London – big city madness

We decided a while ago that we may not be big city people 🙂 While it is good to go and have a look for a few days (maybe a week for a new place) the smaller places seem to fit our lifestyle a little better.

Storm Clouds and Cranes

Having said that we’ve had a good time in London over the last few weeks and we have managed to have a pretty good look around.

Mega-Choc Mocha

As with any new town finding a good coffee place was a priority and we had it pretty easy. We were staying about a kilometre away from Clapham Junction train station so we were pretty close to Wandsworth Town, Battersea Rise and St Johns Hill all of which had good coffee and food places (seemed to be a lot of Aussies working in them). We also found a bar (The Ship) just along the river from where we were staying which had very good food. As well as the bar food (Burgers, Ribs, etc) we tried their restaurant one night and I would highly recommend it.

Low tide on the Thames at night

As per usual we did a lot of walking, a bit of biking courtesy of the Boris Bikes, spent a fair amount of time on the Tube and even hired a car for a weekend and went to a couple of events outside London. The walk into Trafalgar Square was about eight kilometres along the river through areas such as Battersea Park, Chelsea and the area around Parliament. It is a great way to see the riverside suburbs, old buildings and the wealth of new apartment style living that is being built. Another day we headed west along the river to the Kew Gardens area by Boris Bike. They aren’t quite as nice as our “fiets” we had in Holland but they get you from A to B pretty well and the locals seem to make good use of them. By far the best way to get around London is on the Tube, it’s a great network (if a little antiquated) and we were a max of 20-30 minutes from most places we wanted to visit. It was good to have a look at places like Notting Hill and it’s very quirky shopping, Hampstead Heath with the outdoor swimming pond and very impressive houses surrounding it and everyone’s favourite the Westfield shopping mall at Shepherds Bush. I also quite liked visiting the Carnaby Street area in central London but I need to go back when I have more luggage space and more pounds (The currency not the other type) 🙂

The hire car trip involved a visit to Duxford for the D-Day Airshow and a visit to Brands Hatch for a classic Formula One race meeting. It was a fun weekend and I think Kate enjoyed the Formula One cars as much as I did. The downside to the weekend is the hour or so that you spend travelling at 5MPH to get out and back into London City. I would have to say from my perspective any airshow or motor racing meeting is worth the effort but if you lived in the central area permanently it could get old very quickly.

Boeing B17 Sally B

Formula One Masters

As with any big city you can never hope to see it all but London has enough to keep anyone happy and while I may not want to live in the centre of it, I’d be happy on the outskirts for a while. There a hundreds of pretty little villages within an easy commute of central London so maybe we could have the best of both worlds.