Tuesday was the only day in London where we didn’t meet up with anyone. I suspect that we could have done, and one on the fly meeting fell through, but we had a lovely time regardless, so all was well.
Last time we went to London we ran out of time before visiting Little Venice, so it was firmly on the agenda this time. It is a small area of London between Maida Vale and Camden that is very much canal based. As you might expect. If you want to explore yourself you need to get the tube to Warwick Avenue and then follow the signs from there. It’s about a five minute walk to the canal basin.
There are lots of wonderfully named barges to stare at. We were particularly taken with The Matilda, for obvious reasons. It’s also quite fun to stare at how the other half, the aquatic half, live, although were I to live there I would have black out blinds up all the live long day.
We tested out the cake at the barge/restaurant The Waterside Cafe. I had an excellent piece of orange and marmalade polenta cake with cream cheese frosting, which warmed the cockles of my heart on a quite windy day. Then we wandered down the tow path further to a fantastic bookshop called Word on the Water, which is also on a barge with a very friendly proprietor and his excellent dog.
Coming back the other way we decided to take the water taxi down to Camden Lock as its something I’ve never done and although boating bores me to tears in general, boating through central London guarantees there is plenty to see and no boredom at all. The trips are run by The London Waterbus Company. You can find all times and prices on their website but one way from Little Venice to Camden Lock is about £8 per adult and £7 per child. The trip take about an hour, but it was so interesting the children didn’t get bored or rowdy and we all really enjoyed it.
Camden was heaving with tourists. We threaded through the market, which is fun, but a nightmare with three children all shouting ‘look mama!’ and trying to go different ways. It’s also no good if you don’t do crowds. I felt very old, as it has changed so much since I lived there. I stroked my beard and looked thoughtful.
We walked up into Primrose Hill and went for an excellent late lunch at Lemonia, a superb Greek restaurant that offers a fantastic value lunch time menu for £12 for 3 courses. There is ample food, beautifully cooked, delicious and served by super friendly staff. We ate like pigs in the trough.
After lunch we spent ruinous amounts of money in Primrose Hill Books, something which is never difficult to do, and then went for a romp on Primrose Hill itself. Well, the children romped, and I sat and nursed my incredibly full belly.
When I’d had enough of nature and romping children I herded them together and we went to the National Portrait Gallery. I had hoped to see the Virginia Woolf exhibition but they closed the tills half an hour before the museum shut, so we went and stared at the BP Portrait exhibition and the modern galleries. There are some stunning paintings there. I much prefer it to the National Gallery next door.
Culture box ticked, we went to see the giant blue cockerel on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and Tallulah tried her hand at busking. Oscar held the hat while Tallulah sang, and two songs later they were a tenner up, which paid for pre theatre drinks before we went to see Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, at The Duke of York’s Theatre. Highly recommended. We had a fabulous time.
The children were starving after the play so we went to China Town for a distinctly average dinner. Avoid the Lido restaurant if possible, and go to Plum Valley just up the road instead. Still, they enjoyed being out late and looking at all the shiny lanterns in China Town, so all was not lost.