Not heard of Shaun in the City? Well, this Spring/Summer "120 giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures, created by artists, designers and celebrities, are grazing green spaces and iconic locations across London and Bristol, before going to auction to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity and The Grand Appeal, supporting children in hospitals across the UK."
The London trail has now finished and the Bristol trail has begun, with 70 Shaun sculptures are on display until 31st August. All 120 sculptures will then go on display in special exhibitions this September before being auctioned. You can read all about the Shaun in the City and how to get involved here.
I had originally planned on just spotting a few of the sheep on a Nice Day Out, as a fun way to liven up a walk round central London but I got totally addicted and set myself the challenge of visiting all 50 sculptures on the London trail. After a busy first day of sheep-spotting and then finding a few more on another day out, I was up to 30 Shauns.
So when I arranged to meet a friend (the lovely Laura of Mason Bee) to visit an exhibition, I decided to squeeze in some early morning Shaun-spotting before we met up. (This is a long photo-packed post, but I hope you'll enjoy seeing all the cute sheep!)
I started at the Royal Exchange, where I admired Robo-Shaun from under my umbrella. I loved all the dials and buttons on this one, especially the "Baaahometer".
Then I walked to Leadenhall Market, passing this rather gorgeous church door along the way.
Leadenhall Market is just as gorgeous! I must remember to go back when it's open and not just populated by me and two women having a chat while walking their dogs.
At the market, I ticked Shanghai Shaun off my list...
... then found Kanzashi at the Lloyds Building, round the corner.
The financial district is eerily quiet on a weekend morning. It's always strange walking round London when it's so quiet but it definitely made it easy to take my photos quickly as I didn't have to wait for people to get out of shot!
A few streets away, Liberty Bell was hanging out at Fenchurch Street Station.
I love the name of that lane!
Several streets (and lanes) later, I arrived at Tower Hill where two Shauns were guarding the Tower of London.
Shaun-xiào was sponsored by the Royal Mint, which was based at the Tower of London for 500 years. His red fleece symbolises the gift envelopes exchanged at the Lunar New Year and is decorated with the Chinese character for "sheep".
Yeaoman of the Baaard is one of my favourites! Shaun is dressed like one of the famous Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters) who guard the Tower.
Then I headed to Tower Bridge, accidentally crossing on the wrong side of the bridge to where the next Shaun was located. Oops! I crossed over to the correct side and walked back to the middle of the bridge where Globetrotter was attracting the attention of lots of tourists.
Then I just had time to visit one more Shaun on my way to the Tube station: Rainbow, at the Shard (sadly just at the entrance, not right up the top! That would have been fun!)
I caught a Tube to Waterloo where I had a cuppa and waited for Laura. When her train arrived, we walked to the Imperial War Museum to see their Fashion on the Ration exhibition (on until the end of August).
The exhibition was fantastic. There was a wide mix of clothing on display, from military uniforms to homemade dresses with lots of accompanying info about the clothes people wore during the war and the ways everyone coped with the restrictions of rationing.
It covered some familiar ground of course - we all know about Make Do and Mend and rationing and Dior's New Look after the war - but there was a ton of new-to-me stuff as well, lots of advertisements and photos from the time plus really interesting personal details about the history of the items on display.
I took loads of notes (because I am a giant nerd who likes to write down interesting bits and pieces from my Nice Days Out) and Laura was very polite and patient with me while I did so!!
If you're interested in fashion, textiles and/or social history I highly recommend it (make sure you check out the excellent exhibition shop, too). Just don't take a friend who has brought along a notebook, haha.
The recently revamped Imperial War Museum is very impressive, and we explored a fair chunk of it before getting slightly overwhelmed and calling it a day. We just had time for a cuppa and some cake before Laura had to head home, so we walked to the Southbank Centre and had tea and a good natter in one of their cafes.
After Laura went to catch her train, I took a detour to mine - via a couple more Shauns, of course!
Br-ewe-nel at Tate Modern...
... and the charmingly named To Sheep Perchance to Dream at the Globe Theatre.
43 Shauns down, just 7 more to go!