Visiting a place you once lived can be like visiting an old friend or it can make you feel like a tourist. London ticks both these boxes as it has many familiar areas and still undiscovered treasures too.
Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with details about my recent trip, but thought I would tell you about a couple of lovely gin experiences. Luckily my close friend and travelling companion is also a fan of gin and is enjoying discovering lots of new brands too.
We only had two full days to explore, so to make the most of this we wrote down our top choices of venues and then made a shortlist. This is not my usual idea of a relaxing break, but it worked really well as we were aiming to make the trip jam-packed. This of course included planning two key gin stops for around six o'clock!
Fast forward to our first gin time. Having lived in South Kensington, I thought immediately of Bibendum, an iconic building that was originally constructed for the Michelin Group in 1911. It was taken over in 1985 and became a Conran restaurant business alongside a couple of other uses. The building has retained some of the original features which are both beautiful and unusual. Bibendum is the Michelin Man and he is depicted in a number of stained glass windows and tiles.
The interior also has lovely tiles showing old style racing cars with of course, Michelin tyres!
This is a delightful place to relax and unwind as well as being interesting and fun. The manager was chatty and welcoming. In keeping with having lived there in the late 1980's, I decided as my friend did, to opt for a classic double Bombay Sapphire. This area has not changed,Bibendum has not changed and the Bombay Sapphire has not changed! That was the lovely thing. Only too often, you return to a place and it is so different that it can be unrecognisable.
On so to our other little gin soiree. We were staying in Westminster, a busy and bustling area of the city and had wandered past an entrance to a tranquil little oasis. It was the garden of the Taj Hotel and we found an outdoor sofa surrounded by beautiful plants and a pond. We both kept in the London theme and had a Sipsmith with Fever-Tree light tonic. We sat sipping and chatting for a long while and the waiter duly brought the bill. I can safely say it was the most expensive gin I have ever had or are likely to have and nearly twice the price of Bibendum. £37.50 for two doubles. However, when in Rome and all that. I did however, feel a little squeezed, but also felt that if you have chosen to visit a place and you do nothing but complain of the price of things, then your enjoyment will be much reduced.
I am already thinking of my next trip to London Town!