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The stresses of living in a big city can mean that we Londoners sometimes forget it’s one of the best cities in the world. The simple, everyday pleasures that can help us live happier and fulfilled lives can get overlooked - when was the last time you looked up at the beautiful skyline or walked the streets instead of hopping straight on the tube? We talked to some London insiders to find out their tips and tricks for getting the most pleasure out of the city.
Go off the beaten track…
Finding the time to look up spots in London that aren’t so well known can be tricky. Thankfully, we got some experts to list just a few that might give you pleasure.
Graham Dear, the park manager at Greenwich Park, suggests taking a detour from the main attractions like the Royal Observatory, the Meridian line and the views from the General Wolfe Statue. ‘That is a great view, but there are equally as good views with a lot less people on Crooms Hill [pictured above] and One Tree Hill,’ he says. ‘Both are the perfect places to take a picnic.’
Exploring alternative scenes is also what Annie Oh, a DJ and promoter who hosts the grime and hip hop Night Dreams at Birthdays in Dalston, suggests will make that next night out in London extra special. ‘I would chase the music you’re after rather than ‘The Club’,’ she says. ‘Once you find out about a specific vibe that you like and you follow the DJ, promoter or club night on Instagram, they kind of do the job for you. It’s all Instagram, I find.’
Get off the tube and explore…
‘Our public transport is efficient, and our cabbies are the best in the world, but I would encourage everyone to walk or cycle around London,’ suggests Giacomo Foddis, the concierge at The Milestone Hotel & Residences. 'The best way to discover the hidden gems of London is on foot.’
Graham agrees: ‘People’s experience of London can become limited to the tube lines. My tip would be to get out and explore London on foot. There’s a really nice walk along the river from Greenwich to London Bridge. There are some lovely pubs on the riverfront, and when you get to London Bridge you’ve got Borough Market to have something to eat.’
Reading is fundamental…
Time Out’s very own Events Editor, Katie McCabe, suggests a visit to the London Review Bookshop in Holborn for some reading pleasure. ‘The staff give great recommendations for new fiction releases,’ she says, ‘and most importantly, there’s a café where you can spend the afternoon with a Rachel Cusk paperback and a big slab of cake.’
Remember to look up…
For Robert Lordan, a black cab driver and the author of ‘The Knowledge: Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’, Londoners can find pleasure in their everyday lives by looking up. ‘You have all these modern shop fronts in the city, but if you look up you can see another London up there,’ he says. ‘There are a lot of hidden corners and you get a sense of the history that’s around you. It’s about finding the time to appreciate it and slow down.’
Indulge yourself because you deserve it…
It might not be an everyday occurrence, but to really recharge your batteries, back in love with London and truly choose pleasure, Giacomo also suggests exploring the city as if you’re a tourist. That also includes checking into a hotel. ‘If you’re after tickets to sold out events, as hotel concierges we have some of the best connections in the city,’ he says. ‘So why not consider treating yourself to a night in a central London hotel, and let the concierge work their magic?’
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