Slow

London without cars

Last Saturday I gained an insight into what London might feel like without cars. As part of the Ride London festival, Waterloo Bridge (pictured) and other roads round the city centre were reserved for cyclists. It was strange to walk along the Strand and hear only the sound of chatter and spinning wheels.For cyclists, the(…)

London’s underground heat

It’s been a hot few weeks here in London. Above-ground, things have been made worse by the heat island effect: all the reflective hard surfaces and heat from cars and air conditioners, which mean that temperatures in the city centre can be up to 10C warmer than in the countryside. Things have been pretty steamy underground,(…)

Tranquil City

For most of us, our experience of London most of the time is as a noisy fast place. We arrive at crowded stations, rush to work along busy roads, shop to blaring music, and go for drinks in places where we have to shout to be heard. The challenge of finding a slower side to(…)

Celebrating London’s trees

It’s May, the sun is out and the trees are looking good! As well as their gorgeous spring finery, here are five things to love about London’s trees.London’s trees are as much a part of the capital’s human history as are its buildings. Take the London Plane, which is in fact a cross between the(…)

The Monument: memorial, fossil, telescope, gnomon

The Monument – the flame-topped Doric column to the north of London Bridge – was once the capital’s tallest building. At 202ft, it’s as high as it is distant from the bakery on Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started in 1666. Visible from all around, it would have reminded anyone who looked up of(…)

Talking about Slowing Down on Lush Radio

I was delighted to be invited by Lush cosmetics radio station to join a conversation about slowing down. It’s an explicit theme of London In Slow Motion walk. But actually the idea of slowing down – taking time to stop, look, listen and think – is key to all our walks.It was an interesting morning bouncing ideas around with Eloise King (executive producer(…)

City noise and body rhythms

We tend to think of noisy places as ‘fast’ and quiet places as ‘slow’. There’s a rather obvious reason for this: motion – from cars, tube trains, hordes of commuters – usually generates noise. Other kinds of noise, though, have nothing to do with movement. A pub packed with people shouting to be heard above the music might still feel(…)

Crossrail: adventures in waste

There’s so much of wonder about Crossrail, the new railway under London that will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood when it opens in 2019. First off, there’s the staggeringly ambitious engineering work to construct 42km of tunnels through the centre of a city already riddled with holes from the tube network.The real joy for(…)

Contactless but tactile

Technologies like automatic doors, sensor-controlled escalators and even contactless payments all allow us to glide through London without touching it—with our hands, that is.We feel the city with our feet. Through the soles of our shoes we learn the texture of London’s uneven paving, lumpy tarmac and slippery cobbles. We also read the city with our(…)

Slow growth and ancient roots

Now that London’s trees have all outed themselves with their new foliage, it’s a great time to go tree spotting. The Natural History Museum’s Leafsnap UK app is a handy tool for identifying species from their leaves. Of all the city’s trees, the London plane (pictured left) gives the capital its arboreal character. But it hasn’t(…)