Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things to do in London #4 - The National Portrait Gallery

One of the best kept secrets in London is the National Portrait Gallery. Everyone knows the National Gallery which is wonderful and I visit almost every time I go to London, but the Portrait gallery is smaller and more intimate. It has a great collection of paintings and photographs documenting famous British people from the past as well as the present.

The ground floor has the most contemporary works of such people as Judy Dench, Princes William and Harry, and Lily Allen.  Every time I go there are always some new ones.  They also have special exhibits which unlike the rest of the gallery you have to pay for.

On the 2nd and 3rd floors they have everything from some wonderful portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Henry 8th to a tiny sketch which is the only known drawing of Jane Austen.

Restaurant at National Gallery restaurant

But one of the best things at the National Portrait gallery is the restaurant which is on the 4th floor and has the most wonderful views over Trafalgar square and across the Thames.  You feel as you are almost at eye level to Nelson standing on his column, except he has his back to you.

I have wanted to go to lunch here for years, but usually I go visit the gallery on my own and this was something I wanted to share.  So this time I had two of my best friends from Canada with me so I took them up the long escalator and stairs to the top for lunch. 

The amazing view

They were suitably impressed by the view, who wouldn't be?  Fortunately though we did not have a reservation there was one table free.  The people eating around us were all locals.  There were some women who looked like they had come to the west end to go shopping and stopped here for lunch, next to us were a group of business men from the City, we appeared to be the only tourists.

I chose a salad with baby broad beans, radishes and baby gem lettuce it was very delicious and light.

I can not remember what Nancy ordered but it came with jersey royal potatoes, possibly the best new potatoes in the world and they are only available for a short while.

A combination of my salad and Nancy's dish

Connie ordered a quiche made with a wonderful English cheddar cheese,  it came with tender young broccoli and roasted tomatoes. She was very pleased with it, in fact it was a wonderful lunch the food was very good, but the view was amazing.

I was so pleased to finally fulfill my vision of having lunch there and to share it with such good friends.

1 comment:

  1. This was almost a secret let out.....was wonderful! What a view, ambience...and the food!