The year is 2016 and London is the second most Instagrammed city in the world (New York, since you asked). This presents those of us who live here with a distressing problem: how to stand out enough to impress our followers and attract more of those serotonin spiking digital hearts our real hearts desire?
In a city so vast, a person could spend years discovering the best places for the perfect (filtered) shot, but who has time to traipse down Regent's Canal all day waiting for some swans to show up and look serene?
No one. So we've done it for you, and found eight places in the capital that will take your 'Gram to the next level until people believe you are the Lord of London - if such a title did exist.
The Urban Oasis: Kings Cross Pond Club
It is hard to believe such an idyllic spot exists in the middle of what is effectively a building site in N1, but exist the Kings Cross Pond Club does. This naturally filtered pond is a puddle of calm in a gritty urban landscape, the ultimate meeting of opposites to drive your followers wild. It even has a trendy name to hashtag, giving the impression you're a laid back guy who likes the simple life. Rooftop infinity pool? No thank you sir, you can find me breaststroking away underneath the skyscrapers. Careful with ambushing children for the perfect sunset image, the deep end is more perilous than it looks.
A Substitute Serengeti: Richmond Park
Have you ever dreamed of filling your feed with graceful gazelles and sweeping shots of long luscious grass? Forget a safari, all this is waiting for you the other end of the 337 bus in Royal Richmond Park. There's no end to the masses of Insta-opps here: the much photographed roaming deer, ducks, butterflies, rabbits; it's basically The Animals Of Farthing Wood, without the tragic forest fire.
Neon Jungle: God's Own Junkyard
If Vegas is top of your bucket list then look no further than Walthamstow where you can get a slice of Sin City using just your Oyster card. This niche art gallery is the lifetime collection of 'Neon Man' Chris Bracey whose signs, artworks and objects light up the room - literally. This, as Steven on Google Reviews eloquently wrote, is "Instagram heaven!"
The Mind Blowing Restaurant: Sketch
There are plenty of nice restaurants in London but most of them have a fairly neutral could-be-anywhere feel about them, all parchment napkins and tall bathroom mirrors. Sketch certainly doesn't fall in that category especially with its new re-design which has catapulted it to hysterical heights of interiors porn. From the angular Georgian townhouse front to the space age egg-shaped cubicles you'll need to clear some storage for this trip. Make sure you tell your followers the rose colour scheme in The Gallery looks very Wes Anderson. Proper culture.
Pretend You're Arty: Graffiti In Shoreditch
Despite widespread gentrification and actual cereal cafes, East London still likes to model itself as the home of counterculture in London. Many of the tunnels and walls on the offshoots of Shoreditch High Street are covered in subversive and impressive murals and slogans. The giant hedgehog on Redchurch Street is particularly resplendent, if a little random. Do be careful of posing in front of anything too anti-capitalist with those £120 Ray-Ban shades on.
At Dizzying Heights: The Heron Tower
This impressive 46 floor tower that houses super-luxe restaurants Duck & Waffle and Sushi Samba offers a few Instagram wins. First is the extraordinarily fast lift which rockets you up over London - once you're up there, the treasure trove of bird's eye views and huge lit up tree in the smoking area are bound to illicit comments of "Ooooh where are you? looks nice!!" even if only from your mum.
For Moody Brooding: Highgate Cementery
Albeit slightly morbid and very creepy, Highgate Cementery is still a marvel to behold and explore. Giant crosses, statues of angels and even a grand piano fill a graveyard where Karl Marx and George Eliot are buried. Try to stick to normal levels of decency when posing next to the deceased, etc.
The Backroom Bar: Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town
If you want to raise the stakes on your 'Gram and make sure your followers know you're an "insider" there's nothing quite so effective as documenting a secret bar. This one is hidden through an unsuspecting looking Smeg fridge in the The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane, East London. You emerge into a dimly lit bar with exposed brick, tables made from crates .#NoFilter needed, mate.