The London Eye

3 days in london, things to do in london, walks in london, waterloo station, southbank, london eye
view of the London Eye from Westminster Bridge

London Eye : The largest observation wheel in the world; the “Millennium Wheel”, or the London Eye was initially erected as a temporary structure. It soon became a fixture, and now draws four million visitors a year.  Daily rides are on offer and on a clear day you can just about see Windsor Castle on the horizon. On any other day and assuming it is not pouring with rain you have a fabulous 360degree view of London.

new year in london at the london eye in london
Fireworks at the London Eye New Year 2013

The view at night is just spectacular and you can pre-book sunset rides too.  Lucky for us the London Eye hosts the New Year celebrations with a spectaular, multi-coloured display of fire-works. The best in the world :) Also to be seen next to the London Eye is the Aquarium.


Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

As you cross Westminster bridge, be sure to stop and take in the views of the river on each side and especially of the Houses of Parliament that back onto the river.

Nearest tube station: Waterloo – Jubilee, Northern and Bakerloo lines. Travel planner


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London Gothic

London Gothic
Date: 17/11/2014 – 30 April 2015
Location: London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB
Time: Opening during normal office hours
Monday 9.30am – 4.45pm (closed bank holidays)
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am – 7.30pm*
Friday closed
Cost: Free
For booking and details:

From terrible crimes to gruesome legends, London has long been the backdrop to horrifying tales which quickly take root in popular imagination.
Digging into the depths of the archive, this exhibition presents documents and images which record both fact and fiction, including manuscripts put on public display for the first time.

Nearest tube: Farringdon – Circle, Metropolitan & Hammersmith&City Lines
Angel – Northern Line

Plan your journey:

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Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage

Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage

a FREE exhibition at The British Library

Extended till 19 April 2015
See why Europeans are drawn to explore the Arctic and, in particular, the Northwest Passage.the british library
Lines in the Ice examines why Europeans are drawn to explore the Arctic and, in particular, the fabled Northwest Passage. Arctic exploration has influenced our culture, changed the societies of indigenous peoples, and had a powerful effect on the making of the modern world.
The exhibition displays early European maps of the Arctic, Inuit accounts of the coming of the explorers, writings from the search for Franklin, early Arctic photography and much more. It also unearths the history of the North Pole’s most famous resident – Santa.
Uncovering the beauty, drama and importance of the Arctic, from the distant past up to the present day.
For further information please visit their website
Entrance Hall, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday

Nearest tube station: Kings Cross
National rail station: Kings Cross & St Pancras
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The Fourth Plinth; Trafalgar Square

Fast becoming an attraction in it’s own right, the Fourth Plinth on the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square is host to a rolling programme of sculptures.

Originally meant to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV, due to lack of funds it was never placed there, and the fate of the 4th plinth remained in limbo for around 150 years.

In 1998 the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts Manufacturers and Commerce commissioned 3 contemporary, albeit temporary, sculptures to be displayed. A public enquiry was commissioned by the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the result of this report recommended that these commissions remain a rolling programme and once ownership of Trafalgar Square was transferred from Westminster City Council to the Mayor of London, the Fourth Plinth Commission as it is now called, began and artists were commissioned to put forward their ideas.

The sculptures generally change every 18 months and the current display; Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke was unveiled on Thursday 5 March 2015 in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke
Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke

“Gift Horse portrays a skeletal, riderless horse – a wry comment on the equestrian statue of William IV originally planned for the plinth. Tied to the horse’s front leg is an electronic ribbon displaying live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange, completing the link between power, money and history. The horse is derived from an etching by George Stubbs; the famous English painter whose works are represented in the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.”

Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke
Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke

More about the artist

The most talked about contemporary art prize in the UK, the Fourth Plinth Programme, funded by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England, invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the capital city. These commissions are now internationally recognised as a leader in the field, presenting world-class contemporary artworks and some of the world’s most celebrated artists have proposed and made works for this iconic location in the heart of London; the 4th plinth.

