The Left Field Londoner aka Sherelle (or Shelly/Rella) Jacobs

This blog is designed for people who never think they have the time or the patience to play tourist in their own city.

My posts focus on the secrets waiting to be uncovered in individual streets, squares and small green spaces that few Londoners appreciate. You can enjoy the hidden, forgotten spaces that I enjoy so much and want to share with you, even if you only have the tail-end of a lunch break or a half-hour to kill in between meeting mates to explore.

I also do round-ups around particular themes – like my favourite secret bars and off-the-radar neighbourhood restaurants. The beauty of these offbeat places is you can make them part of your social life in London, and enjoy them with family and friends.

I am Sherelle Jacobs (people call me Shelly). I work on the Travel desk at the Daily Telegraph, and a born-and-bred Londoner.

I’ve become a bit fixated with finding out the secrets of this city. This is the city I have lived in, grown in, loved, loathed, feared, moaned about, boasted about, been oblivious to and overwhelmed by for so many years.

I recently realised something that I can’t let go of: You can live out a whole life with London as the soundtrack; London as the background and the foreground; London as the pacemaker; London as the limit-setter; and still not really know London at all.

London is like a series of hallways with millions of rooms running off it, concealed by heavy black curtains. It’s so easy to stick to the hallways, going about your business, getting from A to B. But when you start lifting up the curtains, and discovering its secrets and layers of history, you realise just how much you’re missing.

You can walk down a street a thousand times at a hundred different times of day, unaware of its smells and sounds. You can remain ignorant to the fact it hosts a wonderful independent shop that’s been in the same family for a hundred years, a secret rum speakeasy, a lamppost once used as a drop box by Soviet spies, or that a rock star shot his lover at number 9 in 1974.

I hope I can help you never see London the same way again.