4 year anniversary: Lunch and a day out in London

Review of The Embankment Cafe, National Maritime Museum and a surprising garden in the heart of the city on our anniversary day-out!

Last Saturday was our anniversary, another year went by pretty quickly! And it’s almost a shock that we’ve been together for 4 years. Not in a bad way, but that time can really fly by sometimes! I think the past year has been a bit of a blur but in a good way. A lot happened but overall I think it’s been pretty good for us. To be a little bit gushing I think I have been quite lucky having Hana for the last four years, hopefully she’d feel the same too! For our anniversary treat we’d originally planned to visit the Incredibles exhibition at Kew Gardens, just a short hope on the Overground. But the weather forecast the night before wasn’t looking too good so we decided to put it off and go for an indoor-day-out instead, taking ourselves down to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to see the Visions of the Universe photography exhibition.

I got some lovely pictures during the day as we did in-fact have quite a bit of sunshine mixed in with just a little light rain. Maybe I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to Kew gardens but we still had a really lovely day out together. I think it’s important to spend time together having days like this out. 

Greenwich is right across London west to east, so we decided to stop off for lunch around Embankment and popped into Victoria Embankment Gardens for a spot of lunch at the cafe there. It’s a bit of a new discovery for me. I must have walked past the gardens hundreds of times over the years but hadn’t been in till a couple of weeks ago, when I had a coffee and a good read of my book after buying some funky new red jeans. Hana hadn’t been to the embankment gardens before so lunch there was something new for both of us and that’s got to be good for an anniversary. 

Embankment Cafe: Victoria Embankment Gardens

Victoria Embankment Cafe Photo: Ged Carroll

Victoria Embankment Cafe Photo: Ged Carroll

The Embankment cafe borders the gardens and the road. Whilst it’s quite small inside there’s a lovely terrace facing across the river to the London Eye and the South bank. Trailing into the gardens is the main outdoor seating area. It serves traditional English food like fish and chips, liver and onions and all-day breakfasts. Look through the menu and you’ll also see a few home-made dishes like lasagne and shepherds pie. So maybe the food isn’t glamorous nouvelle cuisine, but what it is, is good reasonably (for where it is) priced tourist food. Sitting on the Victoria Embankment the cafe is just a short walk from Covent Garden, Westminster or the pricier big chain restaurants by the Southbank centre and County Hall

Old time Scampi and Chips

Old time Scampi and Chips

Hana bought us a nice treat lunch; I opted for a old favourite, scampi and chips. Okay it might seem a bit 1970’s but it satisfies the big kid in me and its also helped some tourists to try a bit of traditional English food when they asked what my dish was called and promptly ordered one each. The rest of the food looked good too, Hana’s tuna/mayo and baked beans jacket potato looked good, though they did put the beans in their own little pot. I think the order might have confused them a bit!

Scampi and Chips

Scampi and Chips

And as it was a special day out, when Hana asked me if I’d like a cake with my coffee I couldn’t say no and got a big cherry bakewell. The Embankment cafe is a nice place to sit yourself with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (which comes in individual 250ml bottles) and read a book.

Visions of the Universe: National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum Photo: Elliott Brown

National Maritime Museum Photo: Elliott Brown

When Hana suggested going here, I thought, ‘yes that’s a cool thing to go see’, quite a Russell thing. So I did worry that Hana had just picked a place just for me but she really liked this one too. The Visions of the Universe Exhibition itself was brilliant. The astronomy pictures were a fantastic mix of amateur and professional shots of planets, starts, galaxies and nebula as well as images from a variety of telescopes and arrays. I’ve always been interested in astronomy, it probably goes hand in hand with being a sci-fi geek (whoops the secret’s out!), and seeing those pictures was a real treat. The entry is just £8 which I think is pretty good as your going to see some stunning pictures. My favourites were the really big shots of structures like galaxies and nebula and the universe at large. You can end up feeling pretty small after seeing picture after picture of astronomically giant things.

Surprise garden: Queen’s walk window gardens

We took the Thames Cutter from Greenwich back to Victoria Embankment. I think we both like taking the boat trip as a treat. You cut right through the heart of the city and see everything from the towering heights of docklands to the Tower of London and Tower bridge to the Globe theatre and the South bank. You can get some good photos of the city, unfortunately this time it was raining so I didn’t get any this time. 

We got back off onto dry landand then wandered over to the South bank where I came across this, The Queen’s Walk Window Gardens pretty cool right?

Pop up herb garden - South bank Wayward Plants

Pop up herb garden – South bank Wayward Plants

The Queen’s Walk Window Gardens project is part of the Southbank centre’s Festival of the Neighbourhood. It’s described as a “Micro-city” where people build neighbourly connections along bankside. One of the ideas is to show that we can all find a little bit of space to add some green to our lives. In boxes by and under these reclaimed windows and wood was a great selection of different herbs and vegetables organised by their different types. As it was early evening, most of the greenhouses were being closed and illuminated, though we were able to walk around some of them, see and smell the herbs and vegetables .

Queens walk window gardens, South bank

Queens walk window gardens, South bank

It’s worth checking out the website to learn a bit more about the gardens. They were created and are being maintained over the summer by a variety of local volunteers, community organisations and business sponsorship. After the exhibition is taken down the plants will then be distributed through a plant adoption event.

Wandering through these little gardens was a nice end to the day before wandering on and getting some dinner. All in all we had a pretty lovely anniversary day-out around London, so a big thank you to the every lovely Hana for putting up with me for four years and here’s to the next four (and many, many more after that too!) We had a lovely dinner out that evening, but that’s a story for another time!

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One response to “4 year anniversary: Lunch and a day out in London

  1. Pingback: Restaurant Review: Studio 6 Restuarant on London’s South Bank | russellskitchen·

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