Once youíve lived in London till you know it like the palm of your hand, walked past the Big Ben countless times and been on the London Eye, you might safely think there is little left to discover. Fortunately, in a city this diverse itís impossible to run out of things to do and new pictures to take.
Nowhere epitomises the life cycle of a city like the Docklands. The area has undergone tremendous change, from the workerís slums of the Victorian era to todayís luxury apartments for the mega-rich. There is a strange beauty and soullessness that plague Heron Quays and Canary Wharf that neighbouring Hackney just doesnít have; perhaps itís the skyscrapers and branches of Smollenskyís that do it, pitted against the riverside docks. The former warehouses of Shadwell and Wapping have been transformed into plush studios and flats, but there is something quite delightful about strolling down the narrow streets they live on and ending up in one of the pubs with views over the Thames.
While weíre on the subject of the river, the Thames separates London into north and south, creating a palpable divide as inhabitants of both sections have a tendency to sneer at each other. Its importance cannot be underestimated, and any section of the river is worthy of time, whether itís kicking back on a summerís eve with a beer by the South Bank or walking along the Chelsea Embankment. If you happen to stroll along the Hammersmith Bridge after drinking at one of the riverside pubs, make sure you look for the hundreds of spiders that have colonised one side of the bridge, along with their impressively intricate webs.
Visit Borough Market. Extraordinarily expensive and hugely overcrowded, if you can itís best to go on a Thursday or Friday when itís slightly less busy and you actually get to see the wares on display. Foodies wonít be disappointed, be prepared to be awoken by the smells of Colston Bassett blue cheese, grilled spicy chorizo and giant Thai curries being prepared for your tasting pleasure. Plus you get to spend £15 on 100g of 18 month aged acorn-fed Spanish ham.
Explore one of Londonís ďvillagesĒ, which are essentially affluent pockets with plenty of trees and old-looking shops. Hampstead, Wimbledon, Greenwich, Walthamstow and Marylebone all have their very own self-contained hamlets, with upmarket restaurants and cafes that spill out onto the pavement on sunny days. There will probably be a farmerís market taking place on a Sunday, but you wonít find a Wetherspoons or a Tesco for gold dust.