Sometimes I sit and dream of places I'd like to visit. I'm not sure when it will every happen, but I enjoy reading travel books and learning about wishful destinations. England is one of those places for me.
Marsha Moore has written a great travel guide for London, England. But with a twist - it's a 24 hour guide. Yep - 24 Hours London. Arrived with jet lag, body clock off? Flip the book open to the appropriate hour and check out what's going on at 5 am. (Food markets open up and the double decker starts to run)
Each entry - and there are numerous entries for each hour - lists the hours, if its a food establishment and/or family friendly and the fee, if any. There's a descriptor of each attraction as well. Also listed is what 'tube' line to take to any stop. Many of the attractions listed are free. And they cover the gamut. Food, history, sight seeing, shopping, the arts, clubs and lots more. Being an armchair traveller at this point, I found myself looking up the websites that Marsha has also listed with each entry.
So many unique stops caught my eye. Portobello Road Market, Books for Cooks - a combination book store/demonstration kitchen/cafe, a breakfast cafe in the crypt beneath an old church, a library celebrating the lives of women in Britain, a sewing machine museum with 600+ on exhibit, a naked disco!, shopping, fishing, balloon rides, Jack the Ripper walks, a Monopoly pub crawl (visit a pub on every street of the game board) and a whole lot more. One item I found particularly interesting was the public urinals that are raised to the sidewalk surface at 7 pm and lowered at 6 am!
Marsha Moore is a Canadian and I just had to ask her how she ended up writing a British travel guide!
I came to London, UK, five years ago as a teacher. At the time, London was desperate for teachers and I was desperate to travel, so it seemed a good match! I fell in love with the city. There is just so much to do here, with people from all over the world. My husband is also an expat (from Egypt) so together we explored the city by going on guided walks and reading history books. When it came time to write a book – something I always wanted to do – it just made sense to write about London. I wanted to let other people know what I’d discovered, tell them about my favourites, and break it down in a easy way so they wouldn’t have to face my dilemma of how on earth to even start getting to know London!
There are some truly amazing places, clubs, attractions listed. How did you find them all? And tell the truth - have you visited each and every one? Any favourites or stand outs?
Thanks, Luanne! I’m an avid reader of Londoners’ blogs, which give you a great insight into the city and always suggest quirky places to try out. If you’re tapped into resources like Twitter, you also get a lot of city news about clubs, pubs and museums. Over the course of my time here, I’ve done pretty much all of the listings in the book with a few notable exceptions – for example, I haven’t been to the Naked Disco (I’m not brave enough!) nor have I taken a helicopter ride over London (as much as I’d like to). For the most part, London is an affordable, accessible city with lots of great places off the beaten tourist track.
I love Ye Olde Mitre Pub just off the diamond stretch of Hatton Garden. It’s so tiny and hidden away even some locals don’t know it’s there! One of my favourite city walks is along the South Bank, where you can stroll by the Thames past the Royal Festival Hall, the British Film Institute and the National Theatre, then hit the Tate Modern (free admission) for some art. Cross the river over the Millennium Bridge, take in St Paul’s and have a drink by the river. And for some great Indian food away from the tourist traps on Brick Lane, head to Tayyab’s in Whitechapel, recently voted Indian Restaurant of the Year in the London Restaurant Awards.
I'm a bit jealous - your research for the book sounds like my kind of job! What's next or should I say where's next? Will this become a series?
I can’t think of a better way to spend my time – my life, even – than exploring different cities, trying out all there is to do there, and meeting loads of interesting people as a result! Thankfully, we’ve had a great response to 24 Hours London which has spurred us on to 24 Hours Paris (Spring 2010) and more cities in the future. We’re also developing an iPhone application for 24 Hours London, to be launched in the next month or so.
Where else in the world have you travelled? Is London home base?
Both my parents are teachers so they always had the same vacation time as me, and travelling was an important part of my life from a very young age. They took me across Canada, the States and even to Europe – they definitely injected me with the travel bug! In my mid-twenties I moved to Poland, where I lived and worked for two years and continued my European travel. I went back to Canada hoping to settle down, but I couldn’t stay in one place so I moved to London! In my time here I’ve continued travelling and I’ve recently returned from a week in Cairo. I’m off to Paris again at the end of the month.
And anything else you'd like to share!
If anyone would like to see some bits of London featured in the book, they can check out the book trailer. (posted below)