Exploring The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London - shopfront

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London review

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is a peculiar haunt in Hackney, operated by Viktor Wynd and The Last Tuesday Society.  

Before you enter this cabinet of curiosities, enjoy a tipple in the absinthe cocktail bar upstairs.

Housed in a former call centre, this quirky natural history museum is wall-to-wall with oddities and artwork. Its collection spans several centuries.

Exploring The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London - two headed lamb

Accessible by a steep spiral staircase, you will enter the basement museum. Here, discover a two headed lamb, dodo bones, Fiji mermaids, ‚Äėfairies‚Äô and a complete skeleton of a giant anteater – and plenty more!

Scattered around, tribal art, erotica, fossils and items of scientific interest lines it’s cabinets and walls. Alongside this, extinct animal parts and taxidermy in abundance.

Exploring The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London - cabinet

So, what did I find in The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities?

The tribal pieces were particularly fascinating. Shrunken heads, skulls, intricate artwork, dead babies in containers and lots of human remains – eek!

There’s also photo opportunities with well-dressed safari and mythical taxidermy gentry.  

Exploring The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London - fairy

The museum presents the largest known public collections by artist and occultist, Austin Osman Spare. It also hosts many interesting pieces by Anglo-Mexican surrealist, Leonora Carrington. 

Expect the good, the bad and the damn right weird in this oh so peculiar East End London gem! You won’t want to miss it. 

Have you been to The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities? Which item would freak you out the most?

Stephanie xox

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Tracing Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespare's Birthplace interior

A day in Stratford-upon-Avon with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Shakespeare bestowed upon the world a love for literature, producing nearly 200 known works in his lifetime.

In sleepy Stratford-upon-Avon, you can discover snippets of his world. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust presents a variety of attractions in the area. Here, visitors can discover the literary great and are taken on a journey through Shakespeare’s life. 

The adult annual pass includes all five properties and is only £22.50, allowing for unlimited visits within 12 months!

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust attractions include:

  • Shakespeare‚Äôs Birthplace¬†
  • Shakespeare‚Äôs New Place
  • Mary Arden‚Äôs Farm
  • Hall‚Äôs Croft
  • Anne Hathaway‚Äôs Cottage¬†

Tracing Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespare's Birthplace

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Discover Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon’s town centre. This grand Tudor home presents a living museum of Shakespeare’s childhood and a timeline of his life and work. 

As you enter, explore the Famous Beyond Words exhibition where you will be presented with informative videos, artwork and memorabilia dedicated to the playwrights greatest works and a variety of fascinating artifacts. 

Finally, you will move on to the properties beautifully landscaped gardens. Here, you can learn more about Shakespeare‚Äôs plays on a 9 metre interactive wallbook, immerse yourself in live performances by actors on request and become mesmerised by talks and workshops within the home on Shakespeare‚Äôs family life and his father’s glove making business.¬†

Afterwards, be sure to check out the giftshop for beautiful stationery and books. 

Tracing Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespare's New Place

Shakespeare’s New Place

Shakespeare’s New Place allows visitors to wander around the site of the playwrights final property, where he died in 1616. 

Although the original home no longer stands, the re-established neighbouring property presents a fascinating exhibition with artwork and artefacts. Surprisingly, this includes a signet ring believed to have been owned by William Shakespeare himself!

Finally, take time to appreciate the restored sunken Knot Garden and the large landscaped Elizabethan Great Garden. Here you will discover plenty of places to take a moment and reflect on his life.

The Great Garden is also home to grand and enchanting series of commissioned bronze statues by Greg Wyatt dedicated to Shakespeare’s famous works. 

Tracing Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon - Mary Arden's Farm

Mary Arden’s Farm

Mary Arden’s Farm was the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Today, it is still a charming working Tudor farm and only a short drive outside the town centre. 

Onsite, admire the varied livestock and enjoy live action performances by actors in period costumes. See falconry and goose herding demonstrations, as well as being able to take part in a wealth of interactive activities and educational talks.

