We’ve got it all; nature, history and fantastic food.
As today is St George’s Day - Visit England has issued a list of the 101 things to do in this country before considering going abroad. With the weather perfect and 14 of them within striking distance of London it’s enough to make you want a 'staycation'.
Of the fourteen near London I’ve done ten. See how many you’ve ticked off below (and read my self indulgent thoughts on each one).
1) Feel the buzz of the Southbank
When I moved back to London after five years in East Anglia I remember walking down the Southbank and getting the first real tingle of excitement to be living in London. The sights, the sounds and the cosmopolitan feel rival any city in the world.
2) Visit the Tower of London
People in silly outfits and crown jewels that are priceless – what’s not to love?
3) Enjoy a full English breakfast in the East End
My fiancee used to live in Bow – and we enjoyed many a bacon and egg sandwich in a greasy spoon. Red sauce for me.
4) Take a tour of the free museums in Kensington
As a kid I used to love the full size model of the blue whale at the Natural History Museum and the hands-on ‘Launchpad’ at the Science Museum.
5) Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
Get there early so you can get the best view through the fence.
6) Enjoy the food stalls and restaurants in Brixton Village and market
I can’t recommend this enough – so much variety, lots of atmosphere and very reasonable prices.
7) Spot deer in Richmond Park.
It’s a great place for a bike ride and you sometimes see David Weir training as an added bonus. If you’re just after the deer, Bushy Park is great too.
8) Step back in time at Hampton Court Palace.
It’s my top tip for anyone who likes history – great stories, beautiful gardens and the maze which I get lost in everytime (even when I think I can remember the secret directions).
9) Stand on the dateline at Greenwich Observatory
My favourite randon fact in the world (yes I do have one) is that the saying “on the ball” stems from Greenwich Observatory. There is a ball on a spike on the roof. Everyday at 12.55pm the ball goes up the spike and then drops down at exactly 1pm. In the olden days ships would use this to set their clocks by. They’d designate their most observant member of the crew to keep an eye on the ball and watch when it dropped - he was “on the ball”.
10) Take a trip up Box Hill
Fantastic views make the walk (or cycle if you’re feeling energetic) well worth it.
What I haven't done (yet)
11) Pretend to be James Bond walking over the O2 in Greenwich
12) Staying on the Bond theme -- mix martini cocktails at Duke's Hotel
13) Visit Windsor Castle
I've been to Windsor but embarrassingly I've never been inside.
14) Raft down the Olympic White Water Course at Lee Valley
To see the full list of 101 thingsto see in England before you go abroad visit www.101thingstodoinengland.co.uk