This morning we awoke determined to make the most of the day, without tiring ourselves out and trying to cram in so many things that we’d feel we needed another Sunday to get over it all. And so with the help of my weekly ‘Something for the Weekend’ newsletter from LondonTown.com, we set about making plans. Just a little bus ride away for us (and on the best bus London has to offer…the wonderful RV1!), we found plenty of bits and bobs to keep us busy for a few hours at the Southbank Centre and around, and so off we went for adventures.
First we hit the gorgeously twee and kitsch Christmas Market, which currently stretches along the Thames from the London Eye to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Cutesy little wooden huts, decked with festive adornments are filled with all kinds of gifts and Christmassy things, as well as yummy hot seasonal food and drinks. We spent an age trying on some beautiful alpaca yarn jumpers, which were a real favourite, as well as the charming glass blowing stall where the ceiling is filled with intricately made Christmas baubles.
Next it was indoors into the Royal Festival Hall to see the World Press Photo 2011 exhibition. A real eye opener, the display made me think more than about the quality and artistic merits of the photographs, as the incredible collection included many challenging images of war, the environment, and contemporary issues. The exhibition runs until 29th November and is free entry, so I would recommend a visit.
And then it was on to the Tea and Coffee Festival, just behind the hall in Southbank Square. The festival was really a sort of extension to the usual food market which is there every weekend, but there were plenty of treasures for the caffeine fiend to find. Comins Tea House had a lovely little stall, displaying their darling fine tea and British Tea ware. We loved the charming little metal tea caddies and cherry wood spoons. Sweet Tooth Factory were there to tempt those of sweet tooth (naturally) and with their Green Tea cup cakes, I was ever so tempted I have to say. And with cookies the size of which I had never seen (very large that it!), Galeta promised to take us to ‘cookie heaven’ whilst in their search for the perfect cookie. On the coffee front, Rococo Pod (also stocked at Waitrose I believe) boasted chocolates, coffees and ice creams in the most wonderful packaging of all. And then our best tasters of the day came from Kopi, who offer a clever monthly coffee club / subscription whereby you sign up for a regular delivery and their coffee experts send you amazing beans of all kinds to taste each month.
And after all that, it really was time to head home and spend the rest of the day in lazy Sunday mode….but not before a walk along the Southbank back to the bus stop to take in a little of the winter sun and some of the fun along the way…..