London, United Kingdom
Laura, 33
Manager at Museum of London
see her London city guide

What do you do and why do you do it?

I work at the Museum of London, looking after their generous patron group, 'The Society of Londoners'. Among other things, I'm responsible for all the event programming for our patrons both inside and outside the Museum, which means I'm constantly in touch with all the amazing things that go on in London - both now and 2,000 years ago! Alongside this, I have a blog, which has also just been published as a book. The idea is to get people away from their desks for at least 20 minutes a day, and engaged in some kind of non-work based activity - whether it's going for a stroll, writing a letter, or learning a new skill.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?

The worst job I had was as an Office Assistant and my only task was to file things all day long. I filed so much that my knuckles actually bled. I think what was even more depressing though was knowing that I could have left school aged 5 and still got that job. All I needed to know was the alphabet.

Were you born and raised in London? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to London?

I was! I grew up in Fulham, south west London, and now live in Herne Hill, a leafy oasis in between Brixton and Camberwell.

What’s your current hood in London and what’s the best/worst thing about it?

I live in Herne Hill, which is right in between Brixton and Camberwell, although a lot of people haven't heard of it. It's a gorgeous place with a real village-feel. The best thing about it is probably Herne Hill Market, which happens every Sunday from 10am-4pm. It has everything from delicious street food from all over the world, to vintage clothes, design homeware, wine, and a lot of cake. The worst thing is probably that it's not on a tube line - even though it's only 7 minutes from Victoria or 11 minutes from Blackfriars by overground train, but a tube station would make it heaven...

What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?

I pretty much listen to everything, from the sublime to the embarrassing, though currently really into African Dance Hall. I absolutely hate House music from the 90s that has piano in it. Very specific, I know, but it gives me the heebie jeebies / makes me feel like throwing up.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

If I'm wanting to get over it... Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton, Better Off Without You by Summer Camp ~~~~ If I'm wanting to wallow in the heartache... There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths, Cut Here by The Cure

Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?

Absolutely Fabulous, because it just is...

Name some spots in London that are good for a Tinder date.

For an all round experience where you never have to leave the building - Zedel's in Piccadilly Circus. They have an American Bar, a stunning restaurant, and a cabaret / jazz bar. Plus it feels like you're in Midnight in Paris. If you just want to do drinks, Coppa in St Paul's if you can get a window seat, Gordon's in Embankment, Sea Containers by Blackfriars. For just food: Flat Iron in Soho (steak for £10), St John's in Clerkenwell, Carousel London (although you have to book in advance so that might be more of a 2nd or 3rd date).

Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).

I want to say Trump but I don't think he'd care...?!

Who’s your hero and where in London would you take them out for a serious hang?

Jennifer Paterson - you probably haven't heard of her, but she was part of a cooking double act called 'Two Fat Ladies'. Look them up on youtube and watch an episode... it will brighten your entire life. As she was rather fond of her food and drink, I'd go for a meal somewhere with a great wine list and a good attitude towards you staying until the early hours of the morning - probably Noble Rot on Lamb's Conduit Street.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

The majority are probably Zara, though I love & Other Stories and Cos for something special

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Annoying answer, but all of London is pretty awesome. I think my favourite thing about it is that every area is different, so if you want to be really smart you can spend a day in Chelsea; if you want to be hipster you can go to East or South-East London; if you want to pretend you're actually in the country, you can go to Hampstead. Everywhere has something interesting or cool about it.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Probably just wander around... it's an amazing city for walking around in and following your nose.

Where do you go in London for a casual night out?

Brixton Village Market is perfect (in the summer - freezing in the winter!) as it has a mix of food and drink places from all over the world, and a really buzzy, colourful atmosphere. If you want to be more central, I'd say Granary Square just behind King's Cross - lots of really cool restaurants, or you can sit in the enormous square and pretend you're in Central Europe, or go down by the canal and sit on the giant turf-covered steps with some drinks.

Where would you go in London to celebrate some freaking good news?

Depends on the news, but I'd probably either go and sit on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral with a bottle of champagne, or somewhere lovely like Chiltern Firehouse if I was feeling luxurious.

What’s your choice of transportation in London and why?

I love walking and think this is the only and best way you can really see the city. London has so many little alleyways, passages, hidden gardens and weird and wonderful buildings, that following your nose is never going to disappoint you. That being said, there's a secret train line that runs south to north, from Blackfriars up through Kings Cross and Kentish Town. It's not on any of the tube maps but will save you about half an hour if you try to make that journey on the underground. That's probably my second favourite just because no one knows about it (I've lived in London my whole life and only discovered it a couple of years ago!).

What are the London spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

The Thames in general - especially if you walk over the Millennium Bridge by Tate Modern. From here you'll see St Paul's and the City, as well as Tate Modern and the Globe. Best views in London and gives you such an incredible sense of the history of the city. I'd also suggest getting up high, whether it's a drink at the Sky Garden or at one of the restaurant / bars in the Shard. Then something a little more local and small-scale, maybe Bermondsey Street and Borough Market, or Portobello Road (although this can be a bit stressful as pretty crowded). Also, if you like museums, the Victoria & Albert (or V&A) is the best museum in the world.

What are the London spots tourists should run from screaming?

Leicester Square. I literally don't even understand the point of it... unless you really like m&m's, there's nothing there other than a heart-attack inducing amount of people.

Tomorrow’s your last day in London. How do you spend it?

Riding around on Boris bikes with friends, with a good supply of prosecco in a backpack. And if Boris bikes didn't appeal on that particular day, Uber Exec'ing it everywhere - surprisingly cheap if you fair split with friends, amazing cars and you can blast your own music out with the windows down. Best experience in London - ask them to drive down the Mall and you can pretend to be a royal.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

Copenhagen. I fall in love with it more and more every time I go. It's just so calm, so beautiful, they really understand human needs - from things as simple as lighting and cosyness to the more important things like mind-blowing food - and everyone is just so happy, healthy and beautiful. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art just outside Copenhagen is also one of the best museums I've been to in terms of curation and visitor experience.

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