Now, before you start waving the Union Jack and demanding for a spot of tea, calm yourself.
This London is in Canada.
So…wave your hockey sticks and start chugging some syrup.
November 2015 I had the opportunity to go on a business trip to London, Ontario. With an afternoon completely free of work-type responsibilities, I found myself roaming the city and becoming enchanted by the “big city with small town charm” feel. The same feel I get from my second-favorite city in Michigan: Grand Rapids.
London is a great place to spend a few hours and wander the streets. Here are some things to do if you find yourself with an afternoon in London Ontario
When visiting a new city, I always encourage people to head straight for the visitor’s center. These places hold a wealth of knowledge about the destination, friendly people with suggestions, and generally…coupons. Pick up some maps and brochures. Talk to the workers and ask for some recommendations based on your interests or what you’ve researched about the location.
Covent Garden Market
Markets are one of my favorite parts of exploring a new place. Covent Garden Market has to be one of the top markets I’ve visited. My favorite part is the vast diversity among the many different stands. There are bakeries, meat vendors, fresh fruits and vegetables, florists, gifts, arts, restaurants and so much more. Take your taste buds on a journey across the world as you sample Indian food, Thai food, Chinese food, Mediterranean food, Korean food, and Parisian pastries. The market is also home to the Original Kids Theatre Company, so if you time your visit just right, you may find yourself humming “Anything Goes” while sipping on your favorite bubble tea.
Walk along the River
From the Market, it is a short walk to the appropriately named Thames River. (I found the name genuinely hilarious. Well played, London. Well played.) The river is lined with park after park, which is great for just walking and enjoying the outdoors.
I found a spot by the river to sit and enjoy the purchases I’d made at the market. The geese were sure I was going to share my almond macaron, but I don’t play that game.
Chill out in Victoria Park
Located in Central London, Victoria Park is a slice of quiet quaintness in an urban setting. That is- when the Victoria Park Bandshell isn’t occupied. Victoria Park is a great place to claim a bench and read, or to introduce yourself to the locals. In the winter time, the park hosts a large ice skating rink for people to enjoy.
Visit all the beautiful churches
London has SO many pretty churches! If architecture is your thing, London is a great place for you! Pictured below is St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, just across the street from Victoria Park. Other noteworthy churches I stumbled upon included St. Paul’s Cathedral, Talbot Street Church, The Metropolitan United Church, and First- St. Andrew’s Church.
Tree Trunk Tour
Fun Fact: London is known as the “Forest City”. As an ode to this title, they have created a Tree Trunk tour throughout the city where tree trunks have been turned into intricate sculptures. Using chainsaws and chisels, artists carve their designs into the wood, effectively decorating the streets of London. I really wanted to see these trees, but unfortunately I did not choose the proper footwear for wandering the city, and got to a point where I couldn’t go on (ugh…rookie mistake). Still, based on the photos I’ve seen, I would recommend seeking out these public displays of art!
Have you spent an afternoon in London? Tell me about it below!