Hello friends. I’ve been on a bit of an adventure to one of my favorite places – Great Britain. It was fantastic. I’m going to share a little photo journey with a lot of eye candy (and a smidgen of patchwork included) if you like that kind of thing. If not, have no fear, I’ll be back with quilting/fabric/stitchy posts later this week.
The reason for this trip: 25 years ago I was a student living in London on study abroad. It was seriously the BEST semester of my college experience. We lived on this street near Kensington Gardens. London (and the entire country) has had a firm grip on my heart ever since. (Union Jack flats found here.)
And I met some of the best friends that semester. We all live in different states now, but have kept in touch and for years we’ve talked about going back together. Seeing we’ve hit the 25 year milestone, we decided this was the year to make it happen!
So here are a few shots from the journey. This one was from the plane as we flew over central London before landing. A pretty amazing bird’s eye view of the city!
This one not-so-amazing. The Elizabeth Tower (more commonly known as Big Ben) doesn’t have quite the same charm at the moment as it’s surrounded by scaffolding…
But other parts of the city are as charming as ever…
…including Trafalgar Square…
A walk through one of my favorite haunts, Kensington Gardens
statue of Queen Boudicca and the London Eye
waving to the current Queen from St James Park
view of the Tower Bridge from London Bridge
We spent one afternoon wandering through Covent Garden, which I hadn’t done for 25 years. So much fun eye candy there. Not to mention real sweets such as macarons from Laduree. (yum.)
This miniature sewing bag was in one of the shop windows (unfortunately I forgot to note which one…)
We spent a morning at the V&A (Victoria and Albert) museum in Kensington. There is SO MUCH inspiration there! Here is a miniscule bit of the details I loved: detail from a piano designed by Edward Burne-Jones, Arts and Crafts vase by Walter Crane (1889), Chihuly sculpture hanging in the entrance, diamond tiara by Cartier (1903).
Gorgeous original wallpaper sketches by William Morris. I’m such a sucker for William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement of 19th Century England.
I’m also a sucker for Cath Kidston. Isn’t this patchwork chair the cutest? I did notice that Cath seems to no longer sell fabric and other haberdashery that was available when I visited 4 years ago. Fewer housewares too. More of an emphasis on bags and clothing now. But cuteness still abounds.
I had a fun time getting out of the city and took a day tour to the west. Stopped at Windsor Castle and toured there. Loved it! And fun to see St. George’s chapel where the recent royal weddings have taken place. (Go late in the day for smaller crowds.)
Also made a stop in Bath and loved it too! It was short and sweet, but so glad I got to see some of the sites. And it was a gorgeous autumn day. Just magical.
Got to tour the Roman baths – which just blows my mind a little.
And speaking of old stuff, also visited Stonehenge. Another pro-tip: go early in the day to beat the crowds. It was totally worth it. Somehow it was a lot cooler without hoards of tourists. (The tour I took started at Stonehenge, stopped in Bath and finished at Windsor – which is the opposite route of most tours. Made a huge difference!) My Grandfather’s father was born in a town near Stonehenge called Chippenham. Growing up my Grandpa would always say his ancestors built Stonehenge. Maybe that’s another reason I enjoyed the visit. 🙂
Oh England, I love you. It was such a treat to go for a visit. I feel so lucky I was able to go. You know I visited some fabric-y haunts (including Liberty!) as well. I’ll share more of those pics in future posts! I also got to make a quick trip to the Isle of Man and learned about Manx quilting – who knew! Lots more to come.
Now, time to shake this jetlag and get back to the sewing and pattern-writing at hand!