Tuesday, 3 January 2012

City Girl's Secret London Spots for Time Out

Hi everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. How did you celebrate? I enjoyed a very special time with family and friends and now feel full of excitement for the year ahead. 

Have you made any New Year's resolutions for 2012? If you have read the blog recently, you'll know that 2012 should introduce one big change to my life, as (all going well), I become a mum in a matter of weeks. This year will likely be very different from previous years, but even with a baby in tow, I have one, recurring New Year's resolution that I hope to achieve: to see more of London. Despite calling this exciting city home for several years, I love the fact that there's always somewhere new to discover, whether that's becoming acquainted with a lesser-known area, finding a new wine bar or stumbling upon a beautiful street. So, when Time Out London asked me to share 5 of my secret London spots, I jumped at the chance. Not only did it give me the opportunity to celebrate London as a city rich in these wonderfully diverse, often overlooked 'pockets', I longed to discover the secret spots chosen by others. Having worked at British Vogue on the Vogue Secret Address Book, I know what a challenging (albeit rewarding) task it is, to unveil 'secret' places in our capital, but hopefully you will encounter one or two in my Time Out picks. I would also love to hear about your secret London spots - which would you choose?

Here's a link to my 5 secret London spots for Time Out, or you can browse them here:

1. Postman’s Park – King Edward Street, Smithfield, EC4M 7DQ.
Postman's Park, Smithfield

Nestled unassumingly on the edge of London’s financial district, Postman’s Park is a beautiful green space and spiritual sanctuary. Paying tribute to ordinary people who lost their lives saving others (via the stunning, tiled Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice), Postman’s Park is a special, humbling place to sit upon a bench and take a step back from the bustling world beyond.

2. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art - 39A Canonbury Sq, N1 2AN.
Estorick Collection, Islington
The Estorick Collection is found within a handsome Georgian house in Islington which, along with the lack of crowds compared to other London galleries, adds to its appeal and the sense that you are uncovering extraordinary art in a secret space. The UK’s only gallery devoted to modern Italian art, a trip here is a treat. The permanent collection includes work by Modigliani which shares the spotlight with temporary collections, an impressive library,  
shop and outside café. Canonbury Square is a picturesque spot in itself.

3. Queen Square – Bloomsbury, WC1N 3AR.
Queen Square, Bloomsbury
Queen Square is one of London’s many squares featuring grand, attractive architecture and a magical, historic ambience, yet not many people (even London cabbies) seem to know how to find it. Surrounded mostly by medical buildings, the inner green space is a hidden gem and would make a serene picnic spot to enjoy before exploring the surrounding area. Maybe a film at the nearby Renoir cinema?

4. Sublime - 126 St. John Street, EC1V 4JS. (Website not live yet; tel: 020 7253 1112).
It seems that only locals know and love this delightful shop, where expertly edited indie (often Scandinavian) fashion labels and enchanting gifts are displayed in an irresistibly pretty way. A treasure trove for the shopper looking for something different, your first trip here will certainly not be your last.

5. Sourced Market St Pancras International station, NW1 2QP.
Sourced Market, St Pancras International
Whether or not you are en route to Paris, St Pancras International is an awe-inspiring station to visit. A welcome respite from the many chains surrounding it, Sourced Market celebrates the best of British produce and is open seven days a week, 7am to 9pm. Find your fresh fruit and vegetables or magnificent Flour Power City brownies then sit down for (or take away) a hot breakfast, lunch or dinner. A heavenly pit stop for foodies and a great place for gifts. 


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