Rubbish Londoner

Coming out of a client meeting the other day, I found myself at the top of Victoria Street waiting for a cab, right in front of Westminster Abbey. As usual, it was taking ages to find one, so I stopped to take a picture using my phone (it’s not been often this summer you get a blue sky like that).

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

At which point I realised that despite living in London for nearly fifteen years (it’ll be exactly fifteen this saturday), I’ve never actually been inside. Which is frankly rubbish.

I’ve never been inside St Paul’s either. Or Southwark Cathedral. Which I suppose you might find unsurprising for an atheist. Except going to cathedrals is normally one of the first things I do in most European cities, so I’ve been a worst tourist in my home town than I am abroad (of course, being a good Catholic atheist, I’ve been to Westminster Cathedral several times, in fact it’s one of my favourite buildings in London).

It’s not just cathedrals though. I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’ve never been to the National Gallery. This year I missed the (apparently brilliant) Psycho Buildings exhibition at the Hayward, and the Frank Gehry pavilion at the Serpentine (just like I’d missed Zaha Hadid’s last year, and all but one in previous years). Yes, I make it to most things at the Tate (and there is no way I’ll be missing the new Rothko exhibition, but still, I’ve been pretty useless at making the most of what London has to offer: each week Time Out lands in my letter box and despite reading and planning loads, most weeks I fail to make it to any of them. And yet again despite promising not to miss it, I yet again failed to see anything at last weekend’s Open House.

It’s too late to make Open House before I go away (it’s only once a year), but with only six months left I seriously need to get out and see more before I go, not least to help keep me distracted as the big day approaches.


11 responses to “Rubbish Londoner

  1. have you been to the bacon one? way better than i imagined. probably helped by the fact i skived off and went on monday afternoon so it was really quiet plus i had the added bonus of feeling a bit naughty doing it.

  2. No, not made it yet – think I may pop down this weekend (it’s a bit far for easy skiving – although I may have to try that for the Rothko one as it’s quite close to the office).

    Have been far too diligent of late, need to fit in a few more skives and sickies before I go (haven’t had one in three years)

  3. Hey Geoff – as per your comment – I will still be coming to London to stay mid January-ish (around the 16th I think). You gonna be around? I will be in dire need of a job/flat/friends when I arrive. Haha.

  4. you’ve never been to the national gallery!! it’s free!!! and amazing!!

    totally rubbish!!!!

  5. Go to a service at Westminster Abbey, otherwise you’ll probably have to pay some extortionate amount to visit. I went to Evensong once and it was lovely. And you can have a quick gawp around before you take up your place on a pew. I was not asked to prove I was a faithful Anglican (and just as well).

    But you can pop into St. Paul’s or the National Gallery for free.

    And where’s Bacon on? I saw him in Milan when I was killing time between flights and, yes, it/he was marvellous.

  6. I can’t believe you’ve never been to the National Gallery! Mind, it is packed full of tourists and – paintings aside – quite dull inside.

    They run good 10 minute talks on Wednesday evenings (so after work) which are free and informative. Thanks to one, I now know who Lady Jane Grey was.

  7. Bacon’s on at Tate Britain.

    I might try and give the National a go this weekend. Although will skip the talk, as I’m too impatient to sit and listen for that long. And I know who Lady Jane Grey is already.

  8. Living in the area for a while and not seen them yet? You should! I hear the national gallery is amazing!

  9. That said, I live less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Imperial War Museum and have never set foot in the place, so I’m one to talk.

  10. The Imperial War museum is great. Well worth a visit.

    AND I’ve finally made it to the National. Think it may be worth a post of its own…

  11. Pingback: The National Gallery and discovering that I’m a philistine « Itinerant Londoner

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