London- sprