I blocked out a day in my mum’s diary and we set off for the banks of the Thames, emerging from the underground to take in the Houses of Parliament before crossing over the river to wander along South Bank. There’s always so much going on - tourists swarming to take a photo of Big Ben, families lining up for the aquarium and others waiting to take a spin on the London Eye, skaters flying over curbs and street performers entertaining those weaving in and out of café tables which spill out onto the promenade – the place is alive 7 days a week, 365 days a year and I love it. We made a bee-line for the SouthBank Centre with tickets in hand for the Carlsten Holler: Decision, exhibition in the Hayward Gallery - even though this isn't running anymore you can ALWAYS find fun exhibitions on the South Bank.
The sensory experience was designed to confront visitors with a series of choices as installations over 4 floors created a world where nothing was quite as it seemed. My favorite piece had to be the hysterial upside-down glasses which had me walking into walls and bursting into fits of giggles as Mum tried to guide me. The exhibition really pushed the boundaries as to what can be classified as “art” but everything we saw, touched and played with during our time elicited an emotion or opinion, which is all the brain food I needed.
The exit from the gallery was undoubtably the best part - a slide! We climbed into our sacks and made one final decision – left or right tube – before whizzing off into the London sky.
Perhaps it wasn’t the most inspiring exhibition I’ve ever seen but I don’t regret my “decision” to go. It was ridiculously good fun!
The sun had started heating up over the city by the time we’d wiggled our way out of our sacks, our throats were dry and our tummies were starting to rumble, so we moved on, towards Soho, in search of refreshments.
Few things beat a leisurely stroll through London on a bright sunny day. Allowing the rest of the world to rush past us, we took our time meandering through frenzied communters, along the Strand to the ever-impressive Trafalgar Square. Apparently the National Gallery is going to start charging fairly soon and I couldn’t resist popping in to say hi to my faves - the rooms just off the main hall house some of the most famous Monet's, Van Gough's and Picassos. Even if you only have half an hour, it's well worth going in!
Finally (seriously peckish) we made it to Aqua’s rooftop terrace which hangs over Regent Street offering a tranquil escape from the madness below. A pricey but beautiful rooftop, an oasis from the hustle and bustle below.
They say that home is where the heart is. Well my heart belongs to my family and friends and as long as they’re in this city, London will always feel like home.
What's your favourite way to spend a day in London?