Olivia Higgs, Co-Founder and COO of Kompas, an app that takes people away from the traditional tourist traps when travelling, takes SHARP through her hidden gems in London.
London is a city of the senses. For some, the polluted air and the rush of traffic (both vehicular and the paced steps of angry commuters) are enough to make them run for the hills but if you tune in to the right frequency, London has a real richness.
Dalton Eastern Curve Garden is my favourite green oasis in the heart of this built up city. On a Summer’s afternoon, nothing beats grabbing a good book and nestling yourself in amongst the natural surroundings. The wafts of sourdough pizza which come from the garden’s wood-fired oven are a welcome distraction and are bound to fire up the belly rumbles.
Quite the opposite, is Lo’s Noodle Factory. It’s a bit of an escapade involving wading through the tourist stream of China Town before ducking down Dansey Place where you’ll need to by-pass the bins and cardboard boxes to find real back-alley ‘ho fun’ noodles (rice noodles) and ‘chee cheung fun’ (rice noodle rolls). A few gestures quickly overcome the language barrier and the noodles are then fed straight from the machine to being packaged and then sold at the door. A bag of noodles is just £1 and if you’re lucky, they will still be warm to the touch.
When it really comes to satisfying those food cravings though, in every big city you need that one place you can rely on no matter the time of day like the perfect loyal friend. This has got to be none other than Polo Bar. It is open 24 hours and serves the broad range of city types from those that are suited and booted venturing in on their lunch break to the early-risers after a hearty English breakfast to set them up for the day ahead. Even during the dead of night, Polo Bar is ready for the myriad of alcohol-fuelled partygoers stumbling in for their late-night food binge. Polo Bar isn’t a new kid on the block either, they’ve been looking after the needs of Londoners since 1953 and is the loveable British ‘caff’ we all need in our lives.
Finally, for those in search of adventure under the cloak of darkness, you are in good hands! Just a hop and a skip from Waterloo station is The Vaults, an eccentric wonderland where immersive theatre meets London’s nightlife scene. You can arrive at this curious venue through the disused railway arches covering Leake Street where your first introduction to what awaits you is the wonderfully colourful, surrounding street art. Once inside The Vaults, imagination knows no bounds so grab yourself a drink at one of the bars and enjoy the wondrous spectacle!