A Day in South Kensington

The other week The Bloke and I attempted to take advantage of a ticket sale from a train company. It went a little wrong, but we still decided to use the offer and have a day out in London, as we haven’t done that for a while.

We decided to spend the majority of the day around South Kensington – it’s a beautiful (and very expensive) area with several museums and it’s one of the few places in the city that we haven’t explored as much as we would like. We were on the train at ridiculous o’clock, as usual, and by the time we arrived at Euston the weather was fairly clear and sunny, so we took advantage of the early morning to get there before the madness of tube travel at the weekends began. On the way there I discovered an image on Pinterest of a ‘thin house’ on Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert museum, so this was our starting point. We found it and then spent some time just wandering around the streets, admiring the private parks and the beautiful town houses and flats, along with the statue of Bartok, followed by breakfast in a local Pret a Manger (where I’m CERTAIN that we were sitting across from Julian Lloyd-Webber, although I didn’t have the nerve to go and say anything to him). It was the perfect opportunity for photographs, particularly with the architecture that we were surrounded by, and I had a lot of fun trying out different ideas and getting the angles right.

We finished breakfast about 15 minutes before the opening of the Museum of Natural History, so we joined the already large queue of people waiting to see the dinosaurs, including some delightful little toddler treasures and their flaky mother who were causing havoc by running around near the road and eating the recently-urinated-on dirt by the trees. Lovely.

It’s been years since I visited and I was really excited to see the Great Hall in particular, but then we discovered that there was a massive refurbishment going on, which was a shame. I did, however, enjoy some of it and The Bloke and I had a great time taking some silly pictures. If I’m honest, it was… ok. The exhibits were small and a bit dated in areas and we managed to get round it all really quickly.

We then decided to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum further down the road, which we haven’t been to since we visited the David Bowie exhibition a few years ago. We spent HOURS here. We saw everything from original drawings from Beatrix Potter, a house frontage from the 1600’s (before the Great Fire), costumes from lots of theatrical productions including The Lion King, one of Fred Astaire’s suits, a banjo belonging to George Formby, to Johnny Vegas’s One Minute Teapot (those of you who watch the Great Pottery Throwdown will know what I’m talking about), beautiful jewellery and ceramics and clothing from hundreds of years of fashion. It was epic, and we only saw a small portion of the exhibits.

We spent so long in the Victoria and Albert that there was only an hour or two before the train home, so we decided to skip Harrods which was further down the road and then go to the Thames and watch the street performers as the weather was still beautiful.

Beautiful architecture and scenery, interesting exhibits… a great way to spend a day.

Oh, and in the toilets of the Pret a Manger, there was this sign:

A young child and his mother were waiting to use the toilet.

“Mummy, we can’t use this one – this is for robots.”

Smart kid – made me giggle.

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56 thoughts on “A Day in South Kensington

  1. England is on my bucket list – along with achieving some measure of actual success as a writer.
    I doubt I’ll ever cross either off, but dreams sustain us so we’ll see.

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – April 3rd 2017 – John W. Howell, Teagan Geneviene, Suzie Speaks, Jay Dee and Marcia Meara | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. South Kensington is such a nice area, I’ve not done much exploring of the exhibitions etc, but plan to the next time I’m down there! πŸ™‚

  4. I love that we can always find something new to discover in London. As much as I love a lot of cities in the world, London always comes high up my list of favourites. And i still haven’t been to the V&A museum yet!

  5. Yes you hear a lot in the UK News about Kensington but I have never been there. I think just about every spy movie with MI5, uses Kensington or Belgarvia for its spys to either live in or know someone who lives there or are spying on someone who lives there. You’re right – interesting place.

  6. What a lovely spot! May I also add I am super jelous of your spring weather. I need to make my way over to Britain at some point in my life. I am also kind of obsesed with British aristrocratic family history, and royal lineage. Its a little weird. However I think the Victoria and Albert museum would be pretty enjoyable for moi.

  7. It looks like you had a lovely day.

    I *LOVE* the V&A. I also really love their cafe. They have better cakes than the other museums in the area, so if we’re visiting the science museum or the natural history museum, we always pop into the V&A for snacks.

  8. 2 comments for you: I’m a fan of the cello so Julian Lloyd Webber (if that was him), exciting! And nice pics, I particularly like the town house on the right where you experimented with angle shots. The contrasting walkway that meets up with the building in the distance creates a cool perspective. (I am not a photographer so very humbly admit I have NO idea what the proper terminology for any of that is…I just know I like it πŸ™‚ )

    • Thank you! (and, i think ive said this before but I love your blog name…). He is now president of my former university, which I’m gutted about as he was appointed about 10 years after i left (I’m a violinist)

      • Reeeeeaaally, insert surprised face, that’s pretty cool. Bittersweetly for missing out on him being the president while you were at university, but actual coolness that you’re a violinist.

      • That’s a shame, now I’m shaming you, how judgmental of me. Sorry. I’ve taking up murdering a cello for the past couple years as a personal hobby and what an appreciation it’s given. I hope you still get to enjoy the violin, even if it just sings for you in the living room sometimes. My grand goal is to just have the cat stop giving me dirty looks when I practice…

  9. I love this. I’ve never been to London and hope to someday. What I loved most is that I felt like I was a part of your day. Sometimes it can be so much fun to be a “tourist” in my own town.

  10. Great visit! Reminds me of the time I was in South Ken with The Child when she was actually a child, around eight. She was a total tomboy, wearing her signature outfit of overalls — and with a butch haircut to boot. She wanted to visit the restroom during dinner, so I told her to ask where the bathroom was. She returned saying ‘Hey, Mom. They do this weird thing in London — they go to the bathroom standing up’. Oh, wow, I replied, leaving out the part where I’m thinking they sent her to the Men’s Room.

  11. I used to work in Kensington and regularly popped in to the extremely posh shops on my lunch break just to see how the other half live. South Ken also has a pretty nice underground/overground train station I recall

  12. Sounds like a day very well spent! I’ve never visited the. V&A and heard some fab things so I must rectify this. I only go to London for work things – in and out really.

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