41 years on from the release of the iconic album ‘London Calling’ by The Clash, London town continues to be a fusion of style and eccentricity. The biggest lesson I have learnt from lockdown life is to never take anything for granted. I miss London. Black cabs nearly running you over, feeling like a sardine on the commute to work, dropping change into the busker’s hat for making the journey more cheerful – the list goes on. I can’t wait to visit:
A stones throw from London Bridge Station, on Southwark Street this place is a taste explosion, with a plethora of stalls. One of the oldest food markets in London, it is known mainly for artisan stall holders and organic produce. Cheesemongers, Middle Eastern meze, Levantine-inspired food, Taiwanese street food, charcuterie specialists, bakers, winemakers, beer brewers and salty beef sandwiches – a must try before you leave here.
Running down the steps of Waterloo Station and filling time admiring new additions to The Graffiti Wall on Leake Street, off York Road has to be one of my guilty pleasures. This place oozes creativity from its walls, literally – and always gives me inspiration for writing. During lockdown there are Thursday night drawing/music virtual sessions.
A short signposted walk from Waterloo Station. I miss meandering along Southbank, watching the boats pull out of the piers dotted along the stretch, browsing sustainable fashion markets, picking up a book from the second hand outdoor book market and finishing off with a coffee overlooking the river from the Tate Modern Art Gallery.
Japanese Garden – Holland park
So many good memories from book publishing days when I ate my lunch here and took a stroll, everyday normality. I often end up here meeting friends as it a real hidden gem, so peaceful and away from so many of the busier parts of London. The Kyoto Garden, is a breathtaking Japanese haven. Enjoy the tranquility, relax, scribble down some ideas, whatever takes your fancy – but be warned the squirrels are the friendliest you will ever meet and have no fear. So keep hold of any food or belongings.
I love the backstreets. The aptly named Foodie Street, off the Strand, with The Porterhouse Pub, a maze of copper piping over different levels (if you go there you will know what I mean) is a good stopping point. A range of eateries along this road and cocktails bars – still with happy hours, which is always a result especially at the end of the month when money is scarce.
Neal Street, opposite Covent Garden tube, is another place to browse or pick up something unusual. An eclectic mix of big name brands and smaller clothes boutiques, make up, jewellery and homeware. A delightful part of the world to spend a whimsical hour in London.
For theatre, arts there are so many places, but my favourite is the Royal Opera House on Bow Street. A majestic looking façade with a magical auditorium – if you can book a performance here – you won’t be disappointed.
Two minutes walk from Oxford Street. This street has iconic heritage, built in 1682 and promotes sustainable living. If you time it right and avoid going lunchtime or late afternoon this street is brimmed with places to see ranging from new flagships to upcoming independent stores, diverse shopping experience at Newburgh Quarter as well as corner pubs and underground bars.
This is a little glimpse of the areas I can’t wait to visit after lockdown. I hope that these places survive the financial nightmare and are able to trade again in the future.
Disclaimer: Own preferences given
Twitter: Maria M @TravelRunMaria