Top UK Museums – Victoria and Albert

Next on my top UK museums series is the Victoria and Albert museum in London.  I was quite surprised at how good this museum is, not really knowing much about it before my visit.  However, it is a great space and there are so many amazing collections to see. I will be returning!

Victoria and Albert Museum

About the Victoria and Albert Museum

Holding National collections as well as many resources for study, the museum boasts a variety of well-positioned exhibits for its visitors to enjoy. There are an amazing  2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity here in this museum! Do you love art and design? Exhibitions focus on fashion, textiles, jewellery and architecture from across the globe.

The Star of the Show.

Top UK museums Victoria and Albert

It’s hard to believe these beautiful paintings were merely a guide for weavers to make tapestries.  These full-scale paintings depict scenes from the lives of St Peter and St Paul and commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515. The works have been owned by the British Royal Family since 1623 and have been on loan to the Museum since 1865. Wow, what a lot of history! Head to room 48a to marvel at this artwork.

My Favourite place

Cast Courts, room 46b Victoria and Albert
Image from V&A

I have to say I loved the  Cast Courts. The room features reproductions of Italian Renaissance monuments including a five-metre high cast of Michelangelo’s David. I know they are not the real thing but they are pretty impressive.

Some other great exhibits

Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum CC BY-SA 3.0,

You’ll find some great Asian art and objects in the Victoria and Albert museum. I think you should check out the samurai in the Japanese exhibit. The Tipu’s Tiger’, a carved and lacquered wooden semi-automaton in the South Asia rooms. As well as the mosaics and textiles in the Islamic Middle East exhibit.

Facilities

You can get to the museum very easily as it has an entrance from the museum tunnels.  It is accessible for families and has cloakrooms, toilets and baby change facilities and is wheelchair accessible too.

The V&A cafe is legendary and is something to see itself. The beautiful art deco decorated dining room is a lovely place to have a bite to eat. Book ahead or get there early for a good table.

Getting there and when to visit.

Admission to the museum is free of charge and opening times are: Every day from 10 am to 545 pm and extended until 10 pm on Fridays.  I visited on a Saturday afternoon and it wasn’t too busy so weekend visits shouldn’t be a problem.

Did you like this post? Let me know in the comments below and check out my other posts in this series. The British museum and the Natural History Museum.

Natural History Museum – Top UK Museums

Another post in my top UK museums series, this time it’s the Natural History Museum in London.

Natural history museum StegasaurusAbout the Natural History Museum.

I love the Natural History Museum it is such an amazing attraction to visit, but did you know it is also a world-renowned science research centre too?  Around 80 million items within five main collections can be found here. These collections are categorised as botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology.The Star of the Show.

The Star of the Show.

To enjoy the best experience in the museum, take the escalator in the Earth Galleries. Through the giant rotating globe into the collection of the story of the earth.  Learn about global phenomenon and try the authentic earthquake simulator.

Earth Gallery - Natural History Museum

My favourite place.

OK, so as you know my daughter is only 8 months old and it was just me and her on this visit, but I loved the interactive exhibits, which are especially great for families! The animatronic T-Rex was absolutely fantastic and also pretty scary. The original Jurassic park was released when I was a child so I was amazed by the collection of dinosaur skeletons. The dinosaur exhibit was definitely my favourite place, you will love it too!

Some other great exhibits.

It’s difficult to tell you where the best exhibits are in the museum because I would probably just tell you to see every single one! However, I know that everyone does not have the time to visit every single object in the museum. So if you have to choose, as well as the dinosaurs make sure you see the Ecology and Origins exhibits. You won’t regret the choice.

Natural History Museum

Facilities.

If you need it wheelchair access is available all the way through the museum and you can borrow wheelchairs free of charge at both the Exhibition Road entrance and the Darwin entrance.

If you need to use the cloakroom check the tariffs and plan ahead as if you have luggage it might cost a lot to store.

Getting there and when to visit.

The museum is open daily 1000-1750 and admission is free however, there is a charge for some temporary exhibitions. If you visit on a weekday you’ll find it less crowded and better for young visitors.

Have you been to the Natural History Museum? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below.

Top UK museums – The British Museum

Top UK Museums – The British Museum.

So I have decided to make the most of the remainder of my maternity leave and take some trips with my daughter.. ( and sometimes bring the husband) to visit the top museums in the UK. The British Museum was on the list already for our trip to London in December, so this is where I will start.

2016 review British Museum
The British museum London 2016 review.

About the British Museum.

