Wintry museums day in London

Before the madness of Christmas week properly kicked off, we took time to spend a festive day together in London. We wanted to try a new skating venue, having been to Somerset House and the Tower of London in previous years, so decided to try the Natural History Museum‘s rink.

NHM ice rink by day

Before that, though, we went inside and checked out the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which is always wonderful, whether you’re into photography or not! [It’s an incredible collection.]

Natural History Museum

Containing a number of different categories, and excellently presented, the competition covers beautiful nature photographs from around the globe. It includes categories from different age groups, which are particularly staggering, and information about the photographic equipment used [and the settings, if you’re into that kind of thing… *cough*]. The animals and scenes depicted are often stunningly unexpected and always beautifully captured. It’s not the cheapest, at £12.60 a ticket, but a great way to spend an afternoon. Try and see if you can predict the winner as you go round!

Inside Natural History Museum

It was then time for our booked session, so we headed out to try our balance on the ice. It’s always amusing to see Londoners volunteer for this challenge every year (ourselves included) – bravery often comes before ability and it can make for some entertaining viewing…

The ice rink was lovely, set against the beautiful backdrop of the museum. We liked the tree in the centre, giving a focal point to skate around, and the separate children’s rink beside. Somerset House is possibly still a more attractive setting [and has a bigger rink], but with similar prices it was good to try something new. The bar upstairs was also cosy and served a wide range of snacks and drinks, looking out over the ice.

NHM ice rink by night

After some warming mulled wine, we walked the short distance next door to the V&A for their ‘Typography’ Friday Late. These are always interesting to a greater or lesser extent, and with free entry it’s a great opportunity to take part in some activities inside the museum, all united by a common theme. In this case, fonts were showcased, and we made clay models of our initials and refrained from writing our own temporary tattoos! There were some effective installations, not least from the museum’s Residents. In the John Madejski garden (below), the word ‘stressed’ became ‘desserts’ as you passed the water.

V&A typography late

Although not a specifically Christmassy day, except for the many Christmas lights we photographed on the way home, it was lovely to have a day to ourselves in London.

PS. An exciting announcement! At the start of the day we exchanged presents… Suffice to say you may be seeing some photos taken by a very cute Fujifilm S2950 very soon, if they make the cut! I’m very lucky and happy. Now to learn how it works…

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