Let’s be frank – though true of every city – the longer you live in London, the more passe it can sometimes get. Call it old
(bowler) hat, but there can come a time where you’re in a cab speeding past Big Ben and rather than admiring how
stunning Westminster Bridge looks at twilight, all you’re thinking is about how late you’re going to be…
But, even after all the years of living in London, there is one view that
always makes me stop, pause, and love my adopted city – Tower Bridge. Almost sold to Missourian oil magnate Robert McCulloch in
1968 at a cost of US$2.46million (£1.63million), and shipped piece by
piece over the ocean (he purchased London Bridge accidentally thinking it was the glorious confection that is Tower Bridge) we’re rather lucky to still have one of the prettiest workhorses in the bridge world.
Disclaimer: We were invited picnic guests of the Guoman Tower Hotel team, but my
(many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend
anywhere that I wouldn’t happily visit and revisit on my own dime. And take all of my family.
We all love to find a secret gem in our homes, something that many
people may not know about and something that allows you to polish your
tour-guide halo. Well, here is mine. Without fail, if I’m showing people
around in London we’ll gravitate towards Tower Hill, get the icons and
selfies out of the way, then take a chance to rest our pins and pop into
the Tower Hotel for a sundowner or two.
Away from all the tourists hordes on the other side of the
bridge (home of 17,000 selfies, gushing over the crown jewels and
adopting hushed tones at the rather vicious history of The Tower) a
lovely little sunshine bar is nestled in the shadow of the Tower Bridge.
Now, that is a view to share, glass of something delicious in hand…
I first discovered the Guoman hotel in 2013 when I was (very excitedly) invited to try their new menu creations. They converted my Mr Kiwi over to scallops and teased us with their white chocolate Tiramisu all whilst London life rolled on over the bridge.
Since then we’ve been back after the very cool Ceremony of the Keys (free and open to UK Residents by writing to your MP), after afternoons exploring the (occasionally see-through) gangways of Tower Bridge and admiring the architectural delight of ships floating underneath the open cantilevered roadway (times here). After all these years it still gets my expat heart aflutter.
Just look at it there. I can never take my permatourist eyes off it.
I can also never not tell everyone that the Constable of the Tower, head honcho of the Beefeaters, is officially authorised to extract a barrel of rum from any navel vessel using the river, claim any livestock falling of London Bridge (don’t worry, it doesn’t happen any more) and tuppence from pilgrims vising the shrine of St James.
This time however with our freshly made blogger picnic boxes resting on the cheerfully coloured tables, we whiled away a few weeknight hours at the summer bar the best way bloggers can. We raised a glass with Lauren, threatened to throw Frankie off the Bridge (and film it of course), giggled with my lovely Amanda, congratulated Angela, hugged Erica, commiserated with Chloe, shot the breeze with Claire and exchanged brunch tips with Jasmin Charlotte. Y’know, just an average night. (Ps. I have no proof of the picnic box, it got eaten. You’ll just have to take my word for it #SorryNotSorry)
Eventually the ladies and I finally succumbed to the weekday evening
guilts, and swinging our lovely goodie bags, walked off into the special glow of Tower
Bridge that only expats can muster. We’ll be back soon to while away a few more hours on the turf under the jaunty lanterns, tell amazing facts (see the above few paragraphs) and play the outdoor games, glass in hand.
In the meantime, a lonely giant Jenga waits.