OK, so we’ve been to Kenwood House before. But with such a beautiful place nearby, it’s difficult not to… While last time was a fleeting visit on the blog, this trip we decided to look at things a little more closely.
Remodelled by Robert Adam in 1770 (you know by now how much we love good old Adam!), Kenwood sits in 74 acres next to Hampstead Heath, with views across to the City of London. The house is run by English Heritage but remains free entry to the public, thanks to the Iveagh Bequest. This was a gift of art from the 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1920, and comprises internationally-significant Old Master and British paintings by artists including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Reynolds. Indeed, it is the finest collection of Old Master paintings given to the British nation in the 20th century.
There is also a fine collection of furniture in the house, either designed by Adam or brought in sympathetically. We liked this tiny lion:
I was very fortunate last week to be able to see the Bloodhound SSC (Super-Sonic Car) make its world debut in London. By pure chance I had the afternoon off work for something else later in the evening, and happened to hear about the two-day event that was happening in the East Wintergarden venue in Canary Wharf. So, with my last-minute ticket in hand, I headed over to check it out… [I had to work, on the other hand, so couldn’t go. Pity. Fortunately there were about 300 photos of cars for me to look at… However, they actually turned out to be fairly amazing, so do keep reading even if you’re not an engineering fan!]
For those who haven’t heard of it before, the Bloodhound SSC is a British engineering project to break the land speed record (which is already held by the same team, headed by Richard Noble), with the ultimate aim being to travel at over 1,000mph. The car being unveiled today is the “product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities”. Jaguar are one of the key sponsors, and have provided many vehicles for research: the car below was used to test the use of parachutes as a braking system, a method that was eventually abandoned in favour of air brakes.
But I’m teasing you – it’s time I actually showed you pictures of the beast itself! [I can hardly wait.] And here she is:
We’ve dropped in on a Sunday night because we couldn’t wait any longer to share these photos… Don’t worry, there aren’t too many words to read here, just some incredibly cute cats from the Cat Village in Shoreditch.
With cat cafés popping up around London, there’s some competition, but we’re pretty certain that this one is up there with the best. Particularly now, as they have a ten-week-old litter of kittens roaming around…
We’re north Londoners, it turns out [for the moment at least]. I’m not quite sure why, but what it does mean is that we have the joy of Hampstead Heath on our doorstep. Every time we go we ask ourselves why we don’t go every week – I guess those National Trust properties won’t visit themselves…
After a short walk from Gospel Oak Overground station, you end up here at the top of Parliament Hill, looking out over London. Spottable are the Shard, St Pancras station, St Paul’s and other highlights of the London skyline.
Facing the other direction, though, was another popular activity – kite flying. Ostensibly for children, there were a fair few parents not too keen to give up the reins…
Today we are breaking the tradition of a blog lifetime and telling you about something that happened midweek. On a Wednesday, in fact. But fear not – it was very exciting and blog-worthy…
We were invited by the team from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the lovely people at Le Méridien to a bloggers’ afternoon tea at the beautiful hotel on Piccadilly. RIBA and Le Méridien are currently collaborating, and as part of this partnership, RIBA has curated a beautiful photography exhibition, ‘Unlock London: A City in Pictures’, showcasing a stunning selection of 17 black-and-white images of London’s most iconic landmarks taken by leading architectural photographers from the 1930s through to the 1960s.
We were given a tour of the balcony first, and the opportunity to snap a few pictures in the last of the summer sunshine…
From atmospheric architectural shots down to finer details:
Just a short post this week with some pictures I took one evening around St. Pancras station in London. I happened to have my camera with me, and I love playing around with night photography, so I thought I’d take a few shots on my way home. This wedding car was sat outside the beautiful Renaissance Hotel as I walked past.
A handy bollard served as a makeshift tripod for some long-exposure shots as the evening traffic busied around.
Fancying a day out of central London but nearby, we used our hardworking National Trust membership and headed to Osterley Park, in Isleworth. When built, Osterley was surrounded by rural countryside, but is now dissected by the M4 and the Heathrow flight path [which you’re unfortunately reminded of fairly frequently] – probably not something Robert Adam had to bear in mind…
We’re big fans of Robert Adam (as you can tell from here and here) and he remodelled this Elizabethan house in 1761 for the Child family.
The garden is typically pretty, with a very lovely Adam “garden house” in keeping with the house itself.
Amongst other brilliant happenings, including a horse riding lesson in the countryside and the aforementioned barbecue, we returned to London on the Sunday evening for a lofty surprise. 20 Fenchurch Street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie (or the Scorchie, after it melted some cars when it was first built) is home to the Sky Garden, bookable for drinks, snacks or just a wander around.
You need to book a couple of months in advance, but it’s free, and you’re whizzed up in a lift to floor 35. Once there, you’re free to walk around the outer perimeter and get a panoramic view of London.
St Paul’s looks dwarfed by the BT Tower:
Our birthdays are six days apart, which in effect means about three weeks of continuous sociableness and fun. We thought we’d share with you a little snippet, though, of each birthday – the bits that you might like to do for yourselves (rather than have a barbecue/camping/mini-festival with my friends, which you might enjoy less than I did, for example [oi, stay on topic – this week is my birthday]).
First, it was his birthday [better]. Given our (his) [definitely our] slightly geeky propensity for transport, I booked a canal boat trip along the Regent’s Canal, from Little Venice to Camden Lock. Simply called Jason’s (both the boat and the enterprise), it trundled up the river while the owner gave us a fascinating historical commentary.
We passed lovely boats, old factories, beautiful houses, and ended up at the love-it-or-hate-it Camden Lock.
A quick post of an unexpectedly great London day…
We strolled around lesser-known but lovely parts of Islington, spotting some beautiful squares.
A very friendly neighbourhood cat: