My Favourite Places in London. 19 September 2016 I love London and always will ...

This month London has well and truly kicked me up the arse.  It has beaten me (thanks London Bridge and your signal failures), spat on me (thanks Central Line and your 40 degree heat) and trodden me into the ground (thanks for closing, Vincent Road. You know I love to walk an extra 15 minutes up the hill to get home).  London can be your worst nightmare if you let it but. IT. WON’T. BEAT. ME.

I love London and always will.  No matter how bad things get all is forgiven when I go to these places.

Waterloo Bridge

Can there be a better urban landscape on the planet?  I’ve crossed that bridge in all weathers, at all times of the year and it never fails to make me feel happy.  It has one of those views that takes your breath away, makes time stand still, knocks you sideways and every other cliché I can think of.  On the one side you have the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the Southbank and on the other (my personal favourite) is St Pauls, the Tate Modern and the Gherkin.  It is a joy to look at these amazing buildings and imagine the busy people who inhabit them.  As hard as this city can be to live in sometimes, in that precise moment when I walk across the bridge, I feel lucky to be a Londoner.

As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset….I am in paradise.” The Kinks

Soho

Walking through Soho makes me feel as if I'm living in Paris. The cafes, the winding streets, attractive people and the fashion is indicative of The Marais.   There's a faint smell of alcohol and cigarettes in the air and all is right with the world. Even though it is one of the busiest places in London, there's always a secluded back street to walk down, where you'll find a blue plaque, touch of street art and an eccentric local. People who say Soho is seedy are wrong. It's continental and open minded. 

While we're at it #savesoho

Greenwich

The magic of Greenwich can be summed up in the view from the Royal Observatory. Where else in the world can you see a 17th Century former Royal household, a historic ship, sky scrapers, a millennium dome, the curve of the River Thames and an old power station in a single shot?  Despite being in Central London (zone 2 is central in my eyes) it has a village feel.  It’s got a local chippie, vintage shop, pub and cinema. What more do you need? 

Anywhere on the river

I am at my happiest when I can see water.  My old flat looked out onto Deptford Creek and there was so much drama on the waters I barely needed to watch TV.  I’ve seen everything floating up that little creek – Christmas trees, police boats, canoers, dead cat, family of swans, footballs and shopping trolleys.  There was always something to watch even if it was just little ripples on a breezy day.  I would encourage everyone to take a trip on the Thames Clipper if you can - in the morning there’s fresh coffee and in the evening you can get a packet of crisps and a beer for a fiver.  It really is the most civilised mode of transport in town. 

My house in Woolwich

It’s not the most glamourous of locations but it’s my most special place.  As soon as I step through the door after a busy day, I am suddenly calm and balanced again.  On the fourth floor of my building I can see roof tops, cranes, aeroplanes coming in to land and power stations.  It’s well and truly a London landscape but with the windows closed I can shut out the noises of the city and water my indoor plants in peace.

- Fiona Jarrett


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