Let’s talk quirky. Did you know, there’s only one tube station with no letters from the word ‘mackerel’ in it? Read on to find out which – plus why London remains the capital of quirk!
High and Mighty
So you prefer odd to even, happenings to events and pop-ups to rip-offs? Then where better to begin than the Southbank with its motley river boats, free shows, cool music and chic food shacks? Plus more living statues than a UKIP party conference.
But avoid the tourist hamster-wheel that is the London Eye and elevate your spirits by venturing up The Shard instead. Yes, we’ve all squinted at Europe’s tallest structure from a commuter carriage and thought it looked half finished – but then again, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona isn’t finished and everyone swoons over that! What’s more, from The Shard’s pinnacle, you can dance on the clouds as well as gawp at them – by donning headphones for the regular ‘silent disco’ night. Not sure throwing shapes at 300m sounds like the best choice.
Back on terra firma, you’re five minutes from the river. Turn left for the hordes at Tate Modern or go right for lively Shad Thames and Bermondsey. Yes, Bermondsey, with its hip Friday antiques market and array of chain free bars, cafes and restaurants, around the arches of Druid Street. Rejoin the river for glorious isolation and the odd quintessential bankside pub, like the Mayflower, Rotherhithe. Here, you can sup over the Thames and get your boots washed at high tide!
Off West End
If you must have your West End fix, then why not head for Shepherd’s Market instead of Covent Garden’s? This chi-chi slice of Victorian London is hidden away just off Piccadilly and transports you back to an old world without the ‘Ye’ in front. After browsing the antiquarian books at Heywood Hills (where Nancy Mitford worked during the Blitz), choose from a handful of proper pubs to get refreshed. Then maybe catch something edgy at nearby Soho Theatre, followed by a candle-lit late dinner? Or at least a quick, yet still high-end, nibble (suggestion: cheese and champagne at Champagne+Fromage!)
Street food in London used to mean the odd dried up slice of pizza from a window on Shaftesbury Avenue. No longer. It seems we Londoners love to chomp and stomp, especially when it’s cheaper than eating in. Options are infinite, but why not spend your Sunday at the East End’s stupendous Brick Lane Market? Or if you favour a snack that doesn’t root you to the spot in a gale, go for nearby Busaba Eathai, Urban Coterie or Old Street’s Loves Company. Their epic toasties boast both zingy and wonderfully simple fillings such as Marmite and red Leicester, and with names like Crustin Beiber or Jamon Eileen you get a chuckle with your sarnie. And do not dare to forget about their cocktails!
And of course, The ENTERTAINER London is one of the main reasons London is still #winning! Whether you head North, South, East or West you’re bound to find hundreds of ways to keep enjoying London!