Seeing as this is the city I’ll be spending most of my time from now on, it seems a bit cruel to leave it out. It may be my hometown (and one that I’ll damn well proud of being from) but you still find travel excitement and adventure within it. Don’t underestimate the places right on your doorstep!
So welcome to London, probably a regular feature of this blog from now on. I’ll catch you up with a couple of the awesome things I’ve found myself doing lately in the capital city!
London Zoo Lates
What do you get if you cross alcohol, animals, carousels and a selection of childhood acitivities like ball pits and Twister? Something pretty non-existent you might think, something from a different level of your imagination, something you didn’t ever dare in your adult life think could come together. Hold the phone, folks, put down your diary (planning tedious meetings with those boring colleagues), put on your glasses and see here… it’s all real!
London Zoo Lates at London Zoo (Camden) runs each summer every Friday night throughout June and July (I am SO sorry I’m only telling you now! But it is sure to run next year too – if it doesn’t, it’ll have a stampede by yours truly), 6pm – 10pm. Basically, look at the animals as you would, drink beer (Kozel, a Czech beer), cider, Pimm’s – yes, AT THE SAME TIME. Some enclosures you have to leave your drink behind; you would definitely regret letting the goats in the petting area drinking your alcohol, if not for the fact that you paid for it, but have you ever seen a goat drunk? Neither have I, but I don’t imagine it’s pretty, especially given all these goat YouTube sensations.
Fairy lights are roped amongst the trees around the ‘party’ area, where there’s a silent disco (different, AND lets the animals sleep!) and even a ‘playground’ area. This is where I could hardly contain myself. Twister and a ball pit. A ball pit for adults. Having been drinking. This may sound too convenient and maybe a little bit odd, but I have genuinely had discussions with friends before how I don’t think ball pits should be constrained to the enjoyment of children. They are too much fun to let go as a distant childhood memory. Along with hula hooping, we were hyper, and a little drunk, deciding the best next course of action was the carousel. In true zoo style, we weren’t riding horses – I, for example, was on a tiger. Nearing the end of the night, as if the dream-like night hadn’t given us enough, we got into a 60s style caravan photo booth, complete with props, and were snap happy.
In a world taken far too seriously, taking ourselves far too seriously, this night was absolutely perfect in showing that we can still indulge the child within us.
Columbia Road Flower Market
A little more low key, let’s go floral. London has so many markets, and trying to pick one out, especially one quirky enough, is a mammoth task. A couple of months ago, I discovered Columbia Road Flower Market, on, you guessed it, Columbia Road – off Hackney Road in East London (nearest tube Hoxton).
Flowers, flowers, everywhere. From sunflowers (a personal favourite) to orchids, lavenders to bird of paradise, and even my soft spot for bamboo tendrils made an appearance. The atmosphere is like a very classy Eastenders – the sellers shouting amongst the bustle, imparting their questionable but amusing logic as to why you should buy their bunches of roses. Even the home made signs selling the flowers are enough to make you want to buy them. Then you get the shops at the sides selling interior design, candles, and ones that you’re not sure what they sell, but the decor is so artsy you’re hypnotised in (this happens to me far more frequently than I care to admit).