I mean where else might you gape? Though if you’re a gaper like me, you would find fodder for it most anywhere. There’s no harm really, except once in a while midges might make their way in and an odd fly or two. So if you like experimenting with bugs and beetles in Asian food markets, why just keep your mouth open and you can have them for free in your own city.
The husband works in the heart of the City. Right next to the Gherkin. On Friday evening, I sauntered into its shadow to meet him for drinks and dinner. Now, a prime area for gapers is within the bounds of London City, you know the Square Mile, which is supposed to be just 1.12 square miles in London, but as you walk around, it seems substantially larger than that humble number.
But first, whip back your lovely heads. Though I shall not and will not be held responsible for a crick.
If you stepped back in time, this was Londinium, a trading port for and by merchants along the mighty Thames. It came up around 47 AD when the Romans ruled Britain and later was sacked by the tribe of Iceni led by their queen Boudica.
Now that I am done waffling, how about a pint or two?
Where to Drink:
Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch. This is an expensive affair but with a view of London’s skyline. You could be easily looking at £70 per person (totted up for the most expensive items on the menu which include starter, main course and dessert) excluding alcohol. A 5-course tasting menu is priced at £55 and for wine pairing add £42 more. If you are still game, you can book 60 days in advance because people do book it up weeks ahead. P.S.: Dress code is a bummer but there you are, no shorts, flip flops, sports gear, please.
Aqua Shard. Here’s another pricey beauty that will get you when the bill arrives, but hey, the views of the riverside loveliness of the city from the 31st level of The Shard might just make up for it. I would say pop in for a Champagne afternoon tea that starts at £58 per person. Nibble into dainty delicacies while sipping on some bubbly to numb the senses before the bill arrives.
Leadenhall Market: If you are fine with views of the city on the ground level, look no further than Old Tom’s Bar in this market that stands on grounds where trade has been going on since the Roman times. Potter fans, you have seen it in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Yes, I know that you know, yet the need to disperse Potter trivia…
Before I leave you, the shot below is from an obituary published on April 16, 1835 in The Times. The allusion is to Old Tom, a gander who had arrived in the City from Ostend in Belgium. He followed his heart (a wily female of the flock), and even though the rest of his flock became fixtures on dining tables, Old Tom somehow had people indulgently feeding him scraps. He made it to the ripe age of 37 till he died a natural death and was buried in the market. Below is a tribute to the venerable gander.