The V & fuckin’ A everybody!!!!! I could scream forever about this place. On this day in particular I actually was trying to go somewhere else, but the bus schedule was different for some reason and I wasn’t able to get there in the end sooooo I went to the trusty V&A.
So the bus I was supposed to take to get to my planned destination was at Wellington Arch, but through a series of unfortunate events that could have probably been prevented were I more comfortable with asking for directions and help from strangers, it didn’t work out.
This is the street the Kensington public library is at. It’s not a particularly noteworthy library – like, no stunning architecture or rare books or anything – but by virtue of being a library, it’s wonderful and I love it. Apart from the obvious of being a place where you can read as many books as you possibly can, it’s also one of the few public spaces that you (as a member of the general public) are allowed to exist in without paying anything or having the pressure to spend money. I think that’s really important, especially in this age of the FCC voting to get rid of net neutrality here in America – information should be accessible to everyone, no matter how much money they have in their pocket.
OK kind of anti-capitalist ramble over!
The four corners around the Albert Memorial have these sculptures for 4 continents – this one’s the Asia one. There’s also Europe, the Americas, and I think….Australia? I forget the 4th one, lol.
These buildings next to the Royal Albert Hall are, I think, residential. And like, what the fuck. How much do you think they cost?? I know they’re already in a super pricey area, but they’re literally bordered on all sides by intense attractions – the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gardens, the trifecta of museums in South Kensington (Science, V&A, and Natural History), and Imperial… All of that must bring the price up so much. Anyway, my point in bringing this up is to mention that every time I would walk by to get to the museums, I would speculate on who lived there and what they might be doing, lol. A super rich crazy cat lady with twenty-four cats eating caviar in her flat! A super rich minor Earl with his secret boyfriend! The possibilities are endless!
The V&A!!!!!! Heavy breathing. Tip – if the line to get in through the main entrance is miles long, find a side door. There’s usually no lines, and you can just go out through the main entrance later to get that ~oooooh main door~* feeling lol.
In their fashion wing, they had an exhibition on Balenciaga, and before that I think it was Agent Provocateur. You need tickets, so I never went to any of the paid exhibitions, because there was so much free stuff to see elsewhere. I always told myself that once I was done with every free thing I could squeeze out of the V&A, then I would go see the Balenciaga exhibition… I never did, lol.
Straight through the gift shop and you’ll pop out of a door to this little outdoor space. On a nice day, it’s divine. On a gloomy day, it’s still really damn nice. Keep going to get to the cafe! And if you see an open table, take it!!
The cafe!!!! Oh. My. Lord.
Look at those stained glass windows. Hoooooly balls. Museum cafes are usually something I will only go to if I absolutely am dying of hunger and must buy an overpriced lemon bar – not this one. Go treat yourself to a slice of cake and a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and bask in the place you’re sitting in.
(The food itself is not really anything special though, lol. Maybe buy a Tesco’s meal deal before coming here and then buy a drink so you can sit down.)
This museum gift shop is the best museum gift shop I have ever been in. FACT!!! But, for real. It feels like it was tailored for me, which of course it was not, but it feels like somebody looked into my mind and saw all the things I love about museum gift shops and put them here. The bright open space, minimalist shelving, clear acrylic boxes of earrings everywhere (speaking of earrings, the day before leaving London I agonized over what I would allow myself to buy and I ended up getting a pair of earrings – I forgot about them completely and I have no idea where they are now. Fuck.), and the products themselves are so nice. I feel like at a lot of museum gift shops the things you see can easily stray into gaudy kitschy territory, and you can tell that the things they’re shilling haven’t been very carefully considered and they’re just kind of there so someone flying from far away can buy it and take it home. The things here feel like I could find them at a boutique down the street.
This is the view from the main entrance – this big glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly.
The main doorway from outside and the best two words any gal can see: “admission free”. 😍
OK the end!! See ya next time for another edition of severely belated London photos~*