The older I get, the more I seem to tire of London.
My brother moved down pretty much straight after graduating and there have been times when I thought I’d follow suit. I never did, but the city is quite familiar to me because of the trips I’ve made for work and to see him and friends.
I always love seeing the people I know who live there, and there’s no doubt the capital offers some wonderful things to do, but more often than not these days I find the place quite exhausting.
I can enjoy the novelty, the hustle and bustle, for a day or two but then I find myself dying to get back up north. I think it’s just the sheer volume of people, the time it takes to get from place to place.
I was in London for the bank holiday weekend, to see my brother, his wife, my beautiful new niece and some friends. I arrived on Saturday with a couple of hours to kill and after a quick trip to West Elm made the mistake of going to Oxford Street. My mood slumped and stress levels soared. Maybe it was because I had to drag my suitcase along behind me, maybe it was because of the hordes of people, who always walk too slowly or stop suddenly in a bunch, blocking the whole pavement.
The thing is, I don’t want to lose my rag with this city: I think we have a wonderful capital. I’ve never felt prouder to be British than during the 2012 Olympics. I’ve had some of the most special days of my life here, like when I was a guest of the Queen.
So when I feel like I might be falling out of London I go to South Bank. I love the riverside setting, the colour, the anyone-is-welcome attitude. I feel like this place, unlike much of London, is about spending time, not money. It’s probably my favourite spot in the city, and here’s why.