London: These are a few of my favourite things
London is one of those cities I always love to visit. If there is an opportunity to stop off for even a few hours in transit or for a single night, I’ll absolutely do it. “If you are tired of London, you are tired of life”, quotes Samuel Johnson and it’s a quote that many travellers will agree with.
Finding suitable accommodation in London can be a daunting task. It can also be a relatively expensive exercise if you look only at hotel options. Consider the possibility of self catering apartments in London or a bed & breakfast option if your budget is limited.
With London being such a thriving, diverse and huge city, it’s almost impossible to know what to do or where to start on your first visit, or when you have a limited amount of time. Here are some of my favourite London stops (in no particular order):
Lillywhites Sports Store
You have yet to convince me that there is a better sports store anywhere in the world. Lillywhites provides sports lovers like myself with 5 floors of pure, unadulterated sport porn. There’s a football floor housing every replica footy shirt you can imagine, an outdoor sportswear floor and, best of all a sale floor. Yep, the best thing about Lillywhites is the ongoing sale. It doesn’t seem to matter what day of the year you visit, there is always a sale on and the knock-down prices will leave your jaw gaping – even if you do have a horrible exchange rate conversion. Find them at Picadilly Circus, easily accessible on the Picadilly or Bakerloo tube lines.
Oxford Street is a perfect one-stop shopping street. Littered with sports stores galore (yes, I’m obsessed. So what?), electronics stores, souvenir stores and retail and fashion giants such as H&M, Next, Selfridges and Gap, this is the only shopping street you’ll ever need in London. Put on your walking shoes prepare to shop ‘till you drop
Harrod’s Food Hall
Harrod’s, perhaps the most famous department store in London, houses one of the most enticing collections of food ever. I find it difficult to stay away from their extravagant food emporium. Divided into multiple sections over an entire floor, each section is dedicated to a particular foodstuff. Whether you are looking for seafood, charcuterie meats, chocolates or cheeses, the selections and displays will leave your mouth watering. Each section has a dedicated food bar where you can order lunch and watch the shoppers go by.
One of the things I love about London are the lovely parks. Whilst the streets can be cold, grey and concrete, you don’t have to walk far to find a patch of green. In summer you will find any available patch of grass strewn with locals who are soaking up the sun, eating lunch, reading a book or just watching the world go by. Hyde Park is one of the bigger and more popular parks in London and is home to recent memorials honouring Diana, Princess of Wales and the victims of the 7th July 2005 London Bomb blasts. It’s a great place to wander and soak up the natural environment.
City Lights at Night
Night-time can transform a city. The veil of darkness can hide a city’s least attractive attributes and a string of lights can make it the most enticing place on earth. Not that London is the least bit unattractive, but Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge all shimmer and shine at night. The London Eye makes for fantastic photographic opportunities, both from within the capsules and as a star photographic attraction itself. Take your tripod and hit the streets after dusk to see London come alive.