Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Details from London

I recently returned from 10 days in London and Paris – first London for my cousin’s wedding (the wedding actually took place in Richmond, a charming borough of London that is right on the Thames), then Paris as a special trip for my middle daughter’s 13th birthday. 

I always love visiting London not only because it is my favorite city, but also because I have been so many times that I feel no real pressure to do all of the tourist activities. Different things catch my eye on each trip, and I particularly enjoy wandering around the neighborhoods in London and taking self guided walking tours.

It has been almost 5 years since my last visit, when I was attending my grandmother’s 90th birthday festivities. I stayed in Belgravia during my last visit, and spent quite a bit of time walking (with a focus on Holland Park, Chelsea, and Kensington). I documented my discoveries in this blog post - http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2008/07/drive-by-or-walk-by-london.html.  It’s interesting to see what caught my eye 5 years ago– it was before we decided to build a house, and architecture was clearly on my mind (although flowers and planters are also well represented).

My recent trip was busy with family activities, and I was staying in an area of London that was not quite as familiar to me – Marylebone. It is located north of Oxford Street, south of Regents Park, Northeast of Hyde Park.  I wish the weather had been better (it poured many of the days we were there) and I wish I had more time in London – I would have liked to explore the area a bit more!

Looking back at the post from 5 years ago, I noticed that I took a picture of number 15 Wilton Crescent. I had a new iphone at the time, and it is amazing to realize how much better the camera has become on the iphone over the past 5 years.

When composing this post, I realized that I coincidentally took a picture of the same house - it clearly caught my eye again!  The planters are the same, as are the trees (I think they are bay trees – they were by far the most common type of tree in a planter that I saw – does anyone know more about them?).  

A closer view of the planter, flowers, and tree. The purple flower seen in the base of the planter was all over London this year – purple seems to be quite in fashion when it comes to flowers.

Planters seem to catch my eye on this trip. I love the pattern on these planters.

More bay trees, in planters with seasonal flowers planted in the base. I really like this look.

I believe this was outside the Rag and Bone store in Sloane Square. I thought it was a charming look – a black Versailles style planter with a flowering tree and pretty white flowers at the base.

Another set of planters that caught my eye – a great way to incorporate planters into a narrow space.

After my cousin’s wedding, we took the Eurostar over to Paris for a 5 day visit.  The details that caught my eye in Paris will be in the next post (including scenes from my first visit to the famous Paris flea market)!

I know quite a few people heading over the London this summer. Have you ever been?  What catches your eye?  Another thing I noticed, London looks wonderful these days - everything is quite polished and spruced up given that the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee took place in London last summer.

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  1. Been to London several times, love it. I especially like walking thru neighborhoods too. Of course, Buckimgham Palave, Big Ben, etc.

  2. I was in London for the olympics last year. There was an incredible buzz and energy in the air, everything looked beautiful, London was at her sparkling best. There is no other city like it in the world, the old and the new are both such a draw of London.

  3. Holly - Did you go to the Golden Hind? Since you told us about it, we always go....right when they start serving dinner as it gets crowded fast! The best fish and chips. Welcome back. x Loi

    1. Oh yes, the best fish in chips in London - and I even like their mushy peas! I am a bit embarassed to admit that we went to the Golden Hinde twice. It's that good.

      Heather likes a gastropub in the area called The Grazing Goat. Downstairs is the pub, upstairs is the restaurant. It has a great atmosphere (lots of bleached oaks) and very good food - good beer battered fish and chips, but not as good as the Golden Hinde!

      - Holly

  4. I have always loved purple for a front entry it gives such a grand statement. Your photos are wonderful and I enjoyed seeing all the doors as well. I will have to look up the bay leaf topiary but not sure if the Texas heat will be kind to them.

  5. I am in Atlanta and have a little bay tree which I am keeping more as a low bush. My mother and sister are in Glos and London, so I was inspired by their bay trees. I would like to do two bay trees like these in our next house though - we are getting ready to build. So far my bay tree is doing well in the Atlanta heat the past 2 years!

  6. Never been to London but it's on my list!!

  7. We stayed in Marylebone on our recent trip, too. Loved it and can't wait to go back.

  8. I love this post, and included reference to it on my blog today! I hope you don't mind! Love reading your blog!

  9. I just returned from London!
    Passed by that Rag and Bone in Sloane Square everyday, it being right around the corner from our hotel.
    I know what you mean about those purple flowers. They were everywhere, and they were stunning. Do you know what they are??

  10. Honestly, I could have written this post and my friends would not have known any better. Word for word is my sentiments exactly. It is my fave international city too, and my heart often longs to be there. I, too, do not feel the need to do the touristy attractions, but I have to admit I am drawn to Westminster Abbey every time I go. We were supposed to go back this Fall but had to postpone until the Spring. We spent Christmas driving through the Cotswolds two years ago. Magical! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Stunning Holly! I pinned several pictures here.ADORE the lead planters with their prim boxwoods...so gorgeous!! This definitely makes me want to plan a trip to London and soon! Sounds like an incredible trip, Paris, London, a family wedding...what fun!

  12. Thank you for this post. Funny how we are taking the exact same trip starting Wednesday for my son's 13th birthday including the Eurostar trip to Paris. We are excited and this post was a primer for our trip! Where is the Golden Hinde restaurant? We are staying in the Regents' park area.

    1. The Golden Hinde is in Marylebone, not far from Regents Park. It's casual, reasonable (for London, which is very expensive), and so good! It's BYOB if you want wine.

      If you are going to Paris, I would strongly suggest buying the Paris Museum Pass. It allows you to go in a special line for most of the top attractions, which will save you a ton of time! There is a pass for London, but so many things are free that it might not be worth it.

  13. I've been to London many times, it's my favorite city too! This just makes me wish I was planning trip, I guess the virtual tour will have to suffice for now. Thanks for this.

  14. We lived in London in Ennismore Gardens for 3 years - 1994, 1995, 1996. I loved the big plane trees in our garden. I consider those the best years of my life (even though our children were grown and not there, but we saw them fairly frequently.) I loved your pictures. The black door looked like one that might have been on Cortland Place.

  15. Your post's timing is perfect! I've been struggling with how to suggest "accessorizing" the area under the front portico on a project Sally and I are working on - a new French Villa style home in the Boston area. Loads of inspiration! Thank you!


  16. I went to school in London for a semester (ages ago) and loved every minute of it. Haven't been back since 2009, so I'm overdue for a trip. Lovely images--I've pinned several for future inspiration, so thank you!


  17. These planters are so gorgeous- what inspiration!

  18. Great to hear that you had such a lovely time in London, what a lovely trip. Looking forward to hear about the Parisian part of the journey next!...xv


  19. I die over this type of planter set up! I have been planning it for my home :)) Hope you have a beautiful day!


  20. Well I am a Londoner, grew up in Kensington and worked near the Marylebone area, so know exactly why you've fallen in love with these areas. I've lived in Spain for the last 13 years and now live part-time between the two, but I can honestly say I would take London anytime ;-)
    What a pity you didn't have great weather :-( We are supposed to be getting a heatwave next week in time for Wimbledon. Even if you are not a tennis fan there is nothing like the atmosphere around Wimbledon during the tournament.Maybe next time you come ;-)

  21. It's been a long time since we visited London...I especially remember the huge cast iron tub in our B&B in the middle of the "shared" water closet! My new husband stood "royal guard!" franki

  22. Next time you are in town, do try and check out the other pockets like Clerkenwell, Dulwich, and Hampstead. I think you will get a lot of inspiration from those parts from not only the stores and high street but the architecture and the style of houses there.


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