Background: Originally from Belarus, Showaround local Liza moved to London four years ago. At present, she’s a Computer Science student at the Imperial College London and is in the process of writing her master’s thesis. Perhaps this might make her seem quite geeky, but in fact, she’s the polar opposite – very outgoing, laid-back and fun to be around. Liza is also madly in love with the area she lives in – Camden and Primrose Hill – therefore make sure during a tour with her you get to know all the ins and outs of the area, as well as the ways of the locals.
Showaround: Why did you decide to become a Showaround Local?
Liza: I wanted to become a Showaround local because I believe that I know my borough very well and could make someone’s time in London a lot more special, instead of visitors exploring the area on their own. My friends were always very impressed by the plans I made when they were visiting me in London. So when I found out about Showaround I thought: that’s exactly my kind of thing!
Showaround: Name three super local things to do in the city?
Liza: The most local thing to do is cycle to your destination; then the second local thing is to avoid all the touristy places – especially on a weekend; and the third one is probably ignoring streetlights, because they don’t work very well in London. Of course, these aren’t things I would recommend doing if you’re a tourist and from a country where you drive on the WRONG side of the road.
Showaround: Favourite restaurant?
Liza: If you have a ‘favourite’ restaurant in London, then you certainly have a lack of imagination. There are so many outstanding and diverse restaurants that it’s nearly impossible to narrow down the choice to one. Personally, one day I want to eat vegan food, another I feel like Vietnamese street-food, and the next I might feel like something to satisfy my sweet-tooth, so the possibilities are endless!
Showaround: Best place for a drink?
Liza: For a local the best place for a drink is your place – where the music is quiet, the drink is exactly how you like it and the waiter knows what you’d like before you even order. If you want to go for pre-drinks before heading out, there are enough places with really good happy hour deals, my favourite being 55 in Camden and Grace at Piccadilly Circus. For dates, I would recommend Li Veli in Covent Garden or York & Albany in Primrose Hill. I know more about the must-visit coffee places in London, so I can’t promise the best drinks, but I can promise the best coffee – as a former professional barista, you can trust me there.
Showaround: What about the nightlife?
Liza: Totally depends on your taste! I personally don’t like West End clubs and prefer electronic music – Corsica Studios and Egg are the places to go for that sort of partying.
Showaround: How would you describe the local people of London?
Liza: There is no typical local person in London. Londoners who work and live in the city are completely different from those living in Shoreditch and Camden; and those who work are very different from students. For instance, I am a student, I live in Camden, and I am Eastern European – I cycle everywhere, have a taste for good food and I know how to have fun without spending loads of money.
Also, I know about some hidden spots, such as the best places to go ice-skating (in summer). I keep up-to-date with the latest events, interesting exhibitions and shows, and I also know how to make London feel like a huge, global city, or how to make it feel like a tiny and idyllic suburb. I believe that anyone who has been living in the city for a certain number of years knows these two different faces of London, and that’s when they understand that London has become their home.
Showaround: Thank you, Liza, for your answers!