Monday, October 14, 2013

September 15, Sunday in London

Sept 15, 2013
Sunday morning our plans were to go by the Tube and on foot towards the British Museum and a couple blocks over to the Sherlock Holmes museum, and from there to the V&A. I'd heard about the Sherlock Holmes Museum a few years ago and had saved a photo of it on my computer in hopes of someday going there. 
The Tube got us in the general area. This was our first time trying it, and after dumping us out hubby kept trying to find the museums on the map by street names. That doesn't work here. Again the streets split and some blocks change the street name. There was lots of interesting architecture to look at along the way.

The name of this place, the Hotel Cavendish, sounds familiar to me. From the Duchess of Duke Street maybe? 

 A great landmark.

Even the door steps were fancy. 
After walking many blocks, we arrived at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which had a line in front already. A couple websites say it's at 221B Baker Street, just like in the books but one says it's 239 Baker Street. So that's close enough. 
 They only let 20 people in at a time so you waited until most of them left to enter. Its a small place, with Mrs. Hudson's restaurant (really a gift shop) alongside it. 
I had my photo taken in front, and with the Bobbie standing guard.

He had a really neat bullseye lantern that would be attached to his belt. I did a lot of hunting for one of those with no luck. 
Narrow steps led up to Holmes' rooms, Dr Watson's room on the next level & what appeared to be a lady's room, then a small museum with wax figures on the next floor with one room displaying the ways people were killed in the books. It was quite fun, although crowded at points by people but I waited each time until everyone left to take photos.

Can you spot the violin and Persian slipper in Holmes' parlour. 
They had original copies of Arthur Conon Doyle's books too. 

Then it was on to the British Museum but first we went hunting for Forbidden Planet that carries science fiction memorabilia including those from the Dr Who series. I was on the hunt for the blue Tardis (telephone box) from the series. I had to ask directions a few times and I was surprised the number of people who gave me a blank look when I mentioned Dr Who. Hellooooo! He's from England & it's filmed here!  But fortunately some knew where Forbidden Planet was. 

Found it and the store was quite crowded, mostly adults and some kids, and the aisles were narrow, but my hunt was on for the Tardis. Howard spotted one immediately on entry in a glass case but it was about 1 ft high, too big for my suitcase, and probably too expensive. Finally found half a wall displayed with lots of stuff from the series. The best Tardis was in a locked case but turned out it was not made any longer, and was a private collection. I liked it because it had a Weeping Angel coming out the door. My second choice was not as well made (still decent) with the Doctor and Amy. It was about 8” tall, and they had a sale on them. L10 off and it can fit in the suitcase. Sold! (Still not sure how to write the pounds amounts here)
Our walk continued many more blocks back to the British Museum which blends into all the buildings so it too was hard to spot right away. There was some work going on so we passed an entrance the first time. We ended up coming in the basement level, and after walking around several floors, realized this wasn't the British history we were hoping for. It's antiquities come from many cultures going way way back to Mesopotamia, Persia, and ancient Egypt. Lots of sculptures and bits and pieces of things.  This was kind of interesting hanging from the ceiling but I never found out what it was. Seemed kind of nightmarish and perfect for Halloween with skeletons flying around. 

After a hour we decided to try the Victoria & Albert instead. Since we told it was quite a distance away, an hour's worth of walking and using the tube, we found the entrance to the Tube (hard to do if you don't know where to look), came out a little closer to the V&A, caught a cab and were dropped off at the museum just as heavy rain started up. 
It's Fashion Week in London and that explains part of the crowds, which also included a triathlon that ran here today. But it also influenced the costumes on display at the museum which were more modern. I was hoping to see lots of costumes in the eras I'm interested in and luckily part of it had gowns and accessories from 1795 to 1908 and into the 1950s, but a much smaller exhibit. Taking photos was hard through the glass cases as there's so much reflection from the lights above and people reflected in the glass. I think I got some good ones. I especially liked seeing a couple purses from the 1860s & 1890s. If they weren't labeled, I would have thought them modern.

We also walked through a kind of time-line history of British technology and thought we would go on a guided walking tour but by the time we had got this far we were running out of steam. Trying to do three museums in one day along with all the other walking was too much. Just the V&A itself has 7 miles of floor space.
When we walked out, the rain was pouring down, so the smart thing to do was grab a taxi, which is very easy around here. Back at the hotel we tried to decide if we should grab a snack in the lounge and go to a pub later for dinner, but seeing as how the rain was starting, we chose pub first, at 5pm. The Grazing Goat was recommended to us and it was 2 blocks away. 
It was Sunday Roast Day and I chose a roast chicken with Yorkshire Pudding. Howard had a chicken pie. Since they had Treacle Pudding for dessert we shared one of those. It's kind of like gingerbread with some fruit bits and ice cream on top. It was lovely, as the gentlemen here like to say, which makes me giggle every time I hear it.

Plans for tomorrow are the Magic of London tour that takes us all around the city, and to some specific locations. I'm looking forward to seeing more of London in a nutshell.

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