Why London is still winning…

Let’s talk quirky. Did you know, there’s only one tube station with no letters from the word ‘mackerel’ in it? Read on to find out which – plus why London remains the capital of quirk!
High and Mighty
So you prefer odd to even, happenings to events and pop-ups to rip-offs? Then where better to begin than the Southbank with its motley river boats, free shows, cool music and chic food shacks? Plus more living statues than a UKIP party conference.
But avoid the tourist hamster-wheel that is the London Eye and elevate your spirits by venturing up The Shard instead. Yes, we’ve all squinted at Europe’s tallest structure from a commuter carriage and thought it looked half finished – but then again, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona isn’t finished and everyone swoons over that! What’s more, from The Shard’s pinnacle, you can dance on the clouds as well as gawp at them – by donning headphones for the regular ‘silent disco’ night. Not sure throwing shapes at 300m sounds like the best choice.
Bermondsey?
Back on terra firma, you’re five minutes from the river. Turn left for the hordes at Tate Modern or go right for lively Shad Thames and Bermondsey. Yes, Bermondsey, with its hip Friday antiques market and array of chain free bars, cafes and restaurants, around the arches of Druid Street. Rejoin the river for glorious isolation and the odd quintessential bankside pub, like the Mayflower, Rotherhithe. Here, you can sup over the Thames and get your boots washed at high tide!
Off West End
If you must have your West End fix, then why not head for Shepherd’s Market instead of Covent Garden’s? This chi-chi slice of Victorian London is hidden away just off Piccadilly and transports you back to an old world without the ‘Ye’ in front. After browsing the antiquarian books at Heywood Hills (where Nancy Mitford worked during the Blitz), choose from a handful of proper pubs to get refreshed. Then maybe catch something edgy at nearby Soho Theatre, rather than the 103rd cast of Les Mis?
Eat Street
Street food in London used to mean the odd dried up slice of pizza from a window on Shaftesbury Avenue. No longer. It seems we Londoners love to chomp and stomp, especially when it’s cheaper than eating in. Options are infinite, but why not try The Rib Man every Sunday at the East End’s stupendous Brick Lane Market? Or if you favour a snack that doesn’t root you to the spot in a gale, go for Mike and Ollie, Brockley Market. Their epic flatbreads boast zingy fillings such as beetroot-braised shallots and Eastbourne mackerel fillets.
Which reminds me…it’s St John’s Wood.

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