London Holiday Christmas 2011

Tuesday 6th December
10.35 Arrived at St Pancras. Topped up Oyster cards and travelled by tube.
11.50 Checked in to Central Hotel and were allowed to put our luggage in the room which was being cleaned.
12.30 Ate our picnic in the park and then walked on to Boots on Brompton Road.  On then to Harrods where we had a good look round the Food Hall.  Lots of people sitting at bars eating sea food at one, caviar at another, and hot meat rolls at another.  From there to Brompton Oratory.  Looked around.   Churches must be a nightmare to keep in good condition. It was a very impressive building with its cicular domes and half circle arches. Lots of colour lost in the darkness.
On to the V&A where at 2.30 we looked at the Private Eye exhibition and then on to the photography.


Trafalgar Square

Wednesday 7th December

10.00 Left the hotel and walked to Notting Hill station and then took the dsitrict line to Aldgate East.  From there to The Whitechappel Gallery where we hoped to see the Government Collection as chosen by Simon Scharma but that is not due to open for a few weeks so we think that the newspaper information sheet printed wrong details.  However. we enjoyed a superb coffee and the Wilhelm Sasnal exhibtion.

From there we walked to St Pauls by a roundabout route where we saw all sorts including a bustling Leadenhall market - see photos. We  stopped on Fish Hill looked at The Monument.  Then on to St Paul's down Peter's Hill to The Salvation Army Headquarters where we had an excellent value and quality lunch.
On then to Tate Modern for the photography exhibition.  To the South Bank and across Jubilee Bridge through The Arches under Charing Cross, turned right into The Strand and along to Southampton Street and then up to Covent Garden which was really lively with lots of decorations, the usual string quartet, a fabulous Christmas tree and a choir singing carols. On then to Leicester Square and then up Regent Street  to Oxford Circus. Back to the hotel, changed and went out to The Sahara restaurant where we had a superb meal. Fabulous food which we both really enjoyed.


Covent Garden Decorations

Thursday 8th December
Caught the tube to Bond Street and then walked to The Wallace.  Had a wander round, looked specifically at the Richard Parkes-Bonnington and a few other things and then walked to Westminster Cathedral, via Grosvenor Square and Shepherd's Market, where we had lunch after a bit of a walk round.  Walked from there to Tate Britain, via Vincent Square - once called Tot Hill Fields where we had a coffee.    We chose not to bother with the John Martin exhibition because to do so would have taken up so much more of the day.  So from there, in very strong winds, we walked beside the river to Lambeth Bridge, crossed the bridge an followed the Queen's Walk all along the South Bank to Waterloo Bridge.
Went in to the skating rink quadrangle to take photogaphs and then in to The Courtauld Institute to view the Spanish Drawing exhibition. We also viewed many other items here including a beautiful Modigliani 'Female Nude', Pierre Bonnard's Blue Lady, Gaugin's Nevermore.


A market stall at Covent Garden

4.40 Left the Courtauld and walked along The strand to the National Gallery.  Up Haymarket. Big cheering crowd in Picadilly Circus. some pop group performing and behind us in Leicester Square there was a premier of a film as well.  Along Regent Street to Rege Place, Warwick Street, Beak Street, Kingly Street and Kingly Court (same decorations as before), Carnaby Street, Oxford Street which we walked along as far as Bond Street station and the tube back to Queensway.
7.00 Out to dinner in the pouring rain.  Failed to find Geales because I turned left too soon.  Asked in two places but they didn't know of the place which was just two streets away. Well, that's London for you.  However, in the delicatessen they recommended Kensington Place, a recently refurbished fish restaurant and so we went there.  Food was good, wine was expensive and the waitress was a poppet.

Friday 9th December 
10.05 Left the hotel. Tube to Leicester Square and the short walk around the back of the National Portrait Gallery to the Sainsbury Wing of the National.  Long queues for the Leonardo Exhibition.  Coffee in the restaurant.
11.20  Had a walk around the early Italian Galleries and particularly enjoyed Carlo Crivelli.  Also looked at some Botticelli  and Piero Della Francesca.
12.10 walked back to Leicester Square and caught the tube to St Pancras.