London - The Courtauld Gallery & Somerset House
There are so many must visit museums in London that it can be overwhelming (and expensive!) to fit them all into one vacation. At the top of my must list is a visit to The Courtauld Gallery. Housing one of the best collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works outside of France, The Courtauld features pivotal works by Manet and Van Gogh. When each painting represents the best of the artist's ouerve, the one or two hours you spend will feel like just a few minutes.
Not only is the collection fantastic, but the space is a delight as well. The pastel walls, detailed crown work, and blond wood floors lend a bright airy feel to the gallery. It's a well proportioned museum that will leave you satisfied without the fatigue that comes with a visit to a bigger museum like London's massive National Gallery. Admission is cheapest on Mondays, £3 and the crowds are perfectly manageable, despite the discount. I promise it will be the best £3 you spend in London.
The Courtauld Gallery sits inside the grand Somerset House, which is well worth a wander in its own right (check out all of the pretty staircases!) The cutting edge temporary exhibits in the main house are often free. The huge courtyard is converted into a skating rink in the winter, while featuring concerts and other cultural events during the rest of the year. If you have money to burn, splurge at the stylish Rizzoli Bookshop or fill up at the hipster-ish cafe.
markets and shops of Covent Garden until we found ourselves at London's Chinatown. First some window shopping and then lunch at Viet Pho. I had the namesake soup, Katy some stir fried noodles, it was all just fine but nothing better than what can be found at home here in Bloomington.