2024 is a leap year — meaning a bonus day in your life as a Londoner. Why not use it to do something that a Londoner would never usually do? Something like this:
1. Hail a rickshaw or a black cab
We're all for the black cab, a bona fide icon on wheels driven by hippocampus-swollen geniuses who know more about London than we ever will. These days, most black cabs run off electric too, so even Greta can hail one guilt-free when she's over for a protest. But honestly, how many times have we actually got in a black cab? We could count it on one hand finger. This 29 February, take a cheeky ride and ask your driver if they've ever had that Thunberg person in the back of their cab. Alternatively, go for the all-singing, all-dancing, all-pedalling version of taboo tourist transport — the rickshaw. What screams 'I'M NOT A LONDONER!' more than singing your head off to Dancing Queen, en route to an Angus Steakhouse. Speaking of which...
2. Eat at an Angus Steakhouse
Best described by David Mitchell as "now rarer than the Siberian tiger" and "all that we have left of a proud heritage of serving shoe leather with béarnaise sauce to neon-addled out-of-towners," you're only ever lured in by the red light district-esque glow of an Angus Steakhouse once. And if you've not yet had that pleasure, then the last day of February 2024 is the time to do it. Order a very OK ribeye, listen to your fellow diners talk about how they were midly disappointed by the London Eye, and have the whole of Leicester Square ogle you through your floor-to-ceiling glass cage as if you're a, well, Siberian tiger.
For dessert, we recommend a cup of those sweet-smelling nuts always being flogged on the South Bank and nearby bridges. We've all enjoyed nasal freebies of the honeyed aroma, but never actually purchased any because... well we're Londoners innit.
3. Ride the tube between Covent Garden and Leicester Square
Now for another transport no-no — one that Londoners would usually avoid like the Great Plague of 1665. Covent Garden to Leicester Square is, famously, the most pointless tube journey on the network. But on 29 February, let's raise the number of people embarking on this utterly useless run from 254 to 254,000. It'll wreak havoc with TfL's open data, not to mention jam up the entire Piccadilly line, prompt major knock-on effects at Heathrow, cause unmitigated chaos on international flights, thus bringing the entire world to its knees. It'll be fun. Or, alternatively, plump for an altogether loftier form of TfL transport...
4. Ride the cable car
These days, most true Londoners don't even know the cable car's full title (is it the IBM Cable Car, or maybe the IBS Cable Car?), let alone have ever ridden the thing. But if the skies over London this 29 Feb turn out to be crisp and Turner-esque, who knows, maybe you'll enjoy dangling from a great height in a box over some old docks. Score extra 'I'd never usually do this' points by doing the teddy workshop afterwards.
5. Buy a Princess Di shot glass
We know you're usually far too hip to fritter away your precious Londoner time on Oxford Street. But make this leap day an exception, by doing a crawl of the tourist gift shops with their phone box-shaped teapots, Beatles condoms, and I Heart London ashtrays. And may we recommend to sir/madam the Royal Family section of any given shop, where you'll find a cornucopia of solar-powered Queens (RIP), Prince Andrew pizza wheels*; and an entire subsection of boozewear including Diana and Princess Charlotte shot glasses.
You may wish to nurse your 1 March hangover with a cup of Harry and Meghan tea. If you think they deserve it.
6. Be available (without your friends having to book you three months in advance)
Keep your Thursday free, totally free. No drinks plans, no gym, no bingeing sessions of The Bear. Just sit there and wait. And if no one calls, then congratulations, you're doing something else that no other Londoner ever does: absolutely nothing.