Tuesday, December 01, 2009

London Museums

Everybody says it, London is expensive. However, people fail to highlight that most of London's museums are free. Bundle that with the abundance of parks (London is the greenest city on the planet - more space dedicated to parks and trees than anywhere else), you can fill in itinerary for three full days on the cheap.

Intense colours at St. James Park

Since my days were limited, I had to play my cards right and skip the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum as they were on the other side of town. Same fate went to Tate Gallery , as most of the sights I focused on were on the eastern bit.

A slapdash tour of The National Gallery on my last night in London was greeted by street performers, and the gallery I first entered hit the spot: Impressionism. At least half a day is needed to appreciate the masterpieces of Degas, Renoir, and Monet. There's a whole section for Titian, Italian Renaissance paintings, and other vast artworks in the massive building located on Trafalgar Square.

Steps leading to The National Gallery

I also managed to go into the Tate Modern, which houses the best collection of modern art I've seen so far. Beating out GOMA in Brisbane, Powerhouse in Sydney and Centre Pompidou in Paris (MOMA NYC, your fate will have to wait). Picasso, Lichtenstein, Mondrian are some of the work you'll find inside.

Last for this entry is the Westminster Abbey, which isn't technically a museum (duh, it's an abbey), but it's actually closer to a crypt. It's not free, but for 15 GBP, you get the tombs of English royalty while being assisted by Sir Jeremy Irons on the audio guide. Tombs of Elizabeth I sit side by side with her sister Mary I, and right across is her main rival, Mary Queen of Scots, her cousin. Also of note is the Poet's Corner, where tombs of Charles Dickens, Geofrrey Chaucer, Robert Browning, among others lay.

Westminster Abbey

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