All posts tagged: london

London For Introverts | Chiswick House

London for introverts is a topic I’ve been pondering for a few months now, noticing how I (endowed with reclusive tendencies) gravitate towards quiet, deserted spaces in this seething, swirling metropolis. When I first mentioned writing something on the subject, my similarly reserved other half joked the guide would be just three words long. Stay at home.  Yet despite my monastic inclinations, I like to see the world. I find I often relish being alone, or in quiet company, while surrounded by the thousands of others experiencing their daily lives in this city, soaking in the quotidian mundane taking place around me, seeking serenity in the hubbub. At weekends, we tend to avoid Zone 1 as though the Great Fire is once again swooping through Londontown, seeking still sanctuaries, shying from the crowds while other days I can frequently be found haunting city centre bookshops, or museums bursting at the seams. My tolerance for people and for noise fluctuates and varies. Perhaps yours does too. So here goes. The first instalment of a new series around these parts: London for introverts (and, I feel keen …

friends in london

Americans In London

Back in August (where has this year gone?) we had forty-eight precious hours in London with our beloved Washingtonians – friends turned family – and boy, did we pack those hours to the brim. To begin: Green Park, boughs kissing above the walkways, a violinist plucking notes from the gloom. Buckingham Palace (munching our sandwiches on the fountain – “why yes, we did eat lunch with Her Majesty!”) Then on to the royal pelicans in St. James’, the kitchen garden abundant with chard, and cabbage, and wild-running perennials. The rain coming thick and fast now as we strode across Horseguard’s Parade, headed for the river. Over Jubilee Bridge to the South Bank, where children frolicked in the sprinklers in spite of (or because of) the downpour. Along to the Tate where we saw Dali, Mondrian, Warhol – unparalleled wonder – and the whole city sprawling before us from the rooftop of Switch House. Home for butternut macaroni and sleepy heads on pillows. 17,792 steps and 23 floors. Saturday, we covered Regent’s Park and the secret garden, and the rose garden too …

Blossoms in London in spring

Postcard From London In The Spring

This morning dawned slate and sombre, blemished by a spitting rain that had truly earned its name. The sort of weather that makes you want to go straight back to bed, or to curl up in a ball and weep your eyes out (no, just me?) Even a trip to the library book sale failed to lift my mood. When, at 4 in the afternoon, the drizzle ceased, we rushed out of the door, eager to cure our terminal cabin fever. It was cold, really cold, but soon enough the sun began to peek out and the skies began to clear. We stumbled upon a Greek Orthodox church, its ceiling painted in deep-hued mosaics and kicked through the fallen blossoms on the pavement as though they were autumn’s leaves. I love that feeling of surprised discovery that accompanies stumbling upon an unknown landmark virtually on your doorstop. As we walked, I took photographs of almost every streetside flower and marvelled quietly at the town planner who thought to plant corridors of cherry blossoms on these suburban …

12 Hours In London

One of the best things about playing host to travelling friends is the chance to see your home city from a visitor’s perspective. Last week our Washingtonian pen-pals turned real-life-best-friends Jenn and Ashley arrived from Seattle and Ireland, respectively. We were ecstatic with excitement but gifted only one measly full day to cram in as much fun and sight-seeing as possible. Our bucket list could be summarised as follows: as much time outdoors in the spring sun as possible, as much time avoiding tourists as possible, as much time soaking up beautiful city scenery as possible, as many photo opportunities for our resident photographers as possible, and as much ground covered as possible. Not much to ask, then…! But what a wonderful day we had! I truly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a ‘sightseeing’ day in London so much; in fact, I can barely remember the last time I truly played tourist in my own city. My days off are usually spent quietly, lazing in coffee shops or walking in the park, so it was an unexpected treat …

London Haunts | The Secret Garden In Spring

I’ve written before about ‘my’ secret garden, a clandestine jewel tucked in the heart of Regent’s Park. I’ve visited in autumn, rusty leaves crunching underfoot, and in late summer, the last tendrils of wisteria drooping yellow with age. I’ve visited in deepest winter too, the paths a quagmire of mud and frost, and yet still it retained its charm. Now, spring. It’s my favourite, of course. The garden is still quiet enough, though part of the path is closed until mid-April should you wish to explore for yourself. The borders are sprouting tulips and primroses, daffodils and muscari. A pair of magnolia trees sing their seasonal symphony, a concerto of pale pinks and mauves. My favourites are the drooping, dusk-pink hellebores, or Lenten roses, as they’re sometimes known for the season in which they bloom. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this place. With its pathways empty and the blooms just waking up from their winter sleep, the garden fills me with a quiet hope and the feeling that the very best is yet to come.