Its half term again and as a family made up of of arty types including tweens, teens and aging graphic designers, living within an easy commute of the Big Smoke, we tend to habitually gravitate towards London looking for downtime adventures and our fix of cool stuff. This week has been no different, however I was particularly pleased to discover this time, the delights of some fantastic freebies to fill our entire day and leave us grinning from ear to ear.
Our day involved free transportation. Comfy boots a necessity. We began amongst the street art and funky wall mounted moose heads of hipster Bermondsey coffee shops and headed up to the Thames and Tower Bridge, simply because we love the entire stretch of The Southbank and in Autumn it's looking particularly fantastic. Crossing the bridge on foot, of course, is always a thrill however many times you happen to have done it... and there began our day searching out Art on the 2015 Sculpture In The City Trail.
Now in its fifth year, Sculpture in the City aims to enhance our urban environment with cutting-edge contemporary works from leading artists sited in both busy thoroughfares and quieter, green spaces and is a public exhibition including pieces from fantastic artists as: Ekkehard Altenburger, Bruce Beasley, Adam Chodzko, Laura Ford, Damien Hirst, Shan Hur, Folkert de Jong, Sigalit Landau, Kris Martin, Keita Miyazaki, Tomoaki Suzuki, Xavier Veilhan, and Ai Weiwei. A map of all the sculptures locations can be found here.
If you have only time for one or two, Our favourites were most definitely Forever by Ai Weiwei and the bizarre and huge Charity by Damien Hirst probably helped a little by their resplendent location so close to the inspiring Gherkin building. A very good spot to sit and ponder, photograph (and eat sarnies)
As fabulous as Sculpture trails are, the main event of our freebie itinerary turned out to be calling in to The Sky Garden, otherwise known as the top of the Walkie Talkie Building, or 20 Fenchurch Street. Access to the Sky Garden is free of charge but only a limited number of tickets are available each day so you must book ahead. Its worth it though for magnificent views across the whole of London while enjoying coffee amongst trees and shrubbery... in the sky! Trees! In the Sky I say! What a thing.
An hour slot is all you get, but what an hour it is. You can leave with a brain full of scenery that you will remember for a long time. Handily also, is the location from which you can continue a walk, passing by The Bank of England and St Pauls Cathedral, (should you not have had enough of London's awesomeness already), which leads perfectly to the Wobbly bridge and back across the river to finish our day at our favourite London destination. Time for tea. At the bar at the top of the TATE modern, looking out at the city before looking merrily inwards again at the art.
A truly fantastic arty day. All for freeeeeee. And awaiting you right now. Enjoy.