Friday, 1 May 2015

London - V&A and Hyde Park Gardens

I said goodbye to the farm and to the Dearly Beloved last Thursday and headed for London where I stayed with my cousin and his family.  I had arranged to meet up with a long time friend, Catherine at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  I hadn't seen Catherine for at least 5 years, so it was really good to catch up.

The entrance to the V&A is imposing

I had been there before with Catherine, but this time we were headed for a special exhibit of Alexander McQueen designs.  He is a fashion designer who did a lot for the theatre, and you can see some photos from the exhibition here.

We decided to have morning tea first.  To reach the cafeteria, you come through this quadrangle.
The decorative pond is completely surrounded by buildings like this.  Can you see the frieze above each window?  (If you click on the photo you will see an enlargement)  And above that is beautiful decorative carved stone work.  It was a lovely day and people were milling about on the lawns, and kids were paddling in the water.
When we got to the cafeteria, I was absolutely stunned.
Hanging chandeliers shaped into huge balls and the most beautifully decorated ceilings.

And marbled columns with intricate carvings picked out with paint and gold leaf; and stained glass windows all around; and archways. All of it so wonderful, I could have stayed there for ages, just gazing on it.  And this was not even the museum!
Catherine & I had a long natter over morning tea.  So hard to catch up on 6 years in a couple of hours!!  We just talked and talked, and then came back to have lunch here as well.  And talked and talked.  Get the drift??
The exhibit was flamboyant, exciting, and totally amazing.  No photos allowed, so none to show. :(
As Catherine's taxi was about to pull out into the traffic I realised we hadn't taken a photo, so I banged on the door, and the driver kindly waited (grinning widely) while Catherine hopped out and we took a selfie.
After we parted, I decided to try to find the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain which seemed quite close by, on the way to the tube.  I came across this chap busking in the street.

Can you see the flames erupting from the top of his Tuba?  The flame came up each time he blew into the tuba and I had to take several photos before I caught one with the flame.
Just inside the gates and to the left is the Prince Albert Monument.

I have been to London a lot of times, and even lived there for 5 months in my miss spent youth.  But I think it is the first time I have been there in Spring.  Walking through the park was just beautiful.
Lots of blossom, the trees are green, the horses were out and about, and even a squirrel.
Here is the fountain to which I headed.  It is sort of low and oval shaped, and the water cascades round and round. 
I hadn't intended on going any further, but just to side of the fountain is a long man made lake called the Serpentine, which beckoned to me, so I decided to walk to the tube on the other side of the park.

I passed a few statues, modern and traditional....
And loads of birds.

On the left is a cheeky English Magpie, nothing like the bird we call a Magpie at home, other than the fact that both are large black and white birds.  He was trying hard to raid a garbage bin, but I was just too close.  On the right, can you see the birds lined up on those pylons all across the Serpentine?
Next I came upon a little garden called the Italian Gardens.  They were so beautiful, they rate photos on their own.  There is a little Italianate pavilion in front of a tranquil lake with a fountain in the centre.
And a stunning display of tulips - they were so perfect, they looked fake.
And lastly another view of the fountain.  So tranquil and beautiful. 

The gates out of the park were just nearby, and the tube across the road.  So that was the end of my day.
Next post I'll tell you about my day at the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.


  1. Lovely to see you've had such a great time in both Oxford and London : )

  2. How lovely! I feel as if I was there with you a bit. That cafeteria! I'm not surprised y'all decided to eat there twice. How did you concentrate on your food with all that beauty overhead? So glad you nabbed that selfie -- you'll be happy you did. THanks for sharing your stroll to the tube with us. How pretty London is!

  3. What another lovely day you had Dasha! You are certainly making the most of your visit! Looking forward to the next installment! :) x

  4. Beautiful photos, Dasha. I'm really enjoying your trip!

  5. thanks for sharing your holiday......i'm having a lovely time tripping with you......

  6. Wonderful - thanks again for sharing! I really must convince Dear Husband it is time for that trip around the British Isles!

  7. You certainly look like you are having a wonderful trip. No-one does history quite like the English and the museums are quite beautiful to look at. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  8. Wow!!! Next time, take me with you, k?
    There's nothing like catching up with a friend, but it would be nothing short of magical in those surroundings. Lovely.


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