Saturday 17 August 2013

Kensington Gardens & Sensational Butterflies

After my trip to Birmingham last week to visit The Festival of Quilts I decided that my schedule needs to involve more fun days out! When you're self-employed it's just far too easy to look at your gigantic, never-ending To Do list & convince yourself that you don't have time to take proper days off, and to just end up working all the time.

So, I am declaring Thursday to be "get on a train and go somewhere" day, even if I just go as far as the next town and sit in cafes reading books all day. No excuses! (Except legit ones like being stuck in bed ill, or it snowing or something like that, and even then I hope I'll be able to make up for it by taking extra time off another week). And to make sure I stick to this plan each week, I'll be blogging about my trips... so you can all tell me off if I, er, slack off at slacking off! I hope you'll enjoy a peek at some of my travels :)

I've already been enjoying the magical power of A Proper Day Off.... I took a trip to London this Thursday,  getting out of the house much later than I'd planned, already sort-of regretting my decision to take a day off and feeling stressed about my To Do list... and had a lovely, relaxing day and came back feeling de-stressed and inspired and really very happy.

First up I went to Kensington Gardens, which is somewhere I'd never been before. I went up to London a lot in my teens but it was mostly to go shopping with friends and to hang out in places we thought were "cool", so we didn't go to a lot of parks!

I visited the Italian Gardens (very peaceful) ...

... and the Albert Memorial (very shiny) ...


... and the Serpentine Gallery. I'm not a big fan of contemporary art (& the main exhibition left me a bit cold) but the Pavillion (designed by Sou Fujimoto and on display until 20th October) outside the gallery is pretty darn awesome and an amazing space to sit in. 

I also loved this huge (5 metre high) sculpture: Rock on Top of Another Rock.

Then I had a quick look round the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society which was really interesting, and a lovely oasis of calm on busy Exhibition Road. (The last day for this exhibition is tomorrow, but I guess it's an annual thing?)

Next up: the Natural History Museum which is such a fab building.

We went here on a school trip when I was a kid and I remember being totally obsessed with the bits in my souvenir guide book that showed details of the architecture.

I'd planned to spend the whole afternoon at the NHM (I visited briefly last year to see the Captain Scott exhibition but didn't get a chance to look at more than a few dinosaurs)... but it being mid-August the queues to get in the museum itself were pretty crazy. So I just went to the Sensational Butterflies exhibition instead- a tropical butterfly house on the museum's front lawn (open until 15th September). 


I ummed and ahhed about whether it was worth paying to have a look at this but I'm so glad I did, there were so many large and beautiful butterflies, it was quite magical.


The whole place was full of kids with their mouths wide open in amazement and adults grinning from ear to ear at how lovely it was. In terms of happiness per minute, my ticket for this may have been the best value thing I've bought in years!

Then I popped to the V&A ...


... and had a cuppa in their magnificent cafe. It is impossible to not feel super-fancy sitting in a space like this, or to not spend half the time staring at all that decorative detail!

Everything in the V&A is great, but one of my favourite bits is the ceramics galleries which I just had time to wander round before starting my journey home. I always enjoy the ceramics rooms in museums - there is so much colour and pattern and shape to look at (always inspiring!) and they're not usually very popular so you get this wonderful peace and quiet that you rarely get in tourist-filled places. The ones at the V&A are, of course, the best. Cabinets that seem to go on for days! Just wonderful.

I've got no idea where I'll be going next Thursday, but I'll let you know what I get up to...


Charlotte said...

what a great idea and a fab day out!

Katie said...

What a lovely looking day. The butterfly atrium sounds particularly special. Despite living in London I never make the most of having this kind of thing so close - as you say I always think it'll be a massive bother but always enjoy it when I make the effort.

Let me know if you fancy a Thursday coffee sometime!

davybidosa said...

So good that you finally afforded a proper day off! We often have far too many excuses for such nice things. Now you inspired me to do something of this sort as well! Thanx! And,of course, pics are just fabulous, especially V&A! Wish I were in Britain ;)

C said...

Last month I visited Hampton Court Palace. It was fabulous. The Tudors are always good fun. If you've not yet been, you should definitely put it on your list of places to visit.

Manu said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that loves ceramics rooms! ^_^

Silly Little Sheep said...

Sounds like a great day. And wow - you did get to see so much! I have never been to Kensington gardens, but NHM is absolutely the coolest place on Earth (well, one of the coolest places) and the butterflies look great :) Good luck with keeping your relaxing habbit : )

The Rainbow Room said...

Proper days off are fab!
And i know what you mean about butterflies. We used to go to one near Aberyswyth, it was great always so warm too, the butterflies were amazing and so wonderful when they land on you x

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! It was a really lovely day and it feels great to be carving out some proper time off in my working week.

I am also really looking forward to going to lots of places which I've just never bothered to take the time to visit before.

Katie - yup, we must definitely meet up for a cuppa sometime!

Xenia - I have added Hampton Court Palace to my list! I've never been before (I somehow hadn't realised it was so easy to get to by train!) and I adore the Tudors.

Manu - they are the best! :)