This expansive 23-acre farm is delightful to stroll around. Expect historic buildings, lush greenery and plenty of hidden treasures to be found. 

Enjoy watching butterflies in wild flower and fauna embellished meadows, reignite your childish side and climb the viewing tower, spot carved wooden animals hidden within the trees and crawl through lengthy willow domed structures.

On departing, the gift shop offers wholesome local produce and pretty trinkets. 

Tracing Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon - Hall's Croft

Hall’s Croft

Hall’s Croft is the Jacobean home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, and her husband, physician, John Hall. 

Once inside, step along creaking wooden floorboards to discover their family home and life and follow walls and rooms lined with medicinal herbs and vials. Once upstairs, you will also find the beautifully crafted The Bard’s Rest sofa centrepiece upstairs.

You can also enjoy the Method in Madness and Living with History exhibitions. 

Method in Madness delves into medicinal practice and use in late 16th and early 17th century. It details how John Hall would have worked and how doctors understood the body and mind to function during this time.

Here, you will learn about medical advancements, see the garish tools used to operate and authentic apothecary and uroscopy stations. 

Living with History is found within the onsite Hall’s Croft Cafe. It presents life in Stratford-upon-Avon, past and present, through the eyes of local documentary photographer, William Mulryne. 

Once you have finished admiring the photography take a moment in the Hall’s Croft walled garden brimming with medicinal herbs or even enjoy some tea and cake at the cafe. 

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife and is a short drive outside the town centre. Here, Shakespeare courted a young Anne Hathaway and the pair soon fell in love. 

The property was originally a farmhouse and the family reared sheep on its 90-acre land. Unfortunately, as we set off a little later in the day, we had to miss Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. 

However, if you set off early, all of these attractions are more than doable in a day! Although, if you miss one like me, the annual pass also allows you to return on a later date!

Thus, I shall certainly be returning to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage soon. 

Have you discovered Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon? What is your favourite piece of work by Shakespeare?

Stephanie xox

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Thorpe Park Fright Nights

Fright Nights at Thorpe Park review

I love theme parks. Actually, that is an understatement. I ADORE theme parks. There is nothing quite like being hurtled around loops and sheer drops that doesn’t make a great start to the day.

In the South of England, there is really only one place you want to spend Halloween being thrown about from rollercoaster to rollercoaster, and that is Thorpe Park.

Although lacking elaborate make up or a costume, I knew I was in for a spooky and fun day spending my Halloween at Fright Nights at Thorpe Park.

Thorpe Park Fright Nights EntranceThorpe Park Fright Nights VideoThorpe Park Fright Nights Fog

So, what did I think of the Fright Nights at Thorpe Park experience?

Walking in, the park had evidently had a Halloween theme revamp, with ghoulish decor, low-lit lighting, smoke machines and live actors creeping in as dusk settled for the night.

In collaboartion with AMC The Walking Dead, Thorpe Park also featured two new scary mazes. Say hello to THE WALKING DEAD: Living Nightmare and THE WALKING DEAD: Sanctum.

Sanctum was a real treat, a creepy live action outdoor maze with a deep South twist. With accents haunting each twist and turn, the live actors certainly knew how to put a shiver down your spine.

Thorpe Park Fright Nights Sanctum MazeThorpe Park Fright Nights Saw Alive MazeThorpe Park Fright Nights The Big Top

In addition to the usual thrill ride and attractions, Fright Nights at Thorpe Park also welcomed four additional mazes and attractions to explore, including Saw Alive, The Big Top, Platform No. 15 and Containment.

It was certainly a worthwhile venture, with later closing times, the addition of new mazes and attractions and the haunted vibe taken into consideration. I would recommend a ticket for 2018 and I will probably return again myself.¬†Do remember though,¬†“the island changes after dark.”

Have you been to Fright Nights at Thorpe Park? How did you spend your Halloween this year? 

Stephanie xox

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This Fright Nights at Thorpe Park experience was exchanged for an honest review

The LDN Gal (@stephmulz) at The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

The World Of Beatrix Potter Attraction review

Revisiting your childhood is always fun. Who doesn’t love memories of long summer days, adventures aplenty and a bookcase stacked with delicately illustrated books?

