Lola is Beauty recently posted on Gridskipper various places to go to in London to de stress after a busy day in the crowds. As some one who loves nothing better than to walk for miles in this great city I have compiled a small list of my own and best of all most of them are free.
1. Selfridges book department. Downstairs in the basement this place is a real gem, walk through the main area of fiction, turn right into the Art and Design section and you can sit and read to your hearts content totally undisturbed. They often have a display case filled with beautiful limited edition hand bound books as well. You could argue that most book shops offer a similar oasis of sanity they include the top floor of Waterstones on Piccadilly and Hatchards also on Piccadilly. But the beauty of Selfridges is you are right next to the best make up hall in London and sooo many lovely clothes .Whilst you are lingering the Champagne bar is a great place to gaze down and people watch too.
2. The Glass room in the Victoria and Albert Museum is another favourite oasis of tranquillity, go through the main entrance, turn right up the stairs, walk through the Architecture Gallery and you are there, away from the hordes. The outside courtyard is a great place for a picnic lunch and on a hot summers day you can paddle in the water feature. Finally not free but a great experience they have relocated the cafe back to the original place so you can eat next to an antique stove surrounded by the original beautiful Arts and Craft tiles as well as use the original Loos!
3. The Royal Academy Courtyard, if you fancy lunch fill up a box of Sushi from Wasabi on Picadilly (The best in town) and eat it in the courtyard, if there is a good exhibition on you get to people watch and if its quiet its just wonderful peace and quiet. On the way out you can still phone up someone in one of the two original red phone boxes tucked under the arches which I had to do once when I left my phone at home, they must be the only two boxes left unvandalised left in London. For Afternoon tea grab a bag of macaroons from Laudree on the corner of Burlington arcade and a coffee from café Nero.
4. If you are tired of shopping on Bond street nip into Partridge Fine Arts this is a huge place full of rooms filled with amazing antiques everyone in there gives you a smile and you can ogle at how the other half spend their money. If you are into Contemporary art all the gallery's on Cork street are great and all are free they are the best bargain in Town
5. Nestled between the Hell that is Covent Garden and Leicester Square is the Photographers Gallery on Newport Street, a split site one houses an excellent book shop, the other a small Cafe where you can sit and relax with a mug of coffee people watching or just gazing at some great photographs, they have never had a bad exhibition.
6. Finally the best walk in town has to be the South Bank of London. Start from the Design Museum and just keep walking west, every landmark is there every viewpoint is amazing and best of all free.