To round off our weekend in London we headed to Trafalgar Square where a huge festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rooster) was taking place from 10.00 a.m. No visit to London should take place without visiting this iconic square with Nelson’s Column at its centre surrounded by four lions. Getting to Trafalgar Square is easy, just take the Underground to Charing Cross and leave the station by the signposted exit to the square as Trafalgar Square does not have its own named station.
Although it was only mid morning the Square was already crowded but we managed to find a good spot at the top of a flight of steps to view the stage and the carnival atmosphere. Various trade stands from China and Hong Kong were to be found near the National Gallery at the rear of the square and we were handed fortune cookies, balloons and Year of the Rooster bookmarks.
Dance troupes and choirs entertained the crowds and although storm clouds threatened, it fortunately remained fine whilst we there.
Later, we moved on to The Barbican in the City of London so that we could visit the Museum of London which is located at London Wall, EC2. It was our first visit here, admission is free and the museum documents the history of London from Prehistoric to Modern times. It’s thought to be the largest urban history collection in the world and welcomes one million visitors each year.
We commenced our tour in the Prehistoric gallery ‘London before London, leading into ‘War, Plague and Fire’ covering the period of the English Civil War and the Great Fire of London. Exhibits were displayed in such a way that visitors could easily engage with the topics with plenty of interactive displays to keep children interested too.
‘Expanding City’ gallery covers the period 1660-1850 and I particularly liked the ‘Victorian Walk’ complete with reconstructed shops and public buildings. Continuing, we reached the Galleries of Modern London featuring a reconstructed Georgian pleasure garden and an Art Deco lift from Selfridges department store. How wonderful that this lift has been preserved for the nation since being replaced by the store.
Passing through the City Gallery we were able to see the State Coach which takes to the streets of London each November for the Lord Mayor’s Show. Finally, bringing us up-to-date ‘World City’ explores London’s story from 1950 to the present day. An excellent museum and one that I would highly recommend visiting if time allows and the weather is cold and dreary like now. Leaving the museum we spotted fragments of the Roman London Wall on our return to the Underground station.
It was then time to return to our hotel to collect our luggage and enjoy dinner together before we went our separate ways and returned home after yet another lovely long weekend in London.
If you have enjoyed reading this post you might also be interested to take a look at my previous London weekend posts for more ideas on how to spend time in London.