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A Southbank Summer

the community roof garden
the community roof garden
we love our city

we love our city

Naturally, now that I’ve decided to explore my home country, I’m going to start near. One of the great things about living in London is that no matter how long you live here, you will find new things to discover and love all the time if you try. I could easily write for months, or years, just on this city, but I promise to branch out to the rest of the UK soon…

See this love of London is actually the problem, and the reason for my writing here. Londoners tend to love London. And, to be brutally honest, we don’t often go to other UK cities because we truly believe that London is the best and so why bother exploring anywhere else? If you’re a Londoner and I’ve offended you, then sorry, but do you really deny it? I don’t, and as someone who has a complete passion for travelling, I’m a little embarrassed by how little of the UK I’ve seen outside of Zone 3 (London is split into circular [sort of] ‘Zones’ starting with 1 in the centre – it’s related to our public transport system, but any Londoner will understand me, and my lack of treading into Zone 4…).

the real food market

the real food market

So, as promised, I WILL be exploring more, but for now, I wanted to share one of my newest London loves. I’ve been trying to explore more, and so after hearing so much about it, this summer I headed down to the Southbank to see what was going on. The Southbank has regular events and is the home of several theatres and TV studios, but this summer they’re celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain and the place is buzzing.

the community roof garden

the community roof garden

There is an amazing food market every weekend where myself and friends have gorged ourselves more than once… An urban beach, a stunning roof top community garden and cafe, a pop up Indian restaurant, street music, and a great exhibition about the history of building the Festival of Britain back in 1951 (a seriously huge task).

I’ll admit that the urban beach, although it sounds cool, is actually a slight disappointment, but the Real Food Market more than makes up for it (try to arancini wrap or the churros). The great thing about places like this in London is that you can wander down on any day and find something different. The last time I was there I stumbled across the enormous Southbank Book Market. It  sells some amazing second hand an antique books and prints everyday under the bridge and is one of the biggest book markets of its kind in this area.

Next time, who knows what I’ll find. As long as I get to go to the food market at the end… I’m going to be happy.

Next stop – leaving London. Big breaths now…

McPhee
McPhee was born in London where she lived until age 11 clocking in some early travel experiences around Europe. After that, she was off to the USA with her parents, living in New York, Maryland and Massachusetts. Post university, staying in one place didn’t work, so after a summer back in London, she headed to Thailand to become an English teacher. When she finished teaching she travelled through Laos and Cambodia where she discovered her love for travel writing. In November, 2009, after getting a one way ticket for £10 through STA Travel’s Anniversary celebrations, Marianne headed to Australia where she travelled across the East Coast and at one point found herself living in the Outback. Now that life has returned her to London, she has grabbed the chance to learn more about her home country. See her monthly updates on exploring the UK here, and read more of her musings, including her challenge to run around the world for charity at http://fillingthepages.com.

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