I’ve been anticipating this short visit to London for a few reasons. First, to see my son for the first time in months since he left to tour with the Harvard/Yale mens tennis team to compete in the Prentice Cup. Also it’s my first wedding anniversary, so a wonderful way to celebrate the many adventures we have been on together over the past year!
I can’t stress enough how accessible London is to the vast array of museums, theatre, restaurants and…shopping. Like any city it is bustling during peak times but the adrenaline and pace is exhilarating. I could go on and on about all the things to see and do, but for simplicity’s sake, I will list a few highlights from this visit.
High tea at Sketch. The all pink banquette dining room is adorned with “sketches” by celebrated British artist, David Shrigley along its walls. Shrigley's first series were all black and white and comprised his largest collection ever shown. However Shrigley replaced his black and white drawings early in 2018 with colorful new works. There is a great variety of teas, with or without bubbles. From the trolley are a selection of lovely traditional Victoria sponge cakes, but if you prefer something less sweet, you can order assorted finger sandwiches with salmon and cream, or foie gras, among others. I was absolutely tickled to see the wildly popular restroom (yes, restroom) known for its “instagram popularity”. It is colorful, modern, and yes, I did take a bathroom selfie for the amusement of my niece. (when in Rome)
Touring the street graffiti was a must for me. There are too many unique ways to see street art, from guided walks, to private tours in Mini’s, traditional English taxis or even moped rentals. We opted for a walking tour with a fabulous guide named Dave from Shoreditch Street Art Tours who was extremely personable and offered extensive background and details about the artists and history of the medium.
The shopping in London is pretty fabulous. From artsy or edgy to high end couture, there is something for everyone. I enjoyed strolling through Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Covent Garden shops but I must say there is nothing like the grande dame, Harrods. From the moment you enter the elegant and stately building, the shopping experience is like no other. The infamous first floor food hall is filled with gorgeous displays of gourmet delicacies, lunch time treats and souvenir teas, jams and biscuits. But it’s upstairs where you can really do some damage. That’s where you will find the absolute best of up-and-coming, and traditional couture. I happened upon a beautiful pair of black Manolo Blahnik pumps made exclusively for Harrods which took my breath away. Even if for inspiration only, I could spend hours just looking.
Foodies will also love Borough Market which is known as Britain’s most renowned food market. It is fun to stroll the long halls of stalls and sample cheese, fruits, chocolates or eat some of the most creative and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Go on an empty stomach and spend some time exploring!
The absolute highlight was celebrating my anniversary and my son’s final competitive college match played representing the USA in the Prentice Cup at none other than at Wimbledon.
Established in 1921, The Prentice Cup was the first international intercollegiate tennis event ever held. It is a match between a joint Cambridge/Oxford and combined Harvard/Yale Team that takes place every two years alternately in the UK and U.S. The Prentice Cup features a six week tour of the UK (for the American team) and U.S. (for the British team) which culminates in a competitive three day match at either the Seabright Lawn Tennis and Cricket Club in New Jersey (U.S. tour) or at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in London (UK tour).
Parents and families were invited to attend the final matches and a black tie ball. It was overwhelming to see these young men playing on the historic courts encrusted in history and a remarkable experience for my son before moving on to his next chapter…law school. (sigh).
Until next time.