Bleak House is a London-based online lifestyle store selling beautifully made products for the home, for outdoor adventures and for dogs. They also have an online magazine with interior design advice and lifestyle tips as well as recommendations of places to visit and things to do both in London and away from home. Typical posts include everything from why every British holiday needs a land rover to how to choose the best bed linen. We caught up with Annabel Bird, founder of Bleak House, to find out more about the London walking guides…
Why did you start writing the London guides?
I wanted to publish a set of my favourite walks around London to inspire people to get to know the city a little better and fall in love with it a little bit more. It’s very easy to feel that London is a busy, stressful, dirty city but often all you need to do is step into a side street where you will find a world of beauty, history, architecture and inspiring stories.
I wanted to create walks that are a combination of history and quietude as well as sharing my favourite cafes, restaurants, shops and pubs to stop along the way. My set of walks are a series of day trips from London to help people escape from the city for a few hours and soak up some otherworldliness.
Okay, let’s get the inside track: what are your favourite spots in London for 1) a business meeting / coffee with a colleague 2) a cool spot for a lunch date 3) celebratory dinner with friends?
How you like to relax in London?
Walking with my dog in one of the beautiful parks and stopping somewhere for ice cream.
If you could buy a house in any street in London where would you pick and why?
Elsworthy Road in Primrose Hill. This tree-lined street is right next to Primrose Hill itself and the Edwardian mansions here are all different from each other and all beautiful. Either that or a loft apartment somewhere near Borough Market.
September’s Bleak House Guide is a relaxing weekend stroll through the deserted City of London, where winding alleys and medieval buildings jostle with some of Britain’s most impressive modern architecture and history seeps from every brick.
This is a city indelibly marked by the Great Fire of London of 1666 and the bombings of the Blitz during the Second World War. More recently the protected sightlines of St Paul’s and the Corporation of London’s planning policies which secure additional public spaces as part of new developments, have lead to the appearance of odd shaped buildings such as the Cheesegrater and the Walkie Talkie.
The walk starts at Barbican station and ends at Monument station. At the weekend the shops, pubs, coffee shops and even the churches are closed and you will have the city to yourself. This is a walk for noticing details; the flags, motifs and crests marking the huge number of ancient worshipful companies and livery companies, and the red and white branding of the Corporation of London from the striped bollards to the many appearances of the Corporation flag.
Below is the map for the City walk but click here to get the full guide.