A short Royal Tour

Last weekend we fancied a trip to Spencer House, a Historic Houses Association property, as they were doing a National Trust member BOGOF offer, so we went while we had the chance! It was beautiful, although at £12 each not the cheapest option if you’re paying full price. However, there was a strict ban on photography [boo :(], so we thought we’d include some shots from the rest of our day.

From Spencer House we wandered down towards St James’s Palace, and saw this beautiful building – and many others! This was, in fact, an HSBC – one way to make that trip to see your bank manager more enjoyable…

HSBC lampposts

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Westminster Hall – introducing our Guest Photographer

So we have some special news for you today… And we’d love to know what you think!

Since the photographer half of us has just bought a new camera, the Canon 70D (details over on our Twitter) there’s his old 600D around the place. He’s looking to sell it, but hasn’t yet, so he very kindly offered it to me temporarily to try out a few shots. Although I’m terrified of dropping it, I’ve been having a brilliant time on our photography days out (making heavy use of the ‘automatic’ setting…). I’d love it if you’d have a look at my efforts and see what you think! Suffice to say I won’t be taking over as the primary photo-taker in this relationship, though…

NB: read this post first for an explanation of where we went.

Chandos House:

Chandos House light

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Things of beauty: Chandos House and Westminster Hall

As part of the wonderful Open House weekend which swept across London recently, we braved the queues and decided to go and visit a couple of the open venues. But first, a gripe… Although the Open House concept is amazing, and the execution good too – friendly staff, efficient queuing and a huge number of open places – the app is genuinely terrible [so frustrating]. Without opening times and days despite them being on the website, entire venues going AWOL, and with an impossible map, we had problems planning where we wanted to go and started the Sunday heading to Portcullis House which was in fact closed. (Annoyed, we ventured on to Westminster Hall, which looked fairly uninspiring in the Open House listing; fortunately for us, it was actually one of the highlights of the whole project.)

But first, Chandos House. Rather random, and again not portrayed favourably on the Open House publicity, we chose it for the Adam brothers’ name and the fact that it was just behind Oxford Street, which was on our way elsewhere. However, it was possibly one of the most exquisitely gorgeous gems I’ve seen in London.

A confection of sparkle and pastel colours:

Chandos chandelier

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A visit to Kings Place

We were recently at Kings Place, near Kings Cross, for a concert. We were involved musically with the event, but what struck us (one of us in particular!) was just how stunning Kings Place actually is. It’s a fantastic venue, with multidisciplinary performance taking place in two Halls and an open-plan foyer. Often very reasonably priced, it’s definitely worth checking out for an evening of jazz, chamber music or whatever else strikes your fancy!

Kings Place entrance

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A brief trip to Wales

Recently we jumped in the car and headed off to visit some friends in Wales. They live in Cardiff, but we were more adventurous than this suggests…

On a rather grey day we headed up Pen y Fan. Spoken of by our local friends as a bit of a stroll, we discovered it was a fairly substantial hike – I for one was extremely glad when we reached the top! (And I definitely wasn’t pulled up the final stretch… [ahem]) It was a stunning view, despite the lack of sun, and allowed us to see the Brecon Beacons in a new light.

Pen y Fan

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