I may or may not have told you that, of my many paper related vices, I am addicted to quirky travel guides. Before I left for London, I decided to pull all of my London guides out of the bookshelf and make a little bucket list of things to do whilst there. Promptly burying myself under a mountain of publications, I decided that the bucket list may take several trips, not just the two weeks I had. (Cue that Grizzly Bear song)
That said, I got (get) around (Cue that Beach Boys song), and am here to impart with you the creme de la crop of London’s nooks and crannies (as discovered thus far) in a mini, quirky guide books of my own. Let’s call it
“Haunted London: 8 Places That Are Scary Cool (But Not Scary Scary Because I’m Not Really Into That)”
- Daunt Books is my favourite place to feed my hunger for travel books. Anywhere. Period. And I have bought many of their green and white canvas bags to prove it. The back section of the store, is all travel books *shivers* in order of country, and the front section stocks every cool book you didn’t know you needed. I always say I will only buy one book and I am always lying.
- Selfridges Food Hall is tucked in the corner of the famous department store’s ground level. After being spritzed with every eau de something imaginable, grab some cold pressed juice and a few pieces of delicious mezze items to sustain you for your journey down Oxford st.
- Time Out London is, okay, not a place. But it is the best way to find a place. Example. I was sitting in The Natural Kitchen (like how I snuck another one in there), scrolling through Time Out’s ‘What’s on in London Today’ section, and LO AND BEHOLD. Tickets. To none other than Jack Whitehall. I snagged one of the last few tickets and was rewarded with a perfect night. Get onboard at timeout.com/london
- The V & A Museum‘s exhibitions have never ever disappointed me. A few years ago I attended the Hollywood Costume Exhibition. I cried when I saw Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress. This time, I hadn’t planned ahead, and simply visited the free exhibition entitled Disobedient Objects. I had no idea what it was about when I entered, but, confronted with videos of protesting students being rubbed in the face with pepper spray and large, angry banners, I quickly came around. It was a confronting and persuasive collection, and just like every other time I have left the Victoria and Albert Museum, I continued to think about my visit for weeks to come.
- The Temple Walk is not really the name of what I am about to describe. It is actually so cool it doesn’t have a name. Disclaimer: I stole this idea from one of my many guide books, London – City Secrets curated by Robert Kahn. All you have to do: Start at Grey’s Inn and head through the Temple Church towards the Thames. This walk is the closest I have ever come to finding Dickens’ London, and to me, that is pretty darn cool. If you want to be true to the blog and do things the way I did them, get lost about five times on the way.
- Climb Primrose Hill. That’s it. Full stop. And that’s an order.
- Dress Circle: The Showbiz Shop is the perfect stop between a matinee musical (yep, I’m 100 years old) and Jamie’s Italian’s polenta chips. The store is predominantly CD’s and Vinyl – exclusively of the music theatre persuasion. I know what you’re thinking. What kind of cool kid is buying The Kind and I: Original Soundtrack on Vinyl?
I’m not so keen on the ‘z’ in ‘showbiz’, but as for the rest of its eccentricity, I kind of love it.
- Something super touristy by yourself in winter. That really wasn’t that vague, was it . . . So what I’m really saying is, there are virtues to getting on the London Eye by yourself in February. Firstly, since Coca-Cola took over, there is this hilarious 4D experience before you get on the eye itself. There were a couple in front of me who seemed seriously embarrassed to be doing it together, and I get why. There were bubbles. Fireworks. Seagulls. Spray from the Thames (slightly unsanitary). But me? By myself. Hand me the popcorn.
Then there’s the Winter emptiness. I was with five people! There were no queues! Do it.
Are you back in Sydney, prepping for uni? Or still catching rays at Noosa?
Love B x