Little London Lunch Break: Your London

Little London Lunch Break posts will appear every Wednesday around lunch time. I’ll ask a questions or start a discussion, give my answer and leave the comments open for the rest of you the same when you have a minute or two. If you would like to suggest a question, please email me at

Question: London is so incredibly diverse and intricate that one person’s experience of it may be completely different from the next. Where is “your London”? Which areas do you feel most comfortable in, which are the most familiar?

My Answer:
There are a few places that feel like “my London”.

Notting Hill all the way down through Portobello Market, Ladbroke Grove, through to Kensal Green – the 52 bus route, basically. I lived in Kensal Green for 2.5 years, and have worked in Notting Hill for almost two. You would think I would have been tired of the walk between the two, but even on weekends I used to spend a lot of time in Portobello Market.

Spitalfields/Brick Lane also makes my list, the spread of market stalls and exotic food, the slightly run-down, creative atmosphere with graffiti splattered walls and vintage clothes shops. It’s all about the vibe.

I spend some time in the area between Oxford Circus and South Bank – down Regent Street, past Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square. It’s tourist-heaven, but it always makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. South Bank at night always reminds me of when I first fell in love with London.

Hampstead where I used to work and the amazing heath in the summer, Knightsbridge where I lived when I studied abroad and Hyde Park’s romantic willow trees, Blackfriars Bridge which I used to walk across into the sunset when I was doing work experience at a publishing company, Camden for the madness of the market, for Marathon’s hidden jazz nights and gigs generally.

These are not the only areas I spend time in, but they are places either connected to my life or that I have explored time and again.

And “your London”?

Kensal Green Cemetery: Tagore

Crisp, but not cold, Autumn air filled our lungs as we strolled slowly through the cemetery on Sunday afternoon. The dirt paths were covered in crinkled leaves that crunched satisfyingly under our feet. Gravestones were spilt across the land in every direction.

K and I are crossing off a list of 100 things we want to do together and one of those things was to find the famous Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore’s grandfather’s grave in Kensal Green Cemetery.

So we headed back to my old neighbourhood, passed under the gates to the peaceful resting place. We let our eyes roll over surnames and poetry, watching squirrels scurrying among death, birds perching on gravestones, ivy crisscrossing the engravings, flowers swirling their heads toward the sun. Saw a copy of The Power of Miracles abandoned among the leaves. A symbol of lost hope.

And we found the grave we were looking for, modest as expected.