sometimes witty book reviews
Rachel Howard is my kind of travel writer. Not only does this pocket-sized travel companion provide up to date opening hours, handy maps, cafe details, nearby hotels and various phone numbers, it gives a whole new spin on the sometimes monotonous experience of being a tourist. This must have been fun to write, because it’s really fun to read. I do wonder what didn’t make the publisher’s cut. Though I have absolutely no means of travelling to London any time in the short to mid term, this book made for an enchanting evening of discovery and giggles. It shall definitely be coming with me if I ever get there.
I wanted to start this paragraph with ‘highlights include’ but, really, every one of the entries was including because of it’s highlight-ability. There’s the dog cemetery at Hyde Park, or the venue for the British moustache Olympics, an art gallery housed in an old horse hospital, the stone from which Excalibur was reputedly freed and the figure of a small, tubby, gold cherub commissioned after the fire of 1666 to remind the populous that sloth was the bringer of that great catastrophe. And the pictures are great.
This really is a guide for those who want to do there own thing ye olde London town. Entries are presented by area for ease of walking-trips and best avoidance of tourist-hubs. Contact details for appointment-only exhibits are accompanied by tip offs for a good coffee or a cheap sandwich. Some entries are little more than an interesting room at the back of a pub, the courtyard mentioned by several prominent literary figure, or an odd sign fixed in a strange place, but each gives a fascinating glimpse in the plethora of eccentricities that make London so intriguing.
Reading suggestion: Brew tea and think monarchical as a pre-perusing ritual. It summons the accents.