Kate Simon: London is a great city, just don't try getting around it

Travel view

London got a right royal advert for tourism last weekend.

Okay, so we only really got to see The Mall, Whitehall, and Parliament Square (amazing how all those TV cameras missed the anti-war camp). Then, in a double whammy, TripAdvisor named it as the top choice of global travellers.

Now, as anyone will tell you, Londoners are the worst for celebrating the delights of the capital. So, our family decided it was high time we beat the boundaries of Hackney for a little fun further afield and pandered to our son's latest fad, basketball, by snapping up tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters, who were in town last Sunday at Wembley Arena.

How to get to Wembley? A quick hop on the London Overground to connect with the Tube at the Jubilee Line and we could be there in under an hour. Or so we thought. Then, on checking Transport for London's website, we discovered that the interminable shutdown of our local rail line for engineering works was continuing (how many years has this been going on?). What's more, the Jubilee Line was due to be closed around Wembley. After all, transport links are about getting people to work, not about getting them around to enjoy their free time, there's no money in that.

To arrive for the first slam dunk, we would have to take a bus, board a train, take not one but two Tube trains, and, finally, one more bus. TFL estimated a travel time of one hour 33 minutes. Pull the other one.

So, we had no choice but to drive there (and cough up £20 to book a random space on the Tarmac in front of Wembley Stadium – free car-wash if it rains?). This proved to be plain sailing (or, rather, driving) around the North Circular, at least for a few miles, until we hit the top of Tottenham, where there are some seriously mind-blowing road works going on – trenches like you haven't seen since the First World War. Knowing London, as we do, we had allowed twice the amount of time to get to our destination, so no need to bite our nails to the quick while we stop-started our way for a few miles across the top of north London as the road lanes contracted from three to two to one.

In fact, we got to Wembley Arena in good time thanks to our foresightedness, and had "the best evening ever", according to my 11-year-old basketball-mad son. Big Easy, Cheese, Dizzy and the rest of the awesomely skilful (and tall!) Globetrotters didn't fail to please. Now, as to the price of a cone of 10 chips for £2.50 – don't get me started.

But my point is, if we Londoners find it hard to enjoy our own city, what hope is there for visitors, from home or, especially, abroad, who want to discover what the capital has to offer – particularly if they dare to travel around it at the weekend?

***

Peter Moss, the British travel writer who was one of the victims of the bombing of the Marrakech café, was once a contributor to these pages. Peter wrote inspiring and enlightening articles for our readers' enjoyment. We were very sorry to hear about his death and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Do you have a travel issue? Email sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral