George the Greek and I took an early Sunday trip into Central which was was intended to be for the Karl Marx walking tour, but – thanks to slow trains and broken signals on the tracks – we were 20 minutes later than expected. (Note to future Londoners: always check tfl.gov.uk!) So, instead of heading home we made the best of our trip into Central and walked through some side streets in Piccadilly we hadn’t yet seen.
Just around the corner we found “Summer Streets” – a month-long festival taking place on Regent Street all through July 2014. Here we found blocked streets full of pedestrians enjoying a string quartet nailing the James Bond theme, an old-time folk band decked out in striped suits and straw hats, and some unbelievably tempting Godiva ice cream.
So if you find yourself in Central on a lazy Sunday and looking for some free entertainment, “Summer Streets” is a great option with loads to do, free and safe curbside to soak in the sun on, and all kinds of amusing people-watching to be had! Plus, if you find this ain’t your thing, you’ve got St. James Park, Big Ben, Buckingham, Piccadilly, Leicester Square and tons more within walking distance to retreat to.
The Shard is one of London’s newest, tallest, and most admired architectural structures. Towering over London’s iconic landscape at 306 metres, this modern marvel stands at three times the height of the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) and twice the height of the London Eye. And from the top, tourists and locals alike can experience the up-and-coming “View”.
After shooting up 72 floors in 60 seconds flat (a very smooth ride but a bit of a terrifying and claustrophobic experience for those of us less keen on elevators) you will witness beautiful, full panoramic views and windows. While there are no tour guide, there are electronic interactive telescopes throughout the building and staff ready and available to answer your many burning questions. And fear not! – For the faint of heart with a fear of heights but an unusual desire to hang several hundred metres above the cosmopolitan capital, there is a bar!!!
As classy as the atmosphere above the world’s most international city may be, the price is not worth it. Nearing a staggering £30 per person (with no student concession), the fee is not worth standing on a freshly varnished hardwood floor, drinking a £10 cocktail and looking down on one of the worlds most diverse, expansive, and expensive cities. Not when that £40 can be used to experience it.