The third instalment of my London Adventure! After the Walking Tour (which we had to leave early – sorry Jake) we headed over to the Swan where we had Afternoon Tea for Two booked! That was just the start of a very Shakespeare themed afternoon!
Tea, Tea, Tea And More Tea!
We arrived at the Swan which is next to Shakespeare’s Globe at 2pm, which is the time our Afternoon Tea was booked for. So we headed straight in. There is a definite Shakespeare theme, on the way in there are flowers with Shakespeare quotes that mention them.
We were taken up to our table on the first floor. There was an amazing view over the Thames, but we weren’t right by the window which was a bit of the shame. We were given the menu to look over, but as we had a voucher we would be having the Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea (see a theme…) so all we had to choose was our drinks. I was very excited for my first afternoon tea experience, it was even more exciting that all the crockery was Midsummer Night’s Dream themed, with quotes and everything!
I choose White Pear and Ginger Tea. The tea was served and it wasn’t long before the food arrived. I love how it is displayed. The bottom tier contains savouries and as you move up the stand the food becomes sweeter. We had ‘herb fed lemon chicken, pea flower’, ‘smoked salmon, grape mustard and dill pancake’, ‘wild mushroom, whipped truffle cheese tart’ and ‘duck egg mayonnaise, asparagus’ for the savouries. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which was my favourite!
Working our way up there were then scones (with cream and jam, obviously). Then it was on to the sweets. The sweets contained ‘chocolate and violet chouquettes’, ‘lemon and rose cake’, ‘strawberry delice, elderflower meringue’ and ‘hibiscus and apricot shot’. My favourite sweet was the strawberry and elderflower one.
We spent about two hours here and were very full afterwards! We struggled to finish the cakes, but we did it! Albeit we had to have a little break from it!
Just before leaving I realised that I didn’t get a picture of the menu, which I like to do so that I know what I’ve had. So we asked the waitress if we could have another look to get a picture. She actually gave us a menu to take away, great souvenir! Thank you!
The Shard, Or Not
We had a few hours before the start of ‘The Taming Of The Shrew’, so we went for a wander. Somehow we ended up at Borough Market, which I guess you could say was a waste since we were both so full! But we had a wander round anyway, which I greatly enjoyed – it is massive! Much bigger than I expected! And since I love walking round markets, this was right up my street!
Whilst we were walking round we decided to head to the Shard and take a look at the view. As we were leaving the market we noticed a big blackboard with “Before I die I want to…” on it and lots of people had put what they want to do on here. I think it’s a nice idea. There were quite a few that had put ‘travel the world’!
So we got to the Shard and went to buy tickets. Here we were told we’d be better to book in advance, as it makes it £10 cheaper. What a pain. There was no way we were paying the £35 they wanted for a non advance booking, so we left it. We also thought £25 for advance tickets was a bit high, the Eiffel Tower is much cheaper and it’s only the Shard! But we may do it at some point in the future…
We still had a few hours before the show and weren’t sure what to do. It was decided to head in the direction of the Globe and see what happens!
A Cathedral Full Of Interesting Statues
As we were walking around I noticed Southwark Cathedral and the ‘free entry’ sign. So we went in, although we did make a donation, it’s only polite.
I went to get my camera out, but realised that there was a sign saying that you needed a photo licence. After I ‘ummed and arred’ for a few minutes until I decided that i really did want pictures. So we went back out and luckily there was someone on the desk this time. I purchased a camera licence to take photos (which turned out to be a leaflet too).
Walking around the Cathedral, following the guide in the leaflet, we soon came to the strange conclusion that a lot of the statues were in provocative poses. It was just a little weird, but very entertaining!
There was a statue of three men, near the Nonsuch Chest, that wasn’t in the leaflet. Which is a shame as I thought it was a cool feature, but there was very little information.
As is usual with our luck we noticed something was missing. There was a nice sign at the High Altar telling us all about a lovely chandelier that was not there at the time of visiting! As usual, it sounded awesome!
In this Cathedral there is also a statue of Shakespeare. Shakespeare lived in Southwark, which is why he has a memorial in the Church. There is also a window above the statue that shows characters from his plays.
I also liked the Medieval Roof Bosses. These very rarely fail to get my interest, they always look cool. Although I couldn’t quite figure out which one was meant to be the Devil swallowing Judas Iscariot. Eventually I came to my conclusion of which it was by realising which ones definitely weren’t!
Next we headed outside the Cathedral and realised we were right by Cafe Brood from the night before. Just outside was a big chess set, which we didn’t have time to play (or so Dave said, I think he just knew I’d win). There were a few points on the leaflet to see outside, but it started raining. So we tried to take shelter. After a few minutes we realised the rain wasn’t getting any lighter so we decided to brave it. A few minutes after we stepped out, the rain stopped.
Outside was a herb garden. The garden was quite small and pretty. What got my attention though was that there was a plant labeled ‘Shakespeare Strawberry’, they’re obsessed!
Leaving Southwark Cathedral, we still had time to kill. As we walked past the Golden Hinde again we realised that you can purchase entry. We followed the signs and bought our tickets, they guy even gave us a chocolate coin each (maybe we were the tenth person or something…)
To enter he gave us a code. I failed at the door. Glad Dave was with me or I’d never have got in!
The Golden Hinde was great fun! Turns out it is a reconstruction, but that doesn’t matter, I mean so is the Globe anyway!
There was a lot of information in the Golden Hinde, about the original, Francis Drake and the reconstruction. I’m one of the annoying people that reads every single sign, which for the size of the ship, there was a lot to read!
In one part of the ship we practically had to crawl through, it was so much fun. And there were also spices to smell, I was so impressed I guessed nearly all of them right!
It’s quite a ‘childish’ feature, but well worth it. I had great fun anyway, maybe because I’m not very grown up!
The Search For The Dictionary
There was still a little bit to look at to complete the guide on the leaflet, but this was off the boat. So we headed off and started towards the back. There is a sign here that tells the story of Mary Overie. One of those tragic stories where everything went wrong, so she founded a Convent. And her Church later became Southwark Cathedral, everything in this area is linked!
After seeing the last part of the Golden Hinde (a carving of a lion’s head on the back to scare away sea monsters) we continued our slow journey towards the Globe. We came across the Anchor, which had a sign outside with loads of information about the place. Apparently it survived the Great Fire, but then ironically burnt down later…
The sign also stated that “Many other London pubs claim Shakespeare as a patron, however we can be fairly sure he enjoyed an Ale or two inside these walls.” Love the wording. The sign also stated that a copy of Dr Samuel Johnson’s dictionary was in the pub. So we decided to go and have a look, and it’d be rude not to have a drink first, right?
So we had a pint then went for a search. We searched everywhere – it’s a decent sized pub. We found nothing. Asked a member of staff, we were told to ask a certain guy behind the bar as he’s a local. This is what we did. The guy behind the bar told us it was stolen about twenty years ago, so we’re a little late! Think someone needs to update the sign… Seriously though, who steals a dictionary? Really?
The Taming Of The Shrew
It was now time to head to the Globe. So we did. First we had a nosey in the shop, but decided to buy a programme after the show as we didn’t want it to get damaged. Then we headed out.
The doors to the Globe opened practically as we stepped into the courtyard. So we headed straight in. We were in the standing area, as tickets were only £5 (at time of writing). Also means you get a great atmosphere, being one of the ‘peasants’.
First a couple of musicians came onto stage, after they finished playing they asked that we did not take pictures of the show. Then it began. I noticed the actress playing Katrina sounded like she had a bad throat, but wasn’t sure if being a bit hoarse was part of the act.
However, we were not far into the play when it was interrupted. A member of staff came out to tell us that the main actress, was unwell, so the understudy would be taking her place. The custom change would take a few minutes etc.
A few minutes later he came out again to tell us who was now playing who. The actress who was Bianca in the first scenes was now Katrina and the understudy was playing Bianca. The next scene with the sisters was a little confusing, but I soon got my head around it!
I don’t want to give any spoilers, so do not want to go into the story. Although it is what the film “Ten Things I Hate About You” is loosely based on. It is a comedy and the first Act is hilarious. The second Act suddenly becomes a lot darker – proper slap in the face.
It was amazing. Different to what I expected, but easy to follow. It was hard hitting and the understudies were brilliant. Well worth seeing (as is any Shakespeare in the Globe for £5). I was completely blown away.
On a side note – there is a special place in hell for those that take pictures of performances, especially when you have been asked not to. Act 2 is included. And an extra special place when you talk as well! Could not believe it.
The End Of The Evening
We made a mistake, the shop was shut after the show, so we could not get a programme. Fail. Looks like we’d have come back the next day.
We were both so amazed that we decided to walk around a bit before heading back to the AirBnB. At some point we thought food might be an idea, but it was now very late. In the end we just got a meal deal from a supermarket. Oh well, sometimes you have to.
We wandered for a while, found another Dream Jar at the Royal Exchange. This Jar was “The Heart Takes Over” which is the dream of Paralympic David Weir CBE. He wanted to be a footballer when he was a child, but when his legs couldn’t do the work, his ‘lungs and heart’ carried him instead.
We arrived back to the AirBnB at I have no idea what time, set the alarms nice and early and went to sleep.
The next and final part of the London Adventure is the Uni Reunion. Don’t think that needs much introduction…
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