The greatest showcase of world cricket has started and will draw supporters of the 10 competing national teams from
across the world to Britain. The opening match might not have gone too well for the Proteas, but fans who are there live in hope
that this tournament will see the team finally clinch world domination.
Supporters would relish the prospect of staying for the entire tournament, if the Proteas advance
toward the final on July 14th.
Especially since the tournament takes place in Spring and Summer, with fervent
supporters from all over the world adding to the atmosphere of an already eclectic destination.
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With so much to see and do, we asked a UK insider, Sue Petrie, British Airways' Regional Commercial
Manager Trade for Southern and East Africa to give us a low-down on how to make the most of your time while there.
“While the world’s best cricketers will
duel at beautiful venues across Britain, there’s plenty to do between matches. For
example, the opening match between South Africa and England at The Oval puts
fans in the middle of a variety of attractions." Petrie suggests the following:
a market: Brixton is famed for its lively,
multicultural flavour. At the epicentre of that is the Brixton Station Road
Market, a community market run by local traders and a good place to savour and
the area’s Afro-Caribbean heritage. Expect to enjoy Ethiopian, West Indian,
Kashmiri, Moroccan and Colombian dishes, as well as charcuterie and baked
goods, and there’s plenty of vegan and vegetarian fare. Depending on when you
visit, the focus will be on handcrafts, fresh produce, vinyl and collectables.
The market is covered and worth visiting in any weather. The area is also known
for its energetic nightlife and it’s worth a pilgrimage to the pedestrianised
Electric Avenue. It’s so-named because it was the first market area in London
to have electric lighting in 1880. The reggae singer Eddy Grant had a hit with
a song of the same name.
a live show: The O2 Brixton Academy is a beloved,
iconic venue that’s hosted performances by every musical act of any
significance in the last 50 years, including the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Madonna,
the XX, Faithless, Pixies, Good Charlotte, Rammstein and the Dave Matthews Band.
For music-lovers, this is a pilgrimage to remember.
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a famous distillery: London and gin share a lot of
history and in the past the aromatic spirit was blamed for many of the city’s
social ills. Once labelled Mother’s Ruin, it’s now a crucial ingredient of many
cocktails and is very much on-trend. There are around 24 gin distilleries in
London, including the one where Beefeater has been made for the last 200-odd
years. Nowadays gin is enjoyed worldwide, but much of its history can be traced
back to the imposing Edwardian building in Montford Place off Kennington Road.
You’ll be able to see the Victorian-era pot-still stills and sample the
botanicals that give gin its unique tang – juniper, liquorice, coriander,
almonds, lemons and more – as well as the end-product.
a walking tour: You can of course stroll around
London on your own, but a good tour-guide outfit like www.lookup.london will give you fascinating
insights into the city’s many oddities. Just one example is Southbank House,
around 20 minutes’ walk from Kennington Oval. While many London buildings are
vast, sleek glass-and-steel edifices, the terracotta-and-tile façade of
Southbank House tells a story that’s intertwined with royalty and empire. Originally
established to make glazed sewer pipes, the Doulton company diversified into its
now-famous fine bone-china. When it was awarded a royal warrant, the company
was entitled to rename itself Royal Doulton and its tableware and collectables
remain sought-after worldwide.
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some famous local bread: When Karl Heinz Rossbach moved from his
family’s farm in Southern Germany in 1982 to London to study psychotherapy, he
yearned for the nutritious, traditional bread of his home, but found nothing
like it. He was immersed in the thriving counterculture of ’80s London and like
many students at the time he lived in a “squat” – the only digs he could
afford. He needed to fund his studies and feed his yearning for home-made
bread. So he repaired a discarded gas-cooker, built a proving cabinet from
scrap, a mill from a coffee-grinder and a washing-machine motor, and used an old
bath as a mixing bowl. Outlets offering organic, artisanal foods are
commonplace now, but Rossbach’s was the first in the area, and The Old Post
Office Bakery continues to delight patrons with food like its potato, onion and
honey sourdough loaf, tomato pesto cheese pie, and chocolate and hazelnut
biscuits. Visit the old post office bakery.
a pleasure garden: London is a busy city and that’s
part of its appeal. But residents and visitors also enjoy London’s many
tranquil green spaces, offering fresh air and space to unwind. One such
destination is the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in Kennington. The gardens have
attracted visitors for around 200 years and have been mentioned in the writings
of Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, Thomas Hardy and William Makepeace Thackery,
author of Vanity Fair. Nowadays it’s
also the site of the Vauxhall City Farm, an independent charity giving
city-dwellers access to nature and animals. It might feel incongruous to walk
among farm animals within earshot of Big Ben, but the farm provides valuable
environmental awareness and facilities including horse-riding. A coffee-shop
on-site offers light meals.
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