Forty Eight Hours in London With An Art Lover
“I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.” Noel Coward
Arrive Thursday afternoon. Check into Covent Garden Hotel (so cool).
Take a taxi to Saatchi Gallery. I love London taxi drivers who know so much about the city. The Gallery always has an interesting collection of contemporary artists.
There was a great photography exhibit on human trafficking in Nepal.
I tried to go to the nearby Flower Show (biggest thing happening in London this weekend) but I was losing steam.
I went back to the hotel for a quick nap. Dinner at Spring and drinks in the library at Covent Garden Hotel. (forgot to plug in my phone)
Friday. Yay – it is not raining. Breakfast at the Covent Garden Hotel.
I walked to the Tate Modern Museum. It is about a half hour walk from Covent Garden over the Waterloo Bridge and down the South Bank of the Thames. I love walking in London.
The one hour I had planned to spend at the Tate Modern stretched into three.
I was blown away by Shape Of Light exhibit.
I spent a while there.
I walked through some of the collection.
It is truly my favorite modern art museum in the world and I could easily have spent all day here.
I grabbed a sandwich at the museum café and planned the rest of my afternoon.
There is an excellent photography exhibition going on at the Gallery at Oxo Tower which was also on the Southbank. Windrush :Portrait Of A Generation is captured by photographer Jim Grover. In 1948 a ship called the Empire Windrush brought 1000 passengers from the West Indies to Essex. They were mostly Jamaican men brought to help rebuild England after the war. Many settled in London. They were known as the Windrush Generation.
They came to symbolize the changing demographics of the UK. But, with the new tough stance on illegal immigration throughout the world, the descendants are now struggling to prove a citizenship status they formally took for granted. They are not illegal immigrants. Before 1973, Commonwealth citizens had the right to live and work in the UK, without additional documentation. This photo exhibition coincides with the seventieth anniversary of the Windrush and is a timely reminder. Will they be deporting the Irish who came to work in London during the famine in the 1850’s? The exhibition is crowded thanks to a good review in Timeout magazine.
I pass by the Hayward Gallery even though they are between exhibitions because I wanted to see the space.
They don’t let me in so I continue walking.
I do some shopping and photographing around Covent Garden.
I have theatre tickets to Everyone’s Talking About Jamie. The British are such an enthusiastic audience and they serve ice cream at intermission. It is very current and fun. I’m sure it will be here soon. There is nothing American theatre lovers like better than to say “I already saw it in London.”
The next morning I head to the National Gallery to see the Monet and Architecture exhibit.
I love both those things. His use of light in his paintings of the same subject is so inspiring and beautiful.
The National Gallery houses one of the greatest painting collections in the world.
A copy of Van Gogh’s sunflowers hung in my house growing up. I run up to visit the original painting.
I have time for a quick stop at the National Portrait Gallery. It opened in 1858 and was the first Portrait Gallery in the world. There are paintings, photographs and videos of famous British people.
The pedestrian space in Trafalgar Square is filled with buskers, live statues and street artists.
For a street art lover like me, watching the artists create something while listening to beautiful Spanish guitar music on a sunny warm day in London, is a wonderful end to my trip.
I have to come back soon. I am also a theatre, shopping and food lover and I couldn’t fit it all in two days.