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London mayor hardsells UK capital to global tourists via blog

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London: London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan has blogged about his favourite places to eat, drink and relax in his South London neighbourhood as he backs a new drive to encourage more tourists to come and live like a local and explore some of the city’s undiscovered areas.

The Pakistani-origin mayor who lives in Tooting – made famous in popular culture by the 1970’s classic BBC comedy ‘Citizen Smith’ – has written about how the area is home to the best South Asian restaurants in the capital, has a vibrant nightlife comparable to Soho.

The 45-year-old Khan who became London’s first Muslim mayor in May is one of a dozen local bloggers who have created insider guides about the best things to do where they live.

In his online guide, the mayor says Tooting, just 20 minutes down the Northern line from London Bridge, has cuisine from all corners of the globe, an arts club that has put on internationally acclaimed productions and a market that is “so colourful it feels like a summer holiday all year round”.

The mayor enjoys cycling down to Tooting Common with his daughters to enjoy the wildlife and homemade ice cream in the cafe, and taking a dip in England’s largest freshwater pool – the Grade II listed Art Deco Tooting Bec Lido.

And as he likes to be reminded of his South Asian roots, in his spare time he can be found at his favourite restaurant – the Lahore Karahi – where “the naan is fresh and the tarkah dahl is almost as delicious as my mother’s!” Khan wrote on his blog.

He wrote, “London’s cultural and gastronomic gems are not just limited to the city centre, and that’s one of the things I love most about this city. Almost every nook and cranny is a hive of activity, offering something for absolutely everyone.

“From Camden to Tooting and Ealing to Greenwich, every local area has its own personality and appeal. I urge tourists to not only enjoy our world-renowned central London sites, but to wander off the beaten track and see more of London,” he said.

London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and receives record numbers of visitors.

Recent figures show that 31.5 million tourists visited the British capital in 2015, contributing 15 billion pounds to the economy and supporting 700,000 jobs.

PTI

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