The London Grill: Melissa Loftman

We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.


[I]n 2008 I packed my bags and moved to London, stepping into the country for the first time. Terribly homesick for the first few months I was unsure if I would stay. Four years later it is safe to say I love this city with all its greatness and flaws. I blog about being a Canadian in London and everything in between.

What’s your secret London tip?
Explore the city at night. London is such a bustling and hectic city by day but it quiets down substantially and some areas become a virtual ghost town. St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament lit up are stunning.

What’s your secret London place?
Earlier this year I stumbled upon a garden containing a large piece by street artist Stik in central London, not far from Soho. It is called the Phoenix and is privately owned but open for the public. Dip in for a quiet break from the madness of the city.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?
The tube at rush hour. I am one of the lucky ones who can walk, bike, or bus to work so thankfully it is easy to avoid.

What’s your favourite building?
The natural history museum, it is gorgeous inside and out.

What’s your most hated building?
The Shard. It is growing on me but I still think that it is out of place and not that special looking.

What’s the best view in London?
The best view in central London has to be from the London Eye. A good number of landmarks are dotted along the Thames in that vicinity. However less pricier and just as good views can be seen from monument.

What’s your personal London landmark?
The British Museum is my favourite place in London. The ceiling in the Great Court is amazing and probably my most photographed site in the city. I insist on taking everyone who visits me there.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
There is a fascinating documentary called The Up Series. It is a series of films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child’s social class predetermines their future. They film these children every 7 years and you get to see them change and grow. If you have never seen this it is a must.

What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
My local the Antelope is a fantastic pub and this is coming from someone who is not a massive pub goer. Technically a gastropub the Antelope serves delicious food and maintains an inviting and laid back atmosphere.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
The best place to start is at a market. Greenwich is great for food; Camden (my favourite) is good for an alternative vibe or Columbia Road Market to find a plant to spruce up my home. Then make my way to South bank at some point to lounge and people watch.

This ‘Grill’ was first posted on the Radio Taxis blog.


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