Despite being here almost 2 years and being about 2 hours away, we had yet to do a London day trip. Now, we spent 3 nights in London a year ago and 8 nights last October, so it's not like we haven't been, but just not for the day.
The reason for the trip is likely obvious by now, but we decided to see the Phantom of the Opera during a matinee performance. We went along with our friends the Seppanens who actually spearheaded the activity. In order get decent seats all together, we purchased our tickets back in October.
The day went something like this:
7:30 leave house for train station
8:00 take train to London St. Pancras
9:30 arrive at St. Pancras; head to Tube
10:10 arrive at Victoria & Albert Museum (on the other side of town, South Kensington)
1:45 leave V&A and take Tube to Piccadilly Circus
2:30 Phantom of the Opera
8:10 Tube back to St. Pancras
9:00 take train back to Derby
11:30+ arrive in Derby (extra hour on the way back due to planned and unplanned stops)
As you can see, it makes for a long day but we were glad we did it. Note that we split up from the Seppanens for the morning as we had different goals for the day. Read Jay's version here.
Victoria & Albert Museum (stock photo). We were able to get all the way there without setting foot outside (train, tube, underground walkway, basement entrance). So, we didn't actually see this view!
From wiki, the V&A is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to cover 12.5 acres (51,000 m2) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. [No, we didn't try to see it all.]
How'd you like this 1930 bronze relief above your fireplace?
Moving to the Japanese section . . . this samurai warrior caught my eye (nice 'stache too). Made in 1859 in the style of 1100-1200 AD.
Jay Seppanen pic: St. George slaying the Dragon (plaster cast from Prague) [this guy is everywhere]
mirror image porcelain dolls
Samson slaying a Philistine (~1562) by Giambologna
interesting spout for a lion, pipe and dragon
Nicole: <sigh> Mommmmmmm. That's Achilles. His mom, Thetis, is dipping him into the River Styx. Duh. (at least she's learning something at school)
This is a 1790 sculpture by Thomas Banks. The wife and child are in the images of his family.
Pretty impressive, especially since my first thought was Col. Mustard in the Ball Room.
I didn't note who this was. It appears she has an itch on her leg (perhaps the snake?).
Glass sculpture in main entryway, similar to the one in the Indianapolis Children's Museum.
Notebook from Leonardo da Vinci
I found this threesome of Charles I a little creepy
amidst all the historical collections, we also have the costumes from the Lion King
We enjoyed the museum. It was a low-key affair. It was well laid out and easy to get around. Lunch at the cafe wasn't bad either. The kids tolerated it more than liked it, but oh well.
Next up was the main event: the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre [not my photo]. As you likely know, this is an Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical that started in 1986. According to wiki, it is the longest running show in Broadway history and the second longest musical in London (to Les Miserables). It has reached 10,000 performances in each location. It's based on a french novel from the early 1900s (interesting wiki link).
Kuk's a big fan of the music. We've had the CDs for quite some time. We saw it 1995 and 2001, both in Indianapolis. We reunited with the Seppanens and enjoyed the show. I wouldn't put it in the same class as Les Miserables or Lion King, but it was enjoyable (especially given our history with the show).
Andalucia's Tapas Restaurant which was just around the corner. I thought tapas would be a nice way to enjoy good food and good company over a leisurely meal. The food was great and we all enjoyed ourselves (though the bill was a little steep, as can happen when you graze on tapas all night). For those going to London, I found it through www.toptable.co.uk which is a handy way to search by location and cuisine and has more local input that tripadvisor typically does.
not much spring left with Kuk, I'm afraid
We almost had a disastrous return as knucklehead me accidently threw out my Derby parking ticket while we were in London. There was no one manning the station so it looked like we might have to take a taxi back and pay the eye-watering lost ticket fee of £25 the next day. Fortunately, I was able to buzz the intercom and the guy was too busy to sort it out, so he just let me through. Phew.
Good times all around. We should do this more often. But then again, there's one reason we don't do it every weekend:
train tickets for 4, booked in advance: £60
Tube fare: £15
Theatre tickets for 4: £220
Dinner: £100 (can obviously eat for less)
£6.50 (er, free)
Total: £420 (about $660). Definitely not an every weekend thing, but okay every now and then. In fact, we've booked some good seats to Les Miserables for May. Stay tuned.
Have a good week everyone.