50 minutes from London center, Kew Gardens are the royal botanic gardens existing from the XVIIIth century, located in the borough of Richmond. A green bubble to escape the city gathering more than 30 000 plants, flowers and trees. Plan to spend at least 3 hours in the 326-acre park to enjoy all it has to offer. From a palm tree house to a Japanese gateway, passing by a treetop walkway and Kew Palace – which housed George III and his family – this Unesco heritage is a little gem at the doors of the city. Quite impossible to summarize, discover in pictures some chosen places and have a look at the website, there is always a festival or an event at Kew Gardens.
In the South part of London, Dulwich village is a green and protected area far from the hustle and bustle of the Center of London. Easily reachable by train from London Bridge or Victoria, you will discover this “chic village” spirit specific to the English countryside. Get off at the stop “West Dulwich“. 3 minute walking, you will find the Dulwich college, a boy boarding school created in 1619 by Edward Alleyn. More than 1.500 students today, the college welcomed before some famous characters such as Raymond Chandler. Walk through the Dulwich park then and grab a tea to the tiny and charming pavillon located in the middle. After that, you can head off to the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Founded in 1811, but the building dated of 1817, by Sir Francois Bourgeois it’s the first gallery, the purpose of which is to open art to public (usually a museum’s mission). To celebrate its 200 anniversary this summer, a temporary outside pavillon will open its doors on June 2nd. Discover the creation by IF-DO, the architect who won the competition organized by the gallery. The exhibition I don’t want miss? Sergent, watercolors. Easy peasy, it will be at the same dates, at the same place…It’s time to hit the road again, ok time to walk to Dulwich village Road, the high street of the area. Excellent lunch at the Italian restaurant Rocca, also present in South Kensington, with a special mention to the parpadelle with rabbit ragu! Get lost in the charming streets nearby to admire the huge houses (Do people own only manors there?), the little churches and the endless schools. Welcome to Dulwich!
Here, we are: part 2 of our “walks along the Thames”! We started at Temple, the unique lawyers district – there is no equivalent – an incredible bubble in the historical center. Find a barrister amongst your friends to open you the doors of the Royal Courts, the library or their offices. Accessible to everyone, visit Two Temple Place, a neo-gothic/victorian house owned by the richest man of the XIXth century: William Waldorf Astor, his father was just the landlord of New-York. Usually dedicated to corporate events and weddings, the mansion is just opened util end of April for the exhibition “Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion”. We hope you will be as fascinated as we were by the outstanding indoors. After that, follow down the Thames and stop at the Somerset House, this incredible gallery we talked about in our post “the best galleries in London”. The next stop is at Westminster. Visit the Churchill War Houses (we tell you more about the incredible 2-hour-visit in a next post) and have a coffee at the Cellarium café and terrace – just next to the cloister. Beside, the Victoria Tower Gardens will give you the opportunity to admire ‘the burghers of Calais” by Rodin. This busy day ends just in front of the MI6 at Vauxhall, created in 1909 as a part of the Secret Intelligence Service (at the same time as the MI5, the internal secret service). Find all the links in the french version below.
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