It can be hard living here from time to time, but it can also be wonderful. My five favourite London things (in no particular order) are:
1. Walking around St James’s, Mayfair, Piccadilly – the quintessential “London” streets: London is massive and varied, but some of my favourite places in the city are those that we’ve all seen in movies or on the telly. It’s neat to walk along Piccadilly and pass milliners or menswear stores that have been in operation since the 1800s, while having double-decker buses and black cabs whizz by.
2. Catching a black cab: I don’t do this often – sometimes I’ll catch one for work or just around the city. This is one of my favourite things to do for two reasons:
1) their cars are so cool
2) cabbies are seriously impressive.
I didn’t know this before I arrived in London, but every black cab driver is required to pass a test called The Knowledge. Transport for London says ‘There are thousands of roads within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. Anyone who wants to drive an iconic London cab must memorize them all: the Knowledge of London.’ How impressive is that?! London streets aren’t easy to navigate on foot so I think that knowing all of them, and knowing the quickest way to get around all of them in a car is just so cool. Check out this page (especially the video) if you’re interested: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/licensing/learn-the-knowledge-of-london
3. Going to Portobello Road market: There are loads of markets in the city (Camden, Southwark, Brixton to name a few); Portobello is my favourite because it has a wide range of food, clothing, trinkets/knick-knacks and produce, without being so big that you can’t explore it all in one visit. The downside to the market being so good is that by 11:30am on a Saturday, it is jam-packed so you have to get there early if you want to have a comfortable visit.
4. Richmond: Boy and I lived in a beautiful house in Richmond for two weeks when we first arrived in London, and were lucky enough to make some wonderful friends as well. Richmond is one of my favourite places because it’s out of inner London so it’s peaceful and quiet but it’s only at the end of the District line so it’s not a hassle to come back into the city. Richmond Park is picturesque and full of deer roaming about, and it affords a panoramic view of the entire city. I really enjoy any time I spend in Richmond – it’s a restorative place for me.
5. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese: Admittedly, I’ve only been here three times but given how many pubs there are in London, going to one pub three times must be saying something. The Cheshire Cheese is a pub on Fleet Street, which is tucked away down a narrow alley. The pub is split over four floors, three of which are below ground and have been built into the surrounding earth; the ceilings are very low and the steps are very steep. It was rebuilt after the Fire in 1666, and I just think it’s such a cool pub. I’ve been there twice to catch up with friends, and once for dinner after work with Alicia (make sure to get there before 6:00pm if you want a table).
So there you have it, my five favourite London things! It may be a good idea for me to start branching out from the things I like to try and find new things to enjoy – I don’t think it’s possible to fully explore everything in this city though, there just aren’t enough hours in the day (or pounds in my bank account unfortunately…).
It occurred to me the other day that the place I have visited the most outside of London is Suffolk (mainly Woodbridge), where I stay with my friend Vicky. It’s so beautiful and historic; I think it’s worthwhile writing a post, so the next entry will be all about Suffolk.
Bye for now,