As Sue Hillman of It’s Your London was so gracious to provide her month in review yesterday, I figure today I’ll throw in a mini May Day bank holiday weekend-in-review of my own.
Saturday morning we caught the overground train from Liverpool Street station and rode it out to Bishops Stortford, about 45 minutes outside of the city (and near Stansted Airport). Well outside of the labyrinth of urban streets, we then hopped off the train and onto our bikes to embark on the remaining 30-mile journey to Cambridge. [side note: If you’re not bringing your bike over when you move to London, which I didn’t, you can easily rent one throughout the city. I unfortunately don’t have a particular shop to recommend from personal experience as yet…I won’t slam the East London business where mine for last weekend came from, but let’s just say the bike was not up to par for the distance we told them we’d be going. I ended up with a heavy cruiser with skipping gears and just no power at all in the pedalling, when clearly a road or hybrid bike would be in order.]
Once within Cambridge’s city limits, we washed up and regrouped at Arundel House Hotel for a rewarding pint in the conservatory to cure what “aled” us (*hardy har*). The hotel was located just off the River Cam near Jesus Green park, which made for easy walking into the University center for more libations at The Anchor (where Pink Floyd’s founder, Syd Barrett, used to be a regular) as we watched the brave souls that still went out punting under the ominous purple sky. Dinner was at Loch Fyne, a reasonably priced, quality seafood restaurant with locations scattered throughout the UK. The next day brought us even cooler air and greyer skies, but this didn’t keep us from wandering the University, perusing the wealth of information within its bookshops, poking around the miscellaneous wares of its outdoor market, and warming back up at The Eagle pub with pints and a traditional Sunday roast. Within one of the several intimate little rooms in which you can tuck yourself away is a historic ceiling written all over by members of the U.S. Air Force and RAF when they hung out here awaiting their commands during World War II. Having blacked out the windows for concealment from the outside, inside they drank, smoked, and burned their legacy on the ceiling using candles and lighters. An easy-enough train ride (only an hour or so) delivered us back to London for a restful evening.
The following bank holiday Monday brought an old college roommate of mine into town. She had already seen London’s major sites during previous visits, so I showed her the neighborhoody side of London with lunch at The Troubadour in Earls Court (its downstairs music club has seen the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell) and a wander down Portobello Road in Notting Hill, where we grabbed dessert in the form of a £2 Red Velvet cupcake at The Hummingbird Bakery. Just when the chilling winds of this unusual cold snap were getting the best of us, it was time to duck into the Adelphi Theatre for some lyrically and visually haunting indoor entertainment—namely, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies. While I didn’t find the songs as memorable as those of Phantom, the vocal quality of the performers and dazzlingly different set design helped it stand strongly on its own.
So this just goes to show you but a few of the countless iterations of things you can do over a weekend once you move to London—and do it so easily for really not that much £££! When London Relocation Ltd. finds you your new home base within just one day, you’ll have so much extra time to venture out like this on your own.