Saturday, 14 September 2013

Rainy Days in London

Hmm, the ability to make the most out of a grey and rainy day, it's an art that I think most Londoner's have mastered. I really love London, I think it's one of the most beautiful and imaginative cities in the world... there's always something to do, something to see, something to experience, someone to talk to.... 

John Singer Sargent, ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ 1885-6And even on the most miserable days you can find ways and places to make you feel light and colourful within. Below I've listed 5 great ways to spend a rainy grey day in London, all of which can be enjoyed both alone or with company. The great thing about London is it's very accommodating, you can be both a socialite and a loner, either or neither. And you can make the city your own in so so so many ways...! Here are a few of my favourite things to do on glum and wet days (aside from walking)

 1) Sketch in the Tate Britain

On a rainy weekday afternoon its an especially wonderful place to be. I love the Tate Britain a lot more than I do the Tate Modern. It's much quieter and houses some truly beautiful, timeless and inspiring pieces of art by some of my favourite artists including William Blake and J.M.W Turner. 

Spend the afternoon taking a tour of British art, get lost in the paintings, in history, in the brush-strokes, the colours- don't just look at the art, experience it, put yourself in the painting. Or take out some pencils and a sketchbook and sketch a picture or two, jot down some ideas, create something new, create something just for yourself, just because you can...

2) Catch the Matinee at Riverside Studios

I love Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, it's a really unique and interesting space with lots of do and see. I remember the first time I saw a film in the theatre. It was a grey and rainy day and I went to see Grand Hotel starring Greta Garbo. I think must have been sixteen years old- I distinctly remember being the only person in the whole theatre who wasn't an OAP. I had a really great time alone, and even made a few friends. I went back a couple of years later with a Korean friend, Chanmi, to watch this Italian film called Uno Su Due. It was raining that evening too!

Riverside Studios is a lovely place to spend a grey day/ evening. Watch a play, check out the art, catch a double bill in the cinema. Riverside Studios shows an array of films from cult classics to black and whites, to foreign films from around the world.

3) Immerse yourself in books at The Saison Poetry Library

Spend a rainy afternoon or evening in the amazing Saison Poetry Library in the Southbank Centre. The library holds an impressive collection of poetry magazines, manuscripts and poetry books on all subjects, written by a number of poets (past and present/ known and unknown) from Benjamin Zephaniah to John Keats.

Absorb yourself in the world of words, lose yourself through reading, let your imagination run wild. I visited the library today with a good friend (after wandering around the tate britain and by the river) and found myself reading poetry anthology books on the subject of London. In particular I really loved Zephaniah's City River Blues.... I could spend forever in the Saison library.

4) Share a conversation over a cuppa at the Candid Cafe

I love the candid cafe. It's such a cosy and pretty haven located in the heart of Angel. The perfect place to catch up on reading, share long conversations with friends and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. The cafe is open till late most days...

5) People watch from the top deck of a Bus

Perhaps my favourite thing to do of all the things on this list. I could spend hours just sitting staring out of a bus window on a rainy day in London just watching people from above; an old lady pushing her trolley, countless passers-by with hoods over their heads walking briskly towards their chosen destinations; work, a meeting, a friends house, the supermarket, the library. 

I love watching the rain, listening to the sound of drops hitting the windowpane, the concrete streets, watching people wrestle with their out of control brollies, while at the same time soaking in a feeling of melancholy and certain inspiration. The 155, 44, 436 and 88 bus journeys in my opinion, offer the best sights (social and otherwise)....