The British Museum was founded in 1753. Proudly the first National Public Museum in the World and it is free to enter and explore. The galleries feature artefacts from across the globe.  Collections include Americas, Ancient Egypt, Africa, Asia, Ancient Rome and Greece, Europe and the Middle East. There are also Themes including Enlightenment ,Collecting the world and Living and Dying .

The Star of the Show.

The Rosetta stone is the most interesting and iconic artefact you will find in the British Museum. A ground breaking discovery containing script in both ancient Greek and Hieroglyphics. Meaning we can now decipher the meaning of Hieroglyphics today.

Rosetta stone

My favourite place.

The enlightenment gallery! From reading the titles of the historic books to the busts and sculptures dotting the room. This is my favourite place to walk through and explore within the museum.

As described by the British museum itself: The Enlightenment was an age of reason and learning that flourished across Europe and America from about 1680 to 1820. This rich and diverse permanent exhibition uses thousands of objects to demonstrate how people in Britain understood their world during this period. It is housed in the King’s Library, the former home of the library of King George III.

Enlightenment.

Some other great exhibits.

The Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece exhibits are undisputed  amongst the most interesting exhibits  in the museum. If not only purely due to the scale of some of the items on display.  Partial temples and giant statues will transport you back to ancient times as you wander through these fascinating pieces.

Facilities.

The facilities here are actually pretty great. Especially for families! There’s a family centre with lockers to store pushchairs and any other luggage, benches and tables to eat packed lunches and feed babies and ample changing facilities. There’s a restaurant and two cafes with a good selection of food and drinks on offer with plenty of seating. The museum is wheelchair accessible and easy to get about for wheelchair users.  There is also a large gift shop with a lovely wide selection of souvenirs and replicas.

Download a floor plan here  https://www.britishmuseum.org/PDF/pdfA4_allfloors.pdf

Floor plan

Getting there and when to visit.

The museum is easily reached by walking from London Euston train station and the nearest tube stations are Tottenham Court Road and Holborn.

Admission to the British museum is free and is open daily 10.00–17.30 and on Fridays until 20.30.

I have to say I’m very proud of this museum and would recommend more people in the UK to visit. Have you been? What was your favourite part? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

How traveling has made me less British

How traveling has made me less British

Traveling has made me less British (Slightly)

How traveling has made me less British

I know there is a British stereotype. We are reserved, ‘the stiff upper lip’. However I have never included myself as a stereotypical Brit. On reflection I have realised just how much of these traits I carry with me. This being said I have changed through visiting different places and traveling has made me less British.

Whilst abroad I have noticed just how British I am sometimes, and have learned a few things along the way. It’s strange how much you learn more about your own culture when you experience others.

Saying sorry

‘Oh I’m sorry’ (You clearly just bumped into me but I’m going to apologise anyway..) Why on earth do we feel like we have to say sorry on every occasion.

‘I’m sorry, can I get the bill please?’

‘I’m sorry, I would like to buy this please’

I have heard myself say sorry in situations that are totally unnecessary. Whilst traveling I have realised that not only do I sound ridiculous but no one else does this. I have made an effort to quit the habit. I no longer apologise unless I really really mean it!

traveling made me less British

Sharing a table with strangers

There isn’t a table free. Well we will have to find somewhere else. For some reason British people like their space. What we might have to talk to other people?

I’m now quite happy to embrace the long tables and benches in beer halls, restaurants and bars. I can ask if the two chairs are free in a table of four in a bar that I want to try (without apologising for it). Actually sometimes sitting and speaking to others has added to our experiences. I have learned that these situations don’t have to be as awkward as they initially seemed. I might now be one of the annoying people who makes conversation..

Queuing

So, we like an orderly queue in Britain. But this is not the case in some other places I have visited. I was surprised to find ‘mob queuing’ at attractions in the USA. No orderly lines or formality, just kind of herding along. I found the same in other countries too especially at airports where there seems to be no rules in queuing for passport control!

I think it’s because we don’t want to offend? But I am no longer embarrassed, to save myself time when traveling I am still polite but just go with it!

Speaking up

I would never speak up. I could wait forever to get a bill. Never want to be included in a debate or a show, or ask a question on a tour.

I am still working on this skill which for other nationalities seems to come naturally. However I am much better than I used to be. I danced on stage at a lady boy show in Chiang Mai and got attention in a restaurant in Venice when others were being ignored.   A small start but I am getting there. 🙂

The great thing is there are some things that have changed for the better. AND I have spoken to so many people who love Great Britain!

Traveling made me less British
Traveling has made me less British

I am proud to be British. I love the Royal Family especially the Queen. I love the currency, the history, afternoon tea and fish and chips! Oh and of course the good old British pub!

