Tuesday, 16 August 2016

London Wishlist

It's always the way that when things, people or places are right on your doorstop, you never get round to visiting. When you're living in zone 2 South London, you don't always feel like you're really in London and it's easy to avoid, or simply never get round to, visiting all those places on your list. Over the last couple of years, I've done so many great things in London: visited St Paul's Cathedral, seen lots of West End Shows, been swimming with sharks at London Aquarium - but my to-do list seems to be growing a lot faster than I can possibly keep up with. Weekends out in London are always in competition with weekends in the countryside, weekends chilling at friend's houses and weekends watching Police Interceptors in bed...but one of my 'moving back to London vows' is to make more effort to go out, and see and eat and enjoy being in London whilst I'm here and I have some money to. 

Victoria Park
I love a good park, and I've heard a lot of really great things about Victoria Park...but I've never been. Situated in the East End, kind of Bethnal Green/Hackney area, Victoria Park has historically been known as 'The People's Park', created initially for London's working class. After having received major investment in recent years, Victoria Park is now considered to be one of London's most impressive parks, with lots of recreation facilities, a large lake, an audio trail, and a cafe which supposedly offers a lovely lakeside lunch. I'm keen to head up to Victoria Park on a sunny morning, with my bike and some chums, for a relaxing day of pootling around the park, lunch by the lake and sunbathing and people watching on the grass. 

Rowan's Bowling, Finsbury Park
I'm pretty sure that at least 50% of my childhood school holidays were spent going bowling. I'm positive that at least 90% of the children's birthday parties I went to involved bowling. I love bowling. So a retro American-style bowling alley, complete with bars and an arcade, is my idea of a perfect night out. Where bowling is concerned, the opportunities in London are fairly slim so the famed alleys do tend to be pretty popular. I don't often find myself in North London, and that's probably why I've not frequented Rowan's just yet, but it sounds like it could be the place for Laura's birthday 2k16. What better way to turn 23 than realising that you're not as good at bowling as you remembered, and rediscovering that air hockey is the best sport around. 

Duck and Waffle
I don't really like, or get, fancy food - and I would never spend loads of money on a meal out. However. Every single person I know that's been to the Duck and Waffle raves about it: the food, the views, the experience. From what I can work out, it's a complex booking system with a really long waiting time (unless you want to eat in the middle of the night) so I've never got round to actually booking to go. I will one day though: I will make a reservation weeks in advance, praying that I get a table with a view, and go and eat my first ever waffle (accompanied by duck leg). I have been promised by so many that it's worth the wait, and worth the money...and there must be a reason it's always so busy. 

The British Museum
I have been to the British Museum before, once, when I was in year 4 and studying the Egyptians at school. I remember seeing the Rosetta Stone, not really knowing what it was, but thinking that the hieroglyphics were cool. As a result of this visit, I decided to make some Egyptian crowns for my school project. I feel like my experience today could be slightly different. I am desperate to go and see some more mummies, but I also want to see the Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds exhibition, which explores the recently discovered Egyptian artefacts in the Mediterranean, before it ends in November. I also want to go and see all the sculptures from the Parthenon. I was really keen to visit Athens, having been really interested in ancient Greece and Greek mythology, and then I discovered that so many of the cool artefacts are in the British Museum... The British Museum is on my absolutely must visit before the end of 2016 list!

The Hive at Kew
I've been to Kew Gardens a few times, and I love it there. Summer 2016 has seen the addition of The Hive, a massive structure designed to represent the experience of the bee through a kind of immersive experience. It sounds weird, but it looks awesome. The installation is connected to a real life beehive, and mimics the activity through glowing LED lights and a humming, buzzing sound. The experience is supposed to be significantly improved when it's good weather, since that's when the bees are more active, so I'll definitely have to try and time my visit well. I'm hitting up Kew at the end of September for the Write on Kew Literary Festival, so hopefully it'll be a nice, sunny weekend and we can see The Hive in full swing!

Som saa
Som saa is a new(ish) Thai restaurant, which got its permanent residency in Spitalfields earlier this year. Thai is one of my favourite cuisines, and Som saa seems to do it really, really well - receiving excellent views from locals and critics alike. A few of my friends have been and have only come away with full tummies and absolutely glowing reviews, so I need to jump on the bandwagon! I feel like I've seen so many pictures of such incredible looking Thai sea bass, and I don't think I can go on much longer without sampling it. The restaurant doesn't really take bookings, except for larger parties, so you could find yourself waiting a little while for a table. I think it's probably worth it for some of the best Thai food you'll find in London. 

Word on the Water, London Bookbarge
A bookshop on a boat. Is this the dream? I think so. I've been following this boat for a while, metaphorically, and was thrilled when it finally secure its space at Kings Cross after a long battle. The bookshop is open from midday - 7pm every day and, I think, only closes when the weather is particularly bad. Not only do they sell a huge and varied collection of second hand books, Word on the Water is renowned for playing live music from its roof and organising poetry slams. It's such a clever, novel idea and I really hope it's well supported because it would be a huge loss to London's canals if it couldn't survive. So, on that note, I will make it my priority to head over, meet some other bookworms and add to my already overflowing bookshelf! 

Crystal Palace Park
Starting and ending with a park! Crystal Palace Park sounds like London's lost theme park to me...because it's full of DINOSAURS! The dinosaurs are one of the first ever attempts to make full size model dinosaurs, based on Charles Darwin's ideas of what dinosaurs would have looked like. As a result, they look a bit funny - but I think that makes it even better. The park is also home to a fishing lake, a maze and a farm, so it sounds like an entire day full of great, outdoor fun. At only an 18 minute drive away from my new flat, I think this is going to become one of my new, favourite London parks and a regular weekend pastime. 

London is so full of exciting, interesting and unusual places to visit. 
Have you been to any of these places? What did you think? What are your favourites?

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