This summer, I am living in a neighborhood called Clerkenwell. Clerkenwell sits on the East-Central end of London and is a residential area, filled with restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, and flats. Living in Clerkenwell, it is very easy to feel like a local Londoner since you are not constantly surrounded by tourists like you might be in other areas of London. Walking to the Farringdon tube stop, it feels almost like walking to class on Ole Miss’s campus as you pass by workers going in all different directions to get to work. This is where you really get to experience true London culture in areas that is filled with people who live and work in London full-time. Living in an area like Clerkenwell/Farringdon, it is very easy to begin to feel like you are becoming engrained into the fabric of London while not being too far from the real heart of London and its many great attractions.
In the U.S.A, we are used to very well-thought-out cities that were once organized into blocks that make it simple to navigate. Since London is thousands of years old, it was never really organized like many cities that we are used to. Developers over the years just have had to build where they found space and had to get creative, like a game of Tetris. Because of this you find many alleys and narrow, winding streets in Clerkenwell and in London. These serve as very convenient shortcuts and also paths which feel like steps back in time. You pass by buildings in Clerkenwell that you might not even notice but are hundreds or even thousands of years old. Places such as St. Bartholomew’s the Great (built 1184) and the building/church that once served as the gate to the priory of Clerkenwell (built 1600s) make exploration in this quaint area very worth it. In the area of Clerkenwell, you truly experience the beautiful blend of the new and the old, with Starbucks’ and medieval arc
hitecture only steps apart from each other. Clerkenwell, with the center of London in its backyard, is an ideal spot to live and explore.