the pretty streets of London

Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;

for there is in London all that life can afford.


Samuel Johnson


Recently I was asked if there was anywhere I would like to travel to. I love this question, it has a million and one answers and changes all the time. My list is long and varies from the furthest countries (New Zealand is somewhere near the top) to many closer to home (I might say Iceland, I wonder if this is something to do with Instagram and Pinterest) but until funds and time permit, where will I start? At home. The pretty streets of London.



I first travelled to London as a teenager with my brother and his friend and family. Having never been before I found it thrilling and overwhelming all at once and my biggest memory of that day are the trips to the Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeon. The crush of the tube at rush hour. The busyness of it all. The London tourist attractions are all brilliant and I have visited many of them over the years, I still do with the children, our favourite undoubtedly being the Natural History Museum. I think it is fair to say my love affair with London is a long and varied one and I firmly believe that our children should grow up knowing the history of the heart of this wonderful land in which the were born…


Recently I have begun to explore a little more off the tourist map. I find myself in London increasingly often for meetings and meet-ups and often there is a little time to spare. So I wander. I choose an area and wander. The residential streets of Notting Hill with their Victorian town houses have been my favourite so far this year though I am not finished exploring yet and with each trip to London I go to a slightly different area having a vague plan but that is all. Sometimes I plan no further than the tube station. Sometimes I meet with a friend – sometimes I wander alone. What I have found so far is a renewed love for this busy city



My favourite tourist experience so far this year was a particularly flamboyant American family with a large camera and a very dressed up child searching for ‘one with a blue door, it has to have a blue door’ over in Notting Hill, oh yes it was all about that film… And it was all I could do not to laugh as they flustered by in a cloud of overwhelming perfumes. They were brilliant. I guess they sum up part of the reason I love the city as there’s a bit of everything and a lot you wouldn’t see in my sleepy seaside hometown.



I get why people want to live there, though – for me – I need the green and open space of our countryside in my daily life, it is a micro-world of possibilities and places, of cultures and experiences. For me it is an exhausting but wonderful day trip away. I love it. And I fill my camera roll with photos like these, hello pretty streets, blossom and magnolia. Yes springtime in London had me at hello (even if it rains on me…).


Julia x



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