The Central Heart of London
For those looking to escape the Olympic buzz of Stratford this summer the Central Line (the longest line on the underground at 34 miles) will whisk you away to a number of good haunts. My personal favourite for al fresco dining is the Boundary Rooftop, located between Bethnal Green and Liverpool Street; it offers good food and beverage in a classy setting. Get there early and settle in!
In a landmark year for London why not jump off at St Paul’s and experience historic London Wall and visit the free exhibitions at The London Museum on everything from Rome to Dickens? Moving on, and if you are entertaining overseas guests, I would also recommend the slightly quirky traditional English pub The Cheshire Cheese which, located on Fleet Street, is a 10 minute walk from Chancery Lane station.
Whilst Westfield Stratford will get a lot of the mass shopping those treating themselves will head to Bond Street and if you head this way do take advantage of the afternoon tea craze which has caught on across the city. My favourite is Claridge’s which whilst giving you the choice of 40 different teas has once again won ‘The Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea 2011’ award, the highest accolade in the tea world! Do book in advance though.
Hopefully the sun will hold and you will have time to spend in the outdoors, resist the temptations of Hyde Park and keep going to Holland Park where you can stroll in the Kyoto Garden, see the famous Peacocks, and then have a sun downer in the nearby Castle Pub. Should you have longer on the west side of London head to Westbourne Grove to browse at Portobello Market.
Whilst there isn’t much left to see at White City, which is sadly losing its BBC studios soon, it is worth remembering this was the venue for the 1948 Olympics, when the UK stepped in after the Second World War to host The Olympics Games. Here’s to London and the UK once again welcoming the world to a fantastic pinnacle of sport and using this opportunity as a shop window for everything we do brilliantly in this country.