How To Visit London The Right Way (Part One)


Not trying to sound too presumptuous, only talking plainly from personal experience… Tourists, visiting parents or friends, looking to use the opportunity of a free place to crash and tick the box ‘Got smashed in London’, have their own little plan in mind.

  1. Oxford Street (mainly Primark)
  2. Piccadilly Circus (with no basic understanding why… oh, the big screen. Well, it’s off at the moment)
  3. Leicester Square (cinemas…?)
  4. Covent Garden (I read the book once, about the homeless and his cat and I think it was based here…)
  5. Big Ben (to take THE picture)
  6. London Eye (with an adorably optimistic hope to actually get on it. As it ever happens)
  7. One of the clubs that celebrities go to. (No comments)

Little do they know… Living here for four years now, let me present you the ultimate one-day London tour, improved and approved by us & ClubCat.

First stop – Greenwich.

Being a little bit more remote from the center, it is the perfect place to start your tour. Getting off at the Cutty Start and Maritime Museum station and heading down to the river-path, there is your first surprise. You will see…
Going further down, you reach the historical University of Greenwich. Breathtaking. Make sure you visit the painted hall where Jonny Depp was dancing on the table in the fourth part of Pirates of Caribbean. Also, pop into the magnificent chapel (which is a part of the actual university!)
Not to mention that there are at least a few great maritime museums around, saving the precious time of the best day of your life, not strolling down to the Greenwich Market would be a significant loss.
Pancakes, pumpkins, and lasagna; Jamaican, Vietnamese and Italian – you name it, it’s there. Old stuff – new stuff and creative stuff. Little treasure box. Don’t get too lost and spend all day there!
Pick up a calzone and some mini pancakes with Nutella and head straight to the bIMG_0384eautiful Greenwich Park. Why is it better than the famous Hyde Park?

Where do I start… Despite the breathtaking scenery, it has so much more to offer. Rose gardens, tennis courts, and even deers! The highlight is the Greenwich observatory. Testing your endurance by claiming up the hill, you can reach the famous Greenwich Meridian timeline. (Yes, you can feel the time stops there… Technically, it does.) The view that opens up is something indescribable. The panorama view stretching all the way from London Eye to the O2 Arena.
Enjoy.
Greenwich Park is the last stop before your next destination…

ClubCat Tip: Oliver’s Jazz Bar is the hidden gem you MUST visit when you in Greenwich the next time. In the evening. Trust the ClubCat. It knows best.

Stay tuned!

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The Museum of London: An Easter Visit


London is a fun filled fast moving city full always of exciting things to check out. The Easter half term upon us and family visiting, I question my choice to visit The Museum of London but am pleasantly surprised by the lack of chaos we find there. Our entourage comprises of three adults (all with a favour for sarcasm and a loathing for overly enthusiastic children’s entertainers) and three children, aged 7 8 and 9 (also with an aversion to overly enthusiastic entertainers). Fortunately, being based in Belgravia, right next to Victoria train station it’s an easy (but long!) bus ride on the number 11 straight to the museum. We pass a few tourist hot spots, riding through parliament square, Big Ben and past St. Paul’s Cathedral (although we did get off a stop late so probably shouldn’t have gotten quite as far as the cathedral, but hey it was worth it). We were sure to point out the National Gallery to the kids, remaining them it’s where “A night at the museum” took place. Naturally, they spent most of the journey imagining and describing to each other what it would be like if they got trapped inside and so they absolutely didn’t mind the extra walking (if you’ve never seen a night at the museum, basically kids get trapped inside over night and everything comes to life. Cool concept but it’s got Ben Stiller in it who I find hugely irritating- sorry Ben!). From the bus stop it takes us about 7 minutes to leisurely walk to the museum. None of us are particularly great with directions (my fellow two adults are from NY and I haven’t ventured to this area since being a child myself) but it was perfectly easy to find and we soon were inside buying tickets.

