Experiencing Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, London

It was the event that almost didn’t happen, one of those post-lockdown days that seemed doomed to be rescheduled and postponed indefinitely. Finally, after a bout of Covid and a memorial service, Sarah and I went to London for the day for a breakfast at Duck & Waffle and an afternoon at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream”

The exhibition is a vibrant splash of colour and light from the minute you walk through the doors. I loved the massive sunflowers!

We learned that Van Gogh had painted the same item over and over again, from different angles and different perspectives until he moved on to his next obsession.

In this section, we sat in a dark area while painting after painting appeared, all of flowers in a vase. Given my adoration of poppies, it was obvious that this was going to be my favourite one.

This was a very cool 3-D rendition of a painting. You had to stand on a box and position yourself just so to get the full 3-D effect.

A recreation of Van Gogh’s room which, again, he painted over and over again. You learn so much about Van Gogh at the exhibition including his relationship with Theo and his weakening mental state.

In the middle of the exhibition, there is an option to pay £5 extra to don a virtual reality headset. I would absolutely recommend taking this virtual tour! I loved the journey through the town Van Gogh lived in and the fields and woodlands that inspired him so.

All too soon we arrived in a large, dark room where we laid in deck chairs and watched Van Gogh’s beautiful paintings projected on the walls to soothing, tranquil music.

We were fresh from an ordeal of walking down 40 flights of stairs from the Duck & Waffle due to a power cut so we reclined in those chairs for longer than is strictly socially acceptable. Nevertheless, it was a moving, beautiful experience.

I was most amused to see two of my most recent Kindle covers during the exhibition – I recently replaced Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom with his Starry Night.

A Sunny Monday in Rye, East Sussex

Mermaid Street | Rye, East Sussex

The best Mondays are the ones where you wake up without an alarm and make your way, at a leisurely pace, to somewhere new and exciting. My in-laws had arrived from a bitterly cold Johannesburg on Friday morning and on Monday I took them to one of my favourite towns in East Sussex: Rye.

Mermaid Street | Rye, East Sussex

Mermaid Street is the most famous street in Rye and easily the most recognisable.

Mermaid Street | Rye, East Sussex

It is lined on both sides by medieval, half-timbered houses and is a photographer's dream.

The Mint | Rye, East Sussex

We decided not to walk up Mermaid Street on this warm, sunny occasion and chose instead to wind our way up The Mint in search of The Cobbles Tea Room.. The Mint also has its share of pretty houses.

The Cobbles Tea Room | Rye, East Sussex

I'd been wanting to visit The Cobbles Tea Room since my very first visit to Rye when I spotted the quaint entrance down a little side street.

Ploughman's Lunch | The Cobbles Tea Room | Rye, East Sussex

I'm happy to say that we were not disappointed. The portions were generous, the food delicious and the range of teas and coffees delighted everyone in our party.

Inside The Cobbles Tea Room | Rye, East Sussex

Even the decor was delightful! I will definitely return again one day.

Lion Street | Rye, East Sussex

After lunch, we continued up The Mint as it becomes High Street and then turned into Lion Street towards the Church of Saint Mary, Rye.

Church Square | Rye, East Sussex

We wandered around Church Square and admired all the pretty houses with gloriously blooming gardens. Days like these renew my desire to live in a tiny village one day.

West Street | Rye, East Sussex

We turned into West Street and soon found our way to the top of Mermaid Street. It's much easier walking down the hill than up but my in-laws assured me that those cobbles can be quite unkind on your feet!

Mermaid Street | Rye, East Sussex

There are so many interesting and quirky houses and doorways down Mermaid Street. I wonder what it must be like to live on such a famous street?

My favourite house is the one with two front doors. That would suit Stephen and I!

Mermaid Street | Rye, East Sussex

Rye is just an hour's drive from Dartford and a little over an hour by train from London St Pancras. It is such a fun day out, no matter the season.