I decided to take a day playing tourist around London yesterday, something I do often other places, but rarely around the town i live in. The day started with Westminster Abbey. At £16 entry, it’s not cheap and unlike StPauls there’s no right to re-entry across the year, it’s a one stop deal. It’s expensive and only going to be worth it if you like wondering churches a lot! However, if you take the plunge, I recommend paying the extra £3 for the guided tour. You get over 90 minutes with an expert and get to go in places the other tourists don’t, such as under the rood screen and, prbobaly most interesting, into the shrine area of St Edward the Confessor. My biggest disappointment was that we could not take pictures at all inside the Abbey. You can buy postcards, but that does not work if all my other cathedral collections are digital!
Next was lunch at Asia De Cuba, in the St Martin’s Hotel. It’s not somewhere I’d normally go, but they were cooking at A Taste of Christmas and pushing their fixed price lunch – very good food, lovely surroundings.
The National Gallery was next, to spend some time in my favourite room. If I was only ever allowed to see one gallery room again, it would be this one, Room 34. It has Whistlejacket by Stubbs dominating and is full of masterpieces from Turner, Gainsborough and Constable. A wonderful place. I also went to stare at the Ambassadors for a while.
Then across to the Savoy hotel for a cocktail. It’s one of those things on my list of ‘you must do this’. Great cocktail, gorgeous surroundings, brilliant staff and obscene prices. I’ve done it, but won’t be rushing to do it again – unless i win lots on the lottery. Then I’d buy a glass of their cheapest champagne (£17) and their most expensive (£162) and and see if I can taste the difference!
Final event of the day was my first trip to the National Theatre, to see A Comedy of Errors with Lenny Henry. I loved this, an engaging production in a modern setting. Shakespeare can be difficult to follow (I’d read up on the plot before hand, just in case) but all the players really brought the story to life. I really need to go to the theatre more, given I live in a city which has loads of productions. This is the first show I’ve seen for years.
In summary, a brilliant – if expensive – tourist day. I need to plan more!