Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things to do in London #4 -The National Gallery & Lunch at Covent Garden

The National Gallery is one of the Treasures of London, they have an extensive collection of art from all time periods and all over the world. It is situated on one side of Trafalgar Square with the Canada House to it's left and St Martins in Fields to its right as you stand looking at Nelsons Column.

View from the National gallery
I have been there many times and Nancy had been there previously as well, but there is always more to see and some favourites to re visit.  The audio guide has been voted as the best in the world and it is wonderful, and as the gallery is free you do not resent paying for it.  This time though we only had an hour or so, so we just hit a few of the high lites before walking 10 minutes over to Covent Garden for lunch.

Covent Garden is the historical site of the fruit and Vegetable market for London. In 1973 it was moved to a less congested area in London and the market as well as the grand open space around it was converted to a shopping and eating mecca popular with both tourists as well as Londoners.

Inside the Market
Though very tempted by the large Paella stall, due to lack of seating we decided to opt for The Punch and Judy pub.

Large vats of Paella
The Punch and Judy had seating down in the market right next to the paella stall and the menu was traditional English food.

We settled for their mini pie selection to share.

We got a steak and Kidney pie, Sheppard's pie (the rather squashed pie on the left), chicken pie and beef pie.  They were all very good and the pastry was delicious and flaky.  They came with gravy and mushy peas.

mushy peas
This was a nod to the time when pie and pea shops were prevalent in London, though I am not sure how many are left.  Nancy very kindly let me eat the peas all my self, like marmite and twiglets, I think you have to be born and brought up in England to appreciate them.

We did not have a lot of time to explore the market as we were heading out to the country to stay with a friend before flying to Florence (Firenza) But you could easily spend several hours poking around the shops and taking in the street performers.

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