England Grand Tour (2021): Day 10: A London Sunday ‘Wellcome’

Today began with a well executed and Covid-compliant breakfast at the ‘Hilton Ken’, as we had taken to calling it. Bruce and I both opted for a slimmed-down cooked option. As I ate, I realised – admittedly not for the first time – that I quite liked staying at this rather dated Hilton. While the overall design of the property was a bit past its prime, staff were friendly and helpful, and guests with Hilton Honors status were well treated.

In due course, we caught a 148 bus to the Park Lane Hilton. This sister property of the ‘Hilton Ken’ wasn’t our objective; rather, it was a convenient point at which to begin a walk along the length of Piccadilly towards Piccadilly Circus and Soho. We had booked an opening-time slot for a Bloody Mary at the Duke of Wellington. After that, we turned up on spec at Leong’s Legend on Gerrard Street and managed to get an excellent outdoor table for what (for Bruce and me) had become another Sunday tradition: the dim-sum lunch. Feeling duly satisfied after a good lunch, we walked up to Euston in warm sunshine, via Cambridge Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Bedford Square.

Our next objective was a new venue for me – the Wellcome Collection. Part of the Wellcome Trust, it was founded by Henry Wellcome (1853-1936), who amassed a huge collection of books, paintings and medical artefacts. Additionally, there was a temporary exhibition with the unconventional title Sop: The Den, where the first word was the name of the featured London-based artist. This material was certainly topical, dealing with issues that included lockdown, shielding and problems that might arise during the next winter.

We eventually made our way back to base using the Victoria and Central lines, initially with the intention of taking a breather before setting out again. In the event, as time passed, neither of us really felt like heading back into Central London. Bruce went out to hunt for food and by a stroke of luck, came across a good Sechuan takeaway in Shepherd’s Bush. This made for an enjoyable final meal of the day, eaten in the comfort and relaxed atmosphere of our own room.