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Another Side of London

Apr/07/2022 / by Sarah Kapadia
Image credits: Shutterstock

The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?” 2 – Virginia Woolf

In the summer of 2019, when I was 13, I visited the city of London with my friends and family. London is a city of exploration and mystery, and those were the key principles in our journey.

The best time to visit London is any time. The city has activities for every season and weather. Still, the internet deems March to June to be the prime tourist season, with ideal temperatures and its famous city parks are flourishing.

After a few days in the city, I felt at home. Everywhere you go you feel welcomed and part of the culture. The one thing I adore most about London is not the plethora of opportunities or scrumptious desserts, but the environment. The people around are extremely open and lively; they use their freedom to the fullest. In every street there will always be a performer, singers, dancer or a magician regaling the public with their talent.

We engaged in several unconventional activities that most tourists would not do, to spice it up and add an element of surprise. There are a few things I did to make the trip memorable:

The first place you should put down on your list is Center Parcs. There are a hundred-plus branches of these Parcs in London and we went to the Longleat one. You need to enter through their drive in the zoo, where monkeys, wolves, deer and foxes roam free. Every branch has over 100 activities for all ages. You stay in these caravans or huts and need to cycle everywhere! I fell in love with their Subtropical Swimming Paradise, which has five water slides, a lazy river, wild water rapids and a wave pool. In terms of activities, I loved archery and shooting. Center Parcs offers you everything – a place to relax, engross yourself in activities and even get deeply attached to nature!

On the second day, we went berry-picking. Most farms in the countryside let you take as many baskets you desire and explore their vast fields. We tried at least 20 berries we had never even heard of. They were so healthy and delicious that they are now part of my daily diet! My absolute favorite is tayberry. The fresh and ripe strawberries taste nothing like the ones you get elsewhere. Apart from the activity, just the car ride there was enchanting. We passed under a canopy of trees and were stopped by a herd of goats crossing the road. I felt like a completely new person once there. I did not care for the future or the opinions of others; I just wanted to stay there forever.

The entire group fell in love with the countryside and it’s aesthetic so we decided to stay at Moor Farms. We lived in huge tents without electricity for about a week. We had no internet, we used only fire lamps and had to make our own fire to cook. It sounds impossible, but once you do it, it is truly the best experience. We lived the typical day of a farmer where we milked the cows, collected eggs, bathed the dogs and rode a tractor. My sister made best friends with the cutest and most active dog I have ever seen: Alby. We made pizzas, for which we prepared our own bread and used a vintage furnace to bake it. Above all, we got to to see a magical sunset every single day.

Another place I had a lot of fun was Paultons Park, which is one of London’s most renowned theme parks. It is so huge that you can spend an entire day there but not finish all the rides. They have shows, themed worlds and even a zoo inside. The park is famously known for its Peppa Pig world for toddlers but the most exciting and daring worlds are The Lost Kingdom, Little Africa and Tornado Spins. Don’t forget to carry extra pair of coats or a raincoat because you never know when you get sprayed on by water from one of the rides. My personal favorite among them was The Flight of the Pterosaur and The Cyclonator. Apart from the rides make sure that you have their sundaes – they are to die for!

Another adventure sport we did was Zip World – London’s fastest zip line. You fly over a small vintage town and the view you get is just wonderful. They also have this roller coaster- type ride, in which you are sitting in a buggy. You can control the speed at which you go, when you start and stop. This roller coaster is in the forest, so you barely dodge the trees; it feels like you are in Temple Run.

Another do-or-die activity that my aunt did was fly a plane. There is an institute in London that runs the plane museum that gives you this opportunity. Just within one hour of training, you are flying a plane! There is always a professional co- ilot with you for safety.

We also did normal touristy things, such as visiting the churches, the baths and shopping ceaselessly at Oxford Street.

My trip to London, as you can see, was filled with adventure, curiosity and, of course, relaxation. London gives you everything.

To read of our founder’s own perspective of visiting London in a pre-pandemic era, read London, the City of Cosmopolitan Culture and Curry