Thursday, 31 August 2017

Days out in London north and south of the river - Sutton House and Dulwich Picture Gallery

When you live in a city like London (or anywhere for that matter) it's easy to become complacent and think that you have all the time in the world to see the sights, go to galleries, the theatre etc. And maybe you do, but it's only when you decide to do something that you realise how enriching it is to make the effort and how much is actually on your doorstep.

A week or so ago, my pal and I had two days free to play so we decided to take a walk to visit the National Trust's Sutton House, the oldest Tudor house in the East End of London a mere 15 minute walk from our respective front doors. Sutton House was built in 1535 by Ralph Sadleir a courtier of Henry VIII. It's an interesting place to visit but don't expect a fully renovated stately home. It has undergone various alterations in it's history and although it retains some of it's original features, it is a progression of various eras and supports community projects and exhibitions. It was occupied by squatters in the 1980's and there is a room that bears witness to this. 

Getting there .. no parking nearby, the closest station is Hackney Central and it is also served by various bus routes .. click on the link for more info.

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On our second day off, we headed off to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London. Designed and built by Sir John Soane "it is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery: it was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bequeathed his collection of old masters “for the inspection of the public”." 

I had been there before but quite a few years ago so was interested to go back again and see the water colours of John Singer Sargent. It's a wonderful collection of his work and booking is recommended as you may not get in if you just turn up. We were lucky as there was a slot within an hour of us arriving so we took the opportunity to have some lunch outdoors first as it was a beautiful day. 

Getting there .. free car parking, bus, rail and underground .. again, click the link for more specific info.

I hope this inspires you to check out galleries and historic venues in your neck of the woods. There's so much out there to see and learn about. Next stop for me, Tate Modern to see the Giacometti retrospective which finishes on September 10.

Both Sutton House and the Dulwich Picture Gallery are available for hire for weddings and other events.

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