I've spent a lot of this trip to Europe in London because that's where my sister lives and her accommodation rates are very reasonable (a couple of days of child care here and there). The older I get the harder I find it to be in places like London, which are so busy and so geared towards excessive consumerism. The best way I find to enjoy it is to seek out green spaces or places that have historic or cultural interest. London has incredible museums, galleries and parks and gardens (ranging from tiny private gardens to the miles of parks and ancient woodland that form south east London’s Green Chain).
Here are some of my favourites:
1. Exploring the South Bank. Walking along the true right of the Thames between Waterloo and London Bridge stations takes you past a lot of interesting sites, including the ever-changing London skyline. I make a point of going to the National Theatre's espresso bar because it consistently has the best coffee in England (IMHO). On this trip, I was happy to discover a garden shop en route.
2. When I'm in the area, I usually stop in at the Tate Modern gallery. Even if I don't appreciate the modern art, I always enjoy the views of London from the top floor.
3. The Guildhall in the City of London (that is the very central bit) has a lot more art that I can appreciate. You can also go down into the basement and see the remains of the 2000 year-old Roman amphitheatre.
4. Many of the City's commercial buildings have small art exhibitions that you can have a look at for free. This was the way I discovered the wonderful iPad drawings of Linda Kitson.
5. Buying cheap and good bagels from Brick Lane.
6. I'm writing this in Briantspuddle in Dorset. Dorset's most famous author is Thomas Hardy. When I was in London I made a point of going to St Pancras Old Church, where the young Hardy (at the time an apprentice architect) had the unenviable job of exhuming and reburying human remains to make way for the railway.
I loved coming across this sign in an inner city garden.
Fleet Street is full of history, although some of it is sad considering the demise of newspapers and comics.
And then of course there are the pubs.
This is an expansion of my Illustrated Epistle, which goes out in the middle of the month. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a cartoonist (specifically, mine). I'd love it if you signed up at the bottom of this page, or here: