Exploring London

So I have officially hit “tick that off the list” mode which essentially means that I am trying to take advantage of as much as I can in London before our upcoming move back to the US.  I am trying not to be too obsessed with it but on the other hand there is still so much to see.  I would be impossible to see everything London has to offer even if you lived here your whole life but I am doing my best with the time I have.  Here is a little round-up of some of the spots I/we have been over the past few weeks.

I think one of the best ways to explore London is by foot.  One of Matt’s friends gave him a great gift when he moved to London – City Walks 50 Adventures on Foot.  Basically it contains 50 cards with different neighborhood walks around London and at this point we figure we have done all but about 3 or 4 of them.  Recently we covered a few more cards when we visited a former colleague of mine in Chiswick, walked around Chelsea, and did a pseudo-pub crawl around Clapham Common.

In Chelsea, we visited the Physic Garden founded in 1673 as a training garden for apothecaries.
chelseagarden.jpg  garden.jpg

Next we walked through the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for British soldiers /pensioners and spotted one of the remaining elephants from the London Parade of Elephants.
rch.JPG  elephant.jpg
In Clapham, we visited the Common (Note what the amazing sunny, rain free summer we have been having has done to the grass!) and some pubs.

common.jpg pub.jpg

My second favorite way of walking around London is taking a guided tour with London Walks.  We have taken quite a few walks in Greenwich, Hampstead, Canterbury and East London.  After work last week I decided to join a tour around Westminster because I haven’t really spent much time in that area.  We got the general history of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) and Westminster Abbey and also got to wander the streets in the neighborhood.  The most interesting part of the tour was seeing these signs for WWII bomb shelters on a very posh intact street just behind the Abbey.

This past weekend, I visited another London Park – Gunnersbuy Park in Acton Town to join in the London Mela Festival, an annual South Asian festival featuring music, food and fun fair rides.  Sorry no photos.
I have also been trying to fit in a few of the smaller museums around London. We thoroughly enjoyed the Wellcome Trust, a personal collection of medical oddities, and the Wallace Collection, a personal collection of master artwork in an amazing home full of furniture from the time of the French Revolution.  The Dickens Museum was worth a stop to see the place where Oliver Twist was written.  We also returned to one of my favorite London spots, the British Library, to see an amazing exhibition of maps from all over the world and all through history.  Here is a photo of the outside of the British Library where you can find the original manuscript of Alice in Wonderland, the Magna Carta and supposed notes written in Shakespeare’s own hand among other original works.


I’ve got a few more weeks and plan to continue exploring this amazing city.  If anyone has any suggestions or wants to join me let me know!

3 Responses to “Exploring London”

  1. anne Says:

    Have you all been to the Soane Museum? I highly recommend it! Very cool stuff. I’m excited that you’re seeing so much! Wish I could come visit one more time before you come back!!

  2. Carolyn Says:

    Yup – several trips to the Soane Museum – its my favorite. Even went at night for the candlelight tour =).

  3. Mom Badanes Says:

    Aunt Judy and I were talking recently about how much we loved our trip to see you this past summer and how we wish we could “go again”. Thanks for taking us with you as you visit as much of this great city as you can. Lucky you guys!