Having lived in the capital for over 25 years, we thought it only right to split our city guide in two, for there was too much to fit in just one post! This week we take a look at North and South London and highlight our favourite things to do and places to eat.
We kick off with the South, a vast expanse of commons, cuisines and cultures. The only thing that isn’t vast, is the tube network down here! You’ll have to rely on the overground, trains and buses to properly explore the South.
London is well-known for being a green city, and the parks are arguably at their best in South London. There are commons a-plenty here, but we suggest you begin your day with the largest of the Royal Parks: Richmond. Petersham Nurseries is nestled just outside of Richmond Park and as a plant nursery, it abounds with beautiful flora. Petersham also hosts an array of workshops; from gardening to wine tasting, there is something for everyone! The café is also worth a visit, serving seasonal food inspired by their garden. From here, it is a short walk to Richmond Park. Pembroke Lodge, a unique Grade II listed mansion is situated on the edge of the park and is a wonderful place to have a drink after your walk.
Having explored Richmond, jump on a train to Clapham Junction. Grab some lunch at The Roundhouse: a gastro pub with 1940s style décor. They have an extensive wine list, alongside beers and cocktails. Feeling suitably merry, check out the Battersea Arts Centre. What was once a town hall, has been converted into a buzzing centre for the arts. The indoor play space is great for families, while ‘Scratch’ evenings preview early versions of shows. Check out their website for activities and performances.
From Clapham, catch a bus to Brixton and make your way to the market. A vibrant place both day and night, it is a fantastic place to eat. Our favourite places are Fish, Wings and Tings, and Carioca. And if you have energy left, jump in an Uber to Peckham Rye. The epicentre of this up-and-coming area is Bussey Building, which has a rooftop featuring incredible views of London. They host an outdoor cinema, rooftop bar and club nights.
Being fans of open space, Hampstead Heath had to get a mention in our stay-cation guide to London. Covering 230 hectares, this is one of the highest points in London and boasts beautiful views of the city. However, the real highlight is the swimming; there are three natural bathing ponds to enjoy. Refreshing in every way, they are the perfect way to start the day. After your swim, head to Gail’s Bakery Hampstead to sample one of the 30 types of bread on offer. They do a wonderful breakfast, and their cinnamon rolls are to die for.
From here, make your way to Highgate cemetery. Karl Marx was buried here, along with Victorian greats George Elliot and Christina Rosetti. Set amidst dramatic woods, Highgate is the perfect place to remember some of the most creative minds of the last few hundred years. After this, jump on the northern line down to Camden Town. Here you can explore both the market and the lock, ending up at Leyas in Mornington Crescent for lunch. They do great coffee, with a particular focus on vegan and gluten-free cakes.
From here, wander over to Regents Canal Towpath, in the direction of Kings Cross. You will end up at Granary Square, which is home to Central St Martins. Try and check out one of the degree shows or exhibitions if you can. From fashion to photography, St Martins is a powerhouse of creativity. Any entrepreneur will be sure to leave feeling both excited and inspired!
Finally, end your day with dinner and drinks at The Lighterman. Overlooking the canal, this is a truly special place to watch the sun go down. And if the menu doesn’t take your fancy, check out any of the below North London favourites.
And so, we reach the end of our London guide!
Dr Samuel Johnson was quoted saying: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. For there is in London all that life can afford.” The fact that we are still discovering new things about London, after a quarter century of living here, is testament to the capital’s innovative and inspiring nature. Not to mention the fact that it continues to grow and change!
And in the spirit of this, next week we’ll talk about starting afresh. As summer draws to a close, and the school year begins, September is a month of new beginnings.
Not only does it offer a chance to reflect, it can be the perfect time to embark upon that entrepreneurial adventure you’ve been putting off. Next week we’ll share our tips on how to best make use of this time.