My recent trip to London reminded me of how much I love wandering around the city. There are coffee shops to be stumbled across, graffiti adorning walls that were previously bare and wouldn’t have caught your interest before, and the ever-changing nature of London means that you’re bound to discover something that’s popped up for a few days or weeks.
It can be really easy to forget about your surroundings when you’re on the tube (or even the bus) but walking means that you have to be alert; you turn everyday buildings into your own landmarks to understand at which point you turn to the left or right and you have to understand which area follows another.
The tube and bus routes can so easily skew this – have you ever found yourself wandering by a tube station you had no idea was so close to the one you got off at whilst trying to return to the earlier tube station? It’s bizarre but those simple maps full of lines can make you think a nearby place is actually too far to walk.
Whilst in London I walked from King’s Cross, by Russell Square, through Holborn, down to the Southbank, up to Jubilee Gardens, back over the river to Regent Street and then Oxford Street and then back around to King’s Cross via Euston. I visited the House of Illustration, Guardian offices, Freestate Coffee, the Southbank Centre, London Wonderground, Dover Street Market, & Other Stories, Topshop, Nike and the little deli market in front of King’s Cross.
It sounds like quite a lot doesn’t it? Yet I didn’t feel rushed within the 8 hour period I was showing my nieces around London. They took plenty of photos, we ate and we window-shopped in places we certainly couldn’t afford to shop in.
It’s far to easy to think you’re taking the quicker option by taking the tube or bus when visiting a big city but do you know what? You can be just as quick (if not quicker) on foot and you get to truly discover the place that you’re visiting.
Near Enough is a series of blog posts about travel in the UK. To see other posts about places to visit, click here.