May 18 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Pete Stean, otherwise known as The Londoneer, has been blogging about the capital since 2007. Here he shares some of his top tips on getting the most out of the city.
Q. Where do you live and why?
A. I live in Stratford - it's not the classiest part of town but we have fantastic travel connections now that both the London Overground and the Javelin serve the local stations. Perhaps one of these days I'll be able to stroll down the street with my suitcase and hop on a train to Brussels.
Q. What does London mean to you?
A. London is a place of amazing richness, diversity and complexity - I've been here for 20 years now, and if I ever had to leave I'd probably die of heartbreak. I love her.
Q. What is your earliest London memory?
A. When I was a young boy I remember going through my parents' tin box of old photographs, and coming across a beautiful black and white shot of them standing in Trafalgar Square next to that odd little police cell, and thinking that I wanted to see that for myself one day. Funnily enough they were on their honeymoon when that photograph was taken, and I'm not sure my mother's been back since!
Q. If you could live anywhere in London, where would it be?
A. I'm a hopeless romantic so it would have to be in Little Venice, on a barge, with a suitably scruffy looking dog.
Q. What advice would you give to someone new in London?
A. London is an expensive city but you don't have to spend lots of cash to enjoy yourself - look into all of the exciting things that you can do for free both during the day and in the evening. It will open doors to a broader and richer experience of the city's culture than just going down to the pub a few nights a week.
Q. What is your favourite London view?
A. I rather enjoy the view across London from the steps of Alexandra Palace. You can also go ice skating when you eventually get bored of staring at the BT Tower and the Gherkin off in the distance!
Q. Where is your favourite place to eat or drink?
A. That's a difficult one because I have very eclectic tastes, but if I had to settle on something sophisticated but not too pricey it would be Gordon Ramsay's gastropub, The Narrow, in Limehouse.
Q. Where are your favourite places to shop?
A. Just about anywhere as long as it's in the early evening towards the start of the week as I hate crowds! Seriously though, as it's just down the street I would say Westfield Stratford City. The interior spaces are spectacular, and I think everyone should go and check it out at least once.
Q. What is your favourite London spot for relaxing?
A. The rather wild Wanstead Flats over in the north-east of the city. I've been there on really hot Saturday afternoons in the summer and not seen more than half a dozen people in as many hours. It's one of those rare spots where you can genuinely find peace and quiet in London.
Q. What is your best London discovery or hidden treasure?
A. That's such a difficult question to answer because I make new discoveries every week, but somewhere I visited for the first time very recently might fit the bill - the amazing 1930s-era Kensington Roof Gardens on the sixth floor of the building above Kensington High St Tube station.
Q. What is the first thing you would do if you were Mayor?
A. Find some way to halve the price of public transport - London is inordinately expensive to travel around compared to other European capitals of a similar size.
Are you a Londoner? Do you have opinions on where you live and tips on the best places to see? If so we'd love you to take the Your London Q&A to share your insights. Fill in the form below to answer the questions. Or copy and paste the questions into an email and send your replies to me at firstname.lastname@example.org