I’ve had the pleasure of visiting London several times now, and I’ve done most of the expected touristy things that our wonderful capital has to offer. I’ve zoomed around the London Eye. I’ve been to a show at the West End. I’ve tried to make the Beefeaters laugh. And, of course, I’ve eaten ridiculously over-priced pastries. But, on my last trip to London, I did a few things that might not be at the top of the average tourist to-do list. Here are my Top-Five Things to do in London (only for the most seasoned of travellers)…
1) See London from the Thames
Okay, so this one is pretty touristy, I admit. But until a river cruise down the Thames was bought for me as a gift, I had never considered embarking on a trip myself. Not only does a river cruise allow you to appreciate the sheer majesty of the city without having to attempt navigating around it yourself, it also allows you to do so while removed from the crowds and noise of the streets. There is a quiet on the Thames river cruise that is almost uncanny – you are in the middle of London, and yet all you can hear is the lapping of the Thames at the edge of the cruiser. The cruise I embarked on was also great value. I was able to hop on and off at any stop at any time within 24 hours, so I got to see all the best touristy bits too. Highlights include: Shakespeare’s Globe and Tower Bridge.
2) Buy Some Fudge at Borough Market
I stumbled across Borough Market by accident. And oh, what a happy accident it turned out to be. Borough Market not only has an impressive array of street food, but its stalls also consist of butchers, bakers, spice merchants, tea-makers, juicers, delis, and so much more. Even better, most of the stalls offer free samples! I was lucky enough to try a delicious chocolate brownie, warming lemongrass and ginger tea, and exotic Turkish delight (and I promise you – it’s nothing like the stuff that’s always left last in the Milk Tray). By far, my favourite stall belonged to ‘Whirled’, a fun pick ‘n’ mix fudge shop. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for fudge, and I couldn’t walk past this stall without making a purchase. ‘Whirled’ fudge is crumbly, smooth and creamy all at the same time, and I can honestly say the flavours are second to none. Among my favourites is the devilish Peanut Butter Rocky Road.
3) Contribute to Some Awesome Street Art
It is well known that London is full of interesting pieces of street art. But even better than admiring street art is contributing to it yourself. I found this chalkboard near Borough Market. It spans across an entire wall, and its only fixed feature is the repeated phrase ‘Before I die I want to…’. Chalk is provided in a little tray attached discreetly to the right hand side of the wall, and no further encouragement is needed to entice hundreds of contributions daily. My favourite contributions included ‘kiss James Franco’ and ‘laugh so hard I crack a rib’. What would yours be? Comment! Or, better yet, go to London and make your contribution…
4) See a Real Pirate Ship and have a Pint at a Really (Really) Old Pub
In 1577, Sir Francis Drake set out to circumnavigate the high seas of the globe until 1580 on his famous vessel The Golden Hind. While The Golden Hind which Sir Drake captained was sadly disintegrated and distributed in the 1600s, this real-life replica has made the very same voyage that Sir Drake embarked upon himself twice in its lifetime. And from where to admire the craftsmanship of such a vessel? Where else but from a seat in the beer-garden of one of the oldest pubs in London, The Anchor, which sits alongside the Thames neatly next to The Golden Hind. Tradition has it that there has been a pub in that same location for the last four hundred years. Impressive, huh?
5) Take a Super Sophisticated Photo of a Very Important Landmark
Well, no trip to London would be complete without a selfie in the Underground now would it?