I’ve got into a new habit of buying travel guides before venturing off on holiday. I strictly planned my New York itineraries for my last trips based on my Lonely Planet New York City guide and I would have been riding the Skytrain around Bangkok in circles without the DK Thailand guide.
There’s something about buying a book in print. I feel secure in its knowledge. Even standing on the street spinning it around to navigate the map, I will stand by it to guide me rather than accept advice from a passerby. When I’m at my most vulnerable, experiencing new and foreign places, I trust it.
London is neither new nor foreign to me; I was born here and have lived here all my life. I don’t need a travel guide because this is my city. I tut at tourists with their travel guides standing on the left on escalators, and I laugh when I see travellers taking pictures outside Westfield. This is my London, and I know everything about it. So why have I done so little here?
I’ve never been to the Saatchi Gallery, or walked the zebra crossing at Abbey Road. I’ve only eaten at 2 of the 5 best food markets in London, and I have never visited a non-Christian place of worship in the city I claim as my own. London received over 17.4 million visitors in 2015, and I think it’s about time that us Londoners realised why.
Get a seat by the window in the Ace Hotel lobby, grab a tea (or cocktail, I won’t tell) and the Shoreditch grime in this design haven. It isn’t the most quiet of spaces, but absolutely no one will bother you or mind if you put your headphones on and let your mind slip away to tranquillity. If you’re one of those weird people who don’t know how to relax, there are tables, sockets and *free Wi-Fi* for you to get on with some work.