I may be lucky enough to call myself a Londoner, but there is still so much to explore in this city of 12 million people. Sure, the weather may be more unpredictable than the politics but, beneath the tough exterior of steel and glass lies an incredible array of tastes, history, culture and adventure. It wasn’t too much of a surprise, then, when Alcatel chose the British capital as a destination to be part of it’s new campaign offering return flights. Just purchase the excellent POP 4 handset here, and check out the details on several destinations across Europe.
My commute into the capital required very few air miles but I had 48 hours to take a look at my own doorstep through the eyes of a tourist (with a little help from the locals and their knowledge, of course). Scrolling through various recommendations, it soon became clear that there was plenty for me to tick off my to-do list. Even after four years in the area, most of the city was a stranger to me. First stop? The little-explored postcode of SE10.
As you step out of North Greenwich station, you are greeted by the familiar and dominating silhouette of the O2. However, take the time to crane your neck up, and you’ll spot a cable car dangling 300ft above the River Thames. This is the Emirates Air Line, the second-higher cable car in the world. It is official enough to be on the tube map, but certainly beats anything the Hammersmith & City line can offer. Each leg of the trip takes approximately ten minutes, and the views across the Greenwich peninsula and beyond are incredible. Unlike The Shard or a commercial aircraft, you won’t have to share your space with too many people!
After the return leg, it was time to board a boat on the river. The Thames is the lifeline of the city and, while wheels and trains may be the obvious way to get around, there is something liberating about speeding through a city on the water. The Thames Clipper is technically a commuter boat, but take a trip during daylight hours and you’ll be sure to avoid the burned-out bankers heading in their droves to Canary Wharf. We took a trip from Greenwich to Embankment; just under an hour with unique views of most of the capital’s iconic landmarks.
With our stomachs rumbling, the attention swiftly turned to food; dinner that evening was to be spent slap-bang in the middle of the tube map. Carnaby Street and Kingly Court are two places at the top of every tourist’s list, but nearby Kingly Street has plenty to offer too. Jinjuu, a part-Korean part-Mexican restaurant, is a must-visit if you like good food at a reasonable price. The combination of sweet and spicy is tried and tested but the unique twist (and generous portion sizes) make this food worthy of a trip into central. Just leave room for the decadent dessert.
The next morning, our compasses pointed west; it was time to explore the borough of Chelsea and Kensington. Afternoon tea, a British institution, was on the menu. Our trip took us via Hyde Park which, while a sight in it’s own right, currently houses an incredible art installation at the on-site Serpentine Gallery. More opportunities to bring out the POP 4 handset and have a little fun. Can’t take life too seriously after all.
As our legs clocked up the miles, afternoon tea couldn’t come quickly enough. While The Ritz, The Sanderson and other marquee hotels offer great options for dining, we decided on the boutique Kensington Hotel on Queen’s Gate. A relaxed atmosphere and townhouse feel greeted us, as did an afternoon tea to end all afternoon teas. The tea and pastries were simply delicious and several hours passed over cups of Early Grey and plenty of conversation. As we left, blue skies and sunshine accompanied us on an impromptu tour of the surrounding area. White stucco-fronted houses, six-figure cars and luxury as far as the eye could see; the Instagrammers dream. It put a smile on my face and left me proud to be able to call this city my home.
Be sure to stay on top of all of the incredible destinations in the Alcatel POP 4 project by following the hashtag #makeitpop4 on Instagram (you can also find me here). More importantly, to discover more about their return flight offer, be sure to check out the details here.
*This post was written in collaboration with Alcatel but all content is my own. For more details on their free flights offer visit them here.