Living in Devon has it’s perks. It’s seen as a holiday destination and is a time out zone for a lot of people who want to escape city life and head to the countryside.
But, when you live in that countryside holiday zone where do you go when you need a break/change of pace?
On this occasion the City of London was calling.
It may seem a little odd to want to visit London for a relaxing weekend away, but one of my oldest friends, Elizabeth, moved to the big smoke a few years ago to pursue her acting ambitions and I just couldn’t resist visiting her for a well needed catch up and a good old chin-wag.
Sarah fancied joining in too, so we booked a train ticket and travelled up on the Friday night after a day at work.
Unsurprisingly our weekend comprised mainly of eating, sleeping, chatting. We also found time to squeeze in a trip to the west end to see a show and a trip to Kew Gardens.
On Saturday morning we had a wonderful breakfast at Bob’s Cafe in Muswell Hill. They opened up the front window so we had a lovely street-side table and nice breeze on a warm sunny day. The ceiling was covered in bohemian macrame plant hangers and beautiful trailing plants. It felt very cosy and had a nice hygge feeling for those who like that kind of thing! Warm and cosy is my favourite.
That evening we had an urge to visit the West End. Every time I visit London it only seems right to see a performance, to get Lizzie’s inspiration flowing, and to disappear away into that fantasy land whilst singing along (quietly). This time we saw Annie The Musical, starring Miranda Hart at the Picadilly Theatre. It was fantastic! I may be biased by the star performance from Annie’s little dog Sandy. He was so happy to be on stage, wagging his little tail and winning over the whole audience with his perfect timed barks and running across the stage to and fro in-between set changes. I’m a sucker for anything fluffy and cute!!
Miranda was hilarious, and perfect as the nasty Miss Hannigan (the Orphanage owner). It was very surreal seeing her on stage, as the girls and I are huge fans of her TV show. She even did a little horse gallop at the end when taking her bow – fans of hers will appreciate this, and we found it wonderful and the perfect end to a superb evening.
On Sunday we woke up early, with a trip to Kew Gardens in our sights. None of us had been before and we were truly excited to see the stunning gardens, learn about the history of the grounds and be inspired by the exotic plants and glasshouses we had yet to explore.
Needless to say we were not disappointed. It felt like being in the tropics, the humid mist as you walked into the Palm House transported you into the rainforest. Green plants everywhere you looked, little colourful flowers catching your eye as you took in the view.
It was absolutely the break we needed. It didn’t even feel like we were in London. We’d escaped the crowds – to a degree. (They seemed to gather again whenever there was food involved!).
We enjoyed having a wander, a walk through the outdoor grounds, nerve wracking climbs into the tree canopy on the Treetop Walkway and relaxing strolls admiring the flowers along the Grand Board Walk.
Of course we stopped for tea and cake before the day was out!
And just like that… the weekend had flown by.
So, if you’re looking for a trip to London without the crowds I absolutely recommend Kew Gardens for a bit of peace and quiet. Why not pack a picnic (we saw so many organised couples and families) this really is the perfect place to have a time out and admire mother nature’s handiwork.
NOTE: All photographs taken on my Nikon F100 with Fuji Film Ultra 200, 28-100mm lens.