UK 2019: Part 2
It’s hard to know exactly what I find so welcoming and interesting about London. Maybe it’s just because it’s familiar! Although, London is never completely familiar – it’s constantly changing!
This year home took shape in places I’d never previously stayed. What fun!
Highgate was one such place and Figaro was our next host!
We stayed in a lovely flat just down the road from Highgate tube station. The area is a fair way out of central London but public transport makes getting anywhere a cinch! On our first day here we jumped on the bus into town – we didn’t have the necessary travel card but the driver kindly let us on anyway! There’s no such thing as a free lunch, they say, but apparently there are free rides! We sat in the front seats up top and treated the whole journey like a city tour – little did we know we’d be sitting there for well over an hour! The tube’s a much quicker way to get around but can be pricey, especially as Highgate is zone 3. And anyways, you miss many interesting sights if you take the tube.
Walking the banks of the Thames also provides some pretty spectacular things to see. There are bridges a plenty, the names of which always escape me, and St Paul’s is a majestic force nestled amongst the straight lines of the financial district.
We explored closer to home too! A real bonus was the Parkland Walk which was pretty much on our doorstep. It made for a fabulous running route – a slight but constant incline made for great training, not to mention dodging all the dog walkers. The nature garden at the top was the perfect way to cool down!
And a cool weekend food market at the bottom provided some treats!
We did a lot of walking! Some days more than others but we were so lucky to discover some local gems. Waterlow Park, Highgate Cemetery, a very grand looking house which could easily be part of the Hogwarts estate and onto Hampstead Heath.
We take it for granted how cheap massage is in Thailand. Here it’s 30 minutes for £27! In Thailand you can enjoy a whole hour for around 200 baht (that’s about a fiver!). You wouldn’t, however, find a Marauder’s Map in a charity shop in Chiang Mai or a plant growing inside an old telephone box!
On one of the beautiful days we decided to walk into town. It’s a long way but we found a route along the Grand Union Canal and time flew by. Isn’t this the most amazing looking building! Wow!
We passed through Camden, Little Venice and the enormouse enclosures of ZSL London Zoo before eventually reaching Regents Park.
There are often interesting events in Regent’s Park and this year we browsed the creative array of sculptures.
And onto Bakers Street! Yes, the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes and now the Beatles memorabilia store too.
Figaro, or Figgy as he was known, was a sweet cat! He took a while to warm to us but I think he quite liked us in the end. You never quite know with cats! Figaro was happy to be in our vicinity but we’d be rewarded with a swift ‘bop’ if we got a little too familiar!
When it came to watching the world go by Figgy was an expert – his favourite past time after sleeping and the aforementioned ‘bopping’!
Out and about again we popped into the Royal Academy of Music for an afternoon of culture!
There’s great walking to be had in that area around Marylebone, the theatre district, Soho and into Leicester Square.
Berwick Street is the famous street featured on the Oasis album cover – we were there!
If you’re hungry, short on time and in Leicester Square check out this Chinese noodle bar, Lanzhou Lamian. It’s awesome, tiny and always packed so be prepared to perch at the smallest counter space. Don’t get me wrong Leicester Square is spilling over with restaurants, and Chinatown is right next door, but for sheer speed and deliciousness give this one a go!
There’s also a heap of things to entertain you in Leicester Square.
Street artists galore! Anything from getting a caricature drawn, dance, mime and original music performances.
There’s also a huge Odeon cinema which will cost you an arm and a leg to just watch blockbuster movies. Alternatively you can search out the curious, tucked away, Prince Charles cinema to watch one of the lesser known movies.
Or if you’re prepared to queue up at the Leicester Square TKTS box office you can pick up discounted theatre tickets for not much more than the cost of an Odeon cinema ticket. London theatre is a real treat and something we totally indulge in when we can. These are the first of the shows we went to see. Waitress was very entertaining and the music is written by Sara Bareilles. Sweat and Rosmersholm were darker and OK shows – but at £15 a ticket definitely worth going to see. We had great seats for all the shows!
No trip into London town is complete with the obligatory M&S picnic in Hyde Park!
Mostly it’s great just to wander around and take in the fun details of my fave city!
Before we knew it we said our goodbyes to Figgy and moved to our next pet sit. For one night we crashed at a quirky Airbnb on Holland Road. Who knew so many home comforts could be squeezed into such a tiny space!
We were a stone’s throw from Westfield shopping centre. It’s the largest shopping mall in Europe and quite honestly it’s mind blowing! It was our evening entertainment and we were spoilt for choice on dinner options.
Next stop Kensington!