Since I did not manage to squeeze everything I love about London in my previous article, I decided to focus on the more cultural and leisurely aspect of the city here. London caters for almost anyone’s tastes and wishes, and if you’re not entirely into the touristy stuff perhaps this will be more enlightening.
- Try and make time for tea while you’re here. There are several places you can guzzle down some delicious sweets and wash them down with a delicious cup of tea. If you really feel like a splurge, why not try a sophisticated tea room like Fortnum & Mason, or Harrod’s perhaps? If you’re on a bit of a tight budget, you can still enjoy all the pleasures of English High Tea in any tea room in the city.
- Visit pubs and gorge on their delicious and authentic foods. Who said the English can’t cook? We discovered a cosy little chain of pubs spread throughout London, by the name of Nicholson’s. Although they’re under the same management and have the same décor, all these pubs have different names which hardly suggest any connection. During our visit we went to ‘The Bear & Staff’ in Leicester Square and ‘The Argyll Arms’ in Oxford Street. There are of course several other pubs to choose from, but I strongly recommend this particular chain for their delicious variety of foods and homely atmosphere.
- Watch a West End show… or two… or three… There is really no end to the theatrical entertainment here. A quick trip to the Underground will give you an idea of the shows running at the moment. Granted, most of the shows are somewhat pricey, but the right ticket booths will guarantee you half-price tickets and often great seating nonetheless. I particularly recommend the half-price ticket booth in the Underground station at Leicester Square. Also… don’t hesitate to ask for a particular show which isn’t listed under the special prices of the day list – there might still be some last minute seats to particular shows available if you’re lucky. I’m a sucker for musicals, but I would definitely recommend watching a drama or a comedy while you’re there. I was lucky enough to catch The Cripple of Inishmaan, with Daniel Radcliffe, and I enjoyed every second of it.
- Indulge your literary passions. This city is made to make you feel that much better about being a literature junkie. For instance, we visited the Charles Dickens Museum in Doughty Street, which is actually where Dickens lived for a while. We also had a go at the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street. This must have been the longest queue we had to endure, but it was also a really charming place to visit. A personal favourite is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which is a building based on the original which had burnt down during a performance of one of the Bard’s plays. All these places give you a strong sense of the time in question and they also make understanding certain works that much easier. If your literary interests are slightly more mainstream and you happen to be a Harry Potter fan, you could always visit the Warner Brothers Studios in Watford, where the entire film series was filmed. Here you get to witness most of the sets and props used, and even taste the drink our favourite heroes love so much in the novels: Butterbeer!
- As the previous point suggests, there are Museums to satisfy practically everyone. If you’re in the mood for some wax figures and several photo-shoots, why not take a trip to Madame Tussauds? If your tastes lean more towards serious art however, there are several Art Galleries and Museums to choose from: the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Tate Modern, to name but a few…
I hope the above has been useful for the confused would-be London visitor. There is no way anyone can become bored with this city and all it has to offer. There is something for everyone, and no matter how many times you visit, you will never tire of the city’s variety. I myself am forcefully searching for the perfect excuse to fly back there at the first opportunity…