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

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

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

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week