In London this winter

Having been in London earlier in November, we are looking forward to being back in London in 2 weeks which would be mid-December.  Here’s our 5 favourites for this winter in this cool city:

  1. Theatre. OK, even our London insider who isn’t that into theatre was urging us to go see this production: Translations at the National Theatre. Curiously, the theme of the play has something to do with maps – which we are quite obsessed about, being travelers  – as Brian Friel’s “finest and most universal” play is about English cartographers anglicizing Irish landmarks and in the process revealing the weight of history, nationhood and myth mingled into every place name.  If that’s not enough, we love any excuse to go to the National Theatre (act fast though as one just needs a little bit of luck to secure some tickets to this one).
  2. Swim under the stars. The Hampton Pool is an outdoor pool open all-year-round in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Thankfully, the waters are heated – at a toasty 28 degrees Celsius too – to ensure that swimmers don’t freeze while soaking up the moon rays.  And yes, the pool does a monthly late-night opening (till midnight) for swims by the light of the full moon.  Talk about nocturnal activities, how about engaging in this lunar-inspired nocturnal sports (“moonlight dips”?)!  We will have missed the 29th November one; the next ones are on 20th and 27th December.
  3. The bookshops of London are the city’s one constant and weather-proof attraction. Why not catch up on the latest Booker prize shortlisted novels or enjoy meandering around Charing Cross Road during a slightly less crowded time of the year?
  4. Coal Drops Yard. Take a spin at this latest happening place, opened just a year ago, with colourful fountains, relic of the Victorian era, interesting workshops to attend or ponder about, and gawk at the nearby GasHolders too. And yes, it has been redeveloped and reinvented from being where coal was dropped and stored before being “distributed”: CN Traveller cooed about it being “a place you could stay in all day” and we wrote about it here.
  5. Hop over to Wellcome Collection, one of our obsessions.  This is a museum-library with cushions scattered over a neoclassical staircase, art books all over, tall windows overlooking the boulevard outside, and rather smart-looking desks where you can work (or at least pretend to while spending time with your smart phone …). Read about our confession about this small obsession here.

OK, we must add a side note about our other theatre experience this winter that was certainly an eye-opening and mind-extending one.  While its production run has just ended, we wanted to mention [BLANK] at the Donmar Theatre (in Covent Garden) which was an edgy production: with a woman escaping her abusive partner frantically seeks refuge at a domestic violence shelter, a prisoner pleading for her TV to be taken away because she knows exactly how to electrocute herself with it, and an inexperienced probation worker being sent to speak to the mother of a dead inmate she’s never met.  It’s bleak but wit-filled and layered.  It made us squirm, and it made us think.  We hope there will be a transfer or an extension?