May 21, 2014

Things to do in Weekday London

On a rainy weekday in London, one might suppose it a struggle to hide from the pitter patter and not be engulfed by a swell of tourists attempting to do the same.

However, a little trick I like to keep up my sleeve is the acknowledgement of closing hours.  Choosing a time when the biggest attractions aren't open and strolling on over for a touch of desolate exploration- to examine the bare bones seems to be the best way to avoid human traffic and look at a space from a totally different perspective.

Take for example, London's Borough Market. While it can be thoroughly enjoyable on a bustling Saturday, there's also the potential to lose your patience with the crowds. And, what's more, it can somewhat encourage total ignorance of other establishments of equal, if not more, remark.

From time to time, I like to book a weekday off work to make a thorough exploration of an area. Here's my five-step guide to enjoying London Bridge without the lure of cured meat, international cheeses and the other splendour of opening-time.

11am: Coffee and brioche with heather honey at Eliot's Cafe
During opening hours, you'll be hard pressed to find a table but as the cafe is in business from 7am Monday to Saturday, those quieter days make the perfect host to watch tumbleweeds blow through under the bridge and still enjoy the taste of Borough- on a plate of food for two to share and with the echoes of market day stirring in the stalls.

Climb the narrow and steep stairwell of the old church of St. Thomas before pushing back the creaky wooden door to reveal an attic-trove of medicinal curios from the Victorian Era.

From bushels of herbs, lotions and potions, disturbing surgical instruments and an original operating theatre, there's enough to fill and fuel a macabre sense of horridly splendid fascination.
 1:30pm: The Rake
The Rake, Borough Market
 A dinky pub within Borough Market and tucked down a little lane, the Rake is the beer connoisseur's dream destination. With not only plenty to choose from on tap and from the keg, you'll also find a variety of bottles. I can imagine this place is packed to the rafters on a market day but, once again, early on a weekday, you're bound to be some of the only boozers on the teeny tiny premises slurping back your blackberry stout and still shaking your head at the gynecological tools that glinted and winked terribly at you from behind their glass cages at the museum.

3pm Late Lunch

Well, the market may be closed for trade on Mondays and Tuesdays, but it never rests for lunch. Should you care to dine al fresco, there's still plenty to choose from and pitch your end on an upturned barrel or upon the grass at the cathedral grounds. Here's a wonderful picture of lunch at Borough Market from Siobhan at Bless the Weather.
http://www.blesstheweather.com/
 4pm: Southwark Cathedral, Crosswords, Bedales and Sunsets
With your tummy full, the cathedral makes a wonderful place to stroll with its soaring heights and imposing organ music. The haunting atmosphere moves in cool layers on the light that penetrates the shadows in a fluttering, dusty hush and the colours on the stained glass are a marvel in themselves. Be sure to seek out the cathedral kitty whose chest rises and falls rhythmically in his slumberous pose and wakes for no man.

A fine choice to finish up the day is somewhere to get a nice wine and some cheese plates (we like Bedales) and, depending on the season, catch the sunset after a brisk walk to the Southbank.

Where do you like to go in London on a weekday?
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