Some of the commissions have been provocative and all are ambitious generating an enormous public debate by the citizens and visitors to the city, to the extent that due to interest generated by the public the Fourth Plinth Programme was begun to continue the tradition and build on the success.
Previous commissions, working from youngest to oldest, have included:
Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn / Cock (2013 – 2015)

2013-2015 Katharina Fritschs Hahn Cock (4)
Hahn Cock by artist Katharina Fritsch

Elmgreen and Dragset’s Powerless Structures Fig. 101 (2012 – 2013)

2012-2013 Elmgreen and Dragset's Powerless Structures Fig. 101 (7) -
Powerless Structures Fig. 101 by Elmgreen and Dragset

Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle (2010 – 2012)

Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle (2010 - 2012)
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by artist Yinka Shonibare

Other installations included:
Antony Gormley’s – One and Other (2009)
Thomas Schütte’s – Model for a Hotel (2007 – 2008)
Marc Quinn’s – Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005 – 2007)
Rachel Whiteread – Monument (2001)
Bill Woodrow – Regardless of History (2000)
Mark Wallinger – Ecce Homo (1999)

I never saw any of these installations so I haven’t included images of them, but I’m sure if you look at Google images you may find some.

If you have enjoyed this article, please do leave a comment, and come back soon :)

Be sure to add a visit to the Fourth Plinth on your next trip to London: Trafalgar Square, City of Westminster, London
Nearest tube station: Charing Cross – Bakerloo & Northern Lines or Leicester Square – Northern & Piccadilly Lines
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Next on the Fourth Plinth – David Shrigley – Really Good
The next sculpture to adorn the Fourth Plinth will be of a giant hand, in bronze, in a thumbs-up gesture, indicating that something, somewhere is really good. What that is, will be up to our perception. Click here if you would like to know more about the next sculpture.

Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most visited attractions; locals and tourists alike flock to the square for many of the annual as well as unusual events that are hosted by The Mayor of London’s Office.

Other events held in Trafalgar Square
Chinese New Year

5 awesome places to treat your Mum on Mothering Sunday

It’s Mothering Sunday on March 15th and these are 5 awesome places where you can treat your Mum!!

Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is ablaze with crocuses and daffodils…..a wonderful combination for Mothering Sunday: stroll along the Broad Walk and admire the thousands of daffodils, their sunny faces bobbing in the breeze.

royal botanic kew gardens london
spring daffodil display on the Broad Walk

Enjoy the colourful Camellias; several varieties of camellia are in flower across the Gardens and can be found along the path from Victoria Gate to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery. Visit the wonderful Marianne North Gallery and enjoy her extraordinary paintings from her world travels. Take the lift to the top of the Xstrata Walkway (if your Mum has a head for heights) and enjoy the views of Kew, Richmond and surrounding area. Enjoy the stunning Cherry Walk that runs from the Rose Garden behind the Palm House to King William’s Temple as it comes into bloom from round about now.  Meander across Sackler’s Crossing and watch the water-fowl building nests and raising chicks. Visit the International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition in the Nash Conservatory, and then head over to the Orangery for a delicious afternoon tea.

royal botanic kew gardens london
a carpet of lilac crocuses at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens, Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB
Plan your visit:

Strawberry Hill House,
If your Mum likes baubles, she will love Strawberry Hill House. “It is a plaything-house…and it is the prettiest bauble you ever saw.” Horace Walpole, June 1747

strawberry hill house twickenham
Walpole’s fabulous gothic house; Strawberry Hill

This fantastical gothic pile in Twickenham is by far and away one of my favourite historical houses in Greater London. The setting is like something out of a fairy-tale with exceptionally beautiful rooms to meander through; wonderful painted glass windows and a room with a view…his bedroom to be precise. The man sure knew a good view when he saw one! :)

strawberry hill house twickenham
beautifully painted windows at Strawberry Hill House

Spend an hour or so meandering through this most marvellous of houses and then enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea out in the garden.
Book a self-guided visit and meander at your leisure
Saturday and Sunday:
12.00 – 16.00 (last admission)
Strawberry Hill, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4ST

Chiswick House
Mothering Sunday is just in time for the magnificent Camellias display in the Chiswick House Conservatory .

