Voted the most popular city to travel to in 2012 by Lonely Planet, London is about to show case the Olympics (if you hadn’t already heard)!
Due to this fact, I thought it only right to bring you special places that I love to enjoy in my capital. Having nine years of native experience under my belt has enabled me to explore London’s local treasures. Some of these are on the tourist trail and others are around the red brick corners where I have lived. So to get in the mood for this blog, I suggest that you make a British cup of tea and take your ease.
Music to my ears…
If you need to tighten your wallets and purses and therefore not attend the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, then you will find a beautiful treat in South Kensington. St. Stephen’s church on Gloucester Road has teamed up with various universities, such as, the Royal College of Music and throughout the year allows the students to perform.
For a small donation, concerts can be found in the mornings, at lunch-time and in the evenings. I often head over to the ‘Rush-hour Concert’, to wind down after work. I’ve listened to classical guitar and string quartets which have been so professional. The church holds the sound beautifully and the historic building is a unique setting to soak it all in. In addition, T.S Elliot (poet) worshipped here until 1965. It is worth popping in or checking their website (http://saint-stephen.org.uk) to see what is coming up. You may desire to ditch the crowds for a melodic break!
To experience an aspect of multicultural London, I urge you to visit Bute Street in South Kensington. Here you will find an Italian Gelateria (ice cream parlour) called Oddono’s. This is a cosy little parlour without the touristy tack that often is marketed in central London. As an award winning cafe its ice cream is nothing but delicious. My favourite flavours have to be coconut sorbet, pistachio, strawberry and Stracciatella (vanilla ice cream with chocolate ribbons). Also recommended is their hot chocolate, which is denser than a liquid and sometimes a desert in itself! If you feel like being more pretentious, then trying an ice cream cake between friends will put the cream on it! www.oddonos.com/
Time for afternoon tea…
If a more local English tea room is what you are after, then refresh yourselves at ‘The Muffin Man Tea Shop’. This cafe is tucked behind High Street Kensington (12 Wrights Lane, Kensington, London, W8 6TA). It is much more the reality of everyday English living than the up market Harrods’ tea rooms. Order a pot of tea, which comes in traditional tea leaves and choose a cake from the counter. It’s good for crumpets and the traditional cream tea. While sampling the traditional English food, your bank balance won’t break in the process.
Heading east along the bricks…
Closer towards the Olympic park is an area called Brick Lane. The adult version of Camden lies not far from Liverpool Street. Edgy art galleries and street art make it undoubtedly a fascinating area of London. History tells us that Jack the Ripper once roamed the streets but fear not, the slums exist no more!
It is undoubtedly the place to eat one of the most popular British choice meals: curry. Yes, multiculturalism is here again and this time home to the Bangladeshi community. You will have your taste buds tempted by many restaurants offering meal deals.
If you stumble upon the bricks on a Sunday, then you can see the market. An array of international cuisine settles among the trendy bars and boutiques. Many up and coming artists and designers sell their products here. Products on offer are vintage clothing, jewellery and crafts. It is a great place to explore for culture and an edgy example of London’s artistic expression.
About this guest blogger:
Lizzie Telfer – a freelance writer lived in London for nine years but now lives a commutable distance away.