There’s nothing I love more than a spontaneous afternoon in London. The city is always full of surprises, even when you least expect them! After having a lovely afternoon tea with my Mum last week, we then went for a wander to walk off all those cakes and also to just further relish a day away from work for the both of us. After enjoying the Inventing Impression exhibition for a second time (I just loved it and will be reviewing it soon!), we strolled by the beautiful Royal Opera Arcade – London’s oldest shopping arcade – a mere 2 minutes from the National Gallery. I must admit, I’ve never really explored the immediate area surrounding Trafalgar Square as I’d always assumed it would be unpleasantly touristy. As usual, though, London proved me wrong: the Royal Opera Arcade is a hidden gem, quiet and peaceful and home to some seriously great looking wine bars. Designed by John Nash, it truly is a gorgeous space. I’ll be back very soon!!
Having noticed an exhibition of Canadian photographer Jeff Wall‘s works, we then turned our feet in the direction of Canada House. I figured a trip to the Canadian Embassy was appropriate, considering I was born in Canada and have a Canadian passport! The exhibition was tiny – a mere 5 photographs – but still carried surprising impact for its size. I loved Jeff Wall’s snapshots of everyday life, made dramatic by his cinematographic style. I’d definitely recommend popping in if you’re in the area, especially as entry is free.
By this time, we thought an aperitif would be rather nice, and we were both keen to head back to the Sofitel St James, as we’d spied the Balcon Charcuterie Bar there and thought it looked rather our cup of tea. Can you blame us? Just take a look:
We settled down with some Badoit (my very favourite sparkling water – a place that serves it always soars to the top of my list!) and English Sparkling wine from Kent. I have to mention the incredible wine menu – which is on an iPad! We got to select from region, serving size etc and happily swiped our way around the menu. I’m not sure I’ve ever had so much fun on an iPad before – it could be a dangerously addictive form of ordering!
As we sipped our sparkling rose, I found my eyes were irresistibly drawn to the lovely looking cheese selection.
Incredibly (considering the afternoon tea we’d had earlier), we decided we could just about manage a ‘little’ tasting board.
The mix of French and English cheeses were delicious, as were the fruit chutneys, crackers and breads served alongside. We practically waddled over to Waterloo to make our way home after.
I thoroughly enjoyed my spontaneous afternoon in London, even if (for me) it involved rather typical pleasures: art, wine and cheese!
When was your last spontaneous afternoon? What did you end up doing?