Gwyneth Paltrow


It’s the the second morning of our London Staycation (check out Day One here, and here), and Sofa Spud and I are sipping our champagne cocktails smugly.

We’ve just been for a delicious and glamorous breakfast in one of the top restaurants in London – a classy place, popular with the stars (although we actually didn’t spot anyone we could confidently name). Once our hugely enjoyable and extremely palatable hour came to an end, we requested the bill and waited patiently. And then we waited some more.

Finally, the maitre d’ came over. “Er, we’re terribly sorry,” she whispered. “I’m afraid we’ve lost your bill. Breakfast’s on us.”

What a great start to our day, eh?

How fortunate (for us) that we arrived at that restaurant when we did. Had we turned up to that swanky place minutes earlier, or minutes later, we may well have been seated at a different table with a different waiter and a totally different bill-paying outcome. Whatever the fortunate accident was that caused our free breakfast to materialise, we’ll never know exactly, but it now feels appropriate to toast that hand of fate (and justify the allocation of our yet unspent breakfast kitty) with a cocktail in Bertorelli’s on Charlotte Street – a London location used in that hand of fate film Sliding Doors.

Sister Act, Whoopi Goldberg

Now, it seems that such good fortune cannot occur without the balance having to be restored somewhere else, and we’re about to find out exactly where.

With a champagne spring in our step, we head down the road (kind of, once you reach Oxford Street). We’re going to the Tyburn Convent. It sits on Bayswater Road, not far from Marble Arch, or Tyburn as this area was formerly known.

Back in the old days, this was the location of the Tyburn gallows where many of London’s criminals were famously hung, as well as plenty of Catholic martyrs during the 16th and 17th centuries. We arrive at the convent for a specific time, hoping for a guided tour. If you check out the convent’s website, you’ll see that they offer tours of the shrine of the martyrs.

Tyburn Convent

Sister Act or The Sound of Music this is not. Sofa Spud and I glance at each other. It’s not happening here is it, we agree, and tiptoe noisily out of the impossibly quiet chamber.

Julie  Andrews

Outside, we quiz a delivery man who reveals that the chapel is being renovated. “I doubt they’re doing the tours at the moment,” he reveals.

Hmm, wish they’d put something on the website.

Meryl Streep

However, since he mentioned it, Doubt ends up being our topic of conversation all the way to our next destination, Notting Hill (hmm, wonder what films were shot there?).

Finding Neverland

On the way we pass the former home of JM Barrie opposite Kensington Gardens and are reminded of that lovely film Finding Neverland, which features many scenes shot in nearby Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

Finding Neverland

Blue Plaque

To find out what we got up to in Notting Hill, come back tomorrow.