An insider perspective is always the best, whether it’s your first visit or the umpteenth. We’ve asked five locals to talk about their experience, and reveal where they love to spend their time in London.
— Beth Anderton-Allen —
One of London’s best features is the city’s vibrant music scene. Beth Anderton-Allen is a creative at Shoreditch-based brand agency Amplify. She is also a part-time music writer and producer, under the name WORKWEAR. She shares her London recommendations with us.
WinWin: Your favourite music venues?
Beth: There are loads of brilliant music venues all across London, from massive arenas to dingy basements, converted printing factories and railway sheds. One of my favourites is Printworks in Canada Water, which is set in a stunning industrial environment and hosts events that showcase the best in live and electronic music. There’s also Moth Club in Hackney, which has a ceiling covered in gold glitter and a stage draped with golden streamers. The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm and Village Underground in Shoreditch are another couple of great venues and have loads of gigs on all the time, celebrating all sorts of genres.
WW: Artists we should listen out for?
B: TSHA is a really exciting emerging DJ and producer from London. She has a beautifully unique and diverse sound — her new track Moon is killer. If you’re into house music, COEO are a German duo who produce tracks with a disco edge. One of my favourite bands of all time are Little Dragon. They’ve been around for years, and never fail to disappoint. If you haven’t already, check out their stuff. [Ed note: start with our Playlist!]
WW: Where do you live in London?
B: I live in the west but work in the east, so I get to experience the best of both worlds, as both sides of the city are so different. I live not too far from Portobello Road, which is home to the world’s largest antique market, with people selling all sorts of things — from vintage clothing to fruit and veg.
My area in west London is full of beautiful period houses and parks, with lots of pubs and restaurants close by that are always full of locals enjoying themselves.
WW: Best and worst of London life?
B: London is one of my favourite places in the world, because the city always has an exciting buzz. There is never a dull moment, and you’ll always find something to do that interests you. You can visit an exhibition at one of its many galleries, go to a free comedy night or a gig. There’s something for everyone all across the city.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Tube, though. It’s great as it’s so frequent and can get you to all parts of the city, but rush hour is pretty crazy — especially in the summer, when it’s boiling hot and you’re all squashed in like sardines.
More about Beth:
— Rosie Price —
Rosie’s debut novel, What Red Was, is the story of Kate Quaile and Max Rippon, who meet at university and share an intense, formative friendship. When Kate is sexually assaulted at a summer party by a member of Max’s family, the experience of sexual violence is life-shattering; her world, and the people in it become unrecognisable as a result. The story follows Kate as she deals with the isolation of trauma.
Rosie Price describes her writer’s life in London.
I grew up in the countryside, in south-west England, and I love London for its abundance of green spaces. On the weekends, I like to go walking or bike-riding in one of my favourite parks — either Brockwell Park, which is spacious and unspoilt with an open-air swimming pool, or Battersea Park, where you can hire a boat and take it out onto the lake.
Columbia Road flower market is wonderful on Sundays, and from there you can walk along Regent’s Canal, stopping at any of the water-side bars and pubs.
My favourite bookshop has to be Lutyens & Rubinstein in Notting Hill, just off Portobello Road. Lutyens is also the literary agency that represents me, but I knew them as a bookshop before I was even thinking of writing a novel. When I first lived in London, I worked just round the corner and in my lunch breaks I would go and buy many more books than I could feasibly read, and they had beautifully designed bookmarks and tote bags.
It’s the kind of place where booksellers will tell you exactly what they think you’ll like, based on what you’ve just read and your existing preferences, and they rarely seem to be wrong.
Right now I’m in south-west London, in Battersea. I live in a shared house and we’re not far from the river, which is great for walking or running alongside when I need to take a break from writing. I lived north when I was first in London, and I’m about to move east, but I’ve really put my roots down in Battersea so I’ll be sad to leave. There’s a yoga studio thirty seconds from my front door, and an incredible boxing gym and youth centre right next to the park where my friends and I box at least once a week.
I like to write at my desk on the top floor of the house I share with some of my closest friends.
If I’m on a deadline, I’ll disconnect from the WiFi and put my phone on airplane mode until I’ve got through a big chunk of work.
Usually listening to music is too distracting — with the exception of Frank Ocean’s two albums, Blond, and Channel Orange — which I listened to on repeat while I was writing What Red Was.
More about Rosie:
— Hetty Appleton-Miles —
She might only be 21, but Aussie-about-London Hetty Appleton-Miles already has a job in fashion many only dream of: a junior stylist at Burberry, the classic British fashion house. We pick Hetty’s brain about what it’s like being an Australian living abroad.
WinWin: How did you get to where you are today?
Hetty: I have always been a very determined person. I came to London around three years ago, not knowing I would end up living my dream here. I came for experience — yet had a very open mind to everything that came my way. I put my all into the internships, experiences and connections I made along the way and managed to work my way to where I am now.
WW: What does your role entail?
H: It’s hard to say, as it’s definitely not the same every day. It’s nice that that is the case — some days I sit behind my desk, other days I’m styling on-set for Burberry.com.
WW: Where do you take a visiting mate to shop?
H: I love when my friends come and visit me. I love showing them “my London”. But the thing is, London is so big — each area is like a city within itself, and all have little treasures within themselves. I love taking people to vintage shops and boutiques specific to certain areas of London, as it’s not the kind of shopping you could do just anywhere. The vintage markets in Brick Lane, vintage shopping in Notting Hill, and the tiny independent boutiques in Soho are my go-to spots.
WW: Best place for people-watching?
H: Like most things in London, it depends on the weather — but I love grabbing a coffee and sitting on a park bench in Kensington Gardens. There’s a good mixture of tourists and locals that can keep you entertained for hours.
Hetty’s tips for moving to London:
Just give it a go — and if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried and experienced it.
Try not to let the shit weather get to you. It is important to continue to get out of the house and do the things you normally would. Don’t let the weather get in the way.
If you are here, be here and take advantage of everything London has to offer. Don’t move to London and immediately start wishing you were home in Australia again. There’s no point in that — and as a result, London would start to feel very lonely.
More about Hetty:
— Zoe Adjonyoh —
Delicious food is essential in any city experience. Zoe Adjonyah is a writer and chef at Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen.
Named by Nigel Slater as a “one to watch” bringing immigrant food to Britain, Zoe Adjonyoh says London is one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the world, with an amazing diversity in both food and culture. She resides in the trendy enclave of East Indian Hackney Wick and — apart from infamous warehouse parties on the weekends — the area offers her a “peaceful slice of London life, with the canal and old ford lock at the end my road, and Victoria Park and Roman Road Market just a stone’s throw away.”
— Ravinder Bhogal —
Ravinder Bhogal is the brains behind Jikoni, which means kitchen in Swahili.
Ravinder Bhogal’s abode is “a space filled with love and light and often a little chaos”, where her husband is her biggest supporter and “most willing taster.” Jikoni, her first restaurant, is located in Marylebone, and is “a mixed heritage restaurant that takes inspiration from our heritage and travels, as well as the various diverse immigrant cultures in Britain.”
As well as her husband, Ravinder cites her Mum and grandfather as the people who inspired her to cook when she was growing up. For Zoe it’s “my ancestry and a desire to continue to contribute to awakening the world to its wonderful ingredients and flavours in my daily inspiration.”
London on a plate.
The burning question we had for Zoe and Ravinder: what does their ideal gastronomic day look like?
It has to be a greasy spoon — the greasier the better. Preferably an establishment around the corner from me, hustling with builders, where there’s tea flowing freely and a doorstep (a thick slice of bread) laden thigh high with butter.
I love the Wolseley for breakfast — the service is always so outstanding, and it’s great for people watching.
Jollof Box in Dalston for some hearty jollof and stew (a one-pot rice dish) — fuel for powering around town!
Somewhere like Morito, in Hackney. I absolutely love the chef Maria Leivadataki’s food — she has an innate understanding of what people like to eat.
Either Akoto or Ikoyi to show off the higher end of west African dining.
At Scully. The chef, Ramael Scully, is a genius at mixing flavours and cultures. I also love Bocca di Lupo — the vibe is great and the Italian food is faultless.
More about Zoe:
More about Ravinder: