WHEN I first came to London, I was like any other first-timers who got struck by the iconic landmarks of the city. I had my bucket list. Topping that list was riding the world’s largest observational wheel, the London Eye. I had a nice photo taken in front of the giant clock tower, Big Ben. I was also one of those hopeful tourists to get a glimpse of the queen in Buckingham palace. Who would not be amaze with the magnificent tower bridge, which I’ve confused with London Bridge because of the famous nursery rhyme describing it as the one falling down; then I found out later on that London Bridge refers to several historical bridges that have traversed the River Thames. I have moved in from one attraction to another. No doubt, London has seized the title of being the capital of the world.
When I came back and decided to live in London, I have discovered that this city has many pockets that many still have to discover and where you can get a real slice of European culture. I’m sharing you the other facets of London.
1. Picnic in the Park
Instead of dining in a restaurant or queuing in a fast food chain, prepare a homemade meal and enjoy it in the park. London is known for lush green parks. From sunbathing, biking and even reading a book in the summer to brisk walking in the winter, Londoners have always a reason to go in the park. Aside from favourite Hyde Park, which is a tourist favourite, it’s worth watching the sun set over the city in Hampstead Heath that will temporarily snatch you from the hustle and bustle of the city without knowing that it’s only 4 miles in distance. Enjoy an open-air theatre in Regent’s park if you visit in summer.
2. Come and discover Camden Town!
When you get to this side of town, you will think you are not in London. It is popular for the stable market. It’s completely the opposite of Mayfair or Knightsbridge where Harrods is situated. The market is reputed for cheap souvenir stalls and for its punk, tattoo, and other exotic shops while the stable market has an array of food stalls offering international cuisines. Enjoy jazz or blues music in the evening in one of the pubs. The listed Horse Hospital in Camden formerly used to care for horses is now where the local’s favourite pub, Proud Camden. Londoners love drinking while hanging out with mates regardless of the season. A jazz night is not complete without a pint of beer or lager.
3. A day in the Museum
London is home to many of the world’s best museums and you can enjoy as many museums you can stand for a day for free! Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Modern have always riveting exhibition. There are also alternatives to the big hitters that are quirky such as the Fan Museum in Greenwich that is mainly dedicated to fans and there is the Cartoon Museum in Holborn that houses the British Cartoon, Art and Comic from the 18th century to the present.
4. A walk to remember
One of the most convenient and easiest ways of exploring London is by the tube or the underground transport system. It is also considered as an attraction in the city however you can miss an awful lot if you frequently use the tube. Each borough in London is unique in its own way, it has a certain look and flavour that could be best appreciated when you’re walking. The fresh air is a plus. There are numerous major attractions you can easily walk between and it. It is very foot-friendly! Most tourists come to London end up cramming to see all the sites in their limited stay not really appreciating their beauty. Take time, slow down, relax and walk along the South Bank which is one the most perfect places in London to explore on foot giving a stunning view of the city.
My five years was never enough to see the entirety of London. There’s still plenty to do and reconnoitre. It could take forever to discover this so called capital of the world.
By Joy Mesina