I was privileged to call London home for almost ten years. It’s a vibrant, dynamic city, rich in history and culture. And probably best of all for a travel addict, it’s an international hub with low cost flights and holiday packages to the world’s exotic destinations.
The one problem with living in London, as I guess is true for most places, is that you rarely visit all the tourist sights. Although even the most jaded Londoner can appreciate the eclectic sights of Leicester Square on a Saturday night. My favourite was a man in his mid-twenties, wearing lingerie (complete with stockings) and carrying a single red rose. I wonder what bet he lost and about the reaction of his intended rose recipient.
One of the best things about London, however, is that it can be a different city for everyone. Music lovers can enjoy everything from local bands heard at the neighbourhood pub or world-class opera performances at either Covent Garden or the ENO. Shoppers can wander the local markets or second hand stores for one-of-a-kind treasures, or wander along Bond Street or around Knightsbridge and play spot the celebrity.
History lovers are overwhelmed with choice, having a veritable cornucopia of places to visit—Tower of London, King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, to name a few. But for me, history was found on every corner, wondering who walked down a street or used to call that converted office building home. By the way, if you are planning a trip to London, or even if you’ve lived there all your life, I can highly recommend Edward Rutherfurd’s London the Novel as an entertaining read. I have no idea how historically accurate it is but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
For me, however, my favourite thing about London is the green spaces, whether a tiny patch of grass in a tucked away square, or the acres of Hyde Park, not to mention Hampstead Heath. My personal preference was for St. James’s Park. I worked nearby and would often stroll around the “lake” (really, as a Canadian, it’s more a large pond), especially in the spring. I remember reading a story somewhere that a royal commanded that all the flowers be removed from nearby Green Park because she caught her husband picking flowers for another woman, so they planted twice as many in St. James’s Park to make up for it. I can find no verification for this tale but I did enjoy the abundant blooms in St. James’s, whether it was by design or as a deterrent for marital infidelity.
My novel Singapore Fling starts and ends in London. In my next post I’ll talk about a few of the places I’ve mentioned in the story.