Tuesday, 30 November 2010

London Baby!

Last weekend I went on one of my many jaunts to our nations capital, London.  I love London, I really really do.  I wouldn't want to live there but to visit? It's one of my favourite places in the world.  I try to have a few weekends there each year interspersed with the odd day trip.  If it's a warm day we'll sometimes just mooch around - last year on an excruciatingly hot day we decided to visit Portobello Market and managed to walk from there down to Notting Hill Gate, meandered our way through Kensington and Hyde Park, down past the Royal Albert Hall to South Kensington, over to Sloane Square, back up to Knightsbridge and finally to Green Park. We were absolutely cream-crackered, but I do love a good long walk around London.

Unfortunately this visit we decided to pick the coldest weekend of the year but we still managed to spend a fair amount of time outdoors.  The main point of the trip was I had booked tickets to see Wicked.  I have wanted to see this for so long and finally decided to drag Mr M along to see it. Well, we loved it - and yes I say "we". It's completely not his bag but he was able to appreciate how great a show it is.  I enjoyed every minute of it and would thoroughly recommend it if you enjoy a West End show and haven't seen this one. The cast were great and there was a good bit of humour in it which I wasn't quite expecting.   

As we would have a babysitter for the night we decided to make a weekend of it and do something touristy.  You may or may not know that I love Henry VIII and generally the whole Tudor period. It's a little bit of an obsession, in general I just love British history but this is my favourite time in history.  With this in mind I decided we should visit The Tower of London. I've wanted to go ever since I was a young girl but never got round to it - but now I have.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I couldn't feel my feet for most of the day (however leg warmers from Topshop - genius!). 

I bet he was perishing stood there all day. 

I'm a geek and of course I bought the guidebook, I even got the audio tour, but I found the whole place fascinating, you almost feel that these stories you hear are fairy tales, not the lives of people that really existed.  I enjoyed seeing the Crown Jewels. I've always wondered if they were the real deal but I have to say, I'm convinced. One of the travelators that normally whizz you past wasn't working so we were able to stop and look at the jewels a bit better.  The Koh-i-Noor diamond, currently residing in the late Queen Mother's crown, is stunning. I can see why Indian politicians want to returned...

(Pictures from the BBC & The Telegraph - no cameras allowed)

I found it quite moving to stand at the memorial at the execution site on Tower Green, it's hard to imagine the things that have gone on there.

'Gentle visitor pause awhile : where you stand death cut away the light of many days : here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life : may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage : under there restless skies'.

The church in the background is St Peter ad Vincula and is the final resting place of Anne Boleyn, her brother George, Catherine Howard, Thomas More and Lady Jane Grey.

Other highlights were the White Tower (pictured below) which housed an exhibition entitled "Dressed to Kill" displaying royal armoury over the centuries. The White Tower is a wonderful 11th century building, with some great stories like the Princes in the Tower.  More impressive was the size of Henry VIII's lunchbox. I mean, come on.

We finished the day off with a trip to one of the Historic Royal Palaces gift shops where I had to tear myself away from buying Christmas tree decorations of Henry VIII and his six wives. I wanted them so so badly but at £50 for the set it was a bit too much. Anyone generous benefactors out there? No, didn't think so.

We finished our trip to London with a visit to Camden Market on Sunday. This is such an experience - some really nice stalls and some gorgeous dresses that I might have looked at if the weather was warmer so we'll be having a trip down again in the spring. The best thing about Camden? The food! There is possibly too much choice - I wanted to try it all but I settled on a warm mince pie and mulled wine first, before finishing off with a tub of black bean chicken and singapore noodles although I really wanted to have some falafel too but resisted due to the elastic on my leggings groaning.

If you've never been to see Wicked, The Tower of London or Camden Market - you should. Top weekend!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS The homemade cake from the New Armouries Restaurant at The Tower of London is amazing, which leads me to believe the rest of the food would be good too - it certainly looked it.


  1. Sounds like a great weekend. I love visiting London too and walking around it too - Covent Garden, Notting Hill, the South Bank, the City - so many great places to choose from!

  2. I was there the same weekend as you and my goodness the cold. Never felt anything like it. At least it was dry.
    Looks like you had a great time.

  3. I'm as green as a cucumber! I've always wanted to visit The Tower of London because, like you, I love British History. I have never had the opportunity, I will have to get J to take me there next year.


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