London, whichever way you slice it is one of the best cities in the world. It is an endless opus of historical virtue populated by rampant-hungry minds that questingly seek the latest fashion, the newest pop-up, the most instagrammable, yet unmolested touchstones of the city. Notice how I'm not saying its traditional, yet contemporary. I refuse!
The pace isn't as breakneck as you might think. (Waitrose opens at 11am on a Sunday in Marylebone). London isn't so much the city that never sleeps, moreover the city that likes a lie in.
That said we're not Paris. Our streets are cleaner, marginally. Not Swiss standard clean, and we'll never reach the unassailable cleanliness of Singapore clean, but we're certainly cleaner than Paris. Our food is better and more diverse also.
I'm in London for the Weekend Carl, what can I do?
In London with the missus? Head to the Olympic Park and take up the ArcelorMittal Orbit. That is not a euphemism. It's actually an awesome day out, you'll get to Ride the Slide and get some great vantage views of the city. London is flat as heck from up there and you can see over 20km out.
In the summer months the green park nearby is perfect for a picnic and there are places to eat, paddle along the Waterworks River, get lost. I'm surprised people don't sing about this place more. Or maybe they do.
How do I meet people in London?
How do you not meet people in London? My eyes boggle at the endless reams of events you can find on various forums such as Skint London, etc. There are countless book signings where you can meet likeminded souls into the same authors as you. Of course there is always Tinder, Bumble, Match.com and endless other dating apps that can be used to meet single people in the city.
There are circa 400 libraries in London, each will host a chess club, a comic book club, a photography club etc. London also has a high number of free museums (pay a donation) where you can meet locals and tourists, so go check it out.
You get to expand your network exponentially at fitness classes. KOBOX is my go-to favourite that has a real sense of community spirit. There's Barry's Bootcamp in Euston and Liverpool St, but you need to book. I know people are getting mad into these boot camps of late.
You can also join a London Walking Tour. There are plenty of those that will encourage you wear comfortable shoes because you'll cover around 10k on a two-hour tour. Not only will you get to meet people, (around 20-30 people go per walk) you get to learn the History of London and see some hidden gems.
And what if I want to treat the missus, where are the best restaurants in London?
This is all depending on budget. I'm not going to go into a lengthy listicle of what restaurants to frequent as there are way too many and a thing called Trip Advisor exists. (Although Trip Advisor is NOT king. How many people do you know that actually know anything about food? And let's not forget a man in a garden shed was once rated number one restaurant in London on Trip Advisor).
I will say that Liverpool Street has the Ivy Gardens two minutes’ walk from the station. They don't allow any photography inside, which is a shame because you'd love to brag about this place.
Mid-level pricing for London standards (£15 for fish and chips). The food is wonderful, there's enough on the plate (unlike the flatulently overpriced Cinnamon Kitchen also in Liverpool St) and the underpinning romanticism that you feel within the floral surrounding is inescapable.
Like dining in a theatre production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream without the drugs.
And finally no. There is no finally, no finite conclusion, no completed script. London is an open ticket, difficult to chapterise, impossible to cover in a single blog. If you're coming to London, then you'll want a plan. Getting lost is ok, but it's not like getting lost in Venice. Venice is a fairyland City straight out of a Spielberg movie.
London has more serious edges. But that's what I love about it.