By Hannah Silverman
It’s Halloween today and I want to play ball. I’ve been far too busy lately to carve a pumpkin (also, I’m hopeless with knives), too frugal to fork out a costume (if you do it, it needs to be done fabulously) and something tells me I’m a little too old to knock on doors for sweets (creepy with or without a costume). Excuses, me?
Still, it’s time to get festive and embrace the celebration the way Hallmark intended. But why go trick or treating when there are so many tricks and treats here, in this backyard of the city so many of us call home? In the spirit of all things Halloween, here are five tricks and treats to help you on your way in London Town.
TRICK: Thinking you must use the tube everywhere
TREAT: You’ll be surprised at the short walking distance between places like Covent Garden and Leicester Square or Embankment and Charing Cross, for example. It might feel like minutes underground, but you don’t need to be sardined for nothing, there are some super quick routes on foot. Plan ahead.
TRICK: Avoiding the British Library because you think it’s “just a library”
TREAT: Libraries are cool again I’m telling you. However you don’t need to reach for an encyclopaedia to feel its full effects. With a negative attitude you’ll miss visiting the British Library’s permanent and free ‘Treasures of the British Library’ exhibition which features the Magna Carta, Beatles lyric notes, Jane Austin’s writing table and letters from Winston Churchill among other important finds. This is one of the coolest exhibitions I’ve stumbled across, and it’s not nearly promoted enough in the guides.
TRICK: Believing that The Shard is too expensive
TREAT: I’ve written about happy hour at The Shard before, but it deserves a mention again. It costs £24.95 to climb to the top of The Shard, but it’s free if you ride the lift to the 32nd floor and purchase one of the classy cocktails at the Oblix. Buy one cocktail, get the Shard view for free. No brainer, but a gorgeous treat.
TRICK: Visiting the current Globe and thinking it was actually where Shakespeare put on his plays
TREAT: Although it draws thousands of tourists a year and does a brilliant job of putting on productions and exhibitions, Shakespeare never set foot in this theatre. His original Globe burnt down in the 17th century just around the corner and interestingly you can visit the site on Park Street today. It’s less vibrant now, mainly because it’s surrounded by a bunch of flats and a car park but there is a plaque, and has the excitement of authenticity.
TRICK: Saying you can’t afford to visit all the historic palaces
TREAT: If you sign up for membership with the Royal Historic Palaces you receive unlimited entry for one person to the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. It’s an annual membership of £46 but if you visit just Hampton of the Tower, you’ve basically made your money back in two days. You’re also helping a good cause by supporting the conservation of the palaces for future generations. Good deed for the day, done.
This was a quick little contribution, I’d love to hear your tricks and treats, too.