It’s that time of year when I get to regale you with tales from my trip home. I do still think of London as home, as I also think of Virginia as my home. I have two homes, yet London is the home where I can be my whole self again; where 70s, 80s and 90s Chitra meet up with current Chitra and hold hands and skip around town together. It is lovely.
Unfortunately this year was a bit of a whirlwind trip, just two weeks long, so we didn’t venture far (we mostly stuck to South London). I had my 13 year old with me, and was helping my mum settle back into her house and life in London. Our days out needed to be shorter in order to accommodate appointments and chores, but we still managed to see and do a lot. This is most definitely a very different must-do list about London, it is mostly driven by nostalgia, comfort and the proximity of family and friends. The 13 year old loves all things London Transport, and playgrounds; I’m interested in history, art, and being in green spaces – we planned these mini days with both of our interests in mind. Maybe one of the trips will appeal to you? I have included transport info for you, just in case.
Picnic and playground at Morden Hall Park, walk the Wandle River Trail, tram spotting at various points along the way. If you like Indian snacks and street food, Tooting Broadway is a short ride from Morden on the Northern Line. We like the samosas from Pooja Sweets and eat them on the spot from paper bags.
Tube:Morden, Tram:Phipps Bridge
Trainspotting on Putney Bridge. Walk across the bridge and discover beautiful old buildings near the station. Play a game of “which house would I live in”, walk through the tunnel to Fulham Palace and it’s gardens (definitely check out the Palace if/when you have time), wander along the river. Enjoy the views from the above ground District line train.
Tube: Putney Bridge Station
Visit the Young V&A for fun and games, and tea and cake. Walk down to Brick Lane in Shoreditch to check out vintage clothing shops, and ancient streets with new street art, ride the Overground line from Shoreditch and change to the Dockland Light Railway, where the views of East London from above are beautiful.
Tube: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, and all the DLR stations
Visit the Transport Museum in the early afternoon when it is quieter, eat lunch at Covent Garden Falafels (street vendor right outside the museum), explore the alleyways around Covent Garden, check out specialty shops: Stanfords for maps, The London Graphic Center for art supplies.
Tube: Covent Garden
See the Tate Britain for it’s amazing collection and free kids’ activities, walk along the Thames Embankment, then down to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, or just take a boat to Greenwich? The Maritime Museum is amazing, as is the hill near the observatory for it’s view.
Tube: Pimlico and Westminster/Greenwich
Go to Wimbledon Park for it’s Playgrounds, splash pad, and riverside walk. Feed ducks, walk to beautiful Southfields Station, take the tube to Wimbledon, walk up the hill to picturesque Wimbledon Village, eat/drink in one of many pub gardens, walk around the Wimbledon Common, catch the bus back down to Wimbledon Station.
Tube: Wimbledon Park, Southfields, Wimbledon. Bus:93
The Southbank – Pretty much walk around soaking up the atmosphere. Check out the art installations, used books market, and the skaters showing off, climb up to the roof gardens, eat from food trucks. If you want a good cafe, walk down to the Lower Marsh area. Trainspotting and art spotting at Waterloo Station afterwards.