Hey there, Georgie girl...
...what’s with the Russian accent? London may be gripped by new-monied affluenza and a serious outbreak of chain store-itis, but fret not, this dolly hasn’t been around for nigh on 2,000 years and not learnt a trick or two. While her hyper-fab cultural riches and fash-forward sass have never been in question, her ballsy Brit-dish cooking, and the resurgence of her villagey nabes and artisanal pride have breathed fresh life into the lovely Old Smoke.
Taking buzzy Soho as your centre, leafy hi-so enclaves Kensington and Notting Hill sprawl west; spiffy red-brick Marylebone sits northwest; quinoa-fuelled Islington is perched north; grit-cool Shoreditch is beyond banker bower City in the East End; and south of the River Thames are the lesser-sung joys of Bermondsey. Cool Britannia.
On a budget? Don’t come to London In London on a budget? Start crying. This city is one huge cash-removal zone – either put up or shut up London’s a year-round event. The tourist swarms never dissipate and the weather can be godawful whatever the season, so there’s really no bad/good time to visit London has various airports, but try for easy Heathrow Heathrow to central: 50 mins / £50-70 by black cab; 15 mins / £26 by Heathrow Express to Paddington Stn; 30 mins / £5.70 by underground – your choice, Joyce ‘ The Tube’: London’s vast underground is a necessary evil. Buy a multi-journey Oyster card, grab a free map, and skirt rush hour when all hell breaks loose Handy street maps are pinned at each underground exit Black cabs cost as much as air tickets, but drivers have ‘the knowledge’. Or, the vastly cheaper Uber is prolific Barclays Cycle Hire is the eco/budget A-B / tfl.gov.uk Avoid Leicester Sq, Regent & Oxford Sts like the plague Best deal? Most major museums and galleries are free Many smaller shops close on Sun, making it a great day for museums, markets, massage, parks and picnics... Clued-in Londoners hit bars, restaurants and clubs on weekdays; weekends in town can get rather skanky Book well ahead for the big-ticket restaurants, unless you’re happy to dine at 5pm with an ‘L’ sign Go for lunchtime taster menus to save a packet Tip 10-15% – though many establishments add it on as a ‘discretionary’ charge, so check your bill first The int’l dialling code for the UK is +44, and all London landlines begin with 020, mobiles are prefixed with 07 In all emergencies call 999 (broken nails don’t count)
Four phrases to help you decipher Brit-speak...
Really, how interesting : You’re boring me to death Not bad : Very good. Quite good : Rather disappointing Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt : Voila!
...now, orf you jolly well pop!