Starbucks and we didn't return, sweaty, exhausted and laden with shopping bags, to our hotels until after 10:30 p.m. We rocked it, actually.  Rather than a chronological story, I'm just going to take you through the day in pictures.

Museum of Natural History
Museum of Natural History

Kensington Mews
A pretty Kensington mews - laneway houses in converted garages

Sweet ride!

National Gallery rear entrance from Leicester Square
The approach from Leicester Square

National Gallery
Seats for the evening's outdoor London Opera production in Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square Fountain
Trafalgar Square fountain

Big Ben from Trafalgar Square
Big Ben from Trafalgar Square

Charles I
Charles I (familiar flag in the background, flying at Canada House)

Ravages of time, Charles I statue
The years have taken their toll, base of Charles I statue

Admiralty Arch - Trafalgar Square
Admiralty Arch

Canada House at Trafalgar Square  At Trafalgar Square
No mistaking who's office this is!

The approach to Leicester Square
Approaching Leicester Square to buy our discount show tickets; we saw One Man, Two Guv'nors which despite being about 90 degrees in the theatre was very funny and entertaining.

It was here that Leanne and I met up with Shevvy, a super fun member of the London MQG and willing companion for lunch and some Covent Garden shopping. It was so great to meet her (as well as Susan and Marg & daughter Emma from Australia for dinner and our show) prior to retreat starting. Just having a few more familiar faces at a retreat of 150 people was a comfort. Oh, and for those interested, we ate at Jamie Oliver's Union Jack's - a casual open air resto under cover of Covent Garden Market where we enjoyed flat bread pizza and coleslaw. It was so hot, no one was really all that hungry.

Theatre District
Morning in the Theatre District

Morning rush hour
The ubiquitous double-deckers (never rode on one, sadly)

Garden behind the Actor's Church, Covent Garden
Garden courtyard behind St. John's (the "Actor's Church") at Covent Garden

Covent Garden Market stall
Covent Garden market stalls at lunchtime

Covent Garden Market stall

Last night's holdovers, the Crown & Anchor

Laduree, Covent Garden
We missed out on Laduree while in France last year; the Champs Elysees line up was just too unbearable, so I enjoyed a salted caramel macaron at the London location instead!

Covent Garden covered market
Covent Garden covered marketplace

The rest of the day was spent in and out of Covent Garden area shops (Cath Kidston, where I purchased a sweet summer dress, Leanne scored a wallet and Shevvy a handbag all on sale. Then to Fly London where I found the most sublime black pumps on sale pour moi, and SuperDry for a cool belt for T). I also picked up some great tea towels (Leanne was hoarding them and I really felt it necessary to get on the tea towel bandwagon!) at Cath Kidston and the National Gallery gift shop and Tshirts, mugs and magnets at the London Transit Museum gift shop. 

Friday morning the time change finally caught up with me and I was wide awake at 5:30 a.m. What to do until the Liberty talk at 11:00? After completing some handstitching on my little house tape-measures for the sample swap, I decided to sneak out without waking Susan and head to Hyde Park for a walk. There wasn't much action in the park at 7:00 a.m. except for intrepid triathletes swimming in the murky Serpentine, dog walkers in the meadows and a few cyclists. It was a gorgeous morning and by 8:30 a.m. as I closed my loop around the Serpentine, it was already extremely hot.

morning view from my hotel room

Hyde Park & The Serpentine
Mounted police (?) setting out for the day 
ETA: my Brit friends inform me these are military men, the Horse Guards, returning from morning training in the park.

Hyde Park & The Serpentine

Hyde Park & The Serpentine
self explanatory!

The Queen's Temple, Hyde Park
The Queen's Temple

Hyde Park Heron takes flight over the Serpentine
Hyde Park heron takes flight

Hyde Park & The Serpentine
Symmetry at the Italian Gardens

The Italian Garden, Hyde Park
Italian Gardens - gorgeous

On Sunday afternoon after the retreat ended, I still had about 5 hours to do something Londony before dinner plans with the Fat Quarterly crew. There was a group headed to Liberty for more shopping, but I was rather spent (quite literally and figuratively) and wanted some quiet time on my own. A trip to the Tate Britain, boat ride on the Thames to the Tate Modern and a walk back along the South Bank was my afternoon. 


