About this time three years ago, I decided to start taking a day off a week to get on a train and go somewhere.
This was basically one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've been on loads of Nice Days Out since then and am now totally hooked on exploring new places... and am positively evangelical about the importance of carving out time in your schedule to have a proper day off no matter how long your To Do list.
My very first Nice Day Out was a trip to Kensington Gardens, the Royal Geographical Society, the V&A and the butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum. When I sat down to write today's blog post - all about a morning I spent in London a few months ago - I realised that I'd recreated this first Nice Day Out almost exactly. What can I say, I love these places! They're awesome!
This time round I had excellent company - Polly was in town for the day and we had a busy schedule of places to visit to squeeze as much London-goodness into her trip as possible.
We started at Kioskafé, grabbing something to drink and oohing over their fabulous selection of magazines.
Then we walked to Kensington Gardens. The park was looking lush in the late spring sunshine - look at the loveliness that greeted us just inside the park!
We wandered through the Italian Gardens, and looked down the Long Water.
There were so many swans on the lake - and lots of cute little cygnets, too! Just look at those little fluffy fellas.
We headed down the right hand side of the Long Water, which is wonderfully wild around the edges and is also where you'll find the famous Peter Pan statue.
Reaching the other side of the park, we took a small detour to admire the shininess of the Albert Memorial (so darn shiny).
Then we headed down Exhibition Road, calling in at the Royal Geographical Society for their (then) current exhibition, photos of Britain from the air. I love the RGS, they always have such interesting exhibitions and they're a little oasis of quiet and calm away from the hustle and bustle of the main Kensington museums.
Talking of busy museums... next we visited the Natural History Museum for a quick zip round some of the galleries (top tip: use the Exhibition Road entrance, it's usually much quicker than the queue at the main entrance). This building never fails to enchant, and it is practically bursting at the seams with interesting things to see and learn.
Outside the museum in the summer is the Sensational Butterflies exhibition - a temporary tropical butterfly house. This is basically pure joy, purchasable for a few quid. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Giddy from the magic of the butterflies, we went to the V&A for a late lunch and lots of oohing over the amazing building and its amazing contents (did I mention that the V&A is amazing? The V&A is amazing, you guys, so amazing).
Then we headed to the Tube for part two of our day... but you'll have to wait until another time to hear about that :)