Tag Archives: London

What to do in London, the best places to visit in London, London hotels, bars and restaurants.

Photo Tour of Highgate Cemetery London

Highgate Cemetery in north London was one of these places that I’d been meaning to visit for decades. One of the reasons I selected the Ramada Hotel Finchley for my London accommodation was that it was bus ride from the hotel to the cemetery.

I’d looked at the Highgate Cemetery to check opening hours before I visited. I was rather annoyed that there was a £4 entry fee, as it’s free to enter most cemeteries in the UK. Evidently the fee is charged as Highgate Cemetery used to be owned by a private company. When it folded in the 1970s, the cemetery fell into disrepair, until it was taken over by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, a registered charity.

The most well-known grave in Highgate Cemetery is that of Karl Marx.

highgate cemetery karl marx grave

However for me the most striking gravestone was the one below, which looks like a woman clutching a body.

highgate cemetery sculpture of two people

Despair was the sentiment which came to mind when looking at the sculpture of the man with his head resting on a stone

highgate cemetery sculpture of man with head on stone

The full size piano sculpture was pretty impressive.

highgate cemetery piano gravestone

I liked the gravestone sculpture below of a young woman holding flowers; the folds in her dress made it look as though she were standing in a breeze.

highgate cemetery gravestone of young woman

The floral engraving on the cross of the gravestone below are beautiful.

highgate cemetery cross gravestone embellished wiht flowers

There were plenty of gravestone sculptures of angels in Highgate Cemetery,

highgate cemetery angel

highgate cemetery angel gravestone

highgate cemetery angel gravestone covered in ivy

highgate cemetery young warrior angel gravestone

highgate cemetery angel gravestone in sun

highgate cemetery angel gravestone3

At least the £4 entry fee contributed to the upkeep of the pristine toilets.

highgate cemetery toilets

I have to say that I was slightly disappointed by Highgate Cemetery. It’s described as “one of England’s greatest treasures with some of the finest funerary architecture in the country”. I’ve visited other cemeteries, such as the Old Town Cemetery in Stirling and the Howff Cemetery in Dundee, which I found more interesting and were free to enter.

Photo Tour of Camley Street Natural Park London

The Camley Street Natural Park is located close to King’s Cross Station. I happened to spot a sign for it when I was in the area, and decided to take a look.

The park was created in an old railway coal yard which was saved from redevelopment in the 1980s.

camley street natural park map

The park has a visitor centre with toilets. In Summer, there’s an outdoor cafe

camley street natural park visitor centre

I liked the art on the exterior of the visitor centre. There was a ladybird.

camley street natural park ladybird art

It looked as though the bee’s wings were made from honeycombs.

camley street natural park bee art

One side of the Camley Street Natural Park is bordered by Regent’s Canal.

camley street natural park barge in canal

There’s a ‘Floating Forest’ garden on an old barge moored in the park.

camley street natural park floating forest

There are a couple of ponds in the park.

camley street natural park pond

There was a pretty blue and purple feathered moorhen with a red beak wandering around.

camley street natural park bird.

It was early Spring during my visit, so everything was a bit barren, and it was too cold to sit on the benches.

camley street natural park

The park is close to the rail tracks, which is reflected in the train mural.

camley street natural park mural

There’s an ‘Outdoor Living’ area which looked as though it could cater for a large party.

camley street natural park outdoor living area

The Camley Street Nature Park is open daily from 10am to dusk, or 5pm, whichever is earlier.

Visiting Alexandra Palace in London

I finally got around to visiting Alexandra Palace in north London this year.

alexandra palace

It first opened as an entertainment venue, known as the People’s Palace, in 1873. It was named after the Princess of Wales, Alexandra, But it burnt down in a fire only 16 days after opening. The rebuilt Palace opened in 1875.

I first heard of Alexandra Palace when I was a child. That’s because part of the building was leased to BBC, who made the first TV broadcast through the BBC Tower mast in 1936.

alexandra palace information board on first TV broadcast in 1936

The BBC Tower is a real landmark. I could see it from my bedroom at the Ramanda Hotel Finchley.

bbc tower alexandra palace

There are plans to turn the derelict former BBC studios into a visitor centre, and to reopen the historic theatre.

bbc tower at alexandra palace

Around the corner from the BBC Tower, there is an indoor ice rink. I tried to get in to take some photos, but there were entry barriers.

alexandra palace ice rink

At the opposite end of Alexandra Palace is Palm Court.

alexandra palace palm court entrance

There are public toilets and a bar/restaurant (open every day) which has seating in Palm Court, as well as in a large outdoor courtyard.

alexandra palace palm court

There are some good views over London down towards Canary Wharf from outside Alexandra Palace.

