London, the city where I was born, grew up, fell in love, and am creating my life in. The city that is full of people, moments, chaos, and calm. A city of contradictions. The city I have a love/hate relationship with. It is the city that has made me savvy, the city that has made me more determined to explore the rest of the world. This series is my love-letter to London, a list of things I love about her. Follow along as I try to document my hometown, and I hope you find things you love about London within the list too! (Or, if you’ve never set foot in London, let this be a list of reasons to visit…)
100 Things I Love about London
- London is full of cafes, restaurants, and tearooms. Having a cup of tea is one of my favourite things, and there is barely a day that passes without tea. It seemed only fitting that I began this list with one of my favourite places to stop for tea (and cake!). Bea’s of Bloomsbury is somewhere I first visited with a close friend years ago, and it quickly became a firm favourite – if you go, make sure to book ahead for afternoon tea! Bloomsbury is where it all started, but there are now other branches in Central London, so take your pick.
2. There are so many parks, woods, and green spaces scattered across London – I am sure many will find their way onto the list. To start with is Parkland Walk, in North London. It tracks the route of an old railway line, and it is somewhere that is tucked away and off the beaten tracks, but it’s a gem. If you like street art, woodland walks, and looking over the rooftops of London homes, don’t miss this.
3. Street names. Along with ‘ordinary’ street names, you can also stumble across some that stand out from the rest. One is ‘Man in Moon Passage’…
4. Trafalgar Square at nighttime. When I was a teenager, just starting to get a taste of freedom, I wandered over to Trafalgar Square with some friends; we ran up and down the steps leading from the square to the National Gallery, joyfully experiencing the glee that came with our age and the fact that we were out in London in the evening, playing in our city. Now and then, I like to pass through the square and stop for a while. It is best in the winter, when the air is cold, the square only has a few people wandering around, and the buzz of the city all around you.
5. The Natural History Museum. This place is full of history, obviously, and you have to visit at least once. It’s free, so you have no excuse! Even if you don’t go in – but you really should – just visit to have a look at the architecture. It is a stunning building. I went this week with a friend and her toddler, and it was great to see the museum through the eyes of a little one, it reminded me about how much wonder is in the world. Oh, and did I mention that there are dinosaurs? Rawr.
6. The Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank is a lovely place to stop for a while. There’s a cafe, great views of the river from the many floors, and always something going on for a dose of culture.
7. The secondhand book market on the Southbank. You know all those films that feature London, and if there is a shot along the river, you might see people looking through books in a small outdoor market? Yeah, it’s real.
8. Finding a place to have a drink in London is not difficult. One of my favourites is along the river, Old Thameside Inn; if you can find a table outside in the sunshine, then you’re set. Sunshine, a drink in hand, and gorgeous views across the River Thames…you don’t need much more. It is also close to Borough Market, which means you can sample incredible food as well.
9. Brick Lane. It is famous for a good reason; it is one of the best places in London to have a curry. Enough said. (Although you can also find some wonderful fabric shops along Brick Lane, street art, vintage shops…and a plethora of streets to wander…worth a visit even if you don’t have a curry.)
10. The London Underground. The Tube. While I do get frustrated with how busy it gets and how hot it gets, there is no denying that it deserves a place on this list. Without the tube, journeys around London would take much, much longer. It’s a big day today, as the Night Tube finally starts tonight on two lines! Now London can stay awake for longer each weekend. More time to play!
That is all for now, but despair not for we are only 10 down, 90 to go. What are your favourite things about London or wherever you are?