A Visit to London

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

Buckingham Palace from St James park

waving to the current Queen from St James Park

Piccadilly Circus

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

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  • Reply
    Joanne M
    October 22, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    I was just in London a few weeks ago…my first time. I canโ€™t wait to go back. I did pop into the Liberty of London store and picked up a few gifts for my quilting friends.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Your post brought back so many memories for me! I studied abroad in London, almost 2 decades ago, and also lived near Kensington Gardens though I was on the other side near the V&A. It’s still my favorite city in the world. I try to go back as often as I can and I’ve even managed to get my sons (4 and 7) there more than once. My husband laughs at me, but every time we go back I need to visit my old flat, pop into a Sainsbury’s to remember what it was like and stock up on Smarties and Cadbury Crunchie bars, and ride the longest escalators in the tube. Thank you for sharing your trip – I had so much fun remembering through your photos.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2018 at 9:37 am

      I totally relate! And I stocked up on sweets at Sainsbury’s the night before I came home!! Priorities right?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Sarah G
    October 22, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I studied abroad in London as well and lived just off the High Street and Kensington Gardens! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Jealous!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 12:29 am

    I am so glad you love my beautiful London.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 1:00 am

    Gorgeous weather, gorgeous picture! Thank you for sharing. Am going to London soon, looking forward to it!

  • Reply
    Susie Q
    October 23, 2018 at 2:21 am

    Photos are fab !!!!!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 2:48 am

    How fabulous. I lived in London for years and still miss it. x

  • Reply
    Linda Theriault
    October 23, 2018 at 4:10 am

    I have never been to England but after seeing all your beautiful pictures I want to go!

  • Reply
    Lesley Gilbert
    October 23, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I was born and live in Hull, East Yorkshire and I always love to read posts about my country, from people’s visits here. It warms my heart to know that you and others enjoy being visiting and being here. Maybe sometime in the future you should take a look around the Yorkshire area – also know as ‘God’s own County’ ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Reply
      October 23, 2018 at 9:36 am

      I love Yorkshire too! I stayed with a family for a week outside of York when I was on that Study Abroad experience 25 years ago and took my family back 4 years ago. I’d forgotten how wonderful York is! My grandfather’s mother’s family came from Tadcaster and love to visit that little town as well. They lived on Bridge Street near the church and the river. It’s one of my favorite spots. I didn’t make it north on this trip, but hope to come again soon!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Oh loved your pics!! I got to go to London 3 times last year -once for vacation, twice when hubby was there for business. My sister and I spent the night in Bath on one trip. Oh how I want to go back!cant wait to see your other pics!!

  • Reply
    Nancy McKeown
    October 23, 2018 at 5:44 am

    I understand where you are coming from, my heart belongs to England too. Love it!!! I long to go back.

  • Reply
    Diann Smith
    October 23, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Thank you for this post. My daughter and I went in 1998 when she graduated from college and this was a treat for both of us. Love revisiting places and seeing the photos, You brought back lovely memories. I loved the people there and all the sights to see. I will make sure daughter sees this post,,,she’s a busy mother of three with a job/husband and quilting is not in her future at the moment but she so wants to become a quilter….some day.

  • Reply
    Dori Johns
    October 23, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Oh, how I love this post! Both of my grandmothers were English and I’ve never been able to visit. I just loved looking at your photos. Welcome home!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Glad you had a great reunion trip and wow – you packed a lot in! I guess the distances between places here in England seem small compared to the US!? Your photos show my country off very nicely – thank you!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 6:41 am

    WOW. How nice to go for a visit and see all of the best landmarks. Thank you for sharing the tour

  • Reply
    Cathy Aquilina
    October 23, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Love your pictures and I would love to have the Cath Kidston chair for my sewing room! โค๏ธ

  • Reply
    Adriene Grzenia
    October 23, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Gorgeous photos. That autumnal one on the river—just too wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Donna Weeks
    October 23, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for sharing your amazing trip. It rekindled memories of the summer of 1969, when as a 13 year old, I spent the summer with my grandfather. I still need to get too Stonehenge. Maybe in the near future.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Oh, what a special experience that must have been!

