Originally when I booked two weeks off work I had planned to spend them with Florida with my wife. However thanks to my impending redundancy we decided to downscale a bit. So instead we settled on a three day break in London followed by a couple of days in Essex with the family. As it turned out this was a damn good idea.
Both Kirsty and I have been to London many times, however we had not really the whole “tourist” thing so we figured that would be a good place to start. We booked a last minute hotel and hashed out a few things we wanted to do. The Film and Science Museums were top of my list and Kirsty wanted to do some shopping on Oxford Street and tour the city on an open top bus. Beyond that we had a few other things we would like to do but we figured we would play it by ear.
First off was the Titanic Exhibition at the O2, which I found pretty interesting. The artifacts on display gave an interesting insight into life on ship but for me the whole thing was ruined by the fact that you could buy part of the wreak in the gift shop.To me the site is a grave yard and should not be used to make money even if it is to fund exhibits like this. We capped the day off watching X-Men First Class in the massive cinema contained in the arena. Loved the hell out of that movie and my faith in the Goldman Vaughn combination was well founded.
The next day was the Science Museum and Shopping. We arrived at the museum a tad early and ended up sitting in a park next to Imperial College till it opend. We chilled their with our Starbucks until Kirsty spotted a “famous” person but couldn’t tell me who it was. Just as we were trying to figure it out several vans turned up and unloaded cameras, lighting equipment and a whole damn film set. Having never been on one I was keen to see this up close and personal. As we were pretty unobtrusive the crew let us hang around as the set up the scene and we discovered they were filming a remake of the tv series Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy with Colin Firth and Gary Oldman, who turned out to be the famous person Kirsty had seen earlier. As they began filming we got out of the way as to not push our luck however it was very cool to see the filming process first hand.
The Science museum was awesome but unless you are a tech nerd like me probably not all that interesting. However, I felt very old when I saw the display of “old” video games and realised i had owned all the consoles on display.
On our last full day we took an open top bus tour of the city. If you have never been to London before I urge you to do this as its hands down the best way to see the whole thing in a short space of time. As your ticket allows you to hop off and on whenever you want it allows you to check out some of the attractions close up with relative ease…. like the London Film Museum.
Now as a film fan you can probably guess this was my favorite part of our trip. I could easily type 1000 words on how grea this was and the awesome props/exhibits we saw. Highlights were the 1960′ s Tardis from the Peter Cushion Dr Who films (which the staff let me open walk out of for a very nerdy photo), The Glavie, the Star Wars room which aside from the obvious Vader/Storm Troop costumes, had the Han Solo in Carbonite prop and one of the corridors from the Rebel ship at the beginning of Star Wars – complete with c3p0 and r2d2.
But as a film nerd you have to visit if only for the Ray Harryhausen exhibit. There is something magical about seeing all those stop motion props up close and personal. The Pegasus and Medusa may look worn but they still look far better than anything created in a computer ever will.
Anyway I have rambled on for long enough so I’ll stop now. However this week has taught me that even when you think you know somewhere it can still find new things to surprise you.