Leaving On A Jet Plane…

I’m off again to spend New Years in a different country with one of my good friends, our second New Years together in a different country… maybe a tradition is forming? Hehe.

Last year, Portugal…

This year… Keep an eye out for some related posts!

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London: Highgate Cemetery

 

Highgate Cemetery has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country. It is a place of peace and contemplation where a romantic profusion of trees, memorials and wildlife flourish.

Excerpt from Highgate Cementary

Highgate Cemetery is divided into two parts, West and East – West Cementary is by guided tour only, £12 for 70 minutes in English and departs in all weathers, the price including entrance into the East Cementary which you are free to roam around and their is a small entrance fee of £4, if not doing the tour.


 

The West Cementary

Selecting the guided tour option, we were very lucky to get onto the tour as we arrived a few minutes late due to delays on the Tube but the tour leader had only just arrived herself and was understanding – We quickly paid up and the tour started. The day was warm, yet cloudy and it had rained the previous day and since the tour does go out in all weathers, I suggest you wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

The tour takes you all over this section of the cementary, the tour filling the air of history and stories about the cementary, some of the occupants and how they came to be there. You’ll be surprised at some of the facts you hear, including the date of the last burial (it is more recent than you think). As the tour takes you deeper and deeper into the grounds, you notice a shift from individual burials to family plots and mausoleums, shifting in size and status as you progress. One section you are allowed to enter eith the tour leader, the light barely piercing the shadows from within, this crypt emptied for reasons I have forgotten but like the tardis, small looking on the outside yet inside seems to go on for a distance.

Towards the end of the tour, after a haunting true-to-life story about one particular burial, you get a glismpe inside a mausoleum which demonstrates the loss of a loved one and a dedication to be true to their memory, their life with the money to do it – No photography here, just a small little step in to gaze at this wonder that takes your breath away. Death and grief are such powerful forces in our lives..

At the end of the tour, if you have time and interest to use your ticket to the East Cementary, included in the tour price, then keep on reading to find out about this part of Highbury Cementary.


 

The East Cementary

Most well known in this section of Highgate Cementary is the grave of Karl Marx, his political philosophy that influenced the world and which I have explored through my studies of history and sociology.

If you do visit this side of the cementary, be sure to use your entrance fee wisely and walk around, there are some wonderful and creative headstones belonging to poets, artists, presenters, actors etc that are worth checking out whether you recognise the names or not.

Would I do the East Cementary by itself? Probably not and would recommend that if you would like to do it, you do the guided tour in the West first, followed by the chance to walk around the East side in your own time.  It is worth the time and money, with the nearby area filled with restaurants, cafes, pubs etc so that you can grab something to eat and drink.

London: The Royal Albert Hall, The Albert Memorial & The Serpentine

Ended up here with my Uncle and his many strolls as tour guide that he takes us on when I am in London. We didn’t go in the Royal Albert Hall but had a nice lovely coffee (or three) alongside the Serpentine.

albert05The Royal Albert Hall & The Albert Memorial, Kensington, London


The Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London, best known for holding the Proms concerts annually each summer since 1941.

A mural by Sir Peter Blake unveiled at the venue in April 2014 shows more than 400 famous figures who have appeared at the Hall, including Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Edward Elgar, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Adele.

Excerpt from ‘Wikipedia’

Have fun spotting them!


The Albert Memorial

It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861.

Excerpt from ‘Wikipedia’

Such a prominent memorial, splendid detailing and obvious expense – I wonder what the upkeep is like?


The Serpentine

The Serpentine (also known as the Serpentine River) is a 40-acre (16 ha) recreational lake in Hyde Park, London, England, created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline.

Excerpt from ‘Wikipedia’

There are a few cafes along here to sit indoors or outside alongside the Lake, which my Uncle throghtly recommends, as do I especially at sunset 😀

London: Hamstead Heath and Kenwood House

Hamstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces, situated just six kilometres from Trafalgar Square.

An island of beautiful countryside, the magic of Hampstead Heath lies not only in its rich wildlife and extensive sports and recreational opportunities, but also in its proximity and accessibility to millions of people.

Excerpt from Hamstead Heath – Green Spaces – City of London

Such a large, beautiful area a place you could easily spend the day, take a stroll, a picnic, explore and witness the views of London without the rush of the city. It was a warm day when we went, no map just a walk that took us many places, autumn had only just arrived and the flowers of summer still showing. As you head deeper into this large landscape, you will come across the grounds of Kenwood House…


Kenwood House

On the edge of Hampstead Heath surrounded by tranquil landscaped gardens, Kenwood is one of London’s hidden gems. The breathtaking interiors and stunning world-class art collection are free for everyone to enjoy. With children’s activities, a café to relax in and acres of grounds to stretch your legs, there are treats in store for every visitor. Come and see what Kenwood has to offer you.

Excerpt from Kenwood | English Heritage

It’s free, so always a draw in London so a wonderful addition to your trip to Hamstead Heath and if you like art, artitecture and your history, even better. For the lovers of art, their are paintings by famous artists including Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsborough and Vermeer as well as various sculptures and jewellery. From the outside to in, the artitecture is intricate, well thought out and stands out, you have to see it to believe it – My creative skills are quite poor, so respect those that have mastered their crafts and appreciate all art regardless of form.

Whilst the house is small, the impact is much bigger and is worth a visit alongside a trip to this area. By itself, not so much unless you plan to spend your day on the heath, in the gardens and the nearby suburb which has lots of lovely cafes and shops.

London: National Maritime Museum & Gardens, Old Royal Naval College and Queen’s House

Calling all history buffs and lovers everywhere, these are the places you will want to see and experience!

Maybe, I am being a little bit dramatic and anyone can visit but seriously… art lovers too. If you are in Greenwich, it is so easy to spend the entire day visiting the places below as well as The Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark with a large green space to chill out on, as well.


National Maritime Museum & Gardens

The first thing on this list and I didn’t have time to go in! I really want to though, but I was pressed for time to do the other things in Greenwich but I will be back some day – It’s a history museum, try and keep me away! Haha.


Old Royal Naval College

I wasn’t really expecting to walk into a large hall and find the walls and ceilings covered head to toe in beautiful artwork which took my breath away. I lost track of time here exploring the details that surrounded me, leading me to the back of the room to more extradionary designs, almost transported to another time and place. My photos just don’t give the place justice, which the staff have created a beautiful ambience with fitting decorations of furniture and a welcoming atmosphere to explore and investigate.

Beyond this hall, there are other areas to explore, just walk around the outdoor areas and you’ll find signs inviting you into other areas (subject to opening times), as well as accessible toilets and cafes – Although, with such open spaces, why not eat outside and have a picnic?


Queen’s House

No photography allowed!

gw12Such a quaint place, that whilst small is filled with lots of knowledge, artifacts and history to wet the appetite that you don’t want to rush through it despite the small size. Tempting as it is, I forced myself to slow down and take in and read everything, enjoying the experience followed by the surprise that it had come to an end so soon.

If in the area, check it out along with the other amazing sights above.

 

Greenwich – Simply make a day of it to enjoy everything it has to offer!