I spend a lot of time in London for work but don’t really get to explore and be a tourist. But I still love London, there’s something rather special about it.Pounding the pavements There is always something new to see and I always walk to the office or to visit a client if I am in town to enjoy the city! Even though I normally walk between the same places, it is always different and there is always something different to see. There is always anothert alleyway to take a short cut through, and I am always amazed when I find another enclosed garden area behind a row of buildings or offices. Wherever you go in London there are always tourists and I am fascinated by what people take photos of… What is my walking commute actually has lots of interest too (although often even if I squint at where someone has their camera pointed, I can’t work out what is of interest)! I used to get taxi’s between offices but London isn’t big and taking 10 extra minutes to walk is always worth it, even in the rain!
History a plentyThere is history everywhere – statues, old buildings, blue ‘so and so was born here’ signs and palaces of course! I’m already looking forward to Open House weekend in the city in September when normally inaccessible places are opened to the public. There is also a complete mix of the very old and the brand new – The Shard sits near to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Despite all the development in the city (try counting cranes and you will lose count easily) there remains the protected ‘St Paul’s line of sight’ from many locations.
Green spaceFor a city London is very lucky to have so much green space – lovely parks. Nuff said. My husband works in Westminster and has some gorgeous running routes through the parks at lunchtimes.
Coffee signsAs competitive as the coffee shops are about having the best coffee, there seems to be a more important battle to be won – having the most amusing or philosophical blackboard sign outside the shop. There is a little place called the Fleet St Press that I always look forward to passing, their coffee signs change most days and the humour has me chuckling which starts the day well!
Bumping into friendsSo many cities are anonymous but in London I often bump into friends on the bus or walking along Aldwych and Fleet Street. It seems incredible that can be the case – I don’t know that many people – but once a week it tends to happen. Always a lovely surprise.
Drinks with viewsI haven’t invested sufficient time in researching drinks with views, but there are plenty. Skylon on the South Bank is lovely, as is The Oxo Tower further along. Windows at Galvin and Radio Bar at the ME hotel are 2 others I like. There are even nice bars in the train stations that command great views over rush hour! I love our top floor office view too – always a highlight to have a meeting or lunch at the top to enjoy it without even having to go outside!
There is always a viewMost offices tend to have meeting room suites on the top floors, we certainly do. I have to sit facing into the room or I lose concentration and end up enjoying the view too much! The DLR is also good for a view – take the train out to City Airport and it runs through a total different area of the city which is changing rapidly. A while back I took my first ride on the Emirates Airline – that certainly gave a good view. As does the London Eye although it is humid in the pod by the time the full revolution is complete! I always try to get the window seat on a plane – the view coming over London is stunning.
Hidden little restaurants
I love that it isn’t all about fancy and expensive restaurants. There is so much more if you know where to look. Just last week I had lunch with some colleagues in La Gourmandia on Lambs Conduit Street – from the outside it appears to be a deli, but there’s a lovely (and great value) restaurant hidden out the back. On a Thursday lunchtime people were queuing to take our table as we left.
Art and statuesAs we all know I don’t often visit galleries (unless they have a rooftop view and bar…). However – there are some fascinating displays in London that have appealed – Hermes Wanderland, Hidden Jamaica, Art of the Brick etc. All fascinating. What I prefer though is the amount of art and design that crops up around London year round. Many years ago I remember the Gormley iron statues which were precariously standing on rooftops and bridges. More recently there were Book Benches, Paddington bears and London Buses – all designed by different celebrities and creating fun trails around the city. This summer Shaun the Sheep has been in town!
It can throw a damn good partyWe were all cynical before the Olympics arrived about whether it would be any good. Then it arrived, the whole of London was transformed, the sun shone, people smiled at each other on the tube (unheard of) and the city threw the best party. August 2012 was fantastic – just going to work in London had a buzz to it! We had a marvellous afternoon at the volleyball – on Horse Guards, what a venue. And then we were hosted by work at the Paralympic closing ceremony – quite incredible. There’s such a choice of entertainment year round – sport and music, plenty to enjoy!
The start of any journey abroadLondon is the start to all our trips abroad – much as there is something about London that I rather like, I also love the choice of destinations that can be reached from London.
Two great quotes for London:
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life – Samuel Johnson
If you’re curious, London is an amazing place – David BaileyAbsolutely true – there is always something new to find and see. Whenever I am on the bus or underground I always wonder what there would be to see if I just hopped off early. Each stop is recommended for visiting something or other – never a dull moment!