London is one of the places that I hold dearly to my heart, along with New York. I always say I’m a city gal, and whatever city I am in is my favourite – but truthfully I can’t actually choose! So one way a city can sway my opinion is not only an easy transport system (check) but also plenty of green space for walking and relaxing.
When I go on a vacation or staycation for this matter, I don’t want to be holed up in my hotel. Even if I’m doing nothing, I want to do nothing outside where I can people watch and pass judgement on others. So when we found ourselves in Hyde Park trying to kill a few hours before our evening flight, we rented bikes, toured around the whole park and then relaxed and just watched everyone go about their daily London lives.
After walking from St James’ park to Hyde Park we rented Boris bikes, and after a bit of trouble paying (along with a French couple who didn’t speak English) we finally managed to unhinge our bikes and set off on the cycle trails. Hype park is enormous (350 acres) and is one of the largest parks in central London, so it wasn’t really an option to go walking since that’s all we had done the whole weekend; and with out impending flight it let us see the whole park with time to spare for lying on the grass and watching people. The bikes were pretty inexpensive – I think we paid about £6 for a good few hours on them. And our can park them back in any dedicated bike rack.
Cycling tired us out pretty quickly and with very little cash left, we nipped across to the local supermarket and grabbed some sandwiches and snacks to eat in the park. I think it might just be a European thing, but any sunny day us Brits are out in force sprawled across any free patch of grass – and I love it! I know not everyone is blessed with a garden, so you can treat your local park as your massive shared green space.
Watching people is one of the most fascinating things to do and a great way to get a sense of a city’s culture. Seeing parents out playing with their children, local kids football teams training, millions of cute dogs running past, kids coming up to you to ask to sponsor their football team (well that was just that one time I think) and office workers eating out during their lunch hour was just a few of the things we saw.
I’ve said this before in previous post here about New York, but finding the real people, places and behaviours of a city is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Yeah we done all the touristy stuff, but immersing ourselves in the daily lives of the locals is what really allows you to experience a city – and a great way to do that in London is cycling through Hyde Park and watching the world go by as you relax on the grass with a Diet Coke and a cheese sandwich.
Have you ever been to London?
What’s your favourite thing to do there?