There’s an enormous circular stained glass window along the side of Alexandra Palace.

alexandra palace stained glass window

It was too cold for me to linger in the Alexandra Park, I only stopped briefly to look back at Alexandra Palace and the BBC Tower.

alexandra palace and the bbc tower

Visiting the Switch House at the Tate Modern

Even if you are not a fan of modern art, I recommend that you visit the viewing balcony on the 10th floor of the Tate Modern’s Switch Tower for some great views of the London skyline.

shard from from the 10th floor balcony at the Switch House Tate Modern London

The Shard to the right of the photo

View from the 10th floor balcony at the Switch House Tate Modern London

The City of London skyline including the Walkie Talkie to the right

On the way down from the 10th floor of the Switch House, I stopped at the Artist Rooms to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibition, which runs until June 2017.

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London4

Cell XIV (Portrait), reminds of Munch’s The Scream

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London3

Cell (Eyes and Mirrors)

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London2

Single 11 (the suspended figure), A l’infini (16 paintings on wall)

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London1

Spider (1994), spiders were one of Bourgeois’ favourite topics

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London

Untitled (1996). Bourgeois created several work using items of clothing

Tate Modern is open until from 10.00 to 22.00 Thursdays to Saturdays and 10.00 to 18.00 Sundays to Wednesdays.

The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation at Kings Place London

004’The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation – Self Portraiture in the 21st Century’ runs until 24 September 2016 at Kings Place London.

Upon entering, one painting looked familiar to me. That’s because it was by Lucy Jones, and I’d seen the piece in her  ‘Looking In, Looking Out exhibition at Kings Place in 2014.

Lucy Jones in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Below is a selection of my favourites at the Next Generation exhibition.

Josie McCoy in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Josie McCoy

Red Studio Portrait in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Mary Mabbutt

Tabitha Steiner Self Portrait in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Tabitha Steiner

Crowd By Jiro Osuga in The Next Generation Collection is King's Pl London

Jiro Osuga

Mum of Four in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Brita Granstrom

Self Portrait with Exploding Chest in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Marcelle Hanselaar

Self Portrait by Adam Birtwistle in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Adam Birtwistle

Peter Glossick in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Peter Glossick

Elizabeth Shields in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Elizabeth Shields

Anita Klein in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Anita Klein

Self Portrait as Ornament by Charlotte Hodes in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Charlotte Hodes

Dale Atkinson in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Deal Atkinson

The Mystic Peasant by Greg Trickery in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Greg Trickery

Night Studio Study by Eugenic Vronskaya in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Eugenia Vronskaya

Self Portrait by Andrew Kuhn in The Next Generation at King's Pl London

Andrew Kuhn

Self Portrait by Lisa Stokes at The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Lisa Stokes

Self Portrait Neck by Tony Beanie The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Tony Bevan

Frances Borden in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Frances Borden

Dora Holzhandler in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Dora Holzhandler

Isobel Peachey in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Isobel Peachey

The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation exhibition made me think about doing a self portrait. I used some of my own hair to create sheep in one of my artworks. If I save the hair from my next few haircuts and the the self portrait isn’t to large. I should have enough hair to do the job.

A Photo Tour of Tate Britain London

Although I’ve been to most of the well known museums and galleries in London, I only recently paid my first visit to Tate Britain. It’s located in Millbank, on the northern bank of the River Thames.

tate britain london exterior

I was prompted to visit Tate Britain as, when I looked at a map to work out how to get to the Garden Museum in Lambeth on the south bank the Thames, I saw that it’d only take me a few minutes to walk from the Garden Museum to Tate Britain.

Before going inside Tate Britain, I ate my packed lunch in the Summer Garden.

tate britain london summer garden

Upon entering Tate Britain, I admired the Rotunda with its terrazzo floor.

tate britain london interior

A sweeping staircase leads to the lower floor from the Rotunda.

tate britain london staircase

My eye was caught by the Christina Mackie installation featuring ten 12 metre high silk nets.

tate britain london net installation

It was interesting to see Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’, which I better understood after reading about Emin’s bout of suicidal depression after a relationship breakdown.

tate britain london my bed my tracey emin

I’d previously seen Jacob Epstein’s ‘Jacob and the Angel’ alabaster sculpture at Tate Liverpool, but it’s still a powerful piece.

tate britain london jacob and the angel by epstein

I liked the vivid colours used in ‘How the West was Won’ by Donald Rodney.

tate britain london how the west was won

I was rather intrigued by a Typhoo Tea packet. An online search revealed that it was an early work entitled ‘Tea Painting in an Illusionist Style’ by David Hockney.

tate britain london typhoo tea

I wasn’t sure why Peter Black was clutching a Elvis magazine in his ‘Self Portrait with Badges’.

tate britain london elvis fan

I didn’t spot the title of this painting. To me, it resembled a foetus in its amniotic sac.

tate britain london red painting

The blade wielding character in the ‘The Nanny, Small Bears and the Bogeyman’ by Paula Rego, looked like a Red Indian about to perform some initiation rite on the youngster.

tate britain london bogeyman

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to replicate some of the positions portrayed below.

tate britain contortions

The lighting created shadows behind the ‘King and Queen’ sculpture by Henry Moore.

tate britain london henry moore couple sculpture

The wire sculptures looked a bit like squint pylons or TV masts.

tate britain london sculpturees

I highly recommend visiting the Tate Britain with its diverse collection of historical and contemporary British art. It’s open every day from 10am to 6pm.

