Tuesday, 15 October 2013


I shot down to the Big Smoke on the weekend of the 5th October. Here’s what I did, that you should do too.

Greenwich is home to the newly-refurbished, century-old tea clipper The Cutty Sark . Learn how this vessel helped make the British cuppa as popular as it is today, and what life was like aboard. A magnificent piece of nautical architecture, even from beneath.

Up at the O2 allows you to walk over the top of the Iconic O2 Arena. The guide, Adam, talked us through the process, giving us the wind-proof body suits and boots, and led us over the dome via a path made of springy material suspended over the shell of the building. The suits were a testament to the era- strong, warm, breathable material, with a pocket on the chest specifically for smartphones.

Up at the O2 also caters for wheelchair users.

Although working the karabinas can take a couple of goes to master- you need to re-clip it to the cord you’re attached to as you pass certain wire-work on the way up- the ascent and descent are fairly easy. The apex of the dome is only 52 metres high but the view…

After a picture break, you’re led down the other side onto solid ground. The walk costs £25pp but is worth it.

Next up: The National Maritime Museum. Fascinating but very war-heavy. From technical details of how the boats operated to cultural information about the effects of marine travel, the displays range from interesting, to amusing, to darkly sobering (brace yourself for the very moving section on the slave trade).

We tried getting in at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Greenwich: booked up. So was nearby Zizi’s. We spotted Byron and gave it a whirl. It’s a fantastic American-style burger joint, with a 1950’s milk-bar feel. (A branch has just opened on Deansgate in Manchester. Check it out.) If you’re quick you can try out the delicious Le Smokey, a burger with generous helpings of Montery Jack cheese. Yum. It’s on the menu until 31st October.

There’s plenty to keep you entertained in London. I’ve got plans to do more sightseeing over the next few trips down south, including Camden, Madame Tussauds, The Shard, Notting Hill, The Old Bailey (as an observer, obviously), Highgate Cemetery and the Imax Greenwich. Any further suggestions?

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