It’s a shame that flying the Union Jack has become a symbol of racism in Britain today. Visiting other countries has made me understand there is nothing wrong with patriotism. Whilst wandering around many cities such as Venice and Barcelona you will see many flags flying proudly.

So although I have lost some of my British ways, traveling has helped me to become a better person. More open-minded and accepting of differences. I have found qualities in other cultures that I want to develop and find in myself.

Do you agree? Tell me what you think…

 

The Barber Institute Birmingham

The Barber Institute is a lesser known art gallery in Birmingham but has some great paintings on display.

Barber Institute

Located in the Birmingham University grounds this art gallery has an amazing collection of paintings. You will find Van Gough, Turner, Monet, Renoir and Rubens to mention a few.

Coined as one of the finest small art galleries in Europe. The Barber Institute is a must-see for art lovers visiting Birmingham.

As I walked around the gallery I enjoyed the intimate atmosphere. I took time to study the paintings without a crowd gathering around me. The works are thoughtfully presented and laid out. Making the visit flow through styles and ages.

The Barber Institute
‘The Peacock feather’ Antonio Mancini

The Barber Institute was founded in 1932 by Lady Barber in memory of her husband (William) Henry Barber. Upon her death four months later, she left the Barber fortune to the Institute. This enabled the building to be designed and built before being officially opened by Queen Mary in 1939.

The Barber Institute

Today the institute continues the legacy ‘for the Study and encouragement of art and music’.

Current exhibits include ‘The Modernist Face SMITH, DOBSON & BRITISH PORTRAITURE 1920-60’ My favourite painting in this exhibit was a portrait of Roald Dahl by Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith. This exhibit runs until 27th September.

Barber Institute
Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith’s portrait of Roald Dahl 1944

Other exhibits currently on show are FROM ‘RED’ ELLEN TO OSWALD MOSLEY  PORTRAITS OF INTER-WAR POLITICIANS BY EDMUND KAPP. and a Roman coin collection ‘Inheriting Rome’.

The Barber Institute is open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm and at weekends 11am-5pm. Admission is free, however a donation can be made which is suggested at £5.

Find out more the collection and events here: The Barber Institute

Camping in the UK- 10 reasons to go this summer

10 reasons to go camping in the UK

Camping is for everyone, families, friends, couples and all. There are so many campsites out there that cater for a range of different needs, from full facilities to rugged back to basics. Below are just some of the reasons why you should try camping in the UK this summer.

1) To get away from it all

Leave the smart phones and the computers behind, un-tether yourself from the internet and enjoy the outdoors

2) To cook outdoors

Bacon butties for breakfast and a cup of tea from the camping stove?  And there’s nothing better than a BBQ when the sun is shining  in the evening.  All washed down by a few beers.

3) To enjoy the English countryside

There are so many locations in the UK where the countryside is extensive and unspoiled. The lake district is one of the most popular camping regions known for its beautiful lakes and mountain scenery.

Camping

4) To climb a mountain

The largest mountains in each country are Scarfell Pike in the Lake District, England, Snowdon, in Snowdonia in Wales and of course Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, Scotland.  Camping is available in all of these regions.

5) To sit around a campfire

It’s best to check with your campsite before you book and make sure they allow campfires if you are planning to have one. When it starts to get dark, light the fire and gather around, sing songs, roast marshmallows and talk until the flames dwindle.

6) To discover the wildlife

It’s great when you get a glimpse of animals and birds in their natural environment. Take a walk through quiet woods and you may spot a deer happily wandering through the trees. Look up to the skies and you might see circling birds of prey.

Camping UK
English Countryside

7) To see the stars

If you live in the city you rarely get to experience the star filled skies without light or air pollution in the way.  It’s amazing to lie back and look at the sky, you may even see a shooting star (don’t forget to make a wish)

8) To wake up with the sun

There’s nothing like waking up with the sunrise, un-zipping the tent and taking a deep breath of the fresh morning air. Such a great way to wake up in the morning.

9) To save money and holiday on the cheap!

Camping can become a very cheap holiday for all! With campsites charging from £5 per night, the opportunity to pick and choose  your location, to prepare your own meals  and do as little or as much as you like while you are there!

10) To get back to basics and pass on the skills

Camping as a family means new adventures shared together, from fire-lighting to spotting wildlife. Hiking to outdoor cooking. Skills are being passed on through generations and an appreciation of the life we live! Even the adults can learn a thing or two from time to time!

To find a campsite try UK campsite.co.uk where you can filter the sites by location and facilities

Are you convinced? What do you think about camping? Leave a comment….