5 itineraries to visit and to taste London as no guidebook has ever offered you. Following the tips of an Italian London insider can be the right thing to do if one wants not only to visit beautiful places but also to eat well.
My London itineraries
Itinerary Number 1
Walk up to the tenth floor of the “new” TATE Modern, the recently completed extension of the main contemporary art museum in London, which allows you to enjoy one of the best views of the city. Maybe with an “unauthorized” look into the apartments of the very expensive flats of the very expensive skyscrapers that stand right next to the new building.
After walking many steps or waiting for many elevators, treating your eyes with the beauty of St Paul’s Cathedral which overlooks the TATE it’s time to also fill the belly.
If you are an “on the go” traveller, the advice is to cross the Millennium Bridge and get on the other side of the river (St Paul’s side). Here you can have a quick pit stop at Mangio. There you can try tasty and fresh take away pasta. This nice shop has already been noticed by Enrico Franceschini. I tried the Italian tagliatelle and ravioli, and I have to say that eating them I felt all the vibe of a country fair. As if, for a moment ,I was immediately teleported to Italy.
Have you ever realized that Tate Modern and St Paul’s look at each other’s like in Granada the Albayzín looks to the Alhambra and vice versa? Very romantic.
Itinerary Number 2
Watch a musical, even if it is the first one you find on your way.
If not in London, where? In New York, maybe, but rumours are that it is incredibly more expensive, even if the West End is not cheap at all.
Currently, my favourite one is The Lion King which tells the Disney story, with the same poignant music. I’ve been told that The Book of Mormon deserves as well and it is a lot of fun. My favourite ever? Surely Chicago, which is currently not available but you can still make it up by watching Chicago the movie, with the brilliant interpretation of the trio Richard Gere – Catherine Zeta Jones – Rene Zellweger.
Back to us, before or after the musical, the mandatory advice (and very economic) is Big Easy, in the Covent Garden area (close to the theatres place). Special menu pre or post theatre for only 10 pounds, with choices of meat (excellent!) or fish (delicious are their French mussels). The restaurant is modern, friendly and dynamic.
Itinerary Number 3
Pretend to be kings and queens for a day at Kensington Palace!
You can partially visit the current residence of Prince William and his beloved and continually photographed family: Kate, George (third in line of succession) and little Charlotte.
The different floors of the building allow you to identify and retrace the lives of some of the most controversial and loved women of the royal family, learn their secrets, take a look at their clothes. I am talking about Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret (the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth) and Lady Diana.
During the summer, in the courtyard of the palace, The Luna Cinema organizes an outdoor film festival. The environment is charming, with a relaxed atmosphere. Guests picnic before the movie starts, no tables or chairs and everybody just enjoy the projection while lying on the grass and refreshing in open air. Recommended a warm fleece blanket, even in August.
To fill your basket picnic ahead of the projection or simply to browse in the most amazing deli supermarket in London (but ideated in the US), the advice is to do your shopping in the nearby Whole Food. The one on High Kensington Street, between Hyde Park and Regent’s Park. Enjoy every part of the shop, including the “cheese-room”: cheese, just cheese from all around the world.
Itinerary Number 4
Admire the Queen’s jewels at the Tower of London.
And not only! The Tower of London allows you to admire Tower Bridge from a strategic angle, and grasp all its beauty. The image of the bridge that seems lifted from bundles of cloth turquoise flamboyant.
It also lets you know all the terrible, but intriguing, stories about the “old kings”, starting with King Henry VIII. And his unfortunate wives.
The Tower of London is perfect to be visited during the afternoon. After emerging from the history of the tower and its magnificent view will soon be the right time to satisfy belly and palate. The recommended area is St. Katharine Docks, just 500 meters from the Tower. The London old port where several boats are still moored. Do you know that many Londoners are living in boats?
Here you can’t miss Bravas Tapas, a well-kept and stylish tapas bar, where you can find excellent fish and meat snacks. My favourites? Pan and tomate and patatas bravas: essential and tasty.
You can book a table either by calling 020 7481 1464, or by emailing reservations @bravastapas.co.uk.
Itinerary Number 5
Get lost among impressionist paintings (and beyond) at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square. This gallery is still able to amaze me for the beauty of the works that hosts and for its welcoming atmosphere. Almost like a home, not a museum. After the visit, within a short walk from the National Gallery you can find Gordon’s Wine Bar, since 1890. One of the most fascinating and ancient Wine-Bar in London, close to the tube station of Embankment. Highly recommended, even during summer, their indoor space, worth the wait for a seat. Perfect for travelers not in a hurry. This place is made in what looks like an old aqueduct, in the twilight, among small tables and candlelight. The best order? A cutting board with cheese and a glass of white wine. The atmosphere is irreplaceable.
If you choose to go to visit the Gallery in the morning, it may happen that you meet school groups. If the guides are not too severe, you can join and listen a spontaneous local lesson. Otherwise the audio guide option does not miss (almost) anything. And it is very good value, especially when you do not have to pay the entrance free. As in all English government museums.
Articolo disponibile anche in Ita