TYPE OF TRIP
- City break
- Visiting friends
As if we really need an excuse...
9 REASONS TO COME TO LONDON NOW (OR EVER)
9. International real-ale festival
I happened to get in town just in time for the festival that celebrates a classic British treat, ale. Trying at least one when visiting the UK is an absolute must, but here you get 6 different ales (only for £5,80 - very cheap for London town) every day of these 2-week long offer, including brews from New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and other places. With multiple locations across London, taking part is no problem - just don't forget to grab one of those booklets to keep track of your ale tasting! For more information, check out their official website here.
8. Photo- and art-galleries
With so many options to choose from, there are a couple of current events that might catch your attention. Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age at Barbican showcases some of the most interesting works on the interaction between the world around us and society as captured in photographs. This exhibition includes over 250 productions from photographers and architects from across the globe and is on until mid-January. You should pay a visit to Tate Modern, which currently displays the art of Kazimir Malevich, the person behind the controversial "Black Square". This Russian artist is especially well-known for his abstract and suprematist paintings that some might find questionable, but his influence on contemporary art is remarkable and unquestionable.
7. Peter Ackroyd's "London: The Autobiography"
My very first trip to London 9 years ago made quite an impact on my then-not-so-mature mind: I returned home eager to learn everything about the city, its past and present. Then I came across this book, which not only satisfied my curiosity, but also provided a completely different perspective on London. Ackroyd does a briliant job by giving a comprehensive account of the city portraying it as a living organism with its own character and identity and by doing so, he leaves no reader indifferent. So if you want to get a non-traditional guide to the UK's capital, look no further - this is exactly what you need.
6. Puddings, cakes, and sponges
Never have I ever seen dessert sections of grocery stores so massive (and I used to live in North America!): there are literally hundreds of different pies, cakes, sponges, and god knows what else. Unless you have diabetes or are allergic to awesome things, there is absolutely no excuse to say no to them and walk out of the door. Even though they are probably not the most sophisticated things you'll ever try, they embody exactly what the term "comfort food" stands for.
5. Ale that tastes like pudding
Speaking of ales, ever tried one that is basically a liquid dessert? Hint: Wells sticky toffee pudding ale. Brace yourself, life will never be the same again and I am not even exaggerating.
Where there is tea, there must be biscuits! You do not need to go full-on Mad Hatter crazy about your tea party, yet you do need the right treats. Penguin biscuits, custard creams, bourbon creams, classic and chocolate hobnobs, digestives, to name just a few. On dear! See, I have gone from a complete ignorance of their existence to quite an obsession. All of a sudden tea parties can be pretty fun a little sooner than you turn 60-something! I am most definitely shipping a few boxes back to the Netherlands because there is no turning back to the sad biscuit-less life.
A pub tour around London would make a trip of its own, but this is another must-do even if you are not a drinker. If you want to take it on a whole different level, consult this guide to 161 pubs around the area. Ironically enough, I found this lovely publication at The School of Life (I kid you not, it is a real place), which presents itself as a place "devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture". Needless to say that pubs are a quintessential part of the British culture?
Londonist: an online source for the most up-to-dates news and events in town
2. Find your perfect borough
In case you were wondering, there are 32 of them! Strolling the streets of London is a guaranteed good time when it is nice out, but it will get even better if you explore the area where you are staying thoroughly. On this trip I've stayed in Camden, which I must have walked around a billion times now but it is about finding little gems hidden away that makes my time here really exciting.
1. "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life"
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." (S. Johnson , September 20, 1777). It is safe to say that even over 200 years later, this is as accurate as before: London still has something suitable for everybody. Be it the rich history, amazing markets, humor, "propah English" or even Prince Harry, in a place so diverse and lively you cannot go wrong!