Saturday 21 June 2014

Back to Kensington Palace... Plus: the First Crafty Cuppa

A couple of weekends ago I had a Nice Day Out in London and the weather couldn't have been more perfect: beautifully sunny!

I started the day at Kensington Gardens, which is conveniently located near Paddington - the station I usually arrive at when coming into the city. The park is so peaceful, walking through it is a wonderful way to begin a day out and it's been really interesting revisiting it at different times of the year and seeing the landscape change. Unsurprisingly, it was a lot busier on a sunny morning in June than it was back in frosty January!


I gradually made my way towards the Palace side of the park, walking via the famous Peter Pan statue which was surrounded by thrilled tourists.


I'd decided to make a return visit to Kensington Palace, as the King's State Apartments had been closed when I visited in April and I wanted to see them. Luckily for me the Palace is one of the places I can get into free with my Art Pass so going back for a second visit = no problem.

(The Queen's State Apartments were closed this time round, so I think my top tip for visiting Kensington Palace would be check to see what's open before you visit!)

I'm really glad I went back because the King's State Apartments are definitely the loveliest bit of the building and there were some fun things to experience. For example: the pair of actors walking through the space in period costume gossiping about court scandals, and the "Smell Map of the Georgian Court" (a scratch and sniff map of the apartments, with a specially chosen scent for each room).

I was also nerdily delighted by the large dial above the fireplace in the Kings Gallery which connects to the Palace's weathervane, so you can see the direction the wind is blowing without having to go outside and look... like a big weather clock, I guess.

I have to admit though that my favourite bit of Kensington Palace is actually the (free-to-visit) sunken garden at the front.


The garden was looking quite different to when I last visited - not least because the covered walkways were now looking lush and leafy! I'd thought this a lovely spot before, but sitting on a bench in this peaceful, dappled shade was quite wonderful.


Definitely one of my favourite places in London to sit and eat an icecream! (The icecream was pretty tasty, too).


Once I'd finished my icecream I walked on down through the park towards Exhibition Road, via the Flower Walk which I'd not explored before. Slightly surprisingly, this had very few flowers in it but it was a lovely quiet place to stroll through...

... and full of very friendly squirrels!


I'd planned on walking straight to the Tube station, but took a slight detour as I passed a sign for the London Map Fair and thought "oooh, that sounds interesting!"

There was an amazing selection of old maps on display and (added bonus) it was really nice to be able to get a peek inside the Royal Geographical Society, where the fair was being held. Sadly I didn't have time to stop and have tea in the little tearoom as I had to head onwards...


... to catch the Tube to Leicester Square, walk up the Charing Cross Road and visit the newly opened flagship branch of Foyles to return a book that had unfortunately arrived damaged after I ordered it from their online store. 

After a quick nose around the new (huge!) store (mmm... books...) ... I walked the short way to the British Museum for a late lunch. 

After lunch I visited a few of my favourite galleries then headed to the entrance to see if anyone would show up for a Crafty Cuppa. I'd been so busy that I'd not really had a chance to promote it or to follow up with people to see if they were coming (I am so terrible at organising this stuff), but luckily I wasn't left to have tea on my own as the lovely Berta of Piparapip showed up to say hello! Hurrah! :)

It was so nice to meet Berta, to hear all about her blog and how she fell in love with crochet, and to have a good old natter about the ups and downs and ins and outs of blogging. Two and a bit hours zipped by pretty darn fast and I headed home feeling really enthused about blogging and really looking forward to the next Crafty Cuppa (I will of course keep you guys updated about these - see this post for the July & August dates!).


Balisha said...

Could you tell me...Is Foyles in the same place as the book store in 84 Charing Cross Road? That was my all time favorite movie. I have a DVD and watch it once a year. If it is....what a huge store now. Is that whole building a book store?
I follow you and love your crafting. I am elderly now, but years ago, when the crafting craze first started I was a crafter. My husband used to tell people, "Don't stand there too long...she'll paint you."
Have a nice weekend.

http://thankfullga447 said...

Thank you again for the wonderful tour. So store would be dangerous for me. I have been in all those area you were today. How fun to join up with a blogger and have some treats.

Silly Little Sheep said...

I love that the tradition of cups of tea is starting slowly :) I put all of them in my diary, I am planning to the one on 10th August, so far I am not planning anything for that day! :)

Lilyshaw said...

Beautiful pictures!

Anonymous said...

For Balisha,

No that is not the same book store. I don't know if 84 Charing Cross Road is still a bookstore but it was a small independent shop when I worked near there around 25 years ago and where I purchased that book from. Sadly I no longer have the book, am not sure where that and I parted company. I loved that book too. 84 Charing Cross Road is however near to Foyles on the opposite side of the road and up a bit.

I used to spend many a happy lunch hour in the book shops of Charing Cross Road, sadly a shadow of it's former self these days. Although I always have to go and have a look in Foyles when I am nearby.

Balisha said...

I guess I'd like to imagine it's still there with all of the characters in the book/movie.
I love books and this one came along at just the right time in my life and got me interested in so many things British. I love the Downton Abbey series and also the Midwife. My husband says to me sometimes..."Another Brit film?"
Thanks for the info. Have a lovely day,

Alicia @ Felt With Love Designs said...

I love reading about all your little outings! They sound so fun and relaxing. You know I would join you for a Crafty Cuppa if I was close enough! That's such a fun idea.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Balisha - I see bonitocraft answered your question before I got a chance to! I hope you'll continue to enjoy my blog :)

ga477 - it was lovely, it's always so great to be able to natter about blogging :D

Silly Lilly Sheep - yay! I hope you'll be able to make it x

Lilyshaw - thanks!

bonitocraft - Yup, I can never resist a visit to Foyle's when I'm nearby :)

Alicia - cheers! x