Brrrrr. You guys, I am full on freezing to the core. And also I have that thing called Reynaud’s, which is basically a fancy way of saying I get really cold hands; needless to say winter is not my friend and I doubt it ever will be. One thing I will say for sure though is…if you can block out the stabbing pain in your hands and feet whilst beholding it, West London in the winter is an extremely pretty experience.
Here, in no particular order, are my top places to have a little wander and attempt to brighten up your January days…
If you’re not in a rush…travel overground, not under
The tube might be warm, but the downside is that there’s a strong chance that your face will be pressed into the armpit of a stranger for the duration of your journey. And what’s more the only thing you can see out of the windows is the pitch black of the tunnel around you, whereas to travel by bus is to see all the sights!! Trust me. My most favourite of all the routes is the Number 52 between Victoria Station and Notting Hill.
Check out that vantage point! The 52 goes all the way up one side of Hyde Park, past The Royal Albert Hall, through Knightsbridge and Kensington High Street and onwards to Notting Hill. (And beyond) I mean, what a marvellous journey!
Stroll along Portobello Road
Because there’s a song all about it in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and isn’t that reason enough?
‘Portobello road, Portobello road
Street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload
Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road.’
But aside from the whole Disney connection, it is genuinely a treasure trove of antiques and general curiosities which are most certainly worth a browse.
Check out the museums in Kensington
Double bonus as not only are they pretty full on awesome (and the ice rink at The Natural History Museum is beaut), but they are also pretty full on FREE. Free of charge, you get to see some of the most amazing wonders of the world, and in my opinion that makes us really, really lucky.
My favourites are the Victoria and Albert (which amongst many other things, tends to always have some top quality exhibitions on costumes and general fashion-y things), and the Natural History Museum. Life is for learning, and you can learn a hell of a lot of things here. Even ignoring the treasures that they hold, the buildings themselves are absolute stunners my friends!
Take a wander through Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens/Holland Park
A few years ago I drove through Hyde Park in a black cab around sunrise whilst it was covered in a thick blanket of snow, and it was honestly one of the most beautiful and magical sights I have ever seen. (Also, the fact that the cab driver kept addressing me as ‘Miss’ gave the whole experience a slightly more surreal quality, but that’s beside the point)
London is a hustling, bustling kind of a city, and the snow somehow changed the whole feeling of it to a far more peaceful and calm place. If you’re lucky enough to be in London when it snows, you should most definitely run pedal to the metal into that snowy wonderland because it is a beautiful rarity which needs to be made the most of!
But. Even if it doesn’t snow, fresh air is good for you and the parks are still pretty, so you should definitely go for a leisurely stroll or two to soak in the wintry atmosphere.
Go on a pastel-house hunt
Because a pastel-coloured house will actually literally brighten up a grey day, and seeking them out is fast becoming my new favourite hobby. The best thing to do is just set off for a little wander and see what you stumble across. Notting Hill, Kensington, and Earls Court are all good locations for pastel-house-hunting; check out these bad boys for goodness’ sake!
One last thing- scattered amongst all of the above you will find many a coffee shop/tea room/pub. Use these at regular intervals to avoid freezing over.