The first in a series of occasional Grand Day Out blogs in which we share some of the activity-filled days, mornings or afternoons we enjoy when out and about for our own amusement.
A Grand Morning Out in London, W1
Start at the Oxford Circus tube station, Argyle Street exit and turn left.
Almost immediately pause to see a piece of street art by
Nathan Bowen who catapulted to fame following an appearance on The Apprentice in 2012.
“Grandma Did It” was created in October 2016 to coincide with an event of the same name to raise money for dementia charities –
a subject close to Bowen's heart as his own Grandma has dementia.
Wander through the Liberty department store which was founded in 1875 and played a major role in popularising household items and fashions designed in the art nouveau and the arts and crafts movement styles. The mock -Tudor wing fronting onto Great Marlborough Street wing was built in 1924 and is a delight to stroll through - particularly atmospheric in the run up to Christmas.
Liberty London, Regent St & Great Marlborough St, W1B 5AH
Time for coffee. Try Cafe Pomodoro in Kingly Street for old school cappuccino at £2.10 per cup. For additional fortification join the Crossrail construction workers tucking into full English breakfasts.
Cafe Pomodoro, 2 Kingly St, W1B 5PB
Cross Regent Street and head to Saville Row. As well as ogling the bespoke designer menswear there are many upmarket art galleries in this area, all of which provide the perfect opportunity for seeing a huge range of small art exhibitions free of charge.
Pace Gallery is another leading contemporary art gallery. It has 9 branches world wide including ones in Beijing, Seoul and New York. It represents some of the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st century including David Hockney, Barbara Hepworth and Picasso. The current London exhibition Impulse focuses on the work of five American abstract painters in the 1960s and 70s. Until 22nd December 2017.
Until 22nd December 2017
Pace Gallery, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET
A stroll through the elegant Burlington Arcade shopping arcade built in 1819 brings you onto Piccadilly and a gem of an exhibition.
Above the very smart premises of the “by royal appointment”, antique jewellery shop Bentley & Skinner is a banner announcing an exhibition called Faberge and the Russian Revolution. It feels rather surreal asking the uniformed commissionaire who opens the door if you are going the right way for the Russian Revolution but you are! Down in the basement, to the strains of the Russian national anthem, you discover that the father of the founder of this upmarket jewellers was a Russian revolutionary and friend of Lenin, who was forced to flee his country by the Tsar's secret police.
The Russian revolution of 1917 brought about the end of the Tsar and the business of his favourite jeweller, Faberge. Rather ironically, given his father's revolutionary views John Sheldon who founded Bentley & Skinner began to collect and sell Faberge jewellery. The exhibition showcases his Faberge collection and also highlights the difference between the worlds of the revolutionaries and the Tsar.
Until 30th November 2017.
Bentley and Skinner, 55 Piccadilly, W1J 9EQ
Round off a Grand Morning Out with lunch at the Japan Centre in Panton Street. It has a great range of Japanese groceries, fresh fish and seafood as well as books and Japanese ceramics. There is also a large seating area where you can eat freshly prepared noodle dishes or pre-packed sushi.
A good selection of sushi costs about £18 for two.
Japan Centre, 35B Panton St, SW1 Y4DP