Summer visit to London in July; seeing friends, West End Shows, National Art Gallery, Women’s Euro 2022 & corgis!

At the end of July, my youngest (Alice) and I headed to London, after having enjoyed a wonderful week’s holiday in Cornwall (see posts here and here). We planned to catch some shows and I’d organised a catch up with some University friends (whom I’d first met 30 years ago!).

I am fortunate to have met and lived with wonderful people during my university years in Southampton (including meeting my husband!). This time around I met up with two friends that I’d studied Geography with, one of which I’d lived with for two years, as well as their gorgeous children!

River Thames, London

On the Sunday we met under the large clock in Waterloo station and headed to the River Thames, where we boarded a clipper boat (Uber boat) for a ride down the river to The O2, where we disembarked and enjoyed a lovely lunch together. After lunch we decided to ride the Emirates Air Line cable car, which travels between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. It was a great way to view some the famous buildings of London and get a birds eye view of the city scape.

After a wonderful day catching up on old times and enjoying the scenic sites of London via boat and cable car, Alice and I farewelled one friend, and joined the other and her sons on a trip to her home, just a short train ride outside of central London. I’m always amazed at how green a city London is and how the greater London area is filled with countryside walks and parks.

We stayed two nights at my friend’s house, my daughter and her sons got on really well, leaving my friend and I to enjoy a wonderful catch up.

After a couple of nights with my friend Alice and I caught a train back into central London, where we stayed for two nights. We stayed in one of the ‘Z’ hotels, close to Trafalgar Square. London was buzzing with the excitement of the upcoming final of UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, between England and Germany. Trafalgar Square had been taken over with large screens and themed areas.

Trafalgar Square taken over by the Women’s Euro 2022 celebrations.

On the night of the final we were scheduled to see a West End Show; so we missed the game – which was played at Wembley Stadium in London, but checked the result as soon as we left the theatre and were delighted for the ‘Lionesses’ to have won! It was a historic match, with a crowd of over 87,000, and the first time a senior England side had won a major football tournament since the 1966 FIFA World Cup. The Lionesses brought the cup home!

Our choice of location, in central London, was perfect for seeing the sights and enjoying a few of the West End Shows. There were so many shows to choose from and we would have loved days to see so many more, but in the end we went with ‘Dear Evan Hansen‘ (one Alice has wanted to see in a long time), ‘Come From Away‘ – which my sister and I have seen together previously, but knew my Dad and Alice would find it interesting, and ‘Heathers‘ (a favourite show Alice likes to listen to).

My Dad and sister joined us for ‘Come From Away’, catching a train into London for the afternoon. After the show we met with a cousin for dinner, before Alice and I headed off to watch ‘Heathers’, which she absolutely loved.

The set of ‘Heathers’ at ‘The Other Palace’.

I loved the interior of the Phoenix Theatre, where ‘Come From Away’ was showing. The theatre was originally opened in 1930.

It was wonderful to be in the city of London in summer time, in glorious weather and not long after Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee. It’s sad to be writing this knowing she has now passed away, how quickly things change in a couple of months.

Buckingham Palace

At the time of our visit there was a display of 19 giant corgis spread around central London, each one painted by a different artist, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s love of corgis.

We really did have a whirlwind few days in London. There is always so much to see and do and it’s hard to choose which activities and sights to enjoy. Since we were staying so close to Trafalgar Square we visited The National Gallery, which houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

The National Gallery

It was lovely to be in central London, walking around Covent Gardens, passing all the historic buildings and admiring the blend of old and new architecture.

Enjoying Covent Gardens

We popped into the British Museum and were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the collections (and felt a little weirded out by the number of ‘Mummies’, which felt out of place and really should be back where they came from, which is discussed in this article ‘Should the British Museum return its Egyptian Collection‘.).

The British Museum

After a lovely time in London we headed back to Fleet, Hampshire, for a night to repack our cases once again and head up north, where we stayed a weekend with Dan’s family, before a few nights in Chinley, High Peak, where my sister lives.