This is the second of two posts about my two week trip to London for work experience.

I was working almost every day of my trip and so I wanted to make the most of the weekend. In the morning, I visited the National Gallery which is an amazing building for a start. Even the floors and ceilings are beautiful to look at. I found the layout a little confusing so opted for as logical an approach as possible because I wanted to see as much as I could. There was an exhibition of works by an artist called Peder Balke which I loved. He paints a lot of seascapes and his use of colour and light creates an amazing depth. I have always felt at home near the sea and his paintings just resonate with me.

Peder Balke, Nordkapp image from wikipedia
Peder Balke, Nordkapp
image from wikipedia

There were other parts I enjoyed, particularly Turner and other more modern artists, but I find it very difficult to love paintings of people. I much prefer landscapes, particularly those which use colour and shadow to create emotion. A lot of the works in the National Gallery blended into one for me. I guess that’s the beauty of art though – people see and appreciate different qualities in paintings and art in general.

After embarrassing myself by walking into a Caffe Nero that wasn’t even open for business yet (the confused lady repeated ‘we open tomorrow’ at least three times before I understood my mistake) I managed to find myself some coffee and lunch before my real treat of the weekend: a matinee of Matilda. This was my planned theatre trip and I hadn’t counted on seeing Les Mis earlier in the week so I had a really good seat for this, only four rows from the front and surprisingly central. The set for this show is amazing and the young cast were so talented (the adults were too, of course, but for eight and nine year-olds to perform like that is incredible). The story is very different from the original story which took me by surprise, but the music is great and I really enjoyed the experience.

On Sunday I had plans to visit the Natural History Museum because I remember loving it when I went with my family a number of years ago. I was feeling unwell on the tube, however, so I got off two stops early and ended up walking through Green Park and then through Hyde Park for around an hour and a half. It was lovely just to walk and it always amazes me that there are so many green spaces in the centre of a busy city. I got in the way of a number of runners who were running a half marathon and spent a little time at the Princess Diana memorial which is a beautiful water feature. Everyone is so calm and quiet there that it was nice to be able to just breathe.

Then I made my way towards the museum. By that point the queue was pretty long and I was still feeling not so great so I decided to go across the road and visit the Victoria and Albert museum instead. This was something my mum wanted to do last time we visited London so I thought I would give it a go. There were parts of it that were really interesting such as the exhibition of fashion through history (I would have liked to have seen the wedding dresses as well, but there were charging extra for that – over £10 extra which didn’t seem worth it). I don’t know whether it was because I was unwell and was therefore finding it hard to concentrate on reading the little plaques etc. but I didn’t particularly enjoy the museum. There was a lot to see, however, so definitely worth a trip if that’s your kind of thing.

By mid-afternoon I was still feeling ill and was tired (it had been a very long week) so I jumped on the tube and headed back to my accommodation. I had an excellent time in London; my placement was a great help and I really tried to make the most out of my time doing all the touristy things. I hope to move to London as soon as I can and so this trip was wonderful motivation to sort my life out!