The Mosaic Pavements at the National Gallery in London

I was intrigued by the mosaic pavements in the Portico of the National Gallery in London. They were created by the Russian born Boris Anrep, one of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of artists, writers and intellectuals most active in the first half of the 20th century.

The original mosaics, created in the late 1920s and early 1930s, portray the themes ‘The Pleasures of Life and The Labours of Life’. In the 1950s, a further set of mosaics, ‘The Modern Virtues’ was created. Some of the mosaics feature well-known figures from these periods.

Here is a selection of my favourite mosaics.

national gallery london art mosaic

Art

national gallery london exploring mosaic

Exploring

national gallery london defiance mosaic

Defiance, featuring Winston Churchill

national gallery london rest mosaic

Rest

national gallery london theatre mosaic

Theatre

national gallery london christmas pudding mosaic

Christmas Pudding

national gallery london science mosaic

Science

national gallery london engineering mosaic

Engineering

national gallery london humour mosaic

Humour

national gallery london mining mosaic

Mining

national gallery london lucidity mosaic

Lucidity, featuring philospher Bertrand Russell

national gallery london compromise mosaic

Compromise

national gallery london pursuit mosaic

Pursuit

national gallery london astronomy mosaic

Astronomy

national gallery london curiousity mosaic

Curiosity

national gallery london open mind mosaic

Open Mind

national gallery london folly mosaic

Folly

national gallery london delectation mosaic

Delectation, featuring ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn

national gallery sixth sense mosaic

Sixth Sense

If you’re visiting the National Gallery in London, make sure that you look down to admire the pavement mosaics when you walk through the Portico.

Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London

The Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque exhibition runs until 13 May 2016 at Kings Place London.

Most of the subjects are women with rather puzzled, serious expressions.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London4

Many are sitting on sofas.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London3

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London5

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London6

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London11

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London10

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London

I loved the rich, dark colours used in the paintings.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London13

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London9

There are a few paintings which focus on faces.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London1

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London12

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London7

If you’re in the King’s Cross area of London, I recommend that you visit the Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque exhibition at Kings Place London. It takes around ten minutes to walk there from King’s Cross Station.

Relaxing in Bloomsbury’s Garden Squares in London

When I was last in London, I’d planned to visit the British Museum on the Sunday morning. However being greeted by warm sunshine when exiting Holborn Tube Station, (after three consecutive chilly and dull days), I decided to stay outdoors and enjoy the sunshine in some of Bloomsburys’ garden squares.

My first port of call was at Russell Square Garden, which has a pretty fountain. But it was rather busy there and I couldn’t find a bench in the sun.

russell square garden london fountain

Fountain in Russell Square Garden

I moved onto Tavistock Square. After a stop at the Gandhi sculpture, I found a well located bench.

tavistock square garden london gandhi sculpture

Gandhi sculpture in Tavistock Square

I checked for other nearby garden squares on my phone, and decided to stroll across to Gordon Square. I read that the writer Virginia Woolfe and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, two of the main characters portrayed in the recent BBC drama ‘Living in Squares’, had lived at 46 Gordon Square.

gordon square garden

Gordon Square Garden in Bloomsbury

I loved the sculpture of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Rabindranath Tagore sculpture in Gordon Square Garden London

Sculpture of Rabindranath Tagore in Gordon Square

The imposing Grade 1 listed Christ the King church lies at the south-western end of the garden.

gordon square garden london

Christ the King Church from Gordon Square Garden

My final Bloomsbury garden stop was in Woburn Square, just across the road from Gordon Square.

woburn square garden

Woburn Square Garden

It’s home to an attractive Victorian style summerhouse.

woburn garden square london shelter

Summerhouse in Woburn Square Garden

When you are in Bloomsbury, I recommend that you spend some time in its garden squares.

The Beautiful Mosaics in St Mary’s Gardens in Lambeth London

I loved the mosaics in the base of the fountain and on paving stones around the fountain in St Mary’s Garden in Lambeth. This art is part of the Southbank Mosaics Community Enterprise programme.

The gardens are located just to your right after crossing Lambeth Bridge, beside the Garden Museum, which is housed in the former St Mary’s Church.

st marys gardens lambeth london

The mosaics in the fountain depict koi carp, river reeds and two beaches.

st marys gardens lambeth london single fish mosaic in fountain

The water in the base of the fountain appears to intensity the colours of the koi carp.

st marys gardens lambeth london single silver fish mosaic

The pavement mosaics surrounding the fountain, by Helen Lees, are based on a flora and fauna theme.

st marys gardens lambeth london plum mosaic

Plum mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london hedgehog mosaic

Hedgehog mosaic in St Marys’ Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london purple emperor butterfly mosaic

Purple Emperor butterfly mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london peach mosaic

Peach mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london cherry mosaic

Cherry Mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys garden lambeth london fox mosaic

Fox mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

I recommend that you combine seeing the mosaics at St Mary’s Gardens in Lambeth with a visit to the Tate Britain, which is a ten minute walk away in Millbank, on the other side of River Thames.