London is full to the brim with secret corners, hidden passages, underground walkways and unexpected buildings…
I’ve already made peace with the fact that it’s going to be impossible to discover everything about my city in my lifetime (especially as it’s constantly evolving – give a girl a chance!) but the very least I can do is impart a few little nuggets of knowledge to you as I stumble across its hidden treasures…
And after doing a bit of research, I can see why. Huawei is very proud to announce that this the first smartphone to have a camera that is capable of providing a professional photography experience, which is very exciting indeed. It allows you to control aspects like shutter speed, exposure and light saturation… so photos looks as though you’ve been out and about with your serious photography kit… when actually, you just whipped your phone out of your pocket.
As someone who is on Instagram every day, this phone has huge appeal for me. There are, as we know, hundreds of apps to edit photos after you’ve taken them, but everyone knows that the better your photo is to begin with, the more authentic and professional it will look. No amount of pot-snap-fiddling can transform a mediocre picture into something special… and these photos are definitely high up there on my specialometer. (That’s very scientific measuring kit.)
So now that you’re all tooled up, here is the first of my magnificent seven…
Hackney City Farm (pic above)
1a Goldsmiths Row, London E2 8QA
London has a few city farms, but this one may well be my favourite. The farm is mostly famous for its amazing cafe, Frizzante, but rest assured the farm is also packed to the hilt with extremely happy animals. They have a lovely garden, a pottery studio, they offer beekeeping courses and also run the Haggerston Orchard Project – now in it’s third year, the Haggerston Orchard is now a thriving food production site, run on permaculture principles, set in nearby Haggerston Park.
Bermondsey is old. It actually appears in Domesday Book as Bermundesy and Bermundesye in 1086. See? Old. It has a long and rich history of thousands of stories, and took a while to recover from the terrible damage it received from the bombings in WWII… our grandparents absolutely wouldn’t recognise it today. Full of funk and creativity, there has been an upsurge in artistic and local thriving businesses over the last few years… and with the brilliant Maltby Street Market under its wing, Bermondsey Street in SE1 isn’t going to stay very secret for very long…
F. Cooke’s Pie & Mash Shop, Broadway Market
9 Broadway Market, E8
Eel, pie and mash shops are one of London’s long standing culinary traditions and F.Cooke is one of London’s most loved. It was Bob Cooke’s (the current owner) grandfather who established the shop in 1900! So for pies and mash drenched in parsley liquor, stewed eels, jellied eels and proper puddings with custard, head there immediately. And while you’re at it, have a peruse of the amazing Broadway Market, with all it’s gorgeous foodie stalls… Although I warn you, you may never leave…
Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH
Abney Park in Stoke Newington is one of the ‘magnificent seven’ garden cemeteries of London. It is a woodland memorial park and local nature reserve and beautifully, wonderfully calm and peaceful. It’s a proper haven and there are also opportunities to take guided walks, take part in a woodwork workshop, there are wildlife spottings and lots of after-dark events… There are over 200,000 people buried in Abney Park Cemetery, from world-famous names such as William Booth to relatively unsung heroes, such as Betsi Cadwaladr who, aged over 60, worked as a nurse alongside Florence Nightingale in the Crimea War…
18 Stafford Terrace
18 Stafford Terrace formerly known as Linley Sambourne House was the home of the Punch illustrator Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910)… and the completely amazing thing is that the house has remained virtually untouched and immaculately preserved since those Victorian times. Nearly all of its original furniture and fittings remain intact and there for you and me to see in all their glory. It’s open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons for folk to drop in and guided tours run on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
St Dunstan’s in The East
St Dunstan’s Hill, London, EC3R 5DD
If you’re looking for somewhere to disappear to and be completely secluded in the city, head here. The Church of St Dunstan was originally built around 1100 and is now a Grade I listed building. It was severely damaged in 1666 by the Great Fire of London, but rather than a new build happening, they kind of patched it up, so there is a higgledy piggledy feeling to it… which is added to by the steeple and tower which was added in the late 1600s by Sir Christopher Wren. I’ll see you there – I’ll be the one with tea and a book.
Gresham Street, London, EC2
Built between 1411 and 1440, this is where the Lord Mayor of London and the ruling merchant class held court, tweaked laws and revamped regulations which shaped London’s wallet and wealth. Eight hundred years on, Guildhall now hosts all manner of glittering banquets and events for foreign dignitaries, Heads of State and royal folk… but more importantly, it’s a wonderful spot to sit down, have a sandwich and watch the world go by…
So really, there are eight secrets in this post – seven of my favourite places and one magnificent new phone.
Thank you Tun for your fabulous photos!
//Written in collaboration with Huawei