It’s my birthday soon and my sister, her boyfriend and The Bloke took me to London for the weekend to celebrate.
The focus of the trip was initially the Tutankhamun Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery – 150 artefacts from the tomb of Egypt’s most famous King are on display there until May as part of the final World Tour – which could potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them. We ended up planning a long weekend around it, arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday, with the plan to find other interesting things to do while we were there.
We were booked into a Premier Inn Hub hotel near Westminster Abbey, which is something that we haven’t tried before. We’ve always been fans of Premier Inn hotels, but after an unpleasant stay in the Tower Hill branch earlier in the year (mouldy bathroom, no TV signal etc) and the ever-increasing prices that are now becoming out of our budget we opted for the much cheaper option of the Hub.
The Bloke and I arrived a few hours before we were allowed to check in, so we took the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey as the rain and early morning start meant there wasn’t the usual queue to get in. I’ve visited before (The Bloke hasn’t), but there’s so much to see that one visit isn’t enough to take it all in. It’s an absolutely stunning piece of architecture and history, particularly when admiring the tombs of British royalty that extend all the way back to Edward the Confessor. Additionally, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries are now open, showcasing artefacts dating back to the 13th Century in a space above the Abbey floor that has never been open to the public before. They cost an extra £5 on top of the entrance fee, but it is absolutely worth it. Be aware: stairs are an option but (as The Bloke and I discovered) you’ll end up essentially climbing to the top of the Abbey. Unless you have the fitness of an Olympic athlete, take the lift. It’s also worth noting that photography is not permitted anywhere except the Cloisters area.
The Premier Inn Hub hotel was fabulous. Clean, modern, really quiet and as spacious as any other Premier Inn we’ve ever stayed at, it was in a great location and easy to find. I took a nap for a few hours before my sister and her boyfriend arrived, or I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the rest of the day without falling asleep in a corner.
That evening we went to the Natural History Museum. The Great Hall section was closed as it was undergoing renovations last time The Bloke and I visited, so I wanted to take the opportunity to see it while we were in the area. It’s particularly beautiful at night, especially with the blue whale skeleton lit up. It made me smile how many times I overheard people walking past me mention Paddington (the movie), and from that point that was all I could think of too.
After a Wagamama, (another first for The Bloke), I can just about remember getting back to the hotel and my head hitting the pillow, and that was it.
The next day we were up early for breakfast, after which we went over to the Saatchi Gallery for the Tukankhamun Exhibition...
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