Monday 10 August 2015

Finishing the Shaun in the City Trail + a Visit to Canary Wharf

As the weeks of May zipped by and the London leg of the Shaun in the City art trail drew to a close, I was determined to get the final 7 Shaun the Sheep sculptures ticked off my list before it ended. So, I took a day off for a Nice Day Out and got the train to London...

The trail of 50 sculptures was divided into four main trails across London with five "lost sheep" scattered a little further afield. I'd found three of the lost sheep and had followed most of the main trails, but there were a few at the ends of the trails that I'd missed as I'd not had time to complete them on my previous days of sheep-hunting.

First up, I got the Tube to St Pauls and walked to the nearby Guildhall, where The Guardian was getting a lot of hugs from happy kids doing the trail with their parents.

Then I headed to the Barbican, walking through the estate (which was looking fabulous in the sunshine)...

... to reach the entrance to the Barbican Centre where Counting Sheep looked like he was about to nod off.

Next I headed towards Liverpool Street, where I got a little bit lost and went round in circles a couple of times before finding the exact square I was after. On the way I spotted Candy Baa, which had relocated after the trail was extended by a few days (it was previously at Covent Garden). Spookily, it was standing in front of a giant five... which was exactly the number of Shauns I had left to find.

Eventually I found the elusive Mr Shaun...

... then walked back to Liverpool Street Station to visit The Pearly King.

I went round in even more circles finding the next Shaun on my list - the perils of trying to find a sheep statue you've not seen before in a place you've never been to before with just a paper map and a rough location to guide you (also, let's be honest, navigation is not my strongest skill). Stopping briefly to admire this knight on his horse...

... I eventually tracked down Ruffles. Totally worth the wait, this Shaun was one of my faves with a design inspired by Blackwork embroidery and featuring lots of traditional motifs. Just look at all that gorgeous detail!

I had just two more sheep left to find - two "lost" sheep out at Canary Wharf.

One of the joys of a trail like this is that it takes you to lots of parts of the city that you've never been to before. I'd never visited Canary Wharf and I was quite excited about going on the DLR for the first time. Sitting at the front of those driverless trains = so much fun! (I am easily pleased, I know, shhhh).

The final two Shauns were the Golden Fleece (SO SHINY) and Hello Kitty's #OneKindThing.

With a lovely sense of satisfaction at having completed the trail I had a relaxing picnic lunch in Jubilee Park, enjoying the sunshine and listening to all the water features bubbling away. 

After lunch I walked to the North Dock...

... crossing the footbridge to the Museum of London: Docklands.

This free museum housed in a 200 year old warehouse focuses on London as a port city: a hub of trade and migration from AD 43 to the present day.

Like the main Museum of London, this is a fantastic and fascinating museum! It's huge, with lots of interesting artifacts to see and lots of information to read along the way. Some of the galleries are more creatively displayed than others but it would be worth a visit just to see Sailortown "a full size reconstruction of the dark, winding streets of Victorian Wapping".

I'm already planning a return visit - to see their current (free) exhibition of photographs by Christina Broom, who was the UK's first female press photographer. 

After a cuppa and a tasty cake in the museum cafe (and an entertaining flick through the local property papers, boggling at all the prices) it was time to head home... and to start thinking about maybe visiting Bristol to spot some of the sheep on their Shaun in the City Trail... hmm...

P.S. You can read about all my Shaun-spotting adventures here, and read more about Shaun in the City and how to get involved here. The Bristol trail features 70 Shaun sculptures and runs until the end of August, after which all 120 Shauns will go on display in special exhibitions in London & Bristol then be auctioned for charity.