The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and London is (somehow) getting even more beautiful! Here are my 5 ‘must visit’ spots this month.
one: go back in time at The Lucky Pig
I only went here for the first time last night, and I am already writing about it – how is that for organised? The Lucky Pig, in Fitzrovia, is a 1920’s vintage-style bar-slash-speakeasy serving classic cocktails with an unexpected twist. Tucked away between two Italian restaurants, it’s only a short walk from Warren Street station – meaning it’s very easy to get to and you can look forward to a nice straightforward journey home after one too many drinks. If you aren’t used to London economics, it seems pretty pricey at £10 a cocktail; but the quality is so good that you can almost forgive that. All of the cocktails we tried were delicious, but the French Martini (complete with edible flowers) was a highlight. You can also order reasonably priced bar snacks and pizzas while lounging on a chaise longue or hanging out in a booth that looks like a bomb shelter. It’s quirky, it’s fun and it’s definitely worth a visit.
two: see things from a new perspective on the Emirates Air Line
Even if you live in a place, it’s sometimes good to just lean into it and do all of the things that are designed and made solely for tourists: the Emirates Air Line is one of these things. A cable car that crosses the river at a height of 90m between Greenwich Peninsula and the royal docks, the Air Line offers unique views over many London hotspots: most notably the O2 arena and the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture built for the 2012 Olympics. The Air Line is £4.50 for a single journey (or £3.40 with an Oyster) but be sure to plan for getting back; we made the mistake of going North across the river without checking Google Maps then realised we would have to take an incredibly roundabout route back to Greenwich. Cue a second trip on the Air Line! I couldn’t say why – maybe a change in the weather – but for some reason the journey southwards was much less smooth and comfortable than the journey north. Another thing to bear in mind is that the Air Line travels double speed during rush hour to accommodate any commuters (which is crazy when you consider that they make up 0.01% of all Air Line travellers) so you will only have half the time to relax, take photographs and enjoy the views.
three: spy some street art
I understand some people have mixed opinions about street art – and I totally agree that spray painting your name on a wall without permission is stupid and wrong – but London has some of the most amazing public art I have ever seen. This is in comparison to Sheffield where I once saw someone spray painting the word ‘brioche’ on the side of a community centre in metre high letters… My new favourite is Ant Carver, whose colourful and distinctive style of portraits can be seen across North London (mostly in Camden, Dalston and Shoreditch). Check out his website – he also has created murals in New York, Philadelphia and Jersey City as well as more traditional ‘indoor’ artwork. Wait until the end of the month (just before payday hits and right when London prices are starting to get you down), pick a nice sunny day, grab a camera and hunt down some of the best street art this city has to offer for a fun and free day out.
four: catch a live show at the Omeara
The Omeara – near London Bridge – only opened last October so as a venue it’s still fairly new, but that doesn’t change the fact that it has some excellent shows coming up this month and all at insanely low prices. Oh Wonder (who, by the way, are amazing) have sold out the venue next Wednesday, but tickets are still available for Phoria (£10) on the 11th, Bad Sounds (£9) on the 31st and the criminally underrated To Kill a King for only £15 on May 13th. Co-founded by Ben Lovett – also known as one quarter of Mumford and Sons – the Omeara is a new home for upcoming Indie bands hidden in the arches of an old, Victorian railway. Give it a try if you are interested in massively entertaining shows in a smaller, more intimate location.
five: take a break at St Dunstan in the East
It’s always nice to find a haven of peace and quiet in the middle of the city, and St Dunstan in the East is exactly that. You would never guess, while walking around it, that you were less than 5 minutes walk from the Shard and halfway between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. St Dunstan’s Church hasn’t really had a lot of luck: built in 1100 it was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London, repaired by Christopher Wren, partially collapsed due to the weight of it’s roof, was entirely rebuilt, and then was completely destroyed during the Blitz. Nowadays, the ruins of St Dunstan in the East act as a surreal public garden that feel more like a set from Lord of the Rings than a protestant church in central London. I half expected Gandalf to pop up from behind a tree while I was walking around and whisk me off to Mordor. The garden is a great place to sit, relax and have a quiet moment after a long day; and as an added bonus, the views of the Shard through the old church windows are really something.