10 Original Ways to Discover LONDON
One week ago I was in London for my second World Travel Market exhibition. It is positive, inspirational and emotional time for me, as the whole week was only about travel and exploration both for business and leisure. I had a program in my mind but as usual, let the things somehow happening. I knew that I want to see and do in London, but a traveller has to travel always with an open mind, right? As every curious person, you probably try to see a place with different eyes, from a different perspective. Here are few original ways to help you discover London, the busy, roaring capital, which is most probably the most varied city, in terms of the human factor, a megalopolis in Europe.
Stay in university and eat English breakfast in the university hall
One of the supreme experiences I had this time in London was my stay in a university room. There is a whole hotel industry that turns the free, unused rooms into a lucrative business. The service is a hotel (four stars in my case) with all usual amenities that every hotel provides. The bonus, however, is in the professional attitude of the staff and the breakfast served in the university’s hall. The experience is so authentic that one of the mornings I almost had to take an exam with the students – hundreds of them were waiting, sitting in rows, to begin the exam. It came out that the breakfast that day was served in the cafeteria at the ground floor.
Take advantage of the 45 free museums in London
I continue to be amazed by the large number of free entrance museums that London offers to the public. Even more – I am really impressed by the quality and the interest these museums provoke in the visitors. This week was time to visit The Wallace Collection – impressive collection of paintings arranged in an even more impressive building with gorgeous interiors in Baroque style. As a person who always has been interested in interior design and even has a diploma of interior designer, I couldn’t be more fascinated! See for yourself! This became my favourite museum in London so far.
Try the different transport means in the city
The transport network in London is huge but not complex. Even if you visit for the first time, you will not have problems to find the best way to travel within the city as everything is well organised and explained. For information on what is your best route, check the site of the London Transport and use the menu ‘Plan Your Journey’. For me, the new experience was taking the Emirates Air Line to reach the Excel Center. Because of the works on the DLR line, this service was offered for free to the thousands of visitors of one of the World Travel Market. I am happy I did it because it gives you beautiful (even if a little bit industrial) perspective of London but I sorry for the people who are scared of heights. They were really suffering.
Look for the special monuments
It was the week when the British are celebrating the Remembrance Day and the red poppies and I could see the red poppies everywhere – on the London’s black cabs, on the lapel of the business suits, even in the lady’s hair as an ornament. And suddenly, as I was walking toward Trafalgar Square I saw it – in the middle of the traffic, black and sleek – the monument ‘Women of the World War II’. I don’t know its story but I will learn more about it. As a person who is infatuated with the subject of the women’s contribution in the world as we see it now, it was an emotional discovery for me. You can do the same – always look for wide open eyes and look for the small, personal revelations that will make a destination visited by millions unique for you. And if you know more about the monument on the picture, please tell me about it in comments.
Enter secret gardens
As a guest of the university, I had the possibility to have a key and relax in the beautiful, well protected by greenery, garden at front of my windows. It is a place not opened to the public and therefore enticing to visit. Alas, I didn’t have time to spend some time in this garden but I urge you to search for such opportunity. In the megalopolis of London, you rarely have the chance to stay alone and to enjoy the presence of nature in peace. Don’t miss the opportunity!
Observe unusual activities at unexpected places
In a huge city like London, there is always something happening. Everywhere you turn, there are dramas, happy moments or sadness. You get used to of seeing people’s emotions but when you encounter unusual activity at a place you don’t expect, you inevitably stop and observe. And try to understand – where are these people coming from, why they are here… At least I do… I am storyteller and always looking for a story to tell…
Look for the colours
London is a city with many faces and depending on which district you visit, you will see its different sides. And as we all know, London can be quite grey and dark so when you find a colour, enjoy it. Colours in London come in different elements, shapes and materials. You find colours in the artificial lighting, the flower pots on the windows, in the uniforms of the bellhops waiting at the hotel’s front doors, you find colours everywhere … you just have to look for them. And smile when you see them.
Find where the good coffee is
What is morning without good, professionally prepared coffee? In London, you have many places where baristas will make your cappuccino memorable, with its taste and look. Make your search before you go, otherwise, you can pass just in front of one of these speciality coffee houses and end up with ordinary, unmemorable coffee in your hand. From my own experience, I can recommend you the Taylor St Baristas. They offer their excellent coffee in few places in London and you most probably will have the possibility to taste it. In addition, your fifth coffee will be free of charge!
Pay attention to the details
I will never stop repeating this – travel with open eyes! You can’t imagine how the world becomes much much better when you look for the beautiful in it. I enjoy every bit of beauty and London certainly has a lot to offer in terms of handsomeness. Look the restaurant on the picture – how gorgeous are its architectural details?! How bold is style and how symmetric its position! Look for details, no matter what are you interested in, there is always beauty in this world, and this beauty usually is in the details.
Discover London and Visit a friend
Probably the best way to discover London is to visit a friend. A friend who is close to your heart and misses you so much that day or two together is never enough. This friend knows his or her city much better that you and will show you the best places and will save you bunch of time to wonder what is worth to see or how to reach a place. Many people travel solo, there is a certain beauty in travelling solo, there is no doubt, but I guess everyone will agree with me that there is no better way to see a place through the eyes of its residents.
How we travel depends on us, what we see also depends on us. But why we travel – is pretty the same for all of us. We travel to discover, to see, to know, to taste, to try … to learn. Do you agree with me?
Are there other ways to discover a big city like London?