Monday, 9 July 2012

A whirlwind, wizardly, wet weekend in London

Anyone who reads this blog will note from previous posts that I’m incredibly proud of my home city, Coventry. If I couldn’t live in Coventry I’d definitely want to live in London because I absolutely love it!

In fact my only problem with visiting London is that I never leave any time to just sit and relax when I visit. There is so much to do and see. If I sit down for more than 10 minutes I feel as though I’m missing out on the excitement.
This weekend was a case in point – from my arrival just after lunchtime on Friday to my return home on Sunday evening I have had a whirlwind weekend full of fun. 

After checking into my hotel in Lancaster Gate I set off for theatre land. I do love a good show and tonight’s offering was The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.

This was my first visit to the Palladium and what a lovely surprise it was. The inside of the theatre is gorgeous, even in the bar areas!
As my visit to London was only planned at the last minute I had booked really cheap tickets online for this show. I paid just £16.50 each and was allocated seats near the very back of the upper circle. I don’t mind having seats up in the gods, in fact sometimes the view can be equally as good as the stalls.
However, when I went to the box office to collect the tickets, I was given the option of upgrading for another £10 each. Given a choice between the grand circle and the stalls I chose the grand circle and I was absolutely thrilled with the new seats. We were given front row seats in the grand circle and right in the centre of the theatre. The view of the stage was amazing and although I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it, some action takes place above the stalls that anyone in those seats would need to turn around to see. 

From my new seat in the grand circle the action was literally right in our faces.
The cast were all great, from Des O’Connor as the Wizard to ‘Toto’ the dog. A special mention has to go to the actors playing Lion and Tin Man. I laughed so much each time either of them spoke; they really made the show for me!

Day 2 of my mad weekend started with an early trip to Notting Hill and a walk through Portobello Road market. Wow! What a very long market this is. Having walked the length of it I now understand that scene from Notting Hill where Hugh Grant walks through the market and the seasons change around him! 

I’m extremely proud to say that not only did I bring back a few souvenirs, but I also started my Christmas shopping! (Yes, I do know it’s only July- how organised is that?)

Saturday evening was the real highlight of my weekend when I visited Kew the Music. This fabulous event in Kew Gardens is held to raise money to support the amazing work they do to protect plant species.
The fantastic Will Young was performing on Saturday night and despite the rain (which was extremely heavy at times) he had the whole crowd on our feet and singing along.

Normally I wouldn’t publish a photo of a celebrity because they do ask the audience not to take photos at these events. (No-one takes any notice but they do ask.) But on this occasion I feel justified in sharing this one because the lovely Mr Young did encourage the audience to take out their camera phones. So as he was obviously happy for us to take pic’s – here’s one of the many that I took.

The evening ended with a spectacular firework display above Kew’s glass house. Amazing and even the rain didn’t spoil it!

Sunday was another hectic day, spent racing around London, mostly around the Hyde Park area meeting up with various people. Due to the crowds on the tubes around Hyde Park (because of the Wireless Festival), I managed to fulfil one of my long held ambitions – to cycle around London on a Boris Bike! I picked up a cycle at Hyde Park corner and after getting my ‘bicycle legs’ by riding across Hyde Park I cycled around a few roads on the way back to Lancaster Gate. What a very clever initiative to introduce these bikes. I know the London Mayor Boris Johnson is credited with introducing them but I’m not sure he actually thought of the original idea. Whoever it was – I salute you….although obviously not while actually cycling because I need two sweaty hands on the handlebars at all times!

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