The original plan was to spend this, our last day, at Hampton Court. However, after some thought and discussion we decided to make it a more leisurely day. We still had shopping to do, gifts to find and we all felt our brains were very full. Another day of information and sight-seeing would not have been fun at that point.
We slept in late and got dressed slowly. Our first stop was the Starbucks across from the BM. We sat and had a nice leisurely breakfast of coffee (tea for me) and pastries. We then went into the BM, to pick up a gift or two that we had seen there earlier in the week. In one of the shops I found a very cool little wooden stamp that I had somehow missed the first time. It was from India and was in a paisley type design. It was very similar to some of the late 18th century and early 19th century textiles I’ve seen. So, I got one, thinking that someday I might try block printing fabric for a costume.
We next headed for a round of shopping on Regent Street. We started at Oxford Circus and eventually made it all the way down to Piccadilly Circus. It was a lot of fun. My main goal on Regent Street was to go to Liberty’s of London, another London landmark I'd missed on my previous visits. The building itself was gorgeous, and it instantly became my favorite London department store. It’s in a faux Tudor style, inside and out. Lots of wood paneling, stairs that creak, and original Otis elevators. The fabric department was not quite what I had expected. It was much smaller, if very charming, and carried only Liberty fabrics. I was expecting more selection. They had lots of cotton prints, some gorgeous light weight wool prints and a very few silk prints. It was all very expensive (£17-£38 a meter) and with the current exchange rate I found I could actually buy it cheaper at my local G Streets. So I didn’t buy any fabric. I had also heard grand stories of the trim department. Again, it was very small but was full of some lovely things. I splurged on some net lace and some beaded trim. I have no idea what I will do with either but I’ll come up with something!
The “craft” section was impressive, mostly needlework supplies and kits. Lots of Beth Russell’s William Morris kits for some reason. *giggle* I again splurged on a bit of hand dyed wool thread. I’m planning on making an 18th century pocket or two and I want to do crewelwork on one or both. I already have a bit of hand dyed blue thread from Williamsburg so I thought some salmon colored thread from Liberty’s would be a nice addition. I love memorabilia projects. :> Oh yes and Jenni, you are not allowed to go there when are in London. The yarn section was huge (bigger than the trim actually), full of gorgeous combinations and hand dyed yarns. That might be more temptation than you can handle! I don’t even knit and I was tempted. *hahaha*
We continued on down the street, having a merry time. Hamley’s toy shop was very cool. They had a Harry Potter staircase, five stories high with murals and such. We were so excited about it we went up the staircase and then rode down the escalator. Considering it was five stories high, we probably should have done that the other way around! Oh well. I also saw the LOTR Barbie dolls there. Very, very pretty. Mattel really did a nice job. It’s one of their better character doll attempts.
Once we had made our way to Piccadilly Circus we turned and traveled up Piccadilly to pop into Fortnum’s once more. Maegan wanted to pick up a few things after all. I then made my biggest spurge. Well actually I made one for Dad. He had said we could each get a “buy yourself something nice while you are there” treat from him. I had seen some lovely shawls for a reasonable prices in the St James church market the day before and had been thinking about them ever since. By the time we passed the market again, I was sure I couldn’t live without a patterned wool shawl. :> I had fun choosing one, they were all so different. Bridget actually found the one I bought. It was perfect, just what I wanted. Red, with a paisley border, just like the ones you see in so many c1800-1820 portraits. The shawl is made of merino wool and is large and reversible, which is lovely. I was doing a serious little happy dance when we left! I know... I’m a goof.
Once all the names had been crossed off our guilt-gift lists, we had time to go to one museum as our last hurrah. We picked the V&A. Maegan really wanted to see the copy of Michelangelo’s David and I discovered (once we had left) that we had only seen half of the British Galleries. We had walked through 1600-1770 but there was 1780-1900 one floor up. We took sort of the long way around so we could walk through Green Park (Bridget’s favorite London park) and see Buckingham Palace. We didn’t have much time once we got to the V&A (as the museum closed pretty early) but we were able to see the plaster cast rooms again and wonder through the rest of the British Galleries. Yay, more historic fashion! There were some mid to late Victorian things on display but we pretty much skipped that part, not being a period of interest for either B or I.
After the V&A kicked us out - *grin* - we went back to Piccadilly for some sandwiches and crisps from Marks & Spenser, which we ate in Green Park. It was a nice dinner, although it got chilly as the sun started to set. It had rained a few times that day and when it started to rain again we left the park and made our way back to the hotel for the last time.
We then began the huge task of packing. It wasn’t too bad, but it did take some thought and planning to make sure the weight was evenly distributed and that none of our new treasures would be crushed. We had brought an extra suitcase and we certainly needed it with all the biscuits, Cadbury’s chocolate, kinder eggs and other goodies we *had* to bring home. :>
The Trip Home: