Surprisingly, since I have lived in London for around 3/4 of my life and am so in love with it, I still haven’t got round to making a full set of London themed cookies. These Bon Voyage ones for an Australian family going back to Sydney after 4 years in The Big Smoke come closest with its hints of London with the London Eye, St Pauls and Big Ben in the background. London is noisy, smelly and dysfunctional but she’s family to me. Of course if you visit as a tourist the one overwhelming impression of London is how eyewateringly expensive it is.
I’ve been wanting to write a post about the fabulous but FREE!! things you can enjoy in London and after a fabulous Summer in the city with my delicious daughters i’m excited to write it. In fact my daughters think one of the fabulous and free things worth doing is accompanying me on cookie deliveries. Along the way they’ve been given their building entry passes to keep (V.I.P style), seen scuba divers cleaning out a floor to ceiling fish tank in one particularly swanky office building (‘Are we at the Aquarium mum?’), riding in a great glass elevator with views of The Shard opposite and of course free sweets in the entrance lobbies (heaven).
So to my suggestions, other than a tour of the grand offices of London, in no particular order:
London Parks: Awesome. Which one? Where to start? We love in particular amongst Regents Park, Holland Park and Kensington Gardens. If just soaking up the atmosphere, and hopefully rays of sunshine (we have lightning predicted tomorrow!) or people watching (you really get stiffed on that in the countryside) isn’t quite enough the latter houses both the Diana Memorial Playground and the Diana Memorial fountain.
A Room With A View: Anywhere you go you can pay a real premium for a view. The Shard for example charges almost £25 for a child’s ticket. As anyone knows if they have a child or have just been a child It’s Not Worth It. Much better for a fabulous view of London is the Sky Garden which is totally free. You need to book and bring your I.D but do you get a good view of the overpriced Shard opposite ;). Even the cafe is reasonably priced (for London) so my eldest daughter can reminisce about the chocolate muffin she had rather than the stonking view of London.
Southbank: Always worth a wander. Lots of things to spend money on (street food, bars, shops and the London Eye) but we just enjoy the walk. Okay if I didn’t have my children with me I would probably prefer to enjoy a jug of Pimms in the Royal Festival Hall and then tipsily buy way too many knick knacks from The Tate Modern (free entry!) further down.
St Pauls Cathedral: Stunning and at some point please pay the full price and support British Heritage but you can go in to the Cathedral at 11.30 or 2.15 Monday to Friday to see the Bill Viola’s Martyrs installation for free. Fabulous!
Westminster Abbey: Abbey Gardens If you have young children there are wonderful free activities you can book to enjoy in these fabulous surrounds over the Summer. However anyone can visit the gardens for free (they are beautiful) if you are short of time/cash to do the inside bit.
Finally if you like (window!) shopping (unless you have Very deep pockets) Liberty of London is definitely worth a wander. A little bit eclectic, a whole lot fashionable, just like it’s wonderful customers.
There are so many things to do in London. I doubt I’ve even scratched the surface. If you have any great London freebie ideas please let me know by posting in the comments.
Happy London days all!