I have to be honest, Beatrix Potter was a dear friend of mine as a child. As soon as I could read, I inherited her entire collection, entranced by the little animals within her stories and their quirks. Like most children, Peter Rabbit held a special place in my heart.

When visiting the Lake District with my family, I could not resist The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere and it certainly did not disappoint.

Mr Tod and Jemima Puddle-Duck, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction exterior

Entering the building, I must admit, I felt a tad peculiar when surrounded by a gaggle of toddlers, accompanied by worn out mothers with their buggies and rucksacks in tow.

Purchasing our tickets, we were led into a small theatre room and given a quick contextual review of Beatrix Potter, her character and treasured work. It was a nice little summary of the great author before entering the attraction.

Jemima Puddle-Duck statue, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction garden

So, what is there to see and do inside The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction?

Once inside, we were placed within her incredible stories, with delicate displays featuring her characters alongside a host of interactive and interesting exhibits – there were photo opportunities aplenty.

The highlight of the attraction was the garden, which was particularly lovely and surrounded with wonderful flowers. Its centrepiece an imposing statue shrouded in characters with two children letting go off a seemingly disgruntled Jemima Puddle-Duck in mid-flight.

Mr McGregor's Garden, Peter Rabbit, The World of Beatrix Potter AttractionMr McGregor's Garden, Peter Rabbit, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

In one corner, stood McGregor’s own garden, warning people out with a tongue-in-cheek¬†sign. It’s own centrepiece the baby blue coat and boots of Peter Rabbit hung on sticks, while the cheeky statue of Peter Rabbit knawing his stolen vegetables stood boldly beside.

Going through each story was wonderful and in the penultamite room of the attraction¬†you are presented with another theatre, detailing Beatrix Potter’s life and dedication to the conservation of the Lake District – an area she protected with her wealth, donating a vast amount of land to the National Trust.

Peter Rabbit and family, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

As you leave, an imposing (and slightly terrifying in my opinion) aged waxwork statue of the author bids you farewell.

The adventure isn’t over yet though. Swinging by the packed gift shop you will soon be tempted in by the Beatrix Potter Tea Room downstairs. This themed cafe may not look like much initially but its quaint decor and high tea is simply incredible. If you haven’t guessed already,¬†I am mildly obsessed with the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon and high tea.¬†¬†

This high tea was nothing short of spectacular, with sandwiches made-to-order alongside a seasonal salad, complimented by a selection of homemade cakes and two gargantuan scones with clotted cream and delicious jam.

It’s safe to say, my parter and I devoured it. However, I must admit that my mother also assisted – she simply could not resist once she saw what was on offer.

Overall, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is a truly magical experience, allowing you to revisit childhood happiness and dine on a spectacular feast of fresh sandwiches and homemade cake – lets be honest, can you really think of a better day out than that?

What was your favourite Beatrix Potter book? Have you been to the Lake District?

Stephanie xox

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My Neighbor Totoro, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, Courtyard | The LDN Gal

My Neighbor Totoro review with Film4 at Somerset house

In case you have not already guessed, I am a massive Studio Ghibli fan and have been since childhood. So, you can imagine my excitement when Film4 announced their Summer Screen 2017 series at Somerset House and My Neighbor Totoro was a featuring film.

The Film4 Summer Screen experience is something I have also been longing to do for a while now. It can be notoriously difficult to get tickets at times but thankfully I nabbed two for the screening of My Neighbor Totoro on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

Of course, like most people who visit Somerset House for the two-week summertime event, I had already seen the film. However, the appeal of the event is that it is an open screening in the famed courtyard. An event where you snuggle down with food and drink and take advantage of the giant screen within.

Saying this, as it was summer, I had been optimistic that the heavens would not open. However, this being England, they did just that.

