English writer Samuel Johnson said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” This is indeed a timeless statement. There is a lot more to enjoy in London beyond the hotel and theatres, double-decker buses, afternoon tea, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. While all these are on a visitor’s to-do list, there is a lot more to see and do in London.
How about planning an off-the-beaten-path day out in London? Are you ready for the adventure of experiencing the real London? Dress comfortably and wear a pair of trainers. You will be walking around a bit.
Take a kayaking trip along London’s canals to discover unseen views and a rich variety of wildlife. Companies will rent you the kayak and lifejacket. Start off from Regent’s Canal and paddle your way past the celebrity residences of Primrose Hill. Your destination is the music mecca of Camden Town.
Take the tube from Camden Town to Angel in the Islington area. A short walk away you will discover the Breakfast Club. The food here is to die for and prices are reasonable. After your breakfast, take the tube to Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus.
A trip to London is incomplete without experiencing the atmosphere of an outdoor market. Berwick Street Market in the heart of Soho sells everything from fruit and vegetables to general goods and clothing.
A short tube ride to Russell Square brings you to the Bloomsbury district. It is an upmarket residential and commercial area. This vibrant district was made famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers that included Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster.
Grab your lunch from one of the nearby restaurants and head over to Bloomsbury Square Gardens. There is something very English about eating your lunch on a park bench. You will see mothers keeping an eagle eye on their young ones, and office workers on their lunch break.
You will also see many magnificent buildings, such as Victoria House. Built in 1927, the interiors of the building have been extensively renovated to provide over 300,000 square feet of commercial, retail and leisure space. The building is owned M1 Group, a Lebanese multibillion dollar investment company.
Nightlife in London provides something for every taste, from theatres to live music events, dance clubs and over 7,000 great pubs. Any trip to London is incomplete without a pub crawl. Here are two recommendations of pubs with a rich heritage.
- The Nag’s Head, 53 Kinnerton Street, Belgravia: this poky little pub brings back memories of the old times. It has Adnams on tap, and mobile phones must be in silent mode.
- The French House, 49 Dean Street, Soho: this pub dates back to the First World War and was used by the French resistance in the Second World War. General de Gaulle, journalist Jeffrey Bernard, and Suggs from the band Madness have been regular patrons.
A day out in London is all about getting off the beaten track and doing something different. It should be a day spent getting to know the real city.