Posted by: sweetpea | May 25, 2005

London weekend…

Just spent a long weekend in London visiting my brother. Had a fantastic time even though I arrived home exhausted, not from late nights out partying, but from walking! My feet were aching so much, but that was mostly my fault for not taking appropriate walking boots with me! Below are some of the highlights and thoughts on what we did……

KEW GARDENS (saturday)

I’ve been wanting to visit Kew for years, because I like gardens, and because of it’s worldwide reputation as a plant collection. Because of this I think I’d built up my expectations a little too much because I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Yes it’s a lovely place to spend the day walking around, even in the rain! and the trees are magnificent. The glasshouses too are great. But somehow it didn’t have the WOW factor I was expecting. We didn’t quite get to see everything, but apart from the glasshouses and the acres of grass and trees, the ‘themed’ gardens seemed small. Last summer we visited the Montreal Botanic Gardens which in my mind did have the WOW factor simply because the ‘themed’ gardens were bigger, and gave a better sense of the subject.

One thing that definitely took away from any WOW factor there was, was the glass sculptures that were in and around the gardens. I don’t know what it is about sculptures in gardens, some look fantastic and blend in really well, which is what they should do. The ones at Kew stood out like sore thumbs, and spoilt the beauty of the plants. Luckily it’s only a temporary installation, unfortunately for us it seemed to have arrived early! Here are a few examples:


Ice cubes – when I first saw these I thought someone had covered the bushes with plastic bags!
Posted by Hello


More ice cubes! Posted by Hello


Coloured rods – how are these supposed to enhance the garden?
Posted by Hello


Glass sun – This I thought wasn’t so bad, but would have been better without
Posted by Hello


Glass floats – These just look wrong! we were very tempted to throw stones at them!
Posted by Hello


Not a glass sculpture, but this sign amused us, we even contemplated cutting off our hands to go and see what was there!
Posted by Hello


The worlds most dangerous tree, on view to the public for the very first time! Posted by Hello

This is actually a tree called the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) which was thought to have been extinct for 2 million years, until it was rediscovered recently in Australia.


Sunday we walked to the gherkin, and what a fine piece of architecture it is. Took quite a few photo’s, the reflections were great.


The Gherkin Posted by Hello


Me trying to be artistic, taking a picy of my reflection. Posted by Hello


After we’d had enough of admiring the gherkin, we wondered towards Spitalfields Market. The variety of markets IS one of the things I do like about London, something you don’t get around York. Sunday’s market is very busy and full of clothes, cards, food, bags, household things. FANTASTIC. We started off wondering around together, but then split up being as it’d make it easier. I was in heaven with all the clothes stalls, saw some fantastic items, but managed to keep my wallet safely tucked away, quite an achievement I thought. I must admit this achievement was in part due to the lack of space to try things on, lack of privacy, and the fact I wouldn’t be able to return anything that didn’t fit!
After we’d finished at the market, we popped into a little cafe (I think it was called the Market cafe) for a hot drink and bagel. We were sat at a table with this guy who was drawing strange boxes on pieces of paper, obviously trying to work something out. Brother thought he was trying to work out a storyboard, which makes sense with what he was drawing, and somehow he did look a little familiar, although that was probably just my imagination!

Sunday afternoon we headed to Tower bridge, crossed it, then crossed back again on the other side. Took the steps down onto Southbank and saw the WEEE Man standing proud in front of us.


The WEEE Man in all it’s glory Posted by Hello


close up of WEEE Man Posted by Hello


The WEEE Man and Tower bridge Posted by Hello


I’d heard about this sculpture and was glad we were able to see it, especially now I’ve found out it’s not a permanent installation, something I think it should be. The WEEE Man is a sculpture of a ‘person’ made entirely of waste electrical and electronic products equivalent to what the average UK citizen will throw away in a lifetime. It’s a fantastic way of educating the public as you can’t help but look at it and wonder what it’s all about, THAT’s why it should be a permanent sculpture.
After the WEEE Man we wondered along SouthBank towards the City Hall to look at the current photography exhibition at morelondon, which is 120 photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand ‘Earth from the Air’.


‘Earth from the Air’ Photo exhibition Posted by Hello


I love these photographs and have been meaning to buy the book for yonks. They’re very inspirational and make you think about what we’re doing to our planet. One thing that did annoy me though was the fact that there are lights above each photo which seem to be permanently left on. They are there for the purpose of allowing people to take in the pictures at night, but are definitely not needed during the day. Under many of the photo’s there are quotes telling the viewer such things as ‘how much electricity a person will use in a year’… etc. If the exhibition is aimed at drawing attention to what we are doing to our planet, surely the organisers should have thought of switching the lighting off during the day to save electric!


Well, to tired to walk far. We headed for Embankment, crossed the bridge, walked along the river towards Westminster bridge, crossed it, and walked back along the other side of the river. Spent an hour or so in the park at Embankment trying to work out how the sprinkler system worked, and reading. Then had a pretty average lunch at Ha Ha, before deciding to head to Trafalgar square and St James’s Park, where we had a lovely leisurely stroll around the lake, passing a pretty little cottage on the lake. In 1837 the Ornithological Society of London presented some birds to the Park and erected the cottage for a bird keeper.

Pretty cottage on the lake at St James’s Park. Posted by Hello


Then off to Leicester square where I parted company with my brother for my journey home.



  1. Just read this – very pleasing account.

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