Thursday, February 17, 2011

To London

To London
“Please write and tell me about London. I live for the day when I step off the boat-train and feel its dirty sidewalks under my feet. I want to walk up Berkeley Square and down Wimpole Street and stand in St. Paul's where John Donne preached and sit on the step Elizabeth sat on when she refused to enter the Tower, and like that. A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for. I told him I'd go looking for the England of English literature, and he said: "Then it's there."
This quotation, taken from the wonderful movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, has always resonated with me, for it is a fairly accurate description of my own feelings about the city of London. So I am off to London today. In search of inspiration, ideas, and felicity. I am wearing an antique locket with Edward’s photograph inside and I’ll write if I can.
Tell me, what should I do whilst I’m there?


  1. There is a MUST-SEE show at Tate Britain: "Watercolour."

    At The National Gallery: "Bridget Riley" and "Jan Gossaert's Renaissance."

    An I would also go to Saatchi.

  2. Oh, go and potter round the area where the Ritz is, because behind that is the Cork street area, where the really la-de-dah art galleries are - there is a brilliant specialist illustration gallery called Chris Beetles, with original Rackhams and Winnie the Pooh sketches for sale (if you fancy treating yourself). Near there is Jermyn St, the upmarket tailor's area,in fact, if fact if you wander round the back streets in that area, it reeks of history and old London! If you get out to the Cotswolds do visit me or if you go to Oxford I will happily come to town to see you. Have fun!

  3. Go to Borough market and walk to the Tate Modern, ignore the Tate Modern but go to the Bankside Gallery and then cross the bridge to St Paul's and climb to the very top.

    John Soame's House is worth a visit and as an interior designer you will be in your alley. Oh yes, the Victoria and Albert Museum has been refurbished and is a must, so too is Liberty's.

    I live in Cheshire but if you come up north come and see me and Ted.

    Whatever you do, you will enjoy because you are that sort of person. xxx

  4. have a wonderful time Pamela....I hope you don't mind the rain!!! xx and if you get to go to Spitlefields go to Dennis Severs House at 17 Folgate Street for a real experience of life in London in the 18th is spookily fab!!

  5. Have a wonderful time! Our favorite restaurant in London is Chutney Mary for classy Indian food. Favorite things to do would be theater, gardens and art (Tate Modern).

    535 King's Road
    London SW10 0SZ, United Kingdom
    020 7351 3113

  6. The address and phone was for Chutney Mary.

  7. Oh visit The National Portrait Gallery portraits and sculpture of everyone who is anybody is there, brilliant! And then have tea at 'The Ritz' not to be missed, it's such a TREAT!!! And whilst you're in that area, just across the road up a little, there's 'Burlington Arcade', cor....the prices in the shops here are amazingggg! And don't miss, 'Fortnum & Mason' department store, where you can order ANYTHING from a bath plug or a picnic to be delivered to anywhere in the world! Oh! I could go on....
    Have a smashing time, and if you get up North, let me know, we'll meet up for tea.

    Hugs Pamela

  8. Hello Pamela

    I hope you will have a safe and great trip! Look forawrd to pictures and many writings on your wonderful adventure.
    Tracy :)

  9. St. Paul's Cathedral is always a wonderful stop, especially if you can be seated in the choir loft for evening vespers :)

    Have a lovely time.

  10. The Burlington Arcade! Enjoy, enjoy! Sue.

  11. Say hi to Kate for me!!!

    have a wonderful time, be safe. I'm so jealous!!!

  12. ahhhh, my neck of the woods! Go to Borough market, go to the National Gallery, go to Camden to see wild colours and wild hair! and to sit in a fabulous veggie cafe on the corner overlooking the canal where you can watch narrowboats coming through the lock :-) oh and saunter around Covent Garden at twilight to marvel at the street performers... and then travel North for an hour for a cream tea aboard my boat! x

  13. Visit the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great in West Smithfield, it's a hidden gem as is St Olav's Hart St where Samuel Pepys is buried. Buy a good street map and go to the City early on Sunday morning, just wander round and use your eyes, there is a thousand years of history there, avoid St Paul's because that's where all the tourists go:)
    If you go down Fleet St there's The Old Cheshire Cheese pub - It's been there since 1667,Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle were among the regulars. It's closed on Sundays though so you need to go during the week if you want to go inside. Even older is the Mitre where Shakespeare used to drink, it's tucked away down a little alley off Ely Place where you will find another hidden gem the 13th century St Etheldreda's church. It's tucked away between Charterhouse St and Hatton Garden. Have fun:)

  14. Yes - I agree about the exhibition at Tate Britain - I hear it is wonderful.

    Tea at the Savoy or the Ritz would be lovely too.