I’d say it’s worth booking online since tickets are a little cheaper, but we paid about £13.50 per adult and £9.50 per child on the door. Concessions are of course available for groups/schools/elderly. Either way, I thought this was a pretty good price. We arrive at 1pm (all well fed of course, otherwise it literally would have been hell.. we all suffer hugely from hanger!) and go straight into the “Fire Fire!” exhibition which I have to say is pretty great. Despite being a fully grown adult, my attention span is limited, so trying to find something which will interest both adults and children with short attention spans is quite a feat- alas, this exhibition does exactly that. The history of the great Fire of London is presented with inter active games, authentic models and excerpts and an area for dressing up and taking photos (my favourite part). More an immersive art show (without performance) than a boring display, I decide it’s well worth paying for (can you tell I’m a huge fan of NOT spending money on days out!?). It takes about 45 minutes to mosey through and none of us lose interest at any point- hurrah! Afterward, we make our way to the “pleasure garden” (which doesn’t take a millennium to walk to like it does in some museums- namely the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert!) around the corner to join in a “detective” activity. Being well acquainted with the “backpack” activities at the British Museum, we expect the detective activity to be something similar- each child receives an activity pack of some sort and is set on their way to complete these activities. Upon entry to the Pleasure Garden, we quickly realise we are very wrong; the room (wonderfully decorated with artistic 18th century models) is a circular shape and set up with a focus on its centre “stage”- an area of laminate flooring surrounded by Greek style white pillars and a lighted “roof” decorated internally with a blue sky and white clouds. In the centre of this stage stands a woman donning a huge fake smile and a number of props. Oh. No! Exactly the sort of thing we all deteste!! There are seats in the form of round brightly coloured cushions which are on the floor around the stage for the children and three benches (nowhere near enough) further back for us adults. The kids assume their places, unsure of the whole thing and we adults all take a seat on the floor (since the benches are already full- obviously). We pass a look which communicates the consideration to leave immediately, but we decide to give it a chance and the adults throw the kids a reassuring smile (or is it a “please try to like it” smile? Who knows but it works). The woman on the stage soon comes alive with exactly the overly enthusiastic attitude we were hoping to avoid and the adults exchange a “well we tried” glance. We wait for a discreet moment to leave whilst the entertainer prances around making strange sounds and the children watch with faces as if to say “what on earth is this and why have you brought us here?” (Though toddlers would love it, I’m sure) when something suddenly changes: the entertainer becomes much more theatrical, much less kids party person and begins to tell the story of the great fire from first as a detective character and then, in turn, assuming several other brilliant and entertaining characters. She gets the children involved by asking them to spin an arrow on a board pointing to different “suspects” and becomes each character as it is landed on via this spinning board. The children listen to each characters version of events and at the end, have to make various decisions about what they do and do not believe. Needless to say, they absolutely love it! Everyone gets a turn to be involved in some way, through a wheel spin or a high five or a “you there, what do you think?”. We’re all glad we gave it a proper chance and impressed that we could drop in, free of charge- no booking necessary! (I think this runs every hour daily but best to double check the website!) After this, we head to the cafe, which is more or less right outside, for cake and drinks (they have sandwiches too, but that’s about it.. there’s a cafe with more choice by the entrance which isn’t too far if you fancy more) then stop by the toilets next door. It’s all very convenient. We wrap the afternoon up by taking a walk through a very cool replica 18th century street, called “Victorian Walk” and checking out a replica prison cell with original etchings on the wood dating back centuries. All in all, a very interesting, EASY and fun day!

So if you’re looking for something to do in London over Easter (whether it’s with kids or not) and especially if you have people coming to visit from out of town, I would recommend passing by the Museum of London! For some reason it’s one of those places that seems to fall second place to the likes of the British museum, National Art Gallery and V&A, but if you give it a chance (including the drop in storytelling) it’s actually pretty fab!

Sober Weekend….!!


I’ve decided to start this semester with a little detox – for one month I won’t touch cigarettes, alcohol, anything containing caffeine and meat! Which obviously makes passing a fun weekend in London with all its pubs and drunken awesomeness quite difficult! So here’s my guide to a great sober weekend in London!

Ich habe mich dazu entschieden, dieses Semester mit einer Art Entgiftungstherapie zu beginnen – einen Monat lang werde ich weder rauchen, noch Alkohol trinken, Koffein konsumieren oder Fleisch essen! Das macht es offensichtlich ziemlich schwierig, in London ein gutes Wochenende zu verbringen mit all seinen Pubs und beschwipster Heiterkeit. Deshalb nun hier meine Anleitung zu einem tollen und vollkommen nüchternen Wochenende in London!

