Friday, October 16, 2009

A Right Royal Outing

With my London Pass now Expired I was faced with the dire prospect of having to pay for admission to things again! Luckily I was able to find a few cheaper attractions to keep myself entertained for the day.

Started at the Clink Prison Museum, an underground museum built near the site of the original Clink prisons, the last of which burnt down during the Gordon Riots. Its another fabulous museum filled with cheesy recreations of scenes and sounds of life in London’s most notorious prison, with a few instruments of torture thrown in to liven things up.

From there, walked across the Millennium bridge and was waiting to cross a street when a bunch of police bikes raced past escorting Prince Charles and Camilla on an outing. Couldn’t get to my camera in time but got a wave from Charles which was pretty exciting. A little further on I found the Charles Dickens museum in the house where he lived for a period. A few of the rooms (including the wine cellar) have been restored to how they would have been while Dickens lived there, while a few others have been filled with collections of his belongings, memorabilia and a display on the French Revolution and the women in Dickens’ life. There was also a library filled with hundreds of books by or about him and an interesting exhibition on private schools of the time and how they inspired aspects of ‘Nicholas Nickelby’.

Next I walked over to Buckingham Palace and just as I approached another police escort went flying by, closely followed by the Queen and Prince Phillip, cool! Had a look at the palace and the Victoria memorial out front before continuing on to Hyde Parg to visit the Victoria nad Albert museum which houses an enormous collection of art from medieval times to the present. I didn’t have time to see half of what was in there but my main interest in going was the theatre section as I was hoping to dind a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan stuff. Jackpot! On the wall was a huge poster advertising a triple bill from the D’oyle theatre company, including my personal favourite the Mikado, a costume for Koko (lord high executioner from the Mikado), a small souvenir jug in the shape of Pooh Bah (lord high everything else) and another costume for the fairy Queen in Iolanthe. Plus there were plenty of other costumes, headdresses and playbills to keep me amused for quite a while. The museum also had an exhibition of furniture inspired by fairytales, some very sweet and a few quite gruesome, and a great collection of designer clothing through the ages. Walked back to the hostel which was fun as it started raining just as I left the museum and stopped right when I turned onto my street, yay.

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