Leaving London is always a hard thing for me to do. Not for holidays, obviously (who could be sad about escaping the grey, rainy weather), but for the long haul. I’m not entirely sure why, but I guess it’s an indication that this place is home to me. It’s where I feel the most like myself.
Where we love is home-home where our feet may leave but not our hearts
-Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr
There are many things I love about London, one of them being how much it grows and changes, quickly at that. However there are many more things I knew I would miss when I left. And then there were some things I knew I loved, but didn’t realise how much I appreciated them.
Being away for a year, I couldn’t wait to get back. I couldn’t wait to walk around everywhere. To get on the train and tube that I spent most of my time as a commuter complaining about (it’s a Londoner’s prerogative!). To go to a pub! And for the food. Ok, I know British cuisine isn’t exactly up there when it comes to world class cuisine but being a vegetarian, it offers ease and most importantly – choice! There’s also the obvious, that all Expats look forward to when going home, and that is to see friends and family.
I didn’t spend enough time in London to truly recharge my batteries with the things I loved. But here’s a little snippet of what I did do.
A cute little up and coming neighbourhood, conveniently located between Clapham Junction, Putney and Wimbledon. It’s an area that wasn’t on my radar until I was looking to live in Putney or Clapham and couldn’t afford it. As soon as I moved down here, I loved it. The main high street, Garratt Lane, offers everything you really need. A Sainsbury’s local by the station, decent pubs (the Halfway house being my favourite), restaurants (Carluccio’s and South African run steak house Roxie’s), cute little card shops, a florist and the post office.
A quick walk to the station and you could be at Waterloo station in 15mins, and in the west end in 30mins. Although it’s set out further away, the overground makes getting into the city ideal.
What’s great about Earlsfield is that it offers a quiet but trendy place to spend your evenings. We were always able to find an offer for dinner at one of the amazing eateries along the street. And it wasn’t hard to go for a drink or for a Sunday roast and one of the many cosy pubs that have a garden or patio. My favourite is the Halfway House just on the corner of Garratt Lane and Magdalen Rd. If you sign up with them, they send you a free pint on our birthday! Winner Winner!
I recently was asked by a colleague ‘where should I go and what should I see if I only have 3 days to spend in London’. My colleague wasn’t too fused for shopping so I directed her to my favourite place in London- The Southbank. For me The Southbank starts at Waterloo station where you can find access to the London Eye, the Aquarium and can easily walk to Parliament, Westminster and actually even up to Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden.
Starting at Waterloo though, you get to see all the cool little happenings at The Southbank Centre as there is always something going on at the Southbank. The Festival of Love was on when I went for a stroll down by the Thames on a typical grey London day. My favourite things to watch out for at The Southbank Centre is the Christmas market that happens around the end of November, and the food festivals that visit (from around the world). So a must do for tourists that like to stroll the Thames- The Southbank!
The Tate Modern also sits along Bankside walking East. Directly opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral, linked by the Millennium footpath bridge. Both of these attractions are staple stop ins for the London tourist. When I was visiting this summer, there was a visiting collection from Georgia O’Keefe at the Tate Modern. Sadly I didn’t have enough time to visit it.
A further walk along the Thames, past Blackfriars Bridge, and you’ll walk by Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. A replica of Shakespeare’s original theatre, opening in 1997, you can catch many of Shakespeare’s classics. Seated tickets are available. Or do as the paupers did in the old days and stand!
Wrapping around the corner from the Globe you start to walk into Borough Market, full of local farmer goods and artisan breads. A gastronomical treat. The restaurants and cafes that line the peripheral of the market are equally amazing. Vinopolis- a wine tasting market of sorts is located in Borough market. Whilst I have yet to go and taste the world’s best wine in one room, The Wine Wharf next door has a fantastic wine menu as well.
Across the road to London Bridge station the sights continue. One London (office of the Mayor) and The Tower of London are also located along the Thames.
Passing through London
Needless to say this is one of my favourite walks through London, complete with London’s favourite icons. So if you’ve only got a few short days to spend in London and are looking to fill your camera and your time with London’s favourites, head here! The majority of things mentioned above are free except for tickets for the Globe and tickets for any special exhibits at the Tate Modern. Entry to St Paul’s also comes at a charge. However, walking along the Thames is free and the views are priceless!
What’s your favourite part of London? Have anything to add or share about the places mentioned here? Do comment below! Always love to hear your thoughts.