All the stairs were the greatest problem with relections and sunlight next. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself so let's start at the beginning.

Friday 13th January 2012 saw us headed out to London once again on our first day trip of the year. Our last trip was three months ago and was also to London. We arrived, as usual, at Liverpool Street Station and took the underground to Tower Hill which involved the first of a lot of stairs.

You have probably done it yourself, come out of Tower Hill Station and charged off towards the Tower of London visible ahead but then you would have missed something important. Very soon after leaving the station there are some steps (more steps) going down to a pedestrian underpass and on the left there is a stone wall with the statue of a man wearing a skirt standing in front of it. Why would that man be wearing a skirt? Well that's how the Romans used to dress init? He is in fact Trajan, a Roman emperor, and the wall he's standing by is part of the old Roman wall that surrounded Londinium (London).

A view from the other side of the same wall shows the Tower of London beyond and, to the right, Tower Hill Station. So the next time you go to Tower Hill don't walk straight past the wall without a second glance.

Back to Tower Hill Station we go past it into Trinity Square and then out of Trinity Square keeping right along Coopers Row. A short way along on the right-hand (East) side is the Grange City Hotel. You could be forgiven for walking past but just stop a moment and look through the opening.

Notice that, right at the back, there is a stone wall – more of the old Roman wall around Londinium. There is a public right of way through the arch and the courtyard at the back so just walk through and have a look.

There is a bronze coloured plaque on the railings providing some information. This map shows the location (the wall is labelled 'London Wall'):

Back we go to Tower Hill Station and westward on the Underground to South Kensington. The easy way to get to the museums is through the pedestrian subway. It's very well used and the individual museums are sign posted along the way…

… and that museum is where we're headed. When entering from the subway you will emerge straight into the Sculpture galleries.

This museum is astonishing and, in some ways, overwhelming both in terms of the exhibits and the building itself spread over 6 floors which means traversing lots of stairs unless you are a wimp, of course, and want to use the various lifts around the place. It is difficult to mentally grasp the number of items on display here from the very small to the extraordinarily large. This shows part of the Glass gallery and these display cabinets line both sides.

You want ceramics? They have ceramics!

In the Jewellry Galleries there is a rather interestingly lit spiral stairway which goes up to yet another Jewellry Gallery above.

Cast Court is one of those places where as you come through the door your chin hits the ground with a thump as your jaw drops. To say it's surprising must be the understatement of the year. Some of the exhibits are gigantic. In the picture below the figure bottom right of centre gives an idea of scale.

Behind the open courtyard, called the John Madejski Garden, is the Cafe. It offers a comprehensive choice of refreshments from tea, coffee, light refreshments and cooked meals. We stopped to have lunch there at about 1:15 and, because it is popular, there were very few vacant tables although we did find one. It is probably less crowded well before and well after one o'clock.

The food is very good although not cheap. There are a number of counters serving different types of food. A salad counter, a tea, coffee and cakes counter, a hot food counter and a light snacks counter. It is a little confusing because having got our main meal we then had to go to the tea/coffee counter for drinks. The Salad Counter and the Hot Food Counter don't have tills but the other counters do so they apparently expect you to choose your main course then go to one of the other counters to pay.

There are five separate areas in which to sit. One either side of the food counters and three different rooms off to the side called the Morris, Gamble and Poynter rooms. This is the Gamble Room.

After lunch I decided to pop across the road to the Science Museum whilst Amanda continued looking around the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Science Museum is spread over seven floors (more stairs) and on the ground floor in the entrance hall are various large machines such as the one shown here.

One of the problems I had in this museum was reflections on the glass cases, probably caused by the general lighting, which shows up in this picture of a difference engine, one of the early mechanical computers.

One of the highest floors included a gallery dedicated to the history of flight and had lots of aircraft of all types hanging around, literally, in the roof including this Hurricane fighter plane and the Spitfire just beyond it to the right.

On a lower floor was this gallery with an interesting collection of vehicles including the original Stephenson's Rocket locomotive, a Ford Model T, and over in the far right-hand corner a V2 rocket with its nose buried in the ceiling.

This is the original Stephenson's Rocket:

In the section on Space Exploration there is a replica of a Moon Lander.

After wearing my legs out going up and down from floor to floor I went back to the Victoria and Albert Museum to meet up with Amanda again.

We had a last look round which included Tipu's Tiger. This is an 18th century Indian automaton showing a tiger eating a european which was considered to be very amusing in its time. It was worked by rotating the handle visible near its shoulder and the growls of the tiger and the cries of its victim could also be heard. Better than television. πŸ˜€

As I said earlier the building itself is interesting such as this staircase here:

The problem I had with scenes like this was with the very bright patches of sunlight set against the much lower levels of lighting out of the sun. Usually I prefer sun for photographs but not in situations such as this.

We'd had a very enjoyable day in the Victoria and Albert Museum and we've only seen a fraction of what it has to offer. This is a museum that you cannot afford to miss and you cannot afford to spend less than a day there.

Now it was time to head home but with a small diversion which meant going back to Tower Hill and I'm sure you'll guess why we left it till last.

I admit it – I went berserk with the camera today so there are many more pictures than those shown here and a lot of them will appear on the main web site in due course.