My London

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Inspired by the ES Magazine’s ‘My London’ feature, I’ve decided to nick some of their questions and add a few of my own, as a way to record my experiences in cities around the world. Starting with the original…

Home is…

The green village of Wanstead, currently, but I’m about to move to a location that’s slightly more London, slightly less Essex. I won’t say exactly where in case I jinx it, but it’s E1…

Building you’d like to buy?

The National Theatre. I spend so much time there I might as well set up camp.

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Best meal?

Do I have to choose? I love the entire brunch menu at Caravan, The Breakfast Club and Dishoom. Everything from Polpo is delicious. There’s a great place in Wanstead called Luppolo that I like. Anything from Borough Mark. Pizza Pilgrims.

Did you say something?

Best value for money meal?

Wahaca is great for sharing and tastes way more expensive than it is (I like the one in a shipping container on the Southbank). FalafeLicious in Box Park gives ridiculously generous portions.

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Favourite place to shop?

Brick Lane or Zara. Or any of the charity shops in Hampstead.

First thing you do when you arrive?

Buy a coffee or a gin and tonic, depending on the time of day.

Best drinking spot?

The Discount Suit Company for deliciously bizarre cocktails, or the Manor House in Wanstead for something a little more local.

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Best first date location?

In summer, the Southbank, to sample treats from street vans and watch the buskers. In winter, Hampstead Heath, with something warming in a flask.

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Earliest London memory?

The inside of the flat by the Thames where we lived in my early childhood. After that, squealing outside Wembley stadium when my dad took me to watch the Spice Girls as a surprise (brownie points for life).

Favourite discovery?

A deserted lake in the middle of Epping Forest, only a stone’s throw from my front door. Also, a wonderful bookshop/café/bar in Leytonstone called All You Read Is Love.

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Best cultural spot?

The Southbank; start at Waterloo and wander down past the Southbank Centre towards the National Theatre, stopping to browse the book stalls outside. Check out the exhibitions at the Tate Modern and finish at Shakespeare’s Globe (pay £5 for a yard ticket). London’s cultural scene in a nutshell.

Favourite club?

Clubbing is expensive in London so I tend to stick to bars, but I hear you can have a great night out at Cargo or XOYO. If you’re more into live music, the Blues Kitchen always has amazing performers, or dip a toe into the jazz scene at Ronnie Scott’s.

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Best place to end a night out?

On the night bus, clutching a half-eaten bag of chips.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Sort out the cycle lanes and somehow find a way to install air conditioning on the Central Line.

Building you’d like to be locked in overnight?

The Natural History Museum or the British Library.

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Best time of year to visit?

Early autumn; there’s almost always a burst of sunshine in September and everything looks more beautiful covered in a layer of crunchy, golden leaves.

Thing you’d miss the most if you left?

The enormous amount of high quality culture that’s on your doorstep. And the feeling that there’s always something new to discover just around the corner.

Most overhyped tourist trap?

Madame Tussauds. I don’t understand why you’d queue to stare at wax figures when you could be strolling around Regent’s Park next door.

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Favourite local expression?

I get positively gleeful if I ever hear anyone actually using cockney rhyming slang.

Best way to get from A – B?

Walking, if you can. Or a boat up the Thames.

Best view? 

Frank’s Café in Peckham, or I hear the top of the Shard is rather impressive.

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Who’s your local hero?

Anyone brave enough to strike up conversation on the Underground.

What’s next on your list?

Highgate Cemetery (I have a thing about graveyards), Wilton’s Music Hall and a tour of the Tower of London (I’ve somehow never been).

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