In mid-January I had a work trip to the UK which gave me some time to head into London. Leandra wasn’t able to come on this trip, so I focused on theater shows and museums she was less likely to want to check out.
It wasn’t intentional, but I happened to be in the UK for the official Brexit on January 30, 2020. Luckily, I was in London that night, so I headed down to Parliament Square for the historical moment of separation. A large crowd stretched multiple blocks from the square and the mood was fairly celebratory.
Though I suspect Brexit will be much more complex than advertised, I sincerely hope it works out.
I enjoyed Kunene and the King, a two-man play set in South Africa, with themes including race, class, art, health, etc. I was in the last room of the Ambassadors Theatre for this one, which had a rather small amount of legroom but quite good sight lines considering the cost.
I also found a great last minute deal on Touching the Void, a play about a mountaineering expedition that went wrong. The story itself was okay, but the staging was quite remarkable, with a lot of climbing and cablework for the actors.
The third play I saw was a brand new, off-West End play titled Faustus: That Damned Woman. Described as a re-working of the Faust myth to explore the sacrifices enroute to greatness, this was wonderfully different and my favorite of the trip.
Somehow, I’d never been to the National Portrait Gallery before, so I decided to make that a priority for this trip. It’s an interesting combination of history and art, with most of the pieces featuring various royals and other notables across five or so centuries. They also had an interesting exhibit on modern portraiture.
However, I still prefer the National Gallery next door, with their amazing collection of art work, so I also stopped in briefly to check for new pieces like the one below.
I also tried out the Royal Air Force Museum, a 10 minute walk from the Colindale tube stop, and ~30 minutes from the center of London. This museum is quite large, with several hangers full of RAF history, and I spent nearly four hours here in all!
Food & Drink
Chick ‘n’ Sours – as soon as read that their focus was fried chicken and sour cocktails I was intrigued, and this restaurant did not disappoint, delivering tasty chicken strips and a delicious cocktail (The Tart- bourbon, amaretto, cherry and cacao).
Another evening I got to try Cork & Bottle, a lovely little cellar wine bar in Leicester Square with a well-curated, interesting wine list, and a nice cheese selection (the black bomber cheddar was great).
Finally, I tried Chez Maiss in Hammersmith, conveniently located just outside of the underground. I was glad I made a booking here – by 7p there was a wait for tables. My flatiron steak was delicious, and paired well with fries and arancini.
As I’ve done before, I stayed at the Doubletree West End. They’re undergoing renovations, and for both of my stays I was able to score an upgrade to a remodeled room. Both were quiet, key for me, with a small fridge offering a few free items (kit kat bar, juice and water).