Last week was spent frolicking the streets of rainy, beautiful, windy London. The last time I had visited was about a decade ago, and somehow a lot of things seemed familiar yet very new. I had not felt the need to visit again in the past 10 years but after going this time, I realized I had been quite wrong.
The air was fresh, the people uber sweet (always willing to apologize even when the fault wasn’t theirs), the desserts divine, the prices less and walking didn’t seem like such a chore. But a few things I thought I would share just for the sake of being helpful (or not).
1. Red Velvet cake is amazing at Selfridges (Dolly’s) but not as great as Magnolia in Dubai/New York.
2. Always carry an umbrella
3. If you think that coat is too thick, it isn’t. Even 13 degrees seems freezing with the wind chill.
4. Leather boots are a great investment for London. This may sound odd to all you cold country inhabitants. But trust me, in Dubai, leather boots sound kinda odd. And if you think brown ones won’t match anything, you’re so wrong, they end up matching everything!
5. Your appetite WILL increase, especially when it’s cold, so don’t worry about the binge eating, just try and walk it off.
6. You may think you’ll be dressing up really chic everyday and then you’ll see the pictures upon your return. Yup, each picture will probably feature you wearing your large grey jacket and the trusty boots. In summary, keep it casual, unless you’re going somewhere swanky and indoors.
7. Plays & Musicals are totally worth it. So fork up the cash for the best seats in the house, you never know when you’ll get a chance again. We happened to catch Phantom of the Opera and this time I was old enough to appreciate it. Truly a great experience.
8. Living outside Central London may just be a blessing. The commute isn’t as bad as people make it out to be and you get to go home at night and be surrounded by nature instead of wailing ambulances.
9. Try out the traditional ‘Fish & chips’ at least once. If you need spice as much as I do, you may be a bit taken aback by the blandness of it but the batter is definitely yummy. I highly recommend going to a place that specifically states ‘Serving our traditional ‘fish & chips”.
10. Get out and see the smaller towns. We had the great luck of having 2 wonderful hosts, who took out time to show us around and drive many many times (So thank you S & U!). We ended up exploring Oxford, Stratford upon Avon, Essex and Birmingham. These towns have a vibe that’s uniquely their own. The greenery, the fresh air and the sweet sweet people make all these towns worth a visit.
11. Check out Burger & Lobster (located all over London but we went to the one in Soho). Recommended by a friend, it seemed a strange proposition. Just 2 dishes on the menu? Burger or lobster? But dang! It was delicious, with hugeeee servings. Great drinks as well. The amount of people queueing up to get a bite is also a great indicator of it’s success.