Days out in London without spending loads of money
Two Temple Place
I started my day by visiting Two Temple Place to view a Jazz Exhibition called Rhythm & Reaction, it is on until April 22nd (free entry). Even if you don’t like jazz much it is worth going just to see the inside of Two Temple Place – it is stunning and an architectural gem. The building is a late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment, a very short walk from Temple underground.
The building was originally designed for use as Astor’s estate office by one of the foremost neo-Gothic architects of the late nineteenth-century, John Loughborough Pearson. Astor had emigrated to England in 1891 as, arguably, the richest man in the world and no expense was spared when work began on Two Temple Place in 1892. The opulent interior, beautiful stained glass windows and incredible carvings are a joy to see in the middle of Central London.
Witness for the Prosecution – County Hall
After the exhibition, I walked along the Embankment, across Hungerford Bridge to County Hall. I had booked a very cheap ticket (£11 from lastminute.com) to see Witness for the Prosecution. I had never been inside County Hall but had heard how beautiful it was. The courtroom is the perfect setting for Agatha Christie’s gripping story of justice, passion, and betrayal set in a courtroom setting. It feels quite surreal sitting in a courtroom watching a drama about a court case in a courtroom and you can even buy tickets so that you are part of the jury….so cool!
East End in Colour – Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives
A few days later I headed to Mile End Road to see a photography exhibition about the East End of London from 1960’s & 1970’s by David Granick. (free entry). I had wanted to join the Library & Archives so this was the perfect excuse. The exhibition is on until May 3rd and has some great photos, they have also set up a slideshow for you to view at your leisure. The photos are printed onto white paper and bulldog clipped around the room which allows people to write comments below them which makes it so much more personal.
Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre
Next, I headed into the City for some more culture. Near St Paul’s is The Guildhall which has an art gallery that houses art dating back 1670 (free entry but you may have to pay to enter any temporary exhibitions). There are 3 floors of art and underneath all of it is a 2000-year-old gladiator ring which I didn’t even know existed. Below glass flooring you can still see parts of the wooden amphitheater where more than 7000 spectators would have sat on tiered wooden benches in the open air – it is so interesting and one of London’s hidden gems
Candlelit Photography at Southwark Cathedral
This is something I have wanted to do for a while but have never managed to get organised to do it. You buy your ticket through Eventbrite which is a really great app which shows you loads of events taking place where you live. You can search by area and by subject, lots of the events are free but some you have to pay for. I paid £10 for this event which lasted 2 hours and gave you all access to Southwark Cathedral after dark with only candles to light the space (and minimal lighting) – it was breathtaking. There’s also an art installation for Lent and Holy Week in the form of a dark cloud which hangs over the chancel and high alter – ‘doubt’ by Susie MacMurray. I arrived in daylight so saw the installation in light and then in darkness – it changes how you see it and really makes you pause for reflection – the perfect installation for Lent. For the candlelit photography there were about 25/30 of us, many came with their tripods and long and wide lenses, I just used my iPhone X and Huawei Android that has a Leica lens and got some really nice shots. You also don’t have to be a professional – just someone that enjoys taking nice photos in unusual settings – it was a really fun thing to do
So I had 2 packed days visiting places in London and spent just over £20 (excluding travel). There are so many places to visit in London that are free and also many events that are free – you just need to spend a bit of time doing some research which sometimes is the best part because then you discover other things taking place that you wouldn’t have known about. Looking forward to sharing more of my days out with you soon and remember…..smile every day