I've managed to do a monthly round up of personal suggestions in London for a whole year and I'm feeling pretty smug.
I don't mind if only my mum and dad ever read these and it's been a complete waste of time, because I've actually set myself a little challenge each month and made myself complete a checklist of five things to do and it's kept me quite busy.
And so 2019 is coming to an end and Christmas is fast approaching, and as always there's plenty to do this month in London. I personally don't celebrate Christmas, you'll normally find me somewhere in the depths of Asia pretending it's not happening, but this year will be slightly different in that I will be celebrating it a little bit closer to home, Italy this year, and I will be with my parents! But saying that, I'm around until the 19th so plenty to be getting up to before I leave the city.
I've changed my mind. There is literally nothing to do which isn't somehow related to do with Christmas this month. Instead I've decided not to list five interesting things which are happening in December, but things I plan to do in the up coming months, not specifically just happening in December. It's more like things I want to tick off my "to do" list in the coming months, as Christmas is really hard to get away from here!
History - This month you'll find me in the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral or the Tower of London. Exams for the Blue Badge tour guiding training course are fast approaching and it's time for me to cram in as many visits as possible before the Christmas holidays. So why not pay a visit yourself? Perhaps you're from London, or have lived here for years but haven't visited any of these for a while, and perhaps it's time you did.
British Museum; First of all it's free, and it's normally nice and warm. But a close second is the tens of thousands of cool stuff you can see! Ok it can get a bit busy around the likes of the Rosetta Stone, the Egyptian monuments and mummies, but go a little off track and you can find some really remarkable little finds. One of my favourites is the Franks Casket, which I wrote a blog post a while ago here. Make sure to see the Assyrian lion hunt reliefs in room 10, a party invitation from the times of Roman Britain, and one of my favourite rooms has to be the Waddesdon Bequest (room 2a right by the main entrance) which is a collection left to the Museum by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild.
Westminster Abbey; One of my favourite places in London and if you've never been there's really no excuse. It's the place of Coronations right back the time of William the Conqueror, it's where monarchs lie along side some of the most important people in our history. There's the 13th century Cosmati pavement, the stunning Perpendicular Henry VII Chapel, and it's always fun to see who you can find amongst the hundreds of memorials in Poets Corner.
St Paul's Cathedral; I have a particular fondness of St Paul's so much so that I volunteer here once a week and end up spending a lot of time there. There's so much to discover here, and it's a complete contrast to the Westminster Abbey. Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece rising up upon the City of London looks amazing from the outside, but inside is just as fantastic. My favourite stories and things to show people are the rare links to women, and I wrote a blog post on just one of them here. Keep an eye out for more over the course of next year.
Tower of London; I always thought this was aimed at children, but the more time I spend here preparing for an exam in February, the more I love it. Who doesn't love hearing about Henry VIII though? You might have worked out that I do have a particular fondness for churches and religion, and so I really have to mention St Johns Chapel here inside the White Tower, and is of course one of my favourite parts of the Tower. Built between 1077–97, it's an incredible piece of architecture and a nice place to sit for a while for a moment of calm. But of course it's the Crown Jewels, the ravens, the Yeoman Warders and the stories of torture that people really come to visit.
I'm back on the noodle soup diet with the chilly weather, so I haven't really been trying anywhere new. I can highly recommend Kanada-ya for their ramen, but make sure you go to their branch near Picaddily if you want the vegetarian mushroom one. It's one of my favourite vegetarian ramen in London. Ippudo also do a fantastic veggie ramen, get the spicy version if you can handle the heat! They have a few branches, but I like the one at Central St Giles near Tottenham Court Road. Also near there is where I recently fell in love with a pastry. A mushroom and cheese one from Pophams. Find them in the Food Arcade Theatre at Centrepoint.
If you read my last post you would have seen that I've recently started buying something different from Borough Market each week, and honestly it's more often that not cheese (Borough Cheese Company's Comte was a winner this week) but I do have to recommend Cannon and Cannon for their British charcuterie. Perfect with the cheese and olive bread sticks from Bread Ahead a few stalls down.
Art; I seemed to have racked up quite an impressive list of exhibitions that I just haven't had time to go to yet. I can't really recommend them per se but they've all had good reviews, and are ones that I'm fairly confident I will enjoy!
Refresh; I say I'm a scrooge but I do have a particular fondness for seasonal food and drink, and as the cold hits the capital I personally can't get enough of mulled wine. Last Sunday I found myself glugging one back at 10.55am, I love how alcohol seems absolutely fine and perfectly normal before midday this time of the year! And my excuse? I'm in the process of finishing off a blog post on where's the best place in London to get a decent mulled wine, so keep an eye out in the next few days!
Discover; Florence! I mentioned that I'm spending Christmas in Florence this year, and I really can't wait. I spent a year and a half living here a few ages now and it will always have a special place in my heart. So I thought I would add in some recommendations if any of you ever plan to visit the beautiful city, and a list of things I plan on doing once I'm there!
Ofcourse no trip is complete without a visit to the Uffizi Art Gallery, for any lover of art. I spent hours on end in here, and can't wait to see some of my favourite pieces. From the three versions of Mary Enthroned by Cimabue Giotto and Duccio, Simone Martini's Annunciation, the magestic Gentile da Fabriano's Adoration of the Magi. As well as pieces by Botticelli, Paolo Uccello, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Caravaggio.
Food wise? I lived off panini whilst living there so I became a bit of an expert - head to I Fratellini, Semel, Panificio Brunori, Schiacciavino or Il Cernacchino for a sausage and friarelli filled roll. I'll try and put a Visit Florence post up once I'm back in London too!
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Heard in London