Back in May I saw tickets for Wicked had been discounted on lastminute.com and managed to snatch up two Band A tickets for the price of one - score! I asked Luke if he wanted to come along and before I knew it, we were heading up to London for an evening performance. Some time before this, I mentioned to Luke that I had been eager to visit a butterfly house for as long as I could remember. As he told me about the Sensational Butterflies pop up outside of the Natural History Museum, only a few tube stops from Victoria, it made sense to make the trip even more worthwhile!
After picking up our tickets for the show, we headed back towards South Kensington. As the rain began to pour, we exchanged £6.50 for a ticket from the extremely lovely and smiley attendant, and took shelter in the Sensational Butterflies tent. As you walk through the PVC strip curtain, you are hit with a wall of tropical heat. The space is filled with shrubs and greenery, that are laid out to form a walkway from entrance to exit, with a couple of benches along the way; and, of course, in every direction are dozens of incredible butterflies.
I’ve always wanted to visit a butterfly house to have the opportunity to walk amongst these stunning insects and take a proper look at them. Most encounters with butterflies are fleeting and any interaction is akin to chasing a rainbow. They may bob past in the garden, dance a couple of steps in front as you walk or (if you’re lucky) sit posing for a picture on a flower, but most of the time they simply make a swift getaway as soon as you get anywhere near them! As you can imagine, there were endless opportunities to photograph the butterflies here, but there was the interactive element too…
Whilst you aren’t meant to touch the flutterbyes, it doesn't stop them from wanting to come and see you! Luke was a compete butterfly magnet. He first lifted his hand to point at something across the tent, when one daintily floated over and sat on his hand. Frozen in pure amazement, we watched it chill for a few seconds before it decided to get on with its business. It was like a scene from a Disney movie. Luke then picked up a hitchhiker, who landed on his shoulder and stayed there for a couple of minutes as he walked around. There was no limit on the amount of time you were allowed to stay, so we wandered back and forth from the entrance to exit a couple of times. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that I had my ~*~ moment ~*~ though! I was stood looking at the survey panels when Luke pointed to a Pale Owl that had landed on my leg. It stayed there for a little while before flying away. Seconds later a butterfly (possibly the same one) was attracted to my bright yellow raincoat. It then!! Crawled!! Onto my hand!! It was incredibly beautiful and felt so tickly. An overall very sweet and lucky experience that I’ll always remember fondly. I’m so glad I got to do it!
Look at this beautiful shot Luke took!
We got so lost in watching the butterflies play and eat, and inspecting the cabinet of cocoons that closing time completely crept up on us. Now it was most definitely time to grab some grub before Wicked! We bailed on our original plan to go for food at the Natural History Museum, as we spent a while longer enjoying the world of butterflies than we had expected to, and headed to Victoria instead. We hopped on a train that whizzed through Victoria station due to congested lines, and then decided to walk back to the Apollo Victoria Theatre and stop off at Pizza Express in Westminster along the way instead. This turned out to be the best unplanned outcome! Their Pollo Pesto pasta and Vanilla Cheesecake with ice cream and fruit coulis dishes were delicious - and went down a treat with a bottle of Elderflower Presse. I also did not realise the London based Pizza Express restaurants were decorated with art relating to the surrounding area. So neat. And with plenty of food in our bellies we wandered back towards the Apollo Theatre for Wicked...