Thursday was boat trip day, a special request from my mother. We took a bus from our hotel to Westminster, and walked around Westminster Abbey and Big Ben before heading to the dock. (I love Big Ben, it’s my favourite London sight and I always love to see it. Plus it reminds me of National Lampoon’s European vacation, which is the sort of low-brow film I love to watch on rainy days.)
Frustratingly, you can’t get a boat that calls at both Tate Modern (Bankside Pier) and Greenwich, so we took a boat to Greenwich, and then changed at St Katharine’s Pier on the way back (the pier right next to Tower Bridge, which is another of my favourite London sights). From there we took the very useful RV1 bus all the way to the Tate. (If you’re a tourist in London, I really recommend looking into the bus routes – the traffic is horrendous and so it can take a long time to get from A to B, particularly around Oxford Street and Regent Street, but it’s nice to be able to see where you’re going and to jump off if you spot something you’d like to get a closer look at. And so many tube stations involve lengthy underground walks before you reach the platform, so a bus is better if you are already tired from walking around all day. The RV1 bus links up a whole loads of things that, as a tourist, you’ll be wanting to see – some of which are not so easy to get to on the tube.)
The boat trip itself was nice and relaxing, other than the fact that an entire primary school was on there with us. The children were very excited and noisy, but in a nice way – it all added to the atmosphere.
And as for Tate Modern… I had been several times before and so knew exactly what I was letting myself in for, but Mum and Andy were a bit disappointed by the art. (Something they rectified later in the week with a visit to the National Gallery.) We all like art, but much of the modern art is just a bit too out there for our tastes. I must tip my hat to the ‘artist’ who managed to sell the gallery a pile of bricks back in the 1970s, described as a ‘minimalist sculpture’…
Anyway, whether you appreciate modern art or not, it’s still worth visiting for two reasons: the shop and the cafe! The shop has a great selection of art books (many of them featuring ‘proper’ artists, rather than the sort who simply move a few bricks into a pile), and the cafe does excellent food. Higher up in the building (the 7th floor, I think) is another bar and cafe which has wonderful views across London.
Again, the rest of my pictures from our holiday in London are here. Next up: shopping on Marylebone High Street, and exploring St Paul’s Cathedral.