  • Reply
    Nikki DeRamus Moshier
    October 23, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Fabulous photos, thank you for sharing. I haven’t heard of Manx quilting so am off to google it!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Planning my first trip there~is fall the “best” time to go? This will be a bit of a travel guide for me~thanks!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    OK~Says I put a duplicate comment, but this is my first. When is the best time to go? Thinking fall (US fall) would be a good time? Planning my first trip for next year~I can use your blog as a mini-guide ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      October 23, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      If it were me, I’d say September. Weather is typically still beautiful and the crowds are smaller. That would be my first pick! I’m so excited for you!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    That was fun! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    melissa a decker
    October 23, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you, so much, for sharing your trip! I just went to England, this summer, and you’ve made me hungry to return, already! I love your photos!

  • Reply
    Ann Chandler
    October 24, 2018 at 12:04 am

    So glad you enjoyed your visit. I live in London and have done for the last 30 years but was born in Chippenham where my family still live and have done for generations – what a coincidence!

    • Reply
      October 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Wow! What are the chances? Maybe we’re long lost cousins!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    I went to England for the first time this year, a whistlestop tour, and I just fell in love. I am going to go back and see all the places I missed. When we went to Bath, they had just started staying open at night and no-one knew, so we had the place to ourselves – awesome

  • Reply
    Karen Seitz
    October 24, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Yay for another Amy travelogue!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Reading about your trip was so fun! Thank you for sharing it with us! My youngest daughter is currently doing as semester of study abroad at the University of Dundee (Scotland), and I was able to go over with her in late August. She’s loving her time there, and I’m hoping she will have as many fabulous memories of her time there as you do of your semester in London. I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts with more about this trip!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Looks like you had a great time and packed loads in. Shame you only had one day in the West of the country, that’s not really enough time to see just Bath properly.

    And if anyone is wondering the sewing handbag is by Vendula (no connection to me, just love their stuff)

    • Reply
      October 26, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Yes! I need to get out to more of the countryside. One day I’ll come and stay for longer!

      And thanks for the helpful info on the sewing handbag!

  • Reply
    Tamara Kemp
    October 27, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Vendula is the name of the store for the wonderful bag… Their purses are the cutest. I love London! Looks like a fantastic trip.

    • Reply
      October 27, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks so much for the name of the store!

  • Reply
    Alane Woods
    October 27, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    So amazing, I was just in London for the past 14 daysโ€”I too studied abroad in London but mine was closer to 34 years ago and I lived in Kensington Court just off of Kensington high street. I too visited Liberty fabrics, found a cute fabric store near Hampton court and one in Cambridge. Did you get to the adorable fabric storeo in Bath? Thereโ€™s nothing like London. I too brought home my crunchier bars, twirl bites and flakes!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Enjoyed your photos! We’re just returned from a two week visit to The UK. We are already planning a return visit. The country side remindedme of a green patch w ork quilt. All of the sheep were so fun to see…even the black ones?

  • Reply
    October 28, 2018 at 6:24 am

    What a wonderful post, and I’m so glad you got to make the trip with your friends. It must have been different than your last trip with your family! I’ve never traveled abroad, but the UK has been my dream destination since I was a little girl. At age 70, I’m not sure the trip will ever happen, so I really, really enjoy your trip photos and commentary.

    Will you have any tutorials on the Manx quilting technique? Your mention of it sent me flying to Google search, and what I found looks fascinating. I’m determined to try it.

  • Reply
    Becky Thompson
    October 28, 2018 at 6:50 am

    My mother’s side hails from Emgland and it’s on my bucket list. I retire in 5 years so you’ve convinced me to plant the seed with hubs now that that’s what I’m doing first! Great virtual tour. Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Hey Amy – You packed a lot in, well done.
    I also love England and did a study there with my University, unfortunately it was just one course, not a whole semester. I have friends in London so go often but rarely get out of the city. What a great reminder to hit the road.
    Thanks for the slide show. Very fun.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2018 at 4:26 am

    My husband and I visited in August. It was too, too crowed … difficult to walk down the street. In your pictures, it looks well visited but not ANYTHING like it was in August. Any recommendations for a less month to visit. I would love to go to the fabric stores you mentioned in your most recent post.

    • Reply
      November 9, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Yeah, summer is definitely the most crowded time in London. I’d totally recommend fall September or October is great!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Catching up on my e-mail… Just saw this post: from a fellow Anglophile your pots make me want to visit England this very moment! And I feel like a got a very excellent tour guide in you and your lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing yout stiry and journey, Amy!

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