KEEP-CALM-AND-STAY-SOBER

Searching the internet shows that this is quite a common issue in London, people giving up alcohol for a month and then desperately look for things to do. Someone has even set up a website about it.
London undoubtedly is a renowned centre of culture and history and its list of museums is long and diverse. Museums in London don’t just involve the massive ones everyone knows – such as the Science or Natural History Museum or the V&A – there are lots of smaller, independent places, the Charles Dickens Museum, the Cartoon Museum and the Scotland Yard Crime Museum to name but a few. The Telegraph has put together a list of the 50 best unusual London museums. So if you’re not drinking it’s a great idea to spend the day in a museum of your choice!

You’ll probably be hungry afterwards and thank God London is full of choice if it comes to eating out, even if you’re a (temporary) vegetarian as I am right now. My favourite vegetarian dine-outs are definitely those small traditional Indian places in the suburbs where you get proper and affordably priced Indian cuisine. TimeOut and the Evening Standard have published lists with the best vegetarian restaurants in London; I might check out some of those places over the next few weeks too!

If the weather is good – and luckily we’ve had the most stunning autumn ever so far – then why not go for a walk in London (guided or not) or take some Boris Bikes and cycle the city? Stop by at a cafe and indulge yourself in cake and sweets – after all, it’s the weekend, isn’t it?

And why don’t you go and watch a play or a musical? London is full of theatres and tickets don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Or go to the movies like in the good old days – that’s what I’m going to do today! Beautiful, sober weekend everyone!


Wenn man das Internet durchsucht, merkt man, dass das gar kein so ungewöhnliches Thema ist, Leute, die für einen Monat auf Alkohol verzichten und verzweifelt nach Beschäftigung suchen. Jemand hat sogar eine Website zu diesem Thema erstellt.
London ist zweifellos ein renommiertes Kultur- und Geschichtszentrum und die Liste der Museen ist lang und vielfältig. Zu den Museen in London gehören nicht nur die großen und bekannten – wie beispielsweise das Science oder das Natural History Museum oder das V&A – es gibt eine Menge kleinerer und unabhängiger Museen, das Charles Dickens Museum zum Beispiel, das Cartoon Museum oder das Scotland Yard Crime Museum, um nur eine kleine Auswahl zu nennen. Der Telegraph hat eine Liste der besten 50  ungewöhnlichen Museen zusammengestellt! Wenn ihr also nicht trinken wollt, verbringt doch den Tag in einem Museum eurer Wahl!

Nach dem Museumsbesuch werdet ihr vermutlich hungrig sein und Gott sei Dank bietet London eine große Auswahl an Gaststätten aller Art, selbst wenn ihr, so wie ich, (momentan) Vegetarier seid. Für mich sind die besten vegetarischen Restaurants ganz sicher diese kleinen, traditionell indischen Restaurants, die man in den Vororten findet und wo man echte und preiswerte indische Küche bekommt. TimeOut und der Evening Standard haben Listen mit den besten vegetarischen Restaurants Londons herausgebracht, einige davon werde ich über die nächsten Wochen wohl selbst mal ausprobieren!

Falls das Wetter mitspielt – und glücklicherweise hatten wir bis jetzt wirklich den besten Herbst aller Zeiten – warum dann nicht zu einem Spaziergang ansetzen oder einer Führung oder ihr leiht euch ein paar “Boris Bikes” und erkundet London mit dem Fahrrad? Legt einen Zwischenstop in einem der unzähligen Cafés ein und gönnt euch Kuchen und Süßen – immerhin ist es Wochenende, oder etwa nicht?

Und wieso geht ihr nicht ins Theater oder seht euch ein Musical an?  In London gibt’s Theater wie Sand am Meer und die Tickets müssen nicht unbedingt teuer sein. Oder ihr geht ins Kino wie in den guten alten Tagen – das ist es, was ich heute vorhabe! Schönes, nüchternes Wochenende euch allen!