I didn't take a lot of photos because I spent the day with my friend Laura and we were too busy nattering... but we saw a lot of stuff!
We started with a return visit to Two Temple Place, a wonderfully quirky building run by the Bulldog Trust that opens to the public every spring for a free exhibition of treasures from museums and galleries outside of London (click here to read about our visit last year). This year's exhibition, Cotton to Gold, showcases collections from museums in Lancashire.
There was lots of interesting stuff on display (including old books and coins, collections of beetles, Japanese prints, carvings, glass, and a mummy!), the building itself is just delightful (click here for a virtual tour - if you're a fan of Downton Abbey you might recognise it as a wedding venue from the recent series) and there's even a little tearoom where you can grab a cuppa and some very tasty cake (yum).
Next we walked down the road to the National Gallery, where we looked at lots of paintings including an exhibition of works by Peder Balke - lots of Romantic landscapes with stormy seas and skies and some completely wonderful little monochrome oil sketches (you can see a couple of these here).
After lunch, we went next door to the National Portrait Gallery to see this year's Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition and the "Real Tudors" display in which "Works from the Gallery’s Collection are presented alongside exceptional loans and a prized possession of each monarch, as well as recent research undertaken as part of the Making Art in Tudor Britain project, to help visitors understand how and why such images were made."
I'm a huge fan of the NPG's collection of Tudor portraits, so this display was just my cup of tea. Interesting facts about some of my favourite paintings! Gorgeous Tudor portraits I'd not seen before! Fabulous Tudor artifacts owned by the Tudor royals! So, so good (and free to visit, yay!).
Then we went for a wander round Covent Garden before Laura had to head home. Finally, I finished my day with a slightly chilly walk to Piccadilly where I peered in the windows of lots of fancy shops, spotted my books in Europe's largest bookshop (books galore!), soaked up the atmosphere in London's oldest bookshop (heavenly!), and paid my very first visit to the mega fanciness that is Fortnum & Mason.
I've walked past Fortnum's so many times but had never been inside before and wow, what a lovely shop! So swoonworthy. Beautiful products beautifully displayed, plus lovely old fashioned tea rooms and an ice cream parlour!
I treated myself to a cake from their foodhall and scoffed it in a most unladylike fashion while admiring their fabulous window displays. An excellent end to a lovely day out.