Having lived for the majority of my adult life in London, I was strangely shocked to find myself, after moving away two years ago, missing the buzz of the Capital’s streets. When my young family and I left the city to look for a more relaxed, child friendly lifestyle away from all of the hustle and bustle, I thought I had had my fill of packed public transport and fighting through the traffic. However, after a few months I found that I was longing to potter around the British Museum or the V & A, or even hop on a bus and go people watching.
The great thing about this was that it gave me a new perspective on London. Absents makes the heart grow fonder, as does being an absentee and with this in mind I decided to hand the kids over to the grandparents and drag the husband back to the big smoke.
Most of our friends who used to live in London had the same idea about moving away around the same time we did, so we had to find somewhere to stay. I found loads of deals for London hotels online, so managed to book a hotel right in the heart of the West End; much closer to all of the action than we ever lived. The close proximity of all the theatres and galleries meant we saved money on travelling around, as we were able to walk to most of the places we wanted to go.
We purposely decided to avoid all of our old haunts and go and do some of the things we always talked about doing while we lived there but never seemed to get round to. I drew up a list beforehand because London has so much to offer, we only had a weekend and didn’t want to be rushing about too much. After much deliberation and checking out a few reviews on the what’s on guides online (and our finances), we booked tickets for a show, made reservations for dinner and bought tickets for an exhibition. All of the typical things you do on a weekend, I grant you, but out of the ordinary for us harden ex-Londoners.
We were blessed with great Autumnal weather, so also enjoyed a couple of lazy walks in both Regents and Hyde Park, kicking through all of the fallen leaves. It was lovely to go to the park as a couple rather than a family as there were no scooters/balls/pushchairs to be carried or dragged along… heaven!
We returned to our country idyll with a renewed vigour and a rekindled love of our capital city. London has such an eclectic mix of people of all cultures, which is one of the reasons it is such a vibrant city and always on the top 10 list of best cities to visit. As the famous quote of Samuel Johnson goes “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”, and after looking at it with different eyes, I have to agree with him.
Abby Wilkinson is a freelance writer and mother of three exuberant children. Born and bred in the UK, she has spent time living in the US and regularly travels to Africa and around Europe. She loves to draw upon her experiences and observations of travel and motherhood in her writing.