26 museums. 3okm. 35,000 steps. Over £1000 raised for Sport Relief. At the weekend I completed an incredible London Museum Dash for Sport Relief as part of Team Honk, the blogging collective I co-founded three years ago to raise money for Sport Relief. I thought it would be fun to ‘see’ the whole challenge in one post. You can still sponsor us here and help change lives in the UK and beyond.
The Museum Dash was the brain child of fellow blogger Nell from Pigeon Pair and Me. Nell and I often blog about similar things – culture and travel – but haven’t hung out properly before, so I was instantly taken with her challenge. Swazi from Chocolate is Not The Only Fruit also took on this amazing challenge – Nell planned the route, but Swazi was our bold and fearless navigator – it was lovely to spend time in their company and to be with people who know London so well.
I am terrible at map reading and my London knowledge has faded rapidly in the 10 years since we moved away, so my contribution was to be a sounding board, to print out maps, buy deely boppers and research all the social media handles for the museums we visited.
We started at the Barbican cafe for tea and planning. A shot in the art gallery and we were off!
Stop 2 was the Museum of London Life, swiftly followed by The British Museum where I managed to admire an artefact!
Next stop the Cartoon Museum, which was so colourful and friendly, shop looked fab and a great bonus stop if you are at the British Museum.
Then the Courtald Musuem, where the brilliant staff helpfully ushered us to their most well known painting by Manet. I can’t tell you how much of a philistine I felt trying to take selfies in deeply boppers, luckily a security guard came to our photo rescue. I also spied a Van Gogh on my way out, definitely need to revisit this one.
Then onto The London Transport Museum. We got some cracking photos here and if you have a transport mad family member, you must visit!
I especially loved nearly crashing a bus!
Another bonus stop we hadn’t planned was the London Film Museum, and the security guard who went out of his way to get us some great Bond back drops for our photo evidence!
I really wanted to take in the Foundling, Dickens and Medical Instrument Museum, but a demo in the area meant we needed to move through this area fast. Then towards Trafalgar Square, a quick Vogue outside the National Portrait Gallery, smiles outside the National Gallery and that’s the Cartoon Museum from earlier too!
We had time to head to RADA, this area brought back lovely memories of this trip to London at the Cavendish Hotel and of wedding shopping with Mr A when we lived in London. Poor Swazi dropped my phone trying to take this pic, she was so worried returning it with the smashed screen, but it is insured thank goodness, I hugged her, told her not to worry and we moved on. 9 hours together, having only just properly met in ‘real life’, and not a cross word – we were such a team.
We nipped in the Institute of Contemporary Art next.
Then Handel & Hendrix, where the blue plates above neighbouring houses suddenly helped the museum’s concept dawn on me. Hendrix and Handle lived next door, separated by years of course. But what a brilliant concept for a museum. I gather this is one to book in advance for, but seeing the plates and quotes on the wall got us excited for a return visit!
Then the Wallace Collection, where a very well spoken group of older ladies and gentlemen were overheard mistaking us for a hen party. It was very swish. The staff asked us on the way in “Are you Moriarty?’ we had no idea what that meant but smiled and said a confident yes, but once inside it is less intimidating – the security staff were so brilliant about taking this photo and made a fuss, congratulating us on the challenge.
We sat down on the bench outside for 5 mins to do social updates and eat a sandwich. Big mistake, as my legs really seized up from this point forth. The next stop made me smile, The Sherlock Holmes Museum. The queues were along the pavement, but we did manage to beg some props and borrow an actor for what has to be my favourite shots of the day.
The walking was tiring, the navigating, but add to that social updates at every stop and you can see why we were exhausted!
We hopped on the tube towards Kiings Cross and The House of Illustration. We ran through St Pancras and had a loo stop. It was surreal to be back at St P, having arrived there from Nottingham that morning. I remember hitting the 10k mark here. We started to feel we needed a kick up the bum. Loved the sound of the female comic designers exhibition here!
Kensington Gardens came as such a breath of fresh air, we were really tired, but the green and trees were exactly what we needed mentally. While Swazi saw to her sore feet, Nell and I took 5 minutes to actually appreciate some art in The Serpentine Gallery.
We needed all the focus we could get, we had some seriously big museums coming up!
The Science Museum, V&A and Natural History Museum. We found bikes in the Science, nudes in the V&A and had to settle for an outside the Natural History as the queues were out the door, that’s my ‘sulking because I wanted a pic with a dinosaur face’ instead.
We were getting tired, and people were telling us it was showing in the photos. Normally one of these museums is more than enough for one day.
Tate Britain was surreal, we were getting a bit befuddled at this point, yet the building had so many arty photo opportunities, Swazi looked like she was about to fall asleep as she tried to take this shot and as Nell bent forwards to shoot the floor tiles I worried she would fall over.
At this point we walked past the Comic/Sport Relief offices – cheeky selfie was required.
One of the best bits of the day was the signage fun we had – this seemed most appropriate – for our cause and our own exhaustion, as we arrived at The Imperial War Museum.
This museum suprised me, I think I had expected it to glorify war, but the Baghdad car made me think of all the people living in war zones, or fleeing them.
There was one last long walk towards the South bank which brought our kilometre count into the 30s! A Race to get to Tate Modern before it shut. More slogan fun! Loved the raised beds in the Turbine Hall at the Tate, want to know more about what that is all about, but alas no time.
Dark was creeping in, another bonus stop, the Bankside Gallery, followed by the Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall.
The lift sang to us and it all started to get very surreal as we hit our penultimate stop.
Final Stop the British Film Institute Reuben Library and Gallery. The BFI had a golden curtain by the bar which was the perfect place for a celebratory final shot.
There were no seats though, so we moved on to The National and had a much needed glass of wine and totted up the stats.
I am so pleased by what we raised, so grateful to all who sponsored us before and on the day, it kept us going. It was exhausting, but also magical to cheat London by doing so much in one day.
One last dash to St Pancras, to get the last train back to Nottingham…
Thanks to all who sponsored and supported us, I am £5 off £500 as I type this….still time to sponsor me!