I had a great weekend in London last week. The main reason was to reunite and catch up with colleagues from Girlguiding (where I was an administrator and later a Project Coordinator for just over two years). It was the only place in London that I really do feel that I made lifelong friends – considering the office I worked in was filled with mainly women in their twenties, I guess that’s not surprising! It was great to catch up over a drink or two at The Blue Lion on Grays Inn Road (tip for londoners, a great little place with helpful staff if you want to reserve space for free at a central London pub, especially on the Friday after payday!).
Donna and I made our way back to the Grange Holborn, where because we had missed dinner, had midnight room service of paninis and (curly for me) fries. Whoever was on kitchen duty clearly was in a generous mood!
We had booked a great deal for our one night stay (£130 for a twin room including an excellent breakfast) and I got a swim in at the spa too!
On Saturday morning we emerged fresh-faced and well rested/fed and wandered into nearby Bloomsbury.I had heard about the Books about Town trails, organised by the National Literacy Trust. Here’s some more information, put together eloquently by Stanfords Book Shop who are selling posters of the benches on the trail.
The event organised by the National Literacy Trust in collaboration with Wild in Art has created trails of benches around specific areas of London: Bloomsbury, the City, Greenwich, and Riverside. The Benches, shaped as open books, decorated by professional illustrators and local artists, can be found all over town and are there for the public to enjoy. It is a unique opportunity to explore the capital’s literary connections, to enjoy art from some of the country’s top artists and to celebrate reading for enjoyment. At the end of summer 2014, all the benches will be auctioned at an exclusive event in the Southbank Centre to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s vital work to raise literacy levels in the UK.
As we were staying in Holborn, the Bloomsbury trail seemed the most obvious one to go for This was the perfect thing to do on a Saturday morning in London in an area that is normally very busy during the week, which meant that we also avoided the crowds piling into Oxford Circus for weekend shopping. Here’s the trail map (there’s also a quiz that can be done along the route too!):
We visited 11 out of the 12 benches on the trail, which took about 2.5 hours (including a Starbucks break). We each had our favourites and some of these included benches that prompted us to think about reading some of the books that we hadn’t got round to yet. Here is a whistle-stop tour of the illustrated benches- do you recognise them?
It was lovely just wandering round the area alongside such huge buildings like UCL’s Senate House, as well as these lovely entrances to townhouses:
As well as a weekend for wandering, it was also a bit of a foodie weekend – more about that tomorrow!