chiswick house chiswick
Chiswick House viewed from the lake

Enjoy the rare camellias in a glorious 18th century setting; one of the finest collections in the country and certainly the oldest Camellia Collection; pink, red, white and striped in the historic and fully restored Conservatory (and it’s free to visit). Chiswick House in west London is a charming villa with sumptuous interiors set in beautiful historic gardens created by Lord Burlington and William Kent.  Stroll amongst the glorious gardens, along the shady paths through woodland areas alive with the chatter of spring mating and nest building till you reach the gorgeous lake and the elegant 18th century stone bridge built for the 5th Duke of Devonshire. Admire the symmetry of the three radiating avenues; the Patte d’oie, French for ‘goose-foot’, one of the key features of Burlington’s garden.  You could easily spend the whole day here – Open daily from 7am until dusk – Free entry.

chiswick house chiswick
the beautiful ornamental bridge in Chiswick House gardens

Admire the gorgeous Orange Tree Garden and then head over to the Chiswick House Café for afternoon tea; with a diverse pastry and cake selection featuring temptations such as chocolate and hazelnut brownie, almond slice, scones, honey crunch biscuits, lemon drizzle loaf and much more; you would be spoilt for choice! Gardens: Open daily 8.30am – 3.30pm. The Conservatory: Open daily 10.00am – 4.00pm
Plan your visit
Chiswick House, Burlington Lane, W4 2RP

Holland Park
In my opinion this is one of London’s prettiest gardens, a delightful combination of ponds, lakes, meadows, woodlands, abundant wildlife, formal gardens, fountains and sculptures and even a peacock!

holland park borough of chelsea and kensington
gardens and fountain at Holland Park

Holland Park, with 22.5 hectares of gardens, is the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington’s largest park. Contained within the park is the beautiful Kyoto Garden; a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. Holland Park used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods, built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th century. Meander along the paths and through the woods, discovering sculptures and hidden corners, the waterfall in the Kyoto Garden makes a fabulous background for the stunning trees that enhance the pond feature and a magnificent display of lilac coloured irises that line a curve of the pond.

holland park borough of chelsea and kensington
The Kyoto Gardens at Holland Park

There are children’s play facilities, sports areas, and a Cooks and Partners cafeteria where you could enjoy a simple afternoon tea. This is not the Ritz, but the food is good (it was the last time I was there) and you can enjoy a filling meal. Or you could go all out and book a table at the Belvedere Restaurant’s_Day_Menu_15_March_2015.pdf
Holland Park is open daily from 7.30am until 30 minutes before dusk.
The two nearest tube stations are Holland park and a bit of a walk (some of it uphill) and High Street Kensington.  Holland Park, Ilchester Place W8

Victoria & Albert Museum
A stunning museum in South Kensington, the V&A is full to the brim of marvellous galleries hosuing some of the most extraordinary exhibits; as of 31 March 2014 there were 2,263,314 items in the Museum’s collections.

victoria and albert museum london
the Dale Chihuly chandelier in the foyer of the V&A

The fabulous Dale Chihuly Rotunda chandelier takes your breath away as you enter the main foyer of the museum and a you stroll through the many rooms, feast your eyes on some of the world’s most amazing treasures, from ceramics, exotic outfits, silverware, paintings, textiles and fashion, sculptures and statues, Far East Collections and marvellous UK galleries…there is so much to see.
After you have feasted your eyes on the treasures of the museum, head over to the refreshments rooms: the Morris, Gamble and Poynter Rooms for a feast of another kind. These restaurants, all show-pieces in their own right, are always busy but the food is always good and the setting is a delight. On your way, stop for a moment or two to enjoy the wonderful John Madejski Gardens.

victoria and albert museum
John Madejski Gardens at the V&A

Plan your visit
The V&A is a wonderful place to spend a few hours meandering and exploring the extraordinary galleries, and it’s free.
Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL

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I hope one of these amazing venues would be of interest to your Mum, and all best wishes to her for a very happy Mothers Day on Sunday.

mothering sunday
Happy Mother’s day
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