London!

I have done many things in London. Some things I planned, others I just stumbled across – that’s the beauty of London, there’s something interesting around almost any corner. Here are my highlights from the last few days and suggestions for things you could do if you find yourself in London.

1. The London Museum and THE FATBERG! I was wandering the streets, feeling elated after going into the NAB branch in London and getting all my banking issues sorted, and I saw the signs for the London Museum. I went in and the first thing to greet my eyes was a display on the 130 ton sewer blockage that made headlines last year.

It was a very informative and also slightly humorous display.

The bits they had on display were quite small, but enough to get the idea.

I then had a walk around the rest of the museum, which told the story of London from pre-human settlement to the current day. There were lots of artefacts from many eras and, my favourite, tiny models of buildings.

Another little thing worth seeing (if you like weird stuff) is the London Stone. It used to sit in what was thought to be the centre of London. Now it sits in a box in the museum but it does send out some quite funny tweets (puns, mostly) as #LondonStone .

3. Wandering!

An important and worthwhile thing to do in London is wander. I have only caught the tube a couple of times so far because I like walking from place to place (also useful for burning off all the excellent food) and discovering things. You’ll turn a corner and find a ruin of a church that is now a meticulously cared-for garden.

Or a restaurant that has grown tendrils and is taking over the footpath.

Or you’ll walk past a famous address.

London is thick with history, both real and imagined.

4. Street-spotting.

Speaking of addresses, if you like a bit of historical fiction and it’s set in London you’re constantly turning corners and saying ‘oooh! So that’s what it looks like!’ . Personally, I am partial to a bit of Georgette Heyer, so I was pleased to finally have a mental image of …

Probably not looking too different to the way she imaged it. I also walked down Curzon Street and Mount Street, which featured heavily in her books, and through Hyde and Regent’s Park.

5. Shopping.

As I’m backpacking I really don’t have room for any major sprees (although there’s always the possibility of mailing things home…) so I mainly like to window shop.

I looked through a number of places on Oxford St and walked through Selfridges, the world’s original department store. I don’t think I intimidate easily, but I wasn’t game to step into any of the little designer coves that dotted the store. Plus I’d walked past the ‘bargain’ rack and found shoes discounted from £700 to £350.

Selfridges did have a curious and cute window display though.

A weird car wash monster machine hybrid.

I liked it, even if the whole thing was about selling sunglasses. After watching people spend piles of money on ugly designer things I consoled myself with cake at their bakery.

This whole lot would fit in your palm. Tiny!

The only name-brand place I bought something (outside of outdoors stores) was Benetton. I’ve had a sort of distant fashion crush on Benetton since my teenage years when their advertising campaigns were sensational. The stuff they sell now isn’t too different from twenty years ago – primary colours, simple lines. I bought a red t shirt, possibly the cheapest item in the store.

Next post will probably be about museums and galleries, of which I have seen many!

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