I lived in London for 15 years and spent another two living in Cambridge and commuting into the Big Smoke for work.

When I first moved there aged 22 I was scared of, overwhelmed and intimidated by London. Over the years I came to love, respect and understand the capital.

I moved back to the North East almost five years ago and London is now a place I visit for business and pleasure. I like visiting for two to three days at a time. This gives me time to meet a friend or two, visit an art gallery and have a mooch around the markets, bookshops and charity shops.

I’m ashamed to admit that I never visited John Soane’s house behind Holborn when I lived in London. I recall driving past it one evening about 15 years ago and seeing Gilbert and George standing on the steps. They waved in unison as I went past. Quite a sight.

john soane

Architect Soane’s house is now a museum. There is no entry fee so there is no excuse…you must visit. It is an extremely British, dare I say it London experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my recent visit and will go again. http://www.soane.org/

After visiting the house, head north through Bloomsbury to Skoob Books. What a great bookshop. Open til 8pm www.skoob.com

Soane and Skoob are jewels in London’s unique, ornate crown. These jewels are easier for me to appreciate and enjoy as a frequent visitor.