On a rainy Sunday (no, it’s not an usual Sunday in London), visiting the Churchill war rooms is always a good idea. Beside the 10 Downing Street, you will find a bunker entrance housing the secret WW2 bunker (from where Churchill led the country from 1939 to 1945) and the Churchill museum. Open to the public only in 1984 by Margaret Tatcher (a great admirer of the former Prime Minister), this historic underground had been closed at the end of the WW2. After a lot of rebuilding, everyone can now discover what was the day-to-day organisation of the war cabinet. Protected from the bombs, you will pass along the map room (to follow the enemy and allies attacks), the radio room to broadcast the famous Churchill’s speech, a machine room to ensure a comprehensive autonomy to the buildings, and the bedrooms of the closest colleagues. The Churchill museum has been built in an addition to the underground. A fascinating testimonial of the Great Man through the letters from Clementine (his wife) and his friends, his exchanges with Roosevelt, his views on the “Cold War”, a chronological approach from his childhood to his first steps in Politics, you will learn everything on this brilliant speaker, intellectual, impatient and choleric man who also got a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971 and who painted figurative artworks. Please allow 2 hours at least to get the most of the visit (an audioguide is included in the tour). A bit expensive (£17) but it is definitely worth it.
We were a bit surprised when we have heard that the exhibition dedicated to David Hockney (English painter, printmaker, photographer…born in 1937 in the Yorkshire but quickly seduced by the dolce vita in California) would take place at the Tate Britain until the 29th of May and not at the Tate Modern. This major contributor of the Pop Art in the 1960’s has developed a colorful realism, influenced by the “on-stage” world and the photographic art. Quite impossible to summarize because we have been overwhelmed by the variety of styles – from domestic scenes to Yorkshire and US landscapes-, and expressions: vidéo, pictures, drawings,… But we can say that: we have been very impressed and it’s probably the more fascinating exhibition we have seen for a while. You will not follow there a chronological path giving some clues about his biography but you will dive into a deep creative world. His obsessive theme – how to represent (and to play with) the reality – is revealed from the very first room “play within a play”. Throughout the exhibition, you will discover his work on the perspective, the scenography, the color and a new form of (pop) impressionism. Hockney uses the pictures and the video to create a bigger artwork which questions our perception and what we keep in mind. Please, offer you a pure artistic creative session.
A new comer in the Victoria’s neighbourhood on the food stage from February: it’s Aster. This French-Finnish restaurant gathers a Déli, a Café and a more classical restaurant. Furbished by the talented Russel Sage Studio (who has already created the Dishoom and Bounce interiors amongst a lot of luxury hotels, bars and restaurants), you will find a cosy inside, a vintage bar with an antique gold patina, some surprising and aerial lights and an incredible painting. Our advise: book a table at the café and share a lot of nibbles, sides, and starters to discover the nordic cooking interpreted by Helena Puolakka. We recommend the golden beetroot salad, the pork roll with the aquavit mustard, the wild shrimps and of course the home cured salmon. The beetroot borscht is very thirst-quenching and the duck salad delicious (ordering the small size is enough). The whole team is very caring and you can’t imagine a nicer welcome. Good to know, upstairs, you have 2 private dining rooms you can book for corporate events or a special occasion.
Although this district owns one of the greatest museums: The Tate Britain, you could have missed the peculiar and residential charm of Pimlico. Our day has begun at Pimlico Station with a walk towards the Westminster Cathedral (not to be confused with Westminster Abbaye) which is the Catholic seat of the Westminster borough. This incredible neo-byzantine and gothic building worths a stop. If you can, prefer the afternoon, around 5PM each day, a magnificent choir of 30 boys who give a special resonance to the edifice. In the streets nearby, several beautiful mansions can be admired. For the lunch, support the cooks-to-be of the Westminster College at Vincent Rooms, the perfect way to treat yourself with refined mains at an affordable price. Then, direction Pimlico Street dedicate to Galleries’ Interior Design with the mouthwatering shop Daylesford, an organic farm, both a delicatessen and a restaurant. Have I mentioned they also have a “dog parking”? Finish your day with Ebury Street – in one of these mews, Mozart composed the first symphony – and in front of the famous cupcakes’ store Peggy Porschen, discover the charming Elizabeth Street with our fellow French Poilâne has opened.