Posts Tagged ‘Wallace Collection’

When people find out we were lucky enough to spend a year in London, they usually ask “how did you like it?”  My answer is always “We loved it and still miss living there.”  The follow-up question is usually “So, what didn’t you like about it?”  That’s easy ~ doing the laundry. That may sound trivial (and it is) but doing laundry in a washer/dryer combo machine that doesn’t vent is frustrating. Clothes wouldn’t dry for days. Yesterday, while attending a cocktail party, a woman asked me the usual question “how did you like living in London?” but she got a shocked look when I said how much we loved living there and she followed up with “What exactly did you like about it?”  Hmmmmm….let’s see…”EVERYTHING”  

It got me thinking about our upcoming trip back to the UK in July. We’ll only have a week in London and a week in Scotland. There are so many places we want to re-visit. As much as I like to travel by the seat of my pants, I know we’ll regret not going back to see our favorite places and restaurants. A prioritized to-do list is necessary.


Since we’ll be staying in our neighborhood, Marylebone, we’ll want to visit our old haunts. It’ll be easy to spend the whole day in Marylebone. It’s such a vibrant and beautiful part of London.

London: Marylebone High Street

Marylebone High Street ~ so many restaurants and shops all leading to either Regents Park or to Oxford Street

London:Daunt Books Marylebone

Best book store EVER ~ Daunt Books. Loved their author visits (wine served)

London St James Church Marylebone

The beautiful and Gothic St James Catholic Church ~ our “home” church while in London

London St James at night

…and it’s even more stunning at night

Wallace Collection at Night

The Wallace Collection is my favorite museum in London. It’s so cozy and intimate. I can imagine what it must have been like to be invited over as a friend of the owners to see the marvelous collection back in the mid to late 1800s. I visited so many times when we lived there (it was only a few blocks from our flat) and every time I left, I was already figuring out when I could get back to see more of the collection.

London Church alleyway

London Grotto Passage, W1

Lots of alleyways in Marylebone (and all around London). I love walking through them especially at night.

London Friday night at the pub

Local pub just off the High Street

London Royal Academy of Music

I knew two people who attended the Royal Academy of Music and I walked by it nearly everyday but never went to a concert there. Hopefully we can see a performance there.

London Thank goodness they have these as reminders

…and hopefully the directional signs on the road will help keep me from getting run over by aggressive cab drivers.

London Primrose Hill.jpg

A walk up to Primrose Hill in Regents Park to see the great views of London and of course to people-watch. Lots of buff athletes or the occasional one with his pants too low. I was photo-bombed.

London, Regents Park Station Underground

London US Ambassador's residence in Regents Park

Would love to spend a few hours walking around Regents Park

The pressing question is: Do we go back to our favorite restaurants or do we try new ones? Hopefully we can do both. One we’ll go back to is on Marylebone High Street close to Daunt Books ~ Topkapi. YUM! Lots of vegetarian options, meat eaters were happy and it has a lovely wine selection.

London Marylebone Topkapi

Day two will have us venturing out of Marylebone…

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The Wallace Collection

The other day, a few expats and I spent some time at the Wallace Collection located in the Hertford House at Manchester Square in Marylebone, London.

The Hertford House ~ Wallace Collection

First off, the house itself is gorgeous! I was overwhelmed upon walking in (there are three floors and twenty-nine galleries), and after a light lunch in the museum cafe, we went on a tour with an engaging and informative guide.  She has a passion for the Wallace Collection but specifically paintings and furniture from France.

Although the 3rd and 4th Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace (illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess) were instrumental in acquiring the vast collection, it was the 4th Marquess who is considered one the greatest collectors of the 19th century.  When his son, Richard Wallace died in 1890, his widow lived at Hertford house until her death in 1897.  In her will, and at the bequest of her late husband, the collection and house was converted into a public museum.  It opened to the public in 1900.

According to our tour guide, the stipulation in the will regarding the collection is it must stay “as is” ~ nothing added, nothing removed.  None of the items can be loaned to other museums, this is the only place you’ll see it.  They must have a vast storage area because the galleries change out periodically for certain events and specific tours.   For example each month, a great work is highlighted as the “treasure of the month” and there are scheduled talks about the piece.

The museum also has scheduled Exhibitions, Conservation Displays, Special Talks, Study Events, Adult Art Classes, Youth Activities & Family Workshops.  I’m bummed I missed out on the French Wine Tasting event which was in September but plan to make up for loss time with as many other events as I can.  I am completely amazed by the sheer size of the collection and can imagine I’ll be spending many rainy days exploring the galleries.

For any one with children, there’s a “Takeover Day” on 23 November 2012 (Friday) ~ students from St Vincent’s Primary school will take charge of the museum, from the front of the house to leading groups on an interactive tour.  I think visiting children would find it more interesting coming from their peers.

On a side note, I saw a photo of the museum art pieces being evacuated before the Blitz and, thankfully, the house itself was spared during the bombing of London. Whew…

If you decide to visit, the museum entrance is free of charge as are the daily tours. There are fees and reservations required for certain events and talks.  The museum is open everyday except 24, 25 and 26 December.  For more specific information, click here.

If you go, look for me there since I plan to spend a lot of time in the galleries while living here.  How could I not, it’s an easy 10 minute walk from our flat.

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