Monday

Spitalfields Market, modern architecture and a monument in London

This is a shared post, serving as a recommendation to go check out Spitalfields Market and some other places nearby and at the same time is a chance to give a shout-out to a really great book to take with you.

Taking its name from the hospital and priory, St. Mary's Spittel founded in 1197, Spitalfields lies in the heart of the East End of London and right beside Liverpool Street station.

At the opposite end lies Hawksmoor's Christ Church, consecrated in 1729 its striking white facade is due to the Portland stone that was used. Luckily this beautiful building has survived despite going through a period of neglect when the roof was declared unsafe and the then Bishop proposed its demolition in the 1960s.

Hawksmoor Christ Church and goat sculpture, Spitalfields


Scattered about are interesting sculptures to look at. I Goat, won the Spitalfields Sculpture Prize in 2010, of a hand-sculpted goat standing on top of a stack of packing crates by artist Kenny Hunter.

Marigold Hodgkinson’s yellow water-lily, Spitalfields

Just round the corner another stunning sculpture shimmered on top of a water feature. Marigold Hodgkinson’s classical inspired Greek yellow Nymphaea or water-lily represents the capacity for revival after a period of inactivity.

Spitalfields Market, London

Spitalfields Market, London

Spitalfields Market, London

Spitalfields Market, London

Spitalfields Market, London

Pear and Fig sculpture, Spitalfields Market, London

Further along towards Hawksmoor's church is Ali Grant's Pear and Fig bronze sculpture.

Spitalfields Market, London

Inside the market Lola's Bakery enticed with colourful creations

Spitalfields Market, London


Spitalfields Market, London

Spitalfields Market, London

and flower garlands brought the girls flocking to try on Midsummer bands.

 Spitalfields Market, London
Spitalfields Market, London


Spitalfields Market, London

Christ Church, Hawksmoor

Huguenot Summer, London


Spitalfields, London


20 Fenchurch Street, London

After leaving Spitalfields we headed to Monument tube and found ourselves staring up at 20 Fenchurch Street, designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly. Dwarfed by its scale, the buildings beside it made a stunning contrast.

Monument to the Great Fire of London

And finally to Monument, made to commemorate the Great Fire of London, 1666 (London burnt like rotten sticks).

Dipping into my Guide of London, Galleries, Palaces and Tea, by David Backhouse. I found out that the monument had been built on the site of the first church St Margaret's that was burnt down by the fire. Its base is 202 ft from where the fire broke out and is 202 ft tall.

It also commemorated the huge success of Londoners who rebuilt their city within the space of just a few years. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke, they disagreed as to what should go on the top. Wren thought there should be a statue of King Charles II and Hooke, a crown of fire.

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Sunday

A peek into the past with Landmark Trust open day in Spitalfields

The area of Spitalfields, London is full of architectural charm from the past. Hawksmoor's Christ Church sparkles overhead while at street level the buzzing market offers creative curiosities, surrounded by early brick terraces from the 1700s.

This weekend Landmark Trust gave me an opportunity to see inside one of them. As part of their 50th anniversary celebrations they had opened 25 of their 200 restored properties right across England, Scotland and Wales. Many had never been opened like this before or only rarely and had been carefully picked so that 95% of the British population would be within 50 miles of one of them.

Founded almost 50 years ago by philanthropist John Smith and his wife Christian, the Landmark Trust was set up to try and prevent the loss of smaller historic buildings that the National Trust and the Ministry of Works could not restore.


Princelet Street, Landmark Trust

Princelet Street, Landmark Trust

A Country idyll and an abundance of lilac in Falmer village and Withdean Park

Taking my dear ones to somewhere that I've been to and think is absolutely gorgeous is made even better when it turns out that they love it too.

Falmer village is just one of those places, it helps that the sun was shining and everywhere spring was working her magic.

The birds were tweeting (and so was I), greylag geese swam across the pond with their goslings and flowers scattered the ground in the graveyard.

The buildings were covered in the traditional flint of Sussex and one house had the date 1732 on the front of it. The village itself is mentioned in the Domesday book and was at times held by Thomas Cromwell (of Wolf Hall fame) and Anne of Cleves.

Apart from all of these really great reasons for taking a look, St Laurence church regularly hosts free concerts with a retiring collection and there's a fabulous Farm shop that I've just discovered too.

Please note, best to check dates and times of events at the church and for the shop or you might end up going there and nothing's open.  To keep informed about upcoming events Like Falmer Concerts Facebook Page and check out the Farm shop for local produce including apple juice, cheese, strawberries and sausages.


Falmer village

Falmer village

Wednesday

Dining and relaxing at The Pig in Brockenhurst

After relaxing at the Herb House spa we had booked to stay in the New Forest so we took ourselves off to The Pig at Brockenhurst where we had our rooms waiting for us.

Exterior, The Pig in Brockenhurst

Sunday

An earthly blissful paradise of a day - Lime Wood House spa

Imagine lying on a bed of bubbles. In front of you the bubbles roll forward and off the edge of an infinity pool. The water is warm, the lighting is low, the walls are covered in dark slate and outside the trees are sprouting bright green in spring time.

Herb House spa
~ outdoor hot pool at the Herb House spa ~
Herb House spa
~ April sunshine ~

I'm in the New Forest at the Herb House spa in the grounds of Lime Wood Hotel and I'm with the sis and our mother on a girl's day treat. 

Friday

#FoodieFriday - Fine dining and afternoon tea in Rye

Not every meal is amazing, so I quietly don't mention the ones that are just ok. There is also, I have found out no guarantee that a cute looking tea room or a swanky fine dining restaurant will deliver on the essentials.

1) friendly and helpful service
2) tremendous taste
3) ethical, local and small business champion
and
4) superb presentation

With such a demanding list of requirements it's not surprising I don't go shouting about every meal I eat.

Perhaps the day we went to Rye we were lucky. Perhaps magically the universe realigned itself so I could have two great experiences on the same day, my birthday. Or perhaps Rye is just packed with great places to eat. I can't say for sure.

What I can tell you however is that I've found two great places to eat in Rye. Whether you're looking for a cream tea or a substantial munch, here are a couple of options that come highly recommended. 

Edith's House, Rye, Sussex
~ afternoon tea at Edith's House ~

Sunday

Day trip to Rye and its smuggling past

Once surrounded by sea, the town of Rye clusters up a hill with buildings dating back to medieval times and has a rich history of smuggling and battles.

There's a pub still in operation that was once visited by Elizabeth I, called The Mermaid Inn (a notorious haunt for smugglers) and houses have whimsical names such as The House Opposite and The House With Two Front Doors.

The House With Two Front Doors, Rye
~ The House With Two Front Doors ~

Oak plank from 15th century prison door, Rye
~ Oak plank from 15th Century prison door, Rye ~
Everywhere there are interesting features to look at or signs to read. It's not surprising it has inspired writers from Rudyard Kipling, who wrote A Smuggler's Song about here to the recently filmed Mapp and Lucia. It was also the home of John Ryan, the creator of Captain Pugwash (cue theme tune in my head).


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