Visiting London is very exciting especially if you haven’t been before, like myself for instance. Last week my partner and I stayed in London for three nights, staying at the St Pancras Premier Inn in Euston. (Highly recommended!) Arriving on the afternoon of Sunday the 6th of September, we took the time to have a look at our surroundings, (eating spots and otherwise). Staying in Euston has its pros and cons. Mostly pros. There is plenty to see and do, something for everyone!
Theatre – If you enjoy Plays or Musicals it isn’t necessary to be located in the centre of London to enjoy these, there are plenty of small theatres dotted around the area. I’d recommend having a look at What’s On prior to booking a trip, if you plan it well you’ll be able to do your sight-seeing in the day and enjoy the productions of your choice at night. Theatres located near to the Premier Inn, in postcode NW1 2RA are:
http://www.thebloomsbury.com/ (Closed until 2015)
http://openairtheatre.com/ (Open May to September) (We have planned to visit here next time around.)
The Natural History Museum – This was the first museum we visited. Overall opinion was interesting, informative, plenty to see and do. A lot to take in at once. I’d recommend with all the museums comfortable footwear i.e trainers, not converse! It’s a real spoiler if you spend most the time trying to find a bench to rest your aching feet!
The Natural History Museum has quite a selection. Unfortunately at the time of our visit the main part we wanted to see was closed, which was the Blue Zone. However I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The Volcano and Earthquake section was full of expansive information. There are videos, photographs, objects melted by lava flows, heat suits, casts of victims and even a real life simulator of what is feels like to be in an Earthquake, we were very impressed.
The main exhibition that most people may visit the Natural History Museum for would be the Dinosaur section. The remains are not just behind glass cases, they are reconstructed and fixed into position – so you can see for yourself the great magnitude of these amazing creatures. The Skeletal remains are casts of the original, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. We took quite a few pictures here and it was pretty much unbelievable to see everything up close. You can watch a documentary on the television but to be there, where the bones actually are in front of your eyes, you almost wonder – is it a trick? How could something so amazing and huge ever have existed!
Further into this section there was also a very realistic and moving T-Rex, we did not hear the roar but maybe that was for the best, as all the children looked terrified!
Later we stopped for a bite to eat in the cafe. It was no doubt pricey but the food was delicious, I also could not eat it all! The staff were very friendly and the area was squeaky clean.
- As I discovered with all the museums, they are not free entry as stated and I would recommend putting the costs of visiting the museums into your budget when in London. As you enter there are recommended donations that you have to give, these seem to be non-optional! I only had £4.00 in cash, but we were told we needed to give at least £6.00 to get in hence I paid by card. This was a little disappointing as I would rather have spent £10.00 on a book or ornament in the gift shop later that day.
- Everything seems very spaced out, you could spend hours walking around the museum but partially because there are big open spaces between the different sections. One of these main sections had a whole hallway of empty cabinets and coming soon July 2015, when it was September.
- I saw a couple of tourists ahead of us ask a worker what time The Blue Zone opened, and she quite impatiently stated “It is closed.” She was not very polite to them and I noticed as we passed that she actually stood in front of the sign that said it was closed for maintenance until October. We had no problem with the closure, we were disappointed but if work has to be done we respect that, but you’d hope to meet a friendly face when inquiring.
The Science Museum
The least interesting place out of the museums, however I would visit again. A lot of the areas were closed or under construction. The place was extremely spaced out and not many seats. The most interesting part of this Museum was the planes. I was a little disappointed that we reached the end very quickly. I have taken a few photographs of the areas of interest. Perhaps the museum will be better when the construction / re-organizing work has been completed.
Imperial Museum – More than just bombs and weapons, much more.
My second favourite Museum. Spectacular place, lots of history and information packed under one roof. What made the trip more interesting for me was the large amount of items on display. Military history is far from my strong point, my partner may be able to recognise one plane, tank, machine, from another but I certainty cannot. However I did learn a fair few things on this trip and being able to see the items rather than just look at pictures made it all the more worthwhile.
The most interesting section from memory would be the Spy section. A whole area dedicated to the MI15 and how until recently a lot of the information was confidential. It is all very James Bond, however the truth behind it. There are sections on gadgets, equipment, weapons, plan of actions. Also detailed accounts of actual spies, (female and male!) and how their actions helped shape our and protect our future.
The weapons on display are also scary and exciting at the same time. I found the bombs very daunting.
This is my favourite museum! When I return to London I am going to visit here first and spend all day in this amazing place. I love anything Egyptian and I enjoy History, I also find learning about different cultures fascinating. Unfortunately as this was the forth museum we had visited within a day and a half we were pretty shattered, I got to explore a little, but I only saw a small percentage of what is available. We explored the main two areas that interested us, with the time we had left.
The Japanese section was unique, some of the statues were so detailed, the estimated dates of origin shocked me as with the Egyptian artifacts, they were so well preserved. The whole museum is just oozing with history and beauty. If your native tongue isn’t English, don’t despair as they have multiple tour guides to help cover the different language barriers. I cannot wait to visit again and have the time to go on a tour, having overheard part of one they really do know their stuff and are ready to answer any questions you may have! A tour will give a much better understanding of what you are looking at and will also save you from having to read never-ending descriptions, especially if you find it hard to take in masses of information in one go. You’ll also get to learn fun / intriguing facts that are not mentioned on the display cases.
The Egyptian section:
If you like Egyptian artifacts, documentaries, mummies, the culture, then this is your Egyptian heaven. Forgive any of my pictures that are hindered by reflective lighting, as the colour and detail to these artifacts is a rare gem that you must see in person. Everywhere you turn there are mummy cases, masks, portraits, other items that would have been buried within a tomb. There are also sections on Early Egyptian life, details of the complex burial rituals that would have to be adhered to, to ensure passage to the afterlife. It gives us an insight into the lives that these people would have led, their belief system which structured their lives. Modern technology such as CT scans has also given historians the opportunity to discover more about the mummification process while still preserving these important discoveries.
I visited the British Library on the morning we were due to leave, as it was directly opposite the Premier Inn. I visited purely to see the Magna Carta and was pleasantly surprised to see other intriguing documents on display. There were original letters from notable individuals such as Henry the 8th, Florence Nightingale, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Isaac Newton, Lewis Carroll and many more. There is also a gift shop on site which has unique gifts and a wide array of books to purchase. A short but enjoyable visit.
General out and about photographs: