Elf at the Tate

The Tate Britain is an overlooked art gallery that really does deserve more attention. The Tate Britain is home to a whole range of art through time. My favourite section is the School of London, which houses beautiful portraits.

The Tate Britain is a short walk from Pimlico station, although also a lovely walk across the river from Vauxhall. It’s a beautiful building and impressive to behold.

The galleries are laid out in time periods. Follow them around its worth it.

We stopped to spend time enjoying Ophelia by John Everett Millais and Carnation Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent. Two of my absolute favourite paintings.

The Tate Britain is free to get into and also has seasonal exhibitions that cost to get into. It is much quieter that some of the art galleries in London and has a much calmer feel to it. It is a great afternoon out and the cake from the cafeteria looked amazing.

 

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Finals Elf

We’ve been there before, we’ve blogged about it before, but this time its different…this time its the finals.

Yes, the finals.  Men’s Wimbledon Finals.

We have tickets, mother and I. Tickets!!!

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So we’re off to Wimbledon.  We’ve packed the picnic, got our tickets and we arrive early to Wimbledon station.  There is a shuttle bus that will take you to the front gate and back for £5 return.  Or, you can do the half an hour walk to the gates.  It is nice whether so we head off.

It is electric inside.  The atmosphere is wonderful and we stumble across Federer warming up.  Next we head over to the men’s invitation doubles which is great fun.  Brilliant tennis is being played but no one is taking it seriously, the players laugh and banter with the crowd and it is more of a show than a match.  But so worth watching.

We find a bench for our picnics and enjoy the sun before heading to the Pimms tent.  Pimms in hand we make for the main event.

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The Center Court at Wimbledon is massive.  We seem to spend an age walking around the edges to our entrance. Eventually we make it to our seats and it begins.  The tennis is brutal, the clapping loud, tension intense, what an experience.  And yes, on this occasion it would have been nice for the match to have lasted longer, been closer…but still.  What an experience.

I’ve already got my ballot ready for next year!

Rain

 

 

“Being soaked alone is cold.

Being soaked with your best friend is an adventure.”

 

Emily Wing Smith

Mowgli’s first adventure

This is it.  Adventure time with Mowgli.

We catch the train to Winchester.

There is a lot of snuggling and loving of a polite dog loving man we’ve not met before.  (Don’t worry Mr Elf, Mowgli did the snuggling and loving not me).  This seems to be the biggest issue we encounter with a pup on transport…his affection for complete strangers is inexhaustible.

received_10155108356117655Transport in London is pretty pet friendly.  No dogs on the seats and they must be “under control”.  So tubes, buses and trains are all open as long as you have these two rules sorted.

The train to Winchester is about 50-60 minutes long and do able in puppy bladder terms.  although we do ensure he is empty before we get on and he gets a change to go as soon as we get off.

Pubs and cafes are also for the most part dog friendly in the UK although, do respect the signs that say otherwise when you see them.

We spend the weekend tearing around the garden and avoiding the cat.  Said cat…not too keen on this usurper of affection and steal-er of unattended food.

The train ride back is easy…Mowgli is happy to all asleep on a lap and wake up back in London.

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Elf on the bus

We love an afternoon tea at house Elf, and this one is a little special…its on a bus.  That’s right afternoon tea on a Routemaster bus.

IMAG3143.jpgThe bus takes you around the big sites of London starting at Victoria Coach Station.  Heading past Big Ben, Harrods, The Royal Albert Hall, around the park and back through Piccadilly to Victoria station.

Elf tip: Make sure you book in advance, you can select the seats and table that you would prefer.  We recommend paying the slightly higher price to sit on the upper deck, it is worth it.

We opt for the 5pm slot and climb on at Victoria Coach Station.  We’re on the upper deck and settle in with the amazing spread in front of us.  The team introduce themselves and take drink orders.  Cold and hot options are available and are served in lid-ed cups which fit into sunken cup holders on the table to prevent spillages.

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And we are off.

It is, slow.  Delicious but slow.

We munch our way though sandwiches of all different kinds.  Yum!

We make it to the Royal Albert Hall and the traffic gets the best of us so the bus makes a u-turn.  Meanwhile we are on to the cake section.  There are mini lemon tarts, mini chocolate muffins and little raspberry topped tarts.  Everything is superb.

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The whole thing is a great experience but:

Elf tip number 2:  Don’t book during peak time, go for the 12:30 slot instead.

The whole afternoon tea is wonderful in any case.  Cake, beautiful London, tea and the sights!

If you fancy booking in click here and always this is not a sponsored article.

Pinhao and Wine tour

Next up on the Northern Portugal road-trip is Pinhao

Pinhao is a small village in northern Portugal. It is surrounded with vineyards and dips down to sit just on the Douro River. It is picturesque and when we visited quite calm and beautiful. The local train runs from Porto to Pinhao and although we did not take the train it is supposed to be a beautiful trip.

We park and pop into one of the IMAG2878vineyard offices to see if we can go on a tour. Unfortunately not…it would appear that booked ahead for the most part is a must. So we wander in the town and down to the river bank to do some googling.

We manage to find a smaller and newer vineyard called Quinta de la Rosa which can accommodate us for the afternoon tour. We march up the hill (perhaps get a taxi) it’s hot but the view is more than nice.

Once we have arrived and joined the tour group we head into the courtyard and off into IMAG2889the processing and storage areas.

Quinta de la Rosa still use the traditional stomping the grapes method which would be amazing to see (in August – September depending on the season). The tour is great, and informative and the lady who takes us around is obviously passionate about Port and the winery.

Next we move on to the tasting, we try in all 2 different wines and 3 different ports. I would recommend this winery tour is a great option for a reasonably priced option. Although there are lots of options out there…make sure you book in advance if you have particular tours you want to go on.

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This post is not sponsored at all but if you would like more information about Quinta de la Rosa please click here .

So that you can come back…

This is one of my newest favourite quotes about traveling and I feel a beautiful truth within it.  Feel free to leave your favourite quotes below as well.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back.

So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

 

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky