Travel Club: London

So you think you know London? We’ll see about that!

One area of London.

A place where different people and styles come together.

Unpredictable change.

A lot – used to emphasise.

Having many trees, bushes, leaves etc.

Changing poorer areas so that they are more middle/upper-class.

Worthy of attention.

A person showing signs of being successful.

Concerts.

Various locations spread out, without a specific order.

Attractive and/or old-fashioned.

Really influenced by a quality.

By Elliot Grant

London (LDN) covers 1,572 km2 and has a population of around 9 million. Within this space there are nearly 40,000 coffee shops and restaurants, over 5,000 bars and pubs.

Greater London is made up of 33 boroughs within the M25 – the motorway that surrounds it. It’s hard to explain exactly what LDN is, furthermore to be a Londoner is equally troublesome.We are a multicultural melting pot, a living organism which evolves capriciously. Each area has its own style and reason for standing out. One defining characteristic of LDN is the sheer amount of public green spaces available. Being the hub of low-cost airlines is something else Londoners can benefit from. The world is at our feet and we tend to take advantage whenever possible.

I was born and raised in a leafy suburb of South East London called East Dulwich. A place where trees line the small residential streets, which urban foxes roam freely at night. However, nowadays this part of London has become steadily gentrified and is almost impossible to rent a room in a shared accommodation, let alone buy a house. A 30-minute walk in any direction will take you to a completely different area. One note worthy part would be Peckham which has become a hipster Mecca. Arguably a once-dangerous area has been now transformed into a hot spot for budding artists and entrepreneurs with new bars, businesses and restaurants popping up left, right and centre. Further on you might stumble upon Brixton, historically famous for the dub and reggae music scene, which has also gone through a process of gentrification due to the fact is the furthest south the Underground goes. Brixton Market offers everything from retro and handcrafted goods to culinary options from around the world.

Music has always been a big part of the city’s culture: Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Queen to name a few. From an early age it was common for me and my friends to go to gigs all over London. Some of our friends (or friends of friends) were in bands which gave us an excuse to travel around and follow their ‘rise to fame’ or so they claimed - I’ll never forget a few of the Guerrilla gigs I went to. On top of this there are nightclubs and music venues scattered across the many boroughs, some in the most unlikely of places. On any day of the week you can find something to do.

Museums and art galleries are some of the biggest tourist attractions and in all honesty it’s something I still really enjoy to this day. My favourites are the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. If you haven’t already, I would recommend everyone who visits to check them out, plus they’re free!

Christmas Markets

Christmas is a joyous time of year and it all kicks off in November with the annual spectacle of Christmas lights being switched on. As darkness falls over LDN you will encounter thousands of tiny lightbulbs illuminating the frosty nights, especially Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street.

One of the most popular places to go in London around Christmas time is Winter Wonderland in the centre of Hyde Park. Not only for kids and tourists, you can find a wide selection of entertaining attractions, quaint shops and festive food stalls. You can’t go without getting some mulled wine or cider to warm yourself up in the customary winter weather: don’t forget to wrap up!

Another option would be to head over to Wintertime at Southbank Centre and wander along the riverside area all the way down to London Bridge to check out all the festivities. Don’t miss their brilliant Christmas shows, free performances and family workshops throughout December.

Approximately 5 miles onwards, following the River Thames, you will find picturesque Greenwich steeped in maritime history. With other 150 stalls filled to the brim with antiques, products, crafts, fashion, jewellery, as well as festive street food and drinks it will certainly get you in the Christmas spirit.

Other noteworthy mentions: Winterville (Clapham Common, East London), Christmas in Leicester Square (Central London) and Spirit of Christmas Fair (West Kensington, Central London).

About Elliot Grant
I grew up in London. After graduating from Southampton Solent University, I spent three years in Bilbao before moving to Barcelona to join the What's Up! content team. Things I like; travelling, music and coffee. Things I don’t like; waiting, reggaeton and scooters.

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