Sunday, 13 July 2014

5 places in London that remind me of The Cotswolds

We have known Alice since secondary school. Alice and Emily bonded over a new found love for Jamie Cullum and a lack of knowledge of maths in Year 9 and she went travelling with Meg in 2008.  Alice lives in Brixton, South London, and so will be writing about her adventures there and how being brought up in The Cotswolds has shaped the way she sees London.  Alice currently works in the events team at a private members club in Marylebone and the thing she misses most about The Cotswolds are that she can't see her friends everyday.  

Photo taken by Anna Clarke 

Awwww! We miss you too Alice #TheGuestList

Almost 4 years ago I had an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ moment with The Cotswolds.  I had lived there for 18 years, been round the world and back to find that I still had itchy feet.   I loved The Cotswolds but just realised that I was looking for something new for a new chapter in my life.
Luckily for me, my best friends and family still live in The Cotswolds and so when Megan and Emily asked me to write something for their blog, we thought the best place to start would be my top 5 places in London that remind me of The Cotswolds.

1.       Shopping at Daylesford Organic
Set right in the heart of the beautiful Notting Hill, Daylsford Organic is a lovely little piece of Gloucestershire that should meet all your artisan food needs.  If I'm feeling homesick I'll go and have a walk around it and imagine I'm in the original farm shop in Daylsford.  If I'm feeling flush I'll sit down and eat the pea & broad bean risotto, mint & marjoram pesto which is totally delicious.   
They say "We've been farming organically for over 30 years, with a simple passion for real food.  Straight from our farm to your fork"  Well, that sounds pretty good to me. 

2.       Going for a walk in Greenwich Park
The thing I love the most about Greenwich Park is that you are able to genuinely find a tiny bit of calm and two seconds later you've got one of the best views in London.  To me, that's the best of both worlds.
Going to a park in London is not like going for a walk in the Cotswolds and there is no way that I could never pretend like it was.  However, Greenwich Park has something about it that means you can walk for what seems like ages, up and down hills (very unlike London but much like the Cotswolds) you can find a little bit of quiet.  This is what is unusual here.  If you find the right spot, it's like a you have geographically found a sanctuary.  You can pick a tiny spot, and there are no sirens, you can't hear that teenager playing his dubstep on his crackly speakers, the music students from Trinity College can be heard rehearsing very softly, and it's perfect.  It's so delicate that you could step to the right and totally lose the tranquility.  

3.       Having a pint in The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell
To me, a good Cotswold pub should have 2 things; good ale (although actually I'm more of a gin & tonic drinker but that's beside the point) and a friendly face behind the bar.  And that's exactly what The Gunmakers has.  Although the word 'friendly' is not always the word I would use for the landlord, Jeff...Maybe 'characterful'.  But he remembers your name and makes me laugh with his cynicism.
With regards to the ale, my boyfriend and his friends are a massive fan of Purity Ale, which is brewed in the Cotswolds, so when the pub changed the ale from Mad Goose they campaigned on Twitter to bring it back.  This led to the Gunmakers re-instating it and Purity sending them a crate for them personally.  And Jeff didn't drink it all.  Maybe he isn't so bad...

4.       Hackney City Farm
I stumbled across this amazing little haven after buying flowers from the Columbia Road market in East London (another thing you must do in London, but that's a post for another day in itself) 
After researching Hackney City Farm for this post, I found out that it has actually been going for 20 years and has lots of amazing things going on that will make your heart all happy; from kids school visits through to sponsoring and volunteering with the animals and even pottery classes. I applaud these guys for not being able to get to the Cotswolds and so bringing the Cotswolds to East London.

5.       Going to The Globe Theatre 
I'm born and bred in 'Shakespeare's Stratford' so I think it is completely heartwarming that since 1599 people have been willing to stand throughout an entire Shakespeare play. I hope William is looking on us and is pretty proud of that.
The Globe itself has taken a similar pattern to that of Henry VII's wives...built, burnt, reconstructed, demolished, reconstructed...survived. This version of the Globe Theatre was built in 1997 and has tried to keep the same structure with a thrust stage, three tiers of seats (where the people who could afford it would sit) and a large circular yard (where everyone else sat)  As I write this, Julius Caesar is currently on, as is Titus Andronicus, which is apparently incredible.
Go, watch a Shakespeare play, stand in the yard (it's £5!) and be prepared to be transported back 415 years. 

Alice x

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