As much as I loved being in London, I was happy to get home to our quiet streets and to our garden. A life of crowded pavements and pushy pedestrians is not for me. Not all of London is like that though – you only have to venture a little way off the tourist track to find yourself in more civilised surroundings. We made a trip to Notting Hill (to visit the Hummingbird Bakery – more on that another time!), and also to Marylebone High Street, where you can potter around to your heart’s content. It’s a narrow road, with plenty of pedestrian crossings, and there’s a lot of good stuff to see within a short distance – a bonus if you have already walked a lot, as we had.
We started in the Conran Shop, at the north end of the street. This kept us busy for quite some time – Mum and I are both fans of the Conrans, and there were three floors to explore. They sold my favourite mixing bowls – Rosti Margrethe, two of which I carried back from Paris on my lap some years ago. (They only had white ones in the Conran Shop – my collection of five bowls are in more colourful hues.) They also sold Kusmi Tea, which I have wanted to find for a long time since I saw it on Decor8 three (!) years ago. I had no idea whether the tea would be nice; for me, it was all about buying the pretty tin it came in. (I’ve tried the tea now though, and yes, it’s good tea. And the tin! The tin is pretty.)
As you work your way south, you can visit Cath Kidston, Skandium (a whole shop of Scandinavian homewares), and an excellent kitchen shop called Divertimenti. There are plenty of other places to browse as well, mostly selling luxurious things for your house (Emma Bridgewater pottery, a bookshop specialising in travel, and fancy eateries are all right there). If you are someone who has a thing for ribbon, VV Rouleaux is close by as well. We had lunch at Strada – an upmarket chain that I thought we didn’t have here in Nottingham, but it turns out we do, so I expect we will go there again before long.
After lunch we headed for St Paul’s, which I think is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s not cheap to get in, and be warned that they no longer allow photography inside. This was a bit of a disappointment to us, especially since the ‘no photography’ signs aren’t visible until after you’ve handed over your admission fee. I can sort of understand their reasoning, but I think a ‘no flash photography’ option would be more appropriate. We very much enjoyed exploring the building though, and I love the fact that the cafe is in the crypt – it is all too rare that I get to eat coffee cake and drink tea whilst sitting in a crypt.
Mum and Andy then went to the National Gallery, while I took a walk along the Mall, as I wanted to see all the flags. It did look beautiful, although I must admit that I am starting to experience bunting fatigue. The Queen must be sick of the stuff by now too.
So that was the last full day of our trip. We managed a walk around Hyde Park and Kensington the next morning – I’ll write about that next.