London 101

Most people have a well-defined idea of “London”—staid tradition, afternoon tea, heavy ales, and cultured accents in tweed.

People with this notion of London can easily complete their vacation in 3min. by making their way to the banks of the Thames and staring pointedly at the gilded heights of Big Ben, but this would be to miss the true charm of this expansive, diverse place.

Despite its weighty history, the city today is not all ghost tours, beefeaters, and double-decker buses. Beyond Buckingham Palace and the blinding lights of Piccadilly Circus, London is a living, breathing metropolis, home to more people than any other city in the European Union. Comprised of 32 boroughs along with the City, London can seem at times more like a conglomerate of villages than a unified city, but each part’s unique heritage and character contributes to the big picture. Thanks to the feisty independence and diversity of each area, the London “buzz” is continually on the move—every few years a previously disregarded neighborhood explodes into cultural prominence.

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London Blogs

2006, 2017
  • ViewfromObservatoryHill

Keep Calm and Carry On—London in Real Time

By |June 20th, 2017|1 Comment

On June 3, I loaded on to a bus with 30 other bright-eyed tourists and traveled around London seeing the filming locations for the Harry Potter films. One of those locations was the Leaky Cauldron Tavern, filmed at Burrough Market. Later that evening, I was back at my central London hostel talking to my mom on the phone. When I hung up, I saw the Washington Post notification: someone had driven a car into pedestrians on the London Bridge. Over the next hour or so, the details rolled in: not only had terrorists “rammed” pedestrians on the bridge, but they [...]

1506, 2017
  • WestminsterAbbey

Getting Lost in London

By |June 15th, 2017|0 Comments

Who would win: a directionally-challenged girl with no data plan, a fraught history with maps, and a shaky understanding of the concept of “north,” or the entire city of London?  For those keeping score at home, the answer is London. To be fair, London’s mean streets and I do not have a relationship of pure antagonism: I’ve been saved quite a few times by handy little street maps (ah, the existential reassurance of a “you are here”) and signs pointing toward popular tourist attractions. And yet, just as she’s lead me to the brink of discovering that coffee shop I’ve [...]

601, 2016
  • London Park

Top 5 Books We (Wish We) Found at the Book Market Under Waterloo Bridge

By |January 6th, 2016|1 Comment

1. You Can Take It and Eat It (And Chew Your Life Supply): The Duran Duran Cookbook. Though it never caught on across the Atlantic, this collection of recipes compiled by the UK new wave band remains an integral part of any British chef’s oeuvre. 2. The Nights of the Round Table. Pure smut, but a fascinating historical artifact nonetheless. 3. The Heritage Collector’s Guide to British and Irish Doilies, Eleventh Ed. A sorely needed update on the Tenth Ed., which lacked exegesis on the rare Burghinson-O’Lara spring line (ca. 1906) and war-era Antwerp Duster. 4. Fudge’s [...]

1712, 2015
  • London Portobello Market

In Search of Hugh Grant

By |December 17th, 2015|1 Comment

I was a make-believe Brit for six months, I spent one of those glorious days by myself pretending I was in Notting Hill, the quintessential British rom-com staring the ever-floppy and ever-stereotypical Hugh Grant. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It always brightens my day and it clarifies this blog post. The day began with a search for the bookshop. I emerged from the Tube, stalked some groups of people towards what looked like the main area, the area where I wanted to find Hugh. I then found a street vendor selling junk (posing to be antique) where to go [...]

2906, 2015
  • 20150608_142410_Pano

A Doublepart Blog, Out Of Respect For The Transition This Trip, And Accompanying Blog, Must Surely Now Take: 14 & 15: Leaving & Arriving

By |June 29th, 2015|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Yesterday, I dropped off British Friend’s guitar with his dad down in Richmond, who brewed English tea in his backyard garden and bade me a very sweet goodbye before I hopped on a train and then another train, and then one more at King’s Cross/St. Pancras which took me at last away from London. The original trainride, from Gatwick airport to Victoria station six weeks ago, is now a somewhat-remembered, dimly-felt parabola—I remember looking through the window into the countryside I knew I’d know, then the suburbs, and the interior of the city, the slow curve of people [...]

