When one enters a city like London, the sheer scale of it makes you feel out of your depth. The easiest way to orient yourself in a new place is usually the map of the city but in London, it’s the tube map of London that sets the orientation right.
London is a city of many little hamlets or boroughs that got together to form a city. Every hamlet has it own charm and every tube station opens up a different world.
It’s quite exciting to walk around London and continuously be awed by the ever changing landscape and pace of the city. While Oxford Circus and Picadilly circus fall in the tourist must see lists, there’s a lot that London offers that you mustn’t miss out. While you can see the Buckingham palace and the Tower of London and other must sees all in one day, there are some places that will make your trip special.
Camden is one such place. You can sit by the river or listen to some buskers, drink your beers and shops at the little flea stalls at the Camden market. It’s soulful and free and a little hippie.
From there on, you can stop by Chalk Farm on your way back to more central London. Between Camden and Chalk Farm, an entire day can be spent soaking in the cultural diversity with a dash of eccentricity.
One must keep one day entirely to explore the natural history museum exclusively! It’s one of the most well-curated
museums I’ve been to! And if you have kids then don’t forget to take them along… When a museum can pique the curiosity of a young one then I think the museum has served its purpose.
When all museums are done and you wish to unwind, head over to Covent Garden and enjoy the various little corners and the seven dials. Head to Neal’s Yard for some organic remedies or stop by the Godiva to enjoy an ice cream or wander into a Magma store for cool stationery. By evening, wander into Soho and get your dancing shoes on, to bar hop through some cool bars, be it Ain’t Nothing But A Blues Bar or some window pubs in Kingly Court. End the night, in high spirits and a dizzy head.
Usually, people end up coming to the Tower of London from the north side but a nicer walk is from the south side. You start from Waterloo and walk to the London eye and follow the river, passing various theatre and art spaces. There is a skateboarding space wherein the young Londoners are seen practicing their moves. This route leads you directly to the Tate Modern – a museum that you must visit. Currently, the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition is on till October, being followed by the David Hockney exhibition.
On the weekend, Portobello market and Notting Hill is a must for all the fresh produce and eccentric shopping. Spend the day, walking around and soak in the experience. If you have a second Saturday in the city then head over to borough market to pick up some amazing British cheese and olive oils. Stop by Monmouth for some brilliant coffee. Don’t forget to stop by Brick Lane on a Sunday and catch the cool, hip bars at Shoreditch. This is the new cool place to be and is a trendsetter in its own right.
During the week, if you want to take it easy, take a picnic basket and head over to Hampstead Heath or Regent’s Park. Lay down the blanket and enjoy the silence of nature around you. Feel the pace of the city pause, breathe and absorb its many faces.
This city is busy and yet there is time to stop and explore. It’s beautifully interwoven with pockets of the hectic and static. Every corner reveals a new facade, an alleyway unexplored, a road beneath the heath or the busy commercial streets. One can get used to surprises and yet, enjoy the mundane. It leaves you feeling full, this London city.