Sometimes visiting London is not that much fun as you expected. I had an experience like that when I was mugged in London some years ago. I had to go to the Dutch Ambassy for an emergency passport. I shall spare you the details of these visits (yes I had to visit it twice). The only thing I will say is that the staff should be ashamed on how they treat people. And especially people from their own country. I still don't like visiting that area. I try to avoid it, but that is not always possible. Luckily for me there are lots of places in London where I feel very good, and where I come back every time I visit London. First of all there is the hotel in Hammersmith. It is nothing special, but for me it feels home. The rooms are clean, I have a bed, a loo and a shower, the staff is nice and I have some breakfast. I want nothing more than that. The area of the hotel is bit like a second home to me. The Tesco is not far away, and for the Racing Post and the newspaper I just cross the road, where some very nice shopkeepers always welcome people with a smile. The Hammersmith Tubestations are not far away and you travel from Hammersmith to Leicester Square in no time.
When I arrive in London the first thing I do is take the Hammersmith and Cityline to Hammersmith. On my way there I even pass the BBC offices and their famous satelite dishes. When I get off, I see if I can find a Racing Post at one of the newspaper agencies. As horseracing fan, I am more than happy to read that paper. I pass the Caffe Nero very quickly and dump my luggage at the hotel. If I am lucky, my room is ready, and if I am not lucky I come back later to pick up the key to my room. I have visited the Hotel so often that I get acquainted with the staff there, or most of them. So there is always a nice and warm welcome for me.
The huge Westfield shopping centre is not far from the hotel and sometimes I visit it. It is a nice place to shop when the weather is bad. You can find everything you want there. You can even have breakfast, lunch or dinner there. Want to see a movie? No problem, a huge cinema is also present. The Hammersmith Apollo is not far from the hotel as well. You can see all kind of shows there. It is worth to look things up before you travel to London.
There is one place where I feel very much at home. For some reason I always seem to end up at the National Portrait Gallery. I think it is even better than its big brother, The National Gallery around the corner. It is not so crowded (or it wasn't at the times I've visited the Gallery). I love walking around the rooms so full of history, and see the paintings of people you only read about in books. I might have visited it dozens of times, but it never gets boring. I like to sit down from time to time and let my mind wonder about the lifes people led in the old days. I always feel a skip in my step when I leave the Gallery. They also have interesting exhibitions from time to time. Entrance to the National Portrait Gallery is free, except for the exhibitions. You have to pay a small fee to see them, and sometimes it is worth it. Ofcourse it depends on your taste, but it is worth a check when you visit the Gallery. I can't wait to visit both Hammersmith and the National Portrait Gallery again.