Frisbee okay?

At the Tate Britain


Quilt Inspiration
"First Abstract Painting" Ben Nicholson, 1934. Quilt inspiration!

Brits: is this actually MI6, or just the building that stood for it in Skyfall?

Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, South Bank

Tate Modern
Tate Modern

Millenium Bridge looking north to St. Paul's
Millenium Bridge, looking north to St. Paul's. When I was in London 13 years ago this bridge was closed as it was too unstable for walking. Seems under control now.

South Bank bubbles
Bubble fun on the South Bank

Local Fare on the South Bank
Snacks from an Airstream

Power to the People, South Bank
Power To The People

Where boards go to skate...

Where they go to die. Skateboard graveyard,  Hungerford Bridge pier

A view of Festival grounds on the South Bank and London's tallest building, The Shard

Gloucester Road tube station, my 'home' station in London

Kensington street scene, London
Kensington still life (near my hotel)

Kensington, London
Never tried them, but it's a lofty claim!

Have you had your fill? That was a big post to get through, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the visual tour of my brief stay in London. I left the city after retreat for a few days in lovely Derbyshire with Lynne and her children. Photos of their local town and village will be my final UK trip post - coming right up!


Jane S. said...

It's been years since I've been to London, thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and giving me a "fix". :)

Shevvy said...

Yes honey, that really was MI6 at vauxall bridge! You got a lot done in a few days. I'm tired just reading it.

Heather D. said...

I think I'd like to live on that Kensington street. So cute!

What fantastic photos Krista. We may be through London at Christmas but only on a 5hr layover. A shame!

starlightsound said...

Thanks for sharing!

MariQuilts said...

Lovely pics.....almost makes up for not being there. Well, not quite.

mascanlon said...

Thanks for the tour! It's been a while since I have had a chance to stroll there.

Katie said...

Beeeeeautiful pics, thanks for the tour! It looks like you managed to see quite a bit in a short time. Did you sleep while you were there? ;-)

nimble fingers and steady eyebrows said...

Hello London. Well it looks like it put on a good show for you! Lovely pictures I'm glad you got to see so much. - Annie

Leanne said...

Your pictures are really lovely and look just like London did. I had a blast checking it all out with you, I hope we can explore it or another city again.

Dianne Neale said...

Great photos of London. It's years since I've seen some of those sights. And I love the lambretta. Mind if I use it for my wallpaper?

Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts said...

Lovely tour, thank you. Was all of London lying out on a towel sunbathing? I love how English folks all rush out to get a tan on the three hot days in England every year ;) Only Australians get away with that joke.

MetroQuilter said...

Great photos. Glad you made it to Tate Britain, the boat and along the Southbank, a favourite day out.

Nessa said...

Just lovely photos. you certainly have an eye. it's a beautiful city.

Trudi said...

Fabulous pictures! The riders are soldiers, probably returning after early morning exercise in Hyde Park. You managed to fit in more than most Brits!

Canadian Abroad said...

You have a fantastic eye for photography!

verykerryberry said...

What beautiful photos, it reminds me how attractive London is

tealeafquilts said...

I love love love London and I'm ready to go back! We lived in England for 3 years and have visited back several times.

Katy Cameron said...

That's army uniforms on the horses, probably the horse guard, and that really is MI6 :oD

legato1958 said...

Loved seeing your London photos! Thanks for sharing them. I have not been there..... yet (sigh)


Isisjem said...

Great pics - It makes me want to go to London and play tourist, and yes that's Thames House where MI6 hang out.

Erica said...

Thanks for sharing your photos! I spent a summer living in South Kensington when I was in college and your Kensington still life photo reminds me so much of my time there! So many memories :)

Dianne said...

Fabulous photo essay Krista! Thanks for taking us on tour.

Catherine said...

You took amazing photos Krista - if only the weather were still like that now!

Little Island Quilting said...

It's always interesting to see London through the eyes of a 'foreigner'...meant in the best possible way!

Andrea C said...

Fantastic shots Krista!! Might just have to visit Flickr

Live a Colorful Life said...

Love the pictures, Krista! Living vicariously...

Nilya said...

Gorgeous pictures!!!

Sarah said...

I've never been to London so thanks for a great photo essay. The view from your hotel reminds me of Mary Poppins, chim chimerie!