2906, 2015
  • 20150627_124929

O, How This Baker’s Dozen Of Blogs Did Come To Be: It Were That Were There Twelve, But Lo! Now Be There Thirteen: Westminster

By |June 29th, 2015|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

My last day and a half in London is underwhelmingly packed with errands—aside from a quick jaunt through a Pride- and beer-soaked Trafalgar Square, I’ve mostly been doing the little things for the job: finding restaurants and hostels, keeping to the shade and nipping into the occasional pub for some cold cider when the (surprisingly hot) weather reaches peak static numbness. The exception to the humdrum stuff is Westminster Abbey, which I’ve been saving, best-for-last style, the whole trip. It’s one of the few sights I dimly remember from 7th & 10th grade family vacations—the arches, grey divoted [...]

2806, 2015
  • westlondontour

The Ultimate One-Day West London Tour

By |June 28th, 2015|Tags: , |0 Comments

Get out those iPhones. Greater London is comprised of 32 boroughs—and tourists usually see about three of them: City of London, City of Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea. Of course, these 14 sq. miles out of 607 for the whole city contains the hitlist of top sights: British Museum, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, etc. However, in this four part series, I will be exploring the periphery of this august metropolis and what tourists can glean from the borderlands. This week: West London! For the morning: Kew Gardens  Once, when I was researching a restaurant in Marylebone, a salty-haired gentleman [...]

2506, 2015
  • Message_1434901194491

One Dozen, Indeed; A Fine Number For Them, Being Blogs Such As They Are, To Be, And, As Such, Twelve There Are Now: Travel

By |June 25th, 2015|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Back in the same little teashop with the dregs of my vanilla-strawberry tea, which, in spite of Cute Recent British Acquaintance’s raising of her polite eyebrows—“but fruity teas can be so. . . .” she trailed off—is frankly amazing, esp. when coupled with chocolate velvet cake kept fresh under sheets of plastic up at the front. I’m midway through a tooth-yankingly awful writing batch, with the internet dying again and again like so many fruitflies; meanwhile it’s been the Rhianna/Kanye/Sir Paul hour here at the shop, and whatever charm “fourfiveseconds” had on first listen wilted and shriveled a [...]

2206, 2015
  • 20150621_164855_Pano smaller

Now the Blogs Are Known, And in Turn Ten of Them Have Been Seen; So Shall This, In Time, Serve to Be the Eleventh: Christ

By |June 22nd, 2015|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

So long, Shoreditch, I’m leaving you for Camden. And it serves me right that our separation drops me back into the same kind of undercleaned and underhip hostel I’ve been trying to avoid—I should’ve learned by now that the more I move around, the less I sleep and the more the trip feels like a series of disappearing dates. Having gotten up at I won’t even tell you how early, I arrived at the new place to nap and then write and write and write. It’s 11pm now, meaning a quick blog signoff and then probably reading for [...]

1906, 2015
  • A panorama photo of London by the Thames

Ten Blogs Have Passed; Still More of These Blogs Shall Be; This, Though, the Tenth: Quietude

By |June 19th, 2015|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Hi blogland: it’s been awhile—since taking up residence in Shoreditch, the nights have been protracted til 3am and beyond, not always by choice per se, but because Shoreditch is by volume 80% clubs ‘n’ pubs, with several of the most zealous (note to editor: “bumpin’est”?) clustered beneath my window. Throw in the dude coughing his lungs up and out and an internet connection best characterized as pre-Raphaelite and you’ve basically gleaned my last week or so. Like POWs far from their native land, though, my hostelmates and I have grown closer than at any of the other places [...]

London was last modified: June 26th, 2015 by letsgoadmin

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