I Heart My City: Tara’s London

As the world prepares for the Summer Olympics (the opening ceremony  is this Friday), we thought we’d do a special, hyped-up edition of I Heart My City to give you three very different takes on this year’s host city. We’ve asked three unique Londoners — a television producer, a luxury bikini designer, and a guerilla geographer — to sound off on their storied city. Here’s Number 2. 

By the time Tara Matthews turned three, she had already set foot on three continents, which provoked a lifelong case of wanderlust. Now, she puts her energy into designing unique, handcrafted swimwear for “luxury-savvy yet active women” (everyone from Halle Berry to Rachel Bilson has been seen sporting her travel-inspired threads on the beach this summer). Tara took a break from her busy schedule to tell us about a few of her favorite things about London. Take a look, then be sure to follow this fashionista on Twitter at @TaraMatthews13.

London is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Primrose Hill for an amazing view of the city.

When I crave fish and chips I always go to the Seashell on Lisson Grove.

Take a stroll, bike, or just sit and watch the world go by at Regents Park. (Photograph by Shahid Hameed, My Shot)

To escape people I head to Lemongrass for a mani/pedi or Shoreditch House for a swim in the open-air pool on the roof.

If I want to see a film I go to the Electric Cinema as it has sofas and really comfy seats with foot stools. You can even have a glass of wine!

For complete quiet, I can hide away in the Secret Garden or the Rose Garden in Regents Park.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt who are seated on a bench together in conversation. This unlikely statue is on Old Bond Street.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Dinings, the best Japanese in London (in my opinion), it has to be the tempura salad.

Liberty London is my one-stop shop for great perfumes and presents. Its history is fascinating (it’s partially built from timbers of two ships, HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan).

Buskers perform at the Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. (Photograph by Sarah Reid, My Shot)

Locals know to skip Madame Tussauds and check out the half-price ticket booth in Leicester Square to buy tickets for some of the best theater in the world.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Moolis on 50 Frith Street for amazing Indian wraps.

For a huge splurge I go to Scotts in Mayfair for amazing seafood or to the Wolseley on Piccadilly.

Photo ops in my city include amazing architecture like the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the newly constructed Shard building. Be sure to go to East London to Columbia Road Flower Market and Shoreditch for some great people and fashion viewing. The best vantage points are from the London Eye if the weather is clear and the Shard 72nd floor viewing deck which opened in July and boasts the highest viewing point in the UK.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Kate Middleton: popular, colorful, forward-thinking, beautiful, and regal.

This is how the Shard looks if you are standing at the base, looking up. (Photograph by Paul Eason, My Shot)

The most random thing about my city is that we drive on the wrong side of the road!! If you look down at crossings, they’ll tell you which way to look to get across safely!

My city has the most polite men.

My city has the most confident women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves loads and loads of walking — my preferred method of getting around.

My city’s best museum is too hard to choose, but I do love the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A.

My favorite jogging/walking route is around Regents Park with a detour up Primrose Hill past the London Zoo and around the other side with another detour to Marylebone High Street.

For a night of dancing, go to The Box. Or, for live music, check out Ronnie Scotts in Soho.

The London Eye (left) with Big Ben in the background. (Photograph by Nina Louw, My Shot)

Once you get home, Lebanese on Edgware Road and Vingt Quatre on Fulham Road are the spots for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Time Out or the local Evening Standard.

You can tell a lot about my city from the variety and diversity of its people and from listening to all the various languages spoken all around you. Rarely do you actually hear English!

You can tell if someone is from my city if they automatically apologize if you bump into them!

In the spring you should get tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show.

In the summer you should go to Borough Market on Saturday for some amazing food and a boat ride down the Thames.

A living statue at Spitalfields Market. (Photograph by Janani Bala, My Shot)

In the fall you should drive out in the countryside and see the autumn colors and enjoy lunch in a country pub.

In the winter you should ice skate at Somerset House and grab a mulled wine at Spitalfields Market.

A hidden gem in my city is the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square — a gem of a museum that has a wonderful palm-filled atrium for tea.

For a great breakfast joint, try Providores on Marylebone High Street.

Don’t miss the London International Film Festival.

Just outside my city, you can visit Kew Gardens – take a boat to get there!

The best way to see my city is by walking — or by sitting on the upper deck of a bus.

If my city were a pet it would be a chameleon as it is always changing colors.

If you have kids, don't miss the Natural History Museum. (Photograph by Lenne Michelle Campbell, My Shot)

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Ajaccio, Corsica.

The best book about my city is London From The Air by Jason Hawkes

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Singin’ in the Rain.”

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Natural History and Science museums.

The spectacular Diamond Jubilee Celebration we just witnessed could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it has so much to offer. You can really find anything in London!

See how Tara’s London compares to Job’s London.


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