Saturday, 11 June 2016

Three for free in London...

So, it's my last full day in London, and even with limited funds, I was able to fill it up with a few interesting places that I could get into for free...

1. The British Library. An uninspired monstrosity of a building from the outside, this place makes up for the ugliness with its amazing collections. The Treasures Exhibition has something for everybody - from hand written musical scores of Handel's Messiah, to hand written lyrics by the Beatles, to maps and illuminated manuscripts, including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and ephemera like Suffragette Olive Wharry's scrapbook. Across the hallway, for something completely different, was an exhibition on the London punk scene from 1976-78, looking at the Sex Pistol's rise to popularity, and the other bands that followed. It was while I was walking through this exhibition that I realised that I had vaguely considered going to the Queen's Birthday Parade and completely forgot. God Save the Queen indeed.

2. Sir John Soane's Museum. At a friend's recommendation, I decided to go check out this museum that I'd never heard of, and I'm glad I did. A professor of Architecture, but also an enthusiast of art, literature and antiquity, he filled this house with all manner of artifact, and his dying wish was that the museum be kept in its current condition. Somewhat cramped and seemingly chaotic in its arrangement, with rooms filled with stone sculptures and paintings, this is a unique place to behold. At the centre of the exhibition - in his "catacombs" is the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I, and hanging nearby is the (incorrectly labeled) death mask of Oliver Cromwell. Upstairs is not only a Shakespeare First Folio in perfect condition, but also the Second, Third and Fourth!

3. Tate Modern. Britain's renowned gallery of Modern Art was relatively close to my hostel, so I thought I'd pop inside quickly. I emerged several hours later. So much amazing art - I felt exhausted by the time I left. I'm just a bit sad that I didn't have time to visit the Tate Britain as well.

Now it's time to pack...