Holiday for one? Liz Nice fared well in Leicester Square
PUBLISHED: 16:26 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:26 29 November 2018
Liz Nice found London's Leicester Square to be the perfect mini break for her new life
When a relationship ends after two decades, being on your own can be daunting.
You’re not used to doing things by yourself.
The other morning, I made two cups of tea – then remembered that the second one was redundant. There was no one upstairs to take it to. I threw it down the sink.
Because of this, I now have alternate weekends when I don’t have my children.
Hard as this is, it also means that I have free weekends!
At first, I didn’t know what to do with them but then I thought, what’s stopping me? And why shouldn’t I do things I have always enjoyed just because I am on my own?
I have stayed at the Thistle Trafalgar just off Leicester Square before with the whole family but decided to go by myself this time.
Besides, I have friends in London. I could meet up with people I know but still spend time on my own; just being me. After almost a half century as somebody else’s other half, it occurred to me that it might be quite helpful to work out who that might be.
Leicester Square has everything you need for such a weekend – there’s no need to go anywhere else.
I had lunch with a friend at the Leicester Square Kitchen, a contemporary Mexican and Peruvian resturant where the service was prompt and friendly and the set menu offered a delicious selection of choices from which you can choose three (for £20) or four (for £25) things to either share or eat by yourself. As the mood was very much my new solo life, and because I am naturally selfish about my food, I chose not to share! I especially recommend the Robata pisco-glazed smoked paprika ribs. Delicious.
A short walk along the Strand took me to the Royal Academy’s Oceania exhibition which marks 250 years since Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific. I’ve been to the Royal Academy before - the Russian art exhibition last year was quite brilliant. Oceania was less my thing but I did enjoy comparing some of the Polynesian statues to work colleagues. It seemed quite a number of them have doppelgangers who were Polynesian gods.
Next stop was the new rooftop bar at the Indigo Hotel for cocktails. I met another friend there and we felt very wicked getting mildly giddy at 4 in the afternoon, while enjoying spectacular views of the City. Then we ate at Granaio Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus where the food was fantastic – especially the decadent antipasto misto del granaio (£ 25.75) which I did share a little of as you are meant to, sadly. The restaurant décor is gorgeous – you feel very special to be there – and the staff treated us like queens, which was apt as the final experience of my day was a trip to the Leicester Square Cineworld to see Bohemian Rhapsody in the 4DX cinema.
This was a mildly discombobulating experience, as I got shaken and stirred and squirted in the face in my seat every time Freddie Mercury rattled out one of his bracing numbers or stood in the rain. I’m not entirely sure why you need to listen to We Will Rock You and Radio Gaga while doing the equivalent of sitting on a washing machine but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the experience – and the film itself was a retro delight for a child of the 70s. As the visit wore on, I found myself remembering more and more exactly who she was.
Back at the hotel, which was as delightful as last time, (good breakfast too), I made myself a cup of tea – just one this time - and reflected on this new life of mine.
The film was still fresh in my mind and Queen songs continued to play in my head.
As my head hit the pillow, I think the last one I heard whip through my brain has become my favourite. Don’t Stop Me Now.
Where to stay
Where to eat and drink
Royal Academy Oceania exhibition https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/oceania
Indigo hotel rooftop bar https://www.ihg.com/hotelindigo/hotels/gb/en/london/lonls/hoteldetail
4DX screen at Leicester Square Cineworld https://www.cineworld.co.uk/4dx