Luke and I celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary on 3 January 2012. It's hard to believe it was over a year ago now, as I can remember the day as if it were yesterday! With our anniversary date being on a weekday, we decided to properly celebrate it by going to London for the weekend (7-8 January). One of the many redeaming qualities about Milton Keynes is that London is only a 35 minute train journey away. Just think 35 minutes, no stops, and you're in the middle of one of my favourite cities in the world!
We stayed at the Thistle Westminster, not the best hotel I've stayed at in London but for the price (they're having a Winter Sale) and the location (right in the heart of Westminster) it was perfect! As luck would have it our room was ready right when we arrived at 10:00am, so we were able to drop our stuff off, freshen up and go!
We spent the morning walking around Buckingham Palace and St. James' Park, before making our way to Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery (Museums having free admission is one of the many perks of England). I love London's museums but National Portrait Gallery is my favourite. I first visited it when I was sixteen with my Mom when a friendly tour guide suggested it to us. It always seems quieter than the other museums, which I hope doesn't change since Kate Middleton (or should I be calling her the Duchess of Cambridge now?) is going to be a patron now.
After a few well spent hours in the NPG, we made a pit stop into the National Gallery which is having an amazing Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the moment. Unfortunately the National Gallery is considerably busier than its 'cousin' and the queue/crowd around the exhibit was more than either of us could handle. So instead we walked around the Dutch wing, which Luke jokingly described as "a bunch of pictures of cows or windmills or cows and windmills". Philistine!
That evening we went out for dinner at an Italian restaurant, Il Posto, that is the definition of you can't judge a book by it's cover. We discovered Il Posto with my Mom during my birthday weekend in London, it was right across from the Apollo Victoria (where we were going to go see Wicked). It doesn't look like anything fancy, but the food is simply amazing! The prices are good as well, I mean £7.00 for a pasta dish in London is practically unheard of. It certainly won't be our last dining experience there!
While on Saturday we had visited my favourite museum, on Sunday we visited Luke's - the Natural History Museum. Luke kept pointing out things to me and darting from exhibit to exhibit with the exuberance of a little kid; which happens to be the last time he visited the museum. The museum was a little too packed with kids that didn't watch where they were going for my liking. But I did enjoy looking at the Aurora collection (a collection of multi-coloured diamonds) and the Dinosaur exhibit took me back to my childhood. What is it about dinosaurs that makes so many children fascinated by them? Perhaps it was because we grew up with Jurassic Park, but every child from my generation seems to have gone through a dinosaur phase.
After exiting the museum we took the Underground to Covent Garden for some window shopping and lunch. I was so underwhelmed with lunch that I don't even remember where we ate, although of course I loved the atmosphere. After watching a few street performers we wandered through Soho looking for the giant Waterstones book store that our waitress had told us about. Four storeys of books, yes please! As it happens there are plenty of book stores around Soho, mostly used/rare book stores. One such store got our custom, even if he did look down his nose at us at Luke paid for his used copy of Dr. No.
By the time we were finished wandering around Soho, we never did find Waterstones, it was time collect our luggage from the hotel and head to London Euston for our train back to MK. As the t-shirts say; I ♥ London!
Quintessentially English's January entry for Happy Homemaker UK's Post of the Month Club