Revista - There is no place like home
If I had to define myself as one thing, it would be “global nomad”. An overused phrase, yes. But entirely appropriate. Travel is not only a major part of my job, it is an inherent part of who I am. The idea of staying in one place for too long is quite literally the single most depressing idea I can think of. So I won’t dwell there (or anywhere) for too long.
I grew up under the sunny skies of South Africa, and I have spent most of my adult life living in New York and London. And whilst South Africa is my homeland, London is undoubtedly my home. It is where my heart is. It is family, friends, house, cat, community, love, laughter, hearth.
London is a collection of villages. And so no matter where you are from or wherever you have just been, you will always find something familiar in London. It literally is a town of something for everyone: bar hoppers, pub crawlers, clubbers, culture vultures, foodies, hoodies, Sloanies, Shoreditch Hipsters, east end boys and west end girls.
London’s social landscape changes faster than a traffic light in Piccadilly Circus, but there are some fantastic experiences that simply must be done whether you are a tourist passing through or a long –staying resident of our great city. Here’s my list of London don’t-miss list:
1. Be breathtaken. Visit the Viewing Gallery at the top of the Shard, the tallest building in Europe and breath in the endless 360 views
2. Gawk and gasp. All museums are free. My favourites are Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum
3. Site see. Take the Number 11 bus, from start to finish. Forget the open top red tourist bus, the Number 11 bus is about £1.40 (with an Oyster card) takes you round most of the key sites of the capital
4. Be outdoors. Have a picnic in Hampstead Heath, one of the most gorgeous green spaces in London, or hire a Boris bike and cycle from park to park through west and central London
5. Eat. Zuma – what recession? Or if you have a champagne taste but beer money, why not try a two course meal at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier (two Michelin star chef) for £25 at lunch or pre-theatre. Or for something a little more salacious try La Bodega Negra in Soho or head East to Tayyabs in Whitechapel for Pakistani curries or MeatLiquor in Marylebone for burgers.
6. Catch a show. Musicals are great, but London has some of the most astounding dramas of any theatre capital. For the best shows check out the Old Vic and the Young Vic.
7. Go underground. Under the arches of the Old Vic Theatre and London Bridge are some of the most fantastic clubs and living theatre experiences.
8. Shout at a gig. Some of the gig venues are incredible, but my favourites are Alexander Palace, Brixton Academy, Royal Albert Hall and the Union Chapel. Union Chapel is an intimate church with some of the best acoustics in the city. It is almost a religious experience going to gigs there.
9. Participate. London has so many engaging and whacky community events from midnight walks for charity, citywide zombie hunts, art tours, circle line pub crawl, Jack the Ripper tour, London marathon and many more.
10. Shop. I’m not an immense fan of the high street, but London does have some decidedly lovely shopping experiences. My favourite is Liberty of London followed by Harvey Nichols that house some of my favourite brands. For something a little more commercial there is Selfridges and Harrods, and for something a little more edgy, head to the markets at Portabello and Smithfields.
11. Party. There are some wonderful night adventures to be had in London, from The Box in Soho and The Scotch in Mayfair to Maggies in Chelsea to Underbelly in Hoxton Square.
Whatever you do, whatever you like, there is something for everyone here. So come over for a visit.