Tuesday, June 09, 2009

London: Tate Britain and Imperial War Museum

We began our last full day in London by taking some photos in the area immediately around our hotel.

A classic London shot, including red double-decker bus:

And a close-up of the London Eye:

Then it was off to the Tate Britain (click title of post for link), which was probably my favorite of all the art museums we visited on our trip.

My favorite paintings included Samuel Richardson Surrounded by His Second Family and The Peep-o'-Day Boys' Cabin. The museum has works by Gainsborough, Constable, Reynolds, Sargent, and a huge Turner collection.

In the Tate's gift shop I found WHAT'S IN A NAME? ORIGINS OF STATION NAMES ON THE LONDON UNDERGROUND, which explained the origins of all those strange names one passes or sees on Tube maps, like Elephant & Castle, Cockfosters, Boston Manor, and Upminster.

The book also gives the history of each station, including its opening date. It's a gem for anyone who loves London.

I was initially just "along for the ride" at the Imperial War Museum, which was on my husband's wish list, but to my delight this museum also turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.

From the moment visitors walk in they're surrounded by eye-catching displays everywhere, including overhead:

A view from a higher level of the museum:

There are outstanding displays, such as an interactive submarine exhibit where visitors can try out the equipment, "you are there" rooms showing what it was like to experience WWI trench warfare or the London Blitz of WWII, and a very interesting exhibit on the effect of WWII on children and family life.

The Imperial War Museum had perhaps the best gift shop of any museum or attraction we visited on the trip...and we were in a significant number of gift shops! The museum's book selection was absolutely fascinating. It's a good thing we'd taken over a couple empty suitcases to fill with souvenirs from our daughter's London semester, so I had a little room for my new acquisitions!

My finds included RATION BOOK COOKERY, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING WARTIME SCRAPBOOK, EVACUEES: EVACUATION IN WARTIME BRITAIN 1939-1945, SPUDS, SPAM AND EATING FOR VICTORY: RATIONING IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR, and THE ABC OF COOKERY, a reproduction of a book from 1945. I share the titles here for those who might be interested in the same types of subject matter.

Happily, I obtained many of the books for far better prices than I would have received ordering them from somewhere like Amazon, and I used the excuse of labeling my purchases advance birthday shopping. :) I brought home enough books from our trip to keep me busy reading for quite a while!

We then made another brief stop in Knightsbridge...

...to do some last-minute shopping at Harrod's, before going on to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, where we had the best meal of our trip.

The Hard Rock was a pleasant surprise, as I remembered previous visits, in a couple different cities, as having a fun atmosphere but indifferent food. Our meal was absolutely superb, with outstanding service...and unlimited soda refills! Free refills seem to be as rare as ice in some restaurants in Europe.

The next morning it was off to Heathrow and home again, followed shortly thereafter by our daughter. We had a wonderful trip, and it's great to have all six of us under one roof again...at least until fall semester starts!

Previously: Day One (London museums); Hampton Court Palace; Kensington Palace and the Albert Memorial; The Tate Modern Collection and St. Paul's Cathedral; Windsor Castle and the Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo; Blenheim Palace and Hamleys Toys.

Coming Soon: More on Disneyland Paris.


Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

I love the WWII rationing and cookbooks.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

These titles remind me of your great post on gas rationing in the movies. :)

I wonder how many films covered food rationing? The only one which immediately comes to mind is the opening scene of DANGEROUS BLONDES, when Evelyn Keyes is cooking a meager dinner and mutters something about coupons. There must be more such films...

Best wishes,

9:04 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I think you should Photoshop some blue sky into the first picture and then frame! The detail is great.

Thanks for sharing,


9:21 PM  

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