Royal Tour – guest photographer

[Normally I’m the one behind the camera, but in our “guest photographer” posts, I take a back seat while my other half upstages me using my old camera… these are the results]

And I’m back! This is my second time holding the camera…

Blurry tube

A pretty house, spotted on the way to Buckingham Palace:

House

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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

St James’s Palace was intriguing – quite different in look from the other royal residences, like Clarence House, I realised it had rather fallen under my radar.

Lamp at St James's Palace

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Hampstead walk

A recent quiet Friday evening we’d both been at our desks all day so decided to take a walk around Hampstead, with the last of the Autumn light. As we set off, the nearby train tracks looked dramatic and shadowed in the evening light:

Wires at West Hampstead

We just caught the end of the evening, wandering across the Heath and stopping to look back at the houses.

Homes on the Heath

Then we stopped at the Holly Bush pub [they do an amazing Sunday roast], near one of our favourite Hampstead streets, for a cosy drink before heading home.

Not much worth photographing, since it then got too dark, but we thought we’d share these moody Friday evening shots. As we’ve mentioned before, we’d really recommend Hampstead as a beautiful part of London for shopping, eating, drinking or just wandering. Happy weekend!

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

A recent building [it was opened in 2008], Kings Place uses light and open space to produce a visual impact running from the top to the bottom of the building.

Hall Two at Kings Place

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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

Houses of Parliament:

Houses of Parliament

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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

It was designed by the Adam brothers as a showcase of their design talent, and is now owned by the Royal Society of Medicine. You can in fact stay here, and it’s a remarkably reasonably priced hotel for such a central location – recommended for a special and secret stay in London!

Chandos chandelier mirror

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Open House: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Recently, the wonderful Open House weekend took place in London. Although our Sunday visits had a few issues (see the next post for that story!), on Saturday we headed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to take a peek inside. The queue was terrifyingly long but surprisingly fast-moving, and we were inside and through security in about 20 minutes.

We were awed at what we saw when we entered! Surprisingly opulent and with stunning ceilings and colours, we very much enjoyed wandering around.

Designed by Gilbert Scott (along with other large parts of London!), there are various beautiful rooms which are [casually] used as meeting and conference rooms by the Foreign Office.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

There are huge, grand halls, making it hard to believe it was a petition away from being demolished, being run down and largely derelict 50 years ago.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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