With a ¬£2 plastic rain mac in tow, we prepared for a night of childhood memories and torrential rain. I must admit, I adore My Neighbor Totoro (it is one of my Studio Ghibli favourites) but even I was a bit miffed at the weather –¬†they do pre-warn though, the show must go on despite the weather.¬†

My Neighbor Totoro, Studio Ghibli, Film, Umbrella Scene, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House | The LDN Gal

My Neighbor Totoro Film, Umbrella Scene, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House | The LDN Gal

The Film4 Summer Screen Experience

Even with the rain hopping upon me for pretty much the duration of the film, as soon as Totoro popped onto the screen I was delighted and entranced, especially when he shared my pain in the beloved umbrella scene at the bus stop –¬†laughs ensued and the mood brightened.¬†

I would recommend the Film4 Summer Screen event to anyone. It is a unique experience in one of the most historical courtyards in London. A perfect date-night or birthday treat (August baby you see).

I would warn you to prepare for the elements, think cushions, something to lean on, a rain mac and lots of snacks. Thankfully, a kind steward took pity on me and gave me a blanket.

Overall, I would return despite the weather,  spending the latter half of the film standing to watch to avoid the downpour. Somerset House offers a magical experience, be it the Film4 Summer Screen or skating upon the ice rink at Christmas time.

The Film4 Summer Screen 2017 has now concluded. Tickets will go on sale for next years event in Spring 2018.

Have you been to the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House? What is your favourtie childhood film?

Stephanie xox

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A Wellcome Kitchen Afternoon TEA REVIEW

I have to admit, I was rather excited for my visit to the Wellcome Kitchen. Not only because it looked exquisite, but also because I was very eager to take a peek around the many exhibits and galleries at the Wellcome Collection in London, known as being the “free destination for the incurably curious.”

The Wellcome Collection is a truly spectacular and unique museum near Euston Station, brimming with intriguing exhibits and collections on science, health and life – blurring the lines between all of this and art.

As curious as I was, I soon dashed to take our summer-inspired afternoon tea in the Wellcome Kitchen, on the museum’s second floor. This boutique venue is divine, with fabulous bright and simplistically elegant decor, including a focal display of the celebrated Pill Dress by artist, Susie Freeman.

What is included in the Welcome Kitchen Afternoon Tea?

So, what did we get in our Wellcome Kitchen afternoon tea for two at the Wellcome Collection? Check out the menu below:

  • A selection of finger sandwiches including cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and coronation chicken
  • A selection of mini cakes including 2 raspberry and cream tarts, 2 nutty brownies, 2 lemon mouse macarons and 2 red berry cakes
  • Two fruit scones, Cornish clotted cream and Tiptree strawberry¬†jam
  • A pot of loose leaf tea (a variety of flavours) or a hot drink each

So, what did I think of the Wellcome Kitchen Afternoon Tea?

In all honesty, I loved this afternoon tea experience. The venue was bright, quiet and the food divine, with a fabulous mix of sandwiches and selection of cakes (these were all sampled but not all finished – cake overdose comensed).

Everything was so well presented, with lovely floral china and welcoming staff who graced you with big smiles. All the food is freshly prepared on site and they even made our sandwiches to order (I cannot have butter, it makes me feel very unwell –¬†odd I know, but, alas)¬†which was a wonderfully helpful touch.¬†

The food is locally-sourced and tends to be seasonal produce, you can even indulge in a glass of sparkling pink Moscato if you feel inclined!

It is the perfect venue to unwind and get lost in great company or even solo. The Wellcome Kitchen is so quiet and calm, away from the vibrancy and bustle of the intrigued visitors of the Wellcome Collection downstairs.

Once you have finished your delicious afternoon tea, you will discover the spectacular Reading Room adjacent, which allows you to unwind with a copy or two and take a peek at an eccentric collection of sculptures, paintings and artefacts.

Overall, a perfect mini-day out wrapped up with lots of culture and food –¬†what’s not to love?¬†

Have you tried the Wellcome Kitchen Afternoon Tea? Where is your favourite place to have afternoon tea in London?

Stephanie xox

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