A Day in Dulwich

The world’s first purpose-built art gallery, Ernest Shackleton’s boat, an old college, an American Garden and a lovely high street. I found plenty to see and do when I spent a day in Dulwich recently.

One of the things I’m trying to do when I visit London is to see more than just the usual tourist areas. Having lived there for over ten years (though not all in one go) I feel I know the city pretty well and I know that there’s plenty to see and do outside of the West End. I also know that there are still lots of areas well worth exploring that I’ve yet to visit. Continue reading “A Day in Dulwich”

A Day in Walthamstow

What do William Morris, Europe’s longest street market, an ancient house and 26,000 burials have in common? They’re all found in Walthamstow.

London is far more than just the West End. If you’re visiting and you have more than a couple of days, or if it’s not your first visit and so you’ve already been to Madame Tussaud’s and the Tower of London, then it’s well worth exploring a bit further than the usual Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent  Garden circuit.

Hop on a tube or bus and get out into the surrounding towns and suburbs. They are all so different and have their own characters and sub-cultures, and as there’re always plenty of interesting things to do and places to eat, not only will you have a great day, but you can go home and say you’ve seen a bit of the ‘real London’ too. Continue reading “A Day in Walthamstow”

Traverse 17 – My First Travel Blogging Conference

Last weekend I attended my first travel blogging conference. This is what it was like.

There are a lot of travel blogging conferences around such as TBEX and WITS. I see a lot about them online and they seem like they’d be both good fun and a good opportunity for learning and networking. I’ve quite fancied the idea of going to one for a while now, but various things have held me back.

They’re too far away, too expensive, not at the right time, my blog isn’t big enough and I won’t be able to take advantage of all the opportunities on offer …

All good reasons, but even so they’re holding me back. Continue reading “Traverse 17 – My First Travel Blogging Conference”

Borough Market – A Photo Essay

Prosecco, goat ice cream and tales of marauding Vikings are just some of the things waiting to be discovered at Britain’s oldest market.

Good markets are getting harder and harder to find. The traditional markets with cheap clothes, dish cloths and ‘3 for a pound’ fruit and veg are even rarer. The traditional markets were good for a bargain, but not so great for a day out. These days when you do find a market it’s far more likely to be of the artisanal type and to be expensive, but lovely for a day out. Continue reading “Borough Market – A Photo Essay”

Kensington Palace

A Christmas trip to Kensington Palace involved music, gambling and an early version of a ‘Shewee’.

Over the Christmas break I took my ten old niece on her first ever trip to London. As a princess obsessive, when I suggested a visit to Kensington Palace, London home of Will and Kate, she jumped at the chance. Continue reading “Kensington Palace”

Freud Museum

A visit to the final home of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud, Austrian Jew and renowned psychoanalyst, fled the Nazis and arrived in London in 1938. Until his death the following the year he lived in a large house in North London, just off Finchley Road and not far from Finchley Road underground station. Continue reading “Freud Museum”

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

An afternoon spent masquerading as a posh lady got another challenge ticked off my 60 things to do before I’m 60 list.

Dodging showers we made it to the Ritz, not looking our best, but not looking too bedraggled either. Back in February when I’d booked our afternoon tea I’d half hoped for rain so I could have one of the top-hatted doormen hold a golf umbrella over my head as I went up to the steps to the entrance. Continue reading “Afternoon Tea at the Ritz”

Friday Flickr – Borough Market

I’m so glad I don’t live near Borough Market. I’d spend all my money on cheese and licorice.

Last Saturday morning I arrived in London far too early for my afternoon tea at the Ritz, so to while away a few hours I went to Borough Market. I couldn’t believe I’d waited so long to pay this foodie haven a visit. Continue reading “Friday Flickr – Borough Market”

Tea at the Ritz

Afternoon tea at the Ritz will be another challenge ticked off my list.

One of the more sedate challenges on my 60 before 60 list is to have afternoon tea at the Ritz.

When I first lived in London I worked at a sandwich bar on a hidden alleyway near St James’s Palace. I used to get the tube to Green Park and so twice a day I would walk past the Ritz on Piccadilly. I never ventured inside. Doormen in tophats and tails would swing the doors open for expensively clad people alighting from taxis outside; if it was raining they even held huge golf umbrellas to prevent elegant hairdos from turning frizzy.

I imagined the same doormen slamming the doors shut if I ever tried to enter in my old jeans and trainers. One day, I thought, I will go there and they will hold the doors open for me and I will go inside and have afternoon tea. (I considered afternoon tea to be the poshest of the posh when it comes to food.)

Although I’ll happily do most things on my own, this is one of those things that I think will be enjoyed more if I have someone to share the experience with. And as it’s expensive I knew it could take a while before I found someone willing. Fortunately, I’ve now found that someone.

A good friend and I were at the funeral of another friend this week. She was only 45 and died suddenly. After the funeral we went for a drink in her memory and got onto a maudlin discussion of how life is short and you never know what’s round the corner. I kind of know this already which is one of the reasons I have a list in the first place, but sometimes I need reminding of it.

By the end of the drink we’d decided that part of making the most of life should involve a weekend in London and afternoon tea at the Ritz. I went home and booked it.

Because we want a weekend date and don’t want to have afternoon tea at 7.30pm in the evening (that’s just wrong), the earliest date I could get is in October. At least we’ve got plenty of time to save up for it.

And maybe it will be raining in October. Even if it’s not, I might still ask the doorman to hold an umbrella over my head.