Friday, 14 February 2014

Sir John Soane's Museum, The Hunterian Museum & Two Temple Place

Last week's Nice Day Out was a delightfully busy one as my crafty chum Laura and I got together for a day of tea, nattering and visiting some of London's quirky museums.

I arrived a bit early, so I went for a walk...

 

... calling in at the British Museum for a quick wander round some of my favourite galleries...


... then heading to Holburn tube station to meet up with Laura.

 

First stop was Sir John Soane's Museum. John Soane was an architect and a collector of antiquities and paintings, and his house (preserved as it was when he died) is absolutely jam packed with the stuff he collected.


There are a lot of really interesting objects to see here - I'm thinking about coming back for a return visit to follow some of the museum trails -  but it's worth a visit just to experience the space. It's incredibly atmospheric, with so much stuff crammed into small spaces and displayed with a lot of drama. I don't think I've ever been anywhere quite like it.

 

After the Soane museum, we took a very short walk...


... over the road to the Royal College of Surgeons, to visit the Hunterian Museum (so called because the core of its collections are the thousands of items collected by surgeon and anatomist John Hunter).


Science was never my favourite subject at school but there's no shortage of interesting and unusual objects to see here: everything from skeletons to surgical instruments to paintings to lots and lots of slightly creepy things in jars (overheard at several points during our visit: "oh my god is that really a...? eeewww!"). I particularly enjoyed the displays about the history of surgery.

After we'd finished looking at jars full of weird dead things we both felt like having some lunch (no, we didn't understand it either) so we had a quick pit stop then headed to the Strand in the pouring rain to visit Twinings, who have been selling tea here since the 1700s.


The narrow shop is full of lots of different kinds of tea (and coffee), and there's also a mini museum about the history of the company. We bought some tea (of course!) and then headed to the Embankment to visit Two Temple Place.


(Check out that golden weather vane in the shape of a ship! Very fancy). Described as "one of London's hidden architectural gems", Two Temple Place opens to the public in the spring for its annual exhibition, showcasing items from museums and galleries outside London.


This year's exhibition is of objects from the University of Cambridge museums and while there was an interesting selection of things on display I was mostly absorbed by looking at the building itself, the elaborate wood carvings and the lovely stained glass. It was great to be able to look round a building that's usually closed to the public, and one which I've walked past many times without giving it a second glance.

Finally, we walked a little way along the river to Somerset House...


... and had a cuppa and some tasty cake before heading home. All in all, a lovely day despite the best efforts of the weather to soak us and/or blow our umbrellas inside out!

9 comments:

Charlotte said...

blimey! that's a very busy day!

Spidergrrl said...

I just wanted to say I love the Hunterian! it is our favourite science museum and i rarely hear of people going (and enjoying themselves) these days. Sounds like a fab day!

BugsandFishes said...

Charlotte - we packed a lot in, but they are relatively small places and they're all VERY near each other so it didn't take long to get from place to place :)

Spidergrrl - it's a really interesting place, and was quite busy when we visited. Apparently there was a documentary about it on the telly last year. I'm quite looking forward to exploring some of the other medical museums in London - plus the Science Museum, which I've not visited in about 16 years!

Kathi said...

Looks like another great day out! Yay! Glad you had fun... you deserve it! And Happy Valentine's Day to you! You are loved and appreciated by lots of people that you have never even met in person! :) Thank you for being you... we love you and all that you do for others! Have a great day!! Hogs & Quiches!

BugsandFishes said...

Aw, thanks Kathi! :)

Lily said...

Oh wow, in spite of the weather, photos are stunning, such peculiar light, ...loved pigeons on background :) Laughed at a curious appetite lines... and oh, Twinings :))) thanks for sharing, Laura!

BugsandFishes said...

Glad you enjoyed the pictures, Lily! :)

Laura Mason (Mason Bee) said...

I have to say that was one of the knackering days ever but it was uber fun :D

Till the next adventure :)

BugsandFishes said...

IMO if you're not worn out at the end of a day in London you're doing it wrong ;) I like to make the most of my city days! x

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