    Wander along the Embankment, take your time, soak up the sights and sounds - go where the mood takes you and have a lovely time.

  15. Hooray, what fun! I would wander the streets aimlessly, for it is all beautiful....but for me no trip to London would be complete without a visit to Portobello Road, a visit to Liberty, and the National Gallery. And a tasty meal at one of moderately upscale Greek or Lebanese restaurants....bon voyage!

  16. .........and don't miss Harrod's even if just to wander through the food hall.

    Liberty, the most beautiful shop of all if you want to splurge, especially on fabrics. The main Oxford Street Marks & Spencer (known as M&S or Marks & Sparks by all Brits on the planet) for great buys on everything for body and home......and good snacks downstairs.

    Everyone else has covered the historic places and galleries etc., but, if you've never been, The Tower of London definitely - so much British history centered there.

    Pamela, have a wonderful visit - hope it stays dry and warms up a bit..............and of course you have your comfy walking boots or shoes packed hopefully!

    Hope Edward doesn't pine too much!
    Bon Voyage, Mary

  17. How spectacular Pamela. I really love the quote. When I have visited London was with only the intent of soaking up as much history as possible. I think you should have a 'spot of tea' with Jacqueline from 'HOME'. She is one of my most favorite of bloggers. Have a grand time and looking forward to hearing about your journey's.

    Cheers ~ Deb

  18. It would be crime not to have your photo taken with Buckingham Palace in the background.

    High tea at the Langham is a must.

  19. Hello Pamela, I am new to your blog, found it through Pat at Hook, Hand and Heart. Coincidentally I am off to London tomorrow! When I was there in September I took a boat cruise up the Thames to Greenwich (only about an hour away) for lunch and a visit to the Maritime Museum. I'm thinking the weather might not be conducive to such an outing, but keep it in mind for another time. Galleries and culture aside, a walk from Sloane Square up Sloane Street to Knightsbridge and stopping at all the nice shops along the way is good fun.

    Btw, how does a girl from the southern States end up dreaming of the Scottish highlands? I was born in Scotland but moved to Toronto when I was four.

  20. I knew from the first you were quoting Helene - one of my favorite books and favorite movies as well. Of course, go to 84 Charing Cross Road, and see the plaque on the wall, as the bookseller is, of course, no longer there.

    I've not been to London, but, if I were to go there I would use Helene Hanff's book, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, which tells of her finally going to London, as a quide to the most interesting of places to visit. Really. See if you can pick up a copy. Then, I would truly want to see the Victoria and Albert Museum.

    Safe travel, and, oh, try to send Edward a few postcards that you can read to him when you return home.

  21. I know nothing about London, I've never been out of the US (sigh!)

    However, given your post from a few days ago, coupled with the lovely sketch you used today, and that you will be in LONDON, I would seriously suggest you go and buy yourself a PINK raincoat as in the illustration. Having more than one black coat is practical, but having a pink raincoat in London???? Oh, tres chic!!! (Rain is a lot less depressing if you're wearing a pink coat!)

    Have a great time! Don't forget they drive on the opposite side of the street. That's important to know even if you are only walking!

  22. Visit the Elephant House, where Jo Rowling created Harry Potter.
    Also go see if there is any Oscar Wilde plays on.

  23. Oh my I have no suggestions so I am coping all the suggestions sent your way just in case I ever get a chance to visit London myself:) Love the locket with Edward's picture:)

  24. Dear Pamela, I have just left London for Budapest, so we are but planes that pass in the sky!
    You know very well some of my haunts through my weblog but....Sir John Soane's Museum is a gem [and even better if you get a guided tour], Liberty's is the most stylish store [go right to the top for the antiques], Tate Modern to experience the scale of the place and the Tate for Sunday lunch. London is always exhausting so best to do only a little each day and that will be much more satisfying. Enjoy!!

  25. Bermondsey Market... It's been a long time since I was there but it was by far the greatest flea market.
    Just enjoy the wonderful people.

  26. Another spot if it's still there
    "Borscht and Tears....Marvellous food and atmosphere...

  27. Just had a few more thoughts, The British Library on Euston Road, The Princess Louise pub on High Holborn (near The British Museum) - this has the most amazing interior, you will love it. If you fancy the theatre go and see The Woman in Black, if you dare, don't go alone, it is seriously scary!

  28. I have read the books and love them, last year I wrote about it in a post, because I am fascinated with letters and their writers! This story was so wonderful, I saw the movie and thought it so beautiful in a quiet and melancholic way!
    Wishing you a wonderful time in the footsteps of the past and presence!

    Bon voyage!

  29. WHAT??? You are in London? (I recognized that quotation in the first line.)

    Daunt Books. Persephone Books.
    Temple Church. Victoria and Albert Museum. Liberty.

    Email me if you have any spare time. We will be in Town on Wednesday.

  30. Good walking shoes and a warm coat + umbrella and just wander - London is full of delights.
    Visit the National Theatre even if just for its views over the Thames (especially at dusk) and if you go at lunchtime or before a performance enjoy the free entertainment in the foyers. I agree - Borough Market on a Friday or Saturday, walk the "wobbly bridge" from Tate Modern to St Paul's. Enjoy!

  31. Dear Pamela, email me via my profile if you need any advice at all - restaurants, places to go, anything at all. I can give you my number.

    I would say you should visit Mayfair, all the places Gretel recommends are fabulous ditto Acorn Moon. I think you will love Spitalfields, Fournier Street is worth a look and there's a house that's open on Sunday's called Dennis Sever's house - Google it. There's lots of amazing houses and shops and it's very olde worlde. You'll also love Columbia Road flower market which is near on a Sunday morning.

    84 Charing Cross Road is one of my favourite films ever.

    Have a brilliant trip and please don't hesitate to get in touch, I've lived here my entire life xx

    PS. Just seen

  32. The Garden Museum on Lambeth Palace Road, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Chealsea Physic Garden, the Geffrye Museum and the V&A - have a wonderful time:)

  33. Happy travels Pamela! Please try and come back with a lovely English accent...wouldn't that be a wonderful souvenir?!
    Looking forward to hearing about your adventures...
    xo J~

  34. so many questions pamela;
    how long will you be there? london only? i am flying into heathrow arriving wednesday then headed to sherborne in dorset to write.
    you have received an amazing list of things to do.
    my personal favorite is the national portrait gallery, wander the city, stop in jo malone for a fix then onto the countryside.
    may our paths cross!
    ps; i will be away 5 weeks and am distressed about not seeing my pooches for that longre

  35. I should have known earlier, you could have taken me with you.
    I miss London so much.

  36. How exciting Pamela! I got to go to England once and was treated to many unexpected surprises around every corner. I arrived in London ... on my first day there, I went to Buckingham Palace and saw the Queen! She was driven out in her car right by me! The next day, I was a guest at a real life Prince's family home, who I worked for back in LA. I got to see his home, which was one of the most elegant and beautiful homes I have ever seen. While I was in London, I visited museums, went to Harrods, and to some fine shoe shops, and wandered about streets filled with antique dealers. I walked in a beautiful park where swans were gliding in a pond, and I fed a squirrel who ate out of my hand.

    Eventually I made my way to Bath, where my Aunt is from and was shown all around by her family. Then I went onward up to Oxford, a truly magical place, and got a private tour of Christ Church, Oxford's grandest College, where the story of Alice in Wonderland came about. Lastly, I went to Stratford Upon Avon, land of Shakespeare. I saw Anne Hathaways' thatched farmhouse and learned so much more, especially about the English language. All in all, it was a magical journey. I am sure you will have a wonderful trip. I can't wait to hear about it all!
    ps. Be sure to take your new coat! :)

  37. My guess is that you are on your way home Pamela...hope you had a wonderful time!! I am so glad we had a chance to meet...I look forward to writing all about it :))

    Jeanne xx

  38. Hi, thank you for your sweet comment on my blog.
    Are you still in London?
    If you are then you MUST visit the Sir John Soane museum in Holburn (a wonderful, little secret museum, full of fabulous treasures) and of course Liberty and Fortnum & Mason are a MUST.
    If you have already returned home then come back and visit again soon

  39. Dennis Severs House
    The house is a time capsule- sometimes opened up. Its creator Dennis Severs, an artist who used his visitors imagination as his canvas, and lived in the house in much the same way as its original occupants might have done in the early 18th the rest for yourself at
    Then go and see if you have chance.

  40. Whatever you will do, I am sure you will do it with elegance. Have a wonderful time, Pamela.


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