Last month, my wife and I enjoyed a long-awaited trip to London. Since I had spent this past autumn hectically and happily promoting my new book Midnight Rambles: H. P. Lovecraft in Gotham, a respite was beyond welcome. Coincidentally, my biographical subject–the weird fiction master himself–stood as a committed Anglophile and dreamt of traveling to England, so our vacation choice seemed especially fitting.
Although a dazzling, global city with fine cuisine, world-class museums, breathtaking historic sites, and renowned theater, London might be best experienced in its neighborhoods. In these alleys and streets, one discovers the urbanity and surprises that have drawn people to London for centuries. During our all-too-brief stay, my wife and I consciously ventured beyond the well-worn paths of central London to encounter the arguably real life of the city.
As devotees of gothic culture, we ventured to North London to loss ourselves in the wooded paths of Highgate Cemetery, a repository of beautiful funereal design and the final resting place of poet Christina Rossetti, musician George Michael, and others.
London is home to an array of markets, including those hawking food, clothing, and antiques. In East London, we passed a Sunday morning at the Columbia Road Flower Market. Much our surprise, this weekly market dating from the late nineteenth century is popular with young people shopping for plants to decorate their homes or to present to their special someones.
Of course, being in the British Isles, we whittled away many hours in pubs. While one sips a cask ale in a cozy room warmed by a crackling fire, life seems grand.
Overall, London left me paradoxically relaxed and energized. If any readers have enjoyed their own good fortune of journeying this city, I hope that you’ll share your favorite spots and experiences. There is always more to to add to the list.