Today, I’m sharing all the little bits and bobs of my trip across the pond that didn’t make it into any of the blog posts thus far. I made the most of my time in England and wanted to gather my thoughts on the experience as much as I could while still living it, but of course there was so much to see and do and think that inevitably some adventures fell by the wayside – until now, that is! Here you’ll see a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, a stroll in the heart of classic London through Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster, snapshots of Notting Hill, Richmond, and Kew Gardens, and more.
To catch up before diving in:
The Victoria & Albert Museum:
The V&A is a museum of the decorative arts and design, which means that it has collections ranging from painting and sculpture to furniture, housewares, and fashions. I’ve always loved the quietest areas on the upper floors that contain furnishings and trinkets from British country houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But the collections from across the world are amazing too! I spent a few hours in the afternoon of Friday, August 21st taking it in, revisiting old favorite exhibits and discovering new ones.
A Walk in Kensington and Chelsea:
After I left the V&A, I took a stroll around the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster, which are the two boroughs of London where many of the most famous buildings and sights are located. Some of the photos here are from that afternoon, while others were taken on my long run-and-exploring jaunt a few days prior, or before teatime in Chelsea the day after.
I had actually never spent any time in the area around Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park, made famous by films like Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary. Although my last afternoon in London on Monday, August 24 was quite grey and rainy, I ventured out here to explore.
The South Bank:
Earlier on Monday, I had lunch with Elli near her office on the South Bank, really the only touristy bit of London located south of the Thames River. I walked through the National Theatre and along the Thames Path for a bit beforehand.
Battersea, Clapham and Wandsworth:
If you continued along the southern part of the Thames Path going back toward the center of the city, you would arrive first at Battersea Park (across the river from Chelsea), and then head to Clapham, Wandsworth, and Putney. This is the area where I did most of my long run on Wednesday, August 19, and where I did several of my other runs as well, since it’s near where I was staying with a friend at her flat.
Richmond and Kew Gardens:
And finally, if you kept walking along the Thames past Putney, you’d pass Wimbledon and eventually get to Kew Gardens and Richmond. These lovely areas of London are a bit more contained and are at the very end of the Tube lines – afterwards you get into the suburbs. They have their own High Streets (as do most boroughs of London) but feel more like towns-within-a-city than in other areas. The path along the Thames here is dirt and gravel rather than pavement, making it great for runners. On Sunday, August 23, my friend Heather and I walked here after running that morning in Hyde Park.
I really enjoyed getting to explore London on this trip. Although I was at Oxford for three years of college, I didn’t go into London all that much. Contrary to popular belief, even though Britain is small Oxford is still a 1.5-2 hour bus journey from central London. I would go in with friends or to meet up with friends from home passing through maybe once a term, and we tended to stick to the very central areas, which is why I do know my way around Kensington and Chelsea more than any other borough. But London is composed of 32 boroughs and the City of London (“the City”), each with its own ultra-local government, and even on this trip I just barely scratched the surface! I’ll be back again at some point and continue to learn more about the city. For now, I leave you with these snapshots of my time there.
I may do one more post about this trip, but in less than a week I’m heading to sunny Southern California for the Dumbo Double Dare and the next phase of my post-bar adventures 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying following along!
Have you ever been to London?
Do you prefer exploring historic areas, famous sights, or off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods?
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