Sunday, 31 August 2008
As a Londoner, you’d think I’d have loads to tell you about the place. The truth is, it’s the city I’ve found it the hardest to write about so far.
This is because I’m so used to it, I don’t really notice all the tourist attractions. I walk past them on a daily basis without batting an eyelid.
I do, however, know my favourite places in the capital and I’m going to share them with you now.
The O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome)
Located in Greenwich, south-east London, this is my concert venue of choice. It holds 20,000 people and I’ve seen many shows there. But even when I don’t have tickets to an event I still like to go. Entertainment Avenue, inside the dome and surrounding the arena, has a fantastic array of shops, bars, restaurants, clubs and a Vue cinema, so it’s a great place to enjoy a meal, have a night out or just socialise with family or friends.
The West End
The entertainment centre of the capital and one of the busiest spots in London. Here are some of the best places to visit while you’re in the West End:
Leicester Square boasts a wide variety of shops, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and restaurants – including my personal favourite, the Haagen-Dazs restaurant. The Trocadero shopping centre just west of the square is fantastic – visit Designer Sale Shop for fashionable designer clothing at knock-down prices. Leicester Square is a nice place to sit and have lunch while engaging in a spot of people-watching or even some celeb-spotting, as Capital Radio is broadcast from here.
Just south of Leicester Square, this is where you’ll find Nelson’s Column. The square used to be full of pigeons but this is becoming less common as it’s now forbidden to feed them. In Trafalgar Square you can sit and eat by the fountains, take interesting photos or meet up with friends. The Café on the Square sells great food as well as hot and cold drinks at reasonable prices.
Covent Garden is an Italian-style piazza packed with cafés, pubs, theatres, boutiques and the Royal Opera House. The only area of London licensed for street entertainment, it’s full of jugglers, mime artists and musicians. In the middle of the piazza is the famous Covent Garden Market where you can buy almost anything, from clothes to food to arts and crafts.
Europe’s largest high street, and in my opinion, the best! It has over 300 shops and department stores including the world-famous Selfridges where you can buy absolutely anything. Just off Oxford Street you’ll find Bond Street, home to the most expensive shops in London – Gucci, Chanel, Versace, D&G, Armani and Tiffany’s, to name but a few. Even if you can’t afford the designer labels, go and have a browse.
While you’re in London, I suggest purchasing a ferry ride down the Thames. It’s a lot more scenic than getting the Tube. You get to see all the sights, such as Tower Bridge [above], Buckingham Palace, the London Eye [below], the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. I’ve done it before and I learnt a lot of stuff that I probably should have already known about the history of the city. And it’s beautiful at night.
Tip: If you’re planning a visit to London, bring enough money! London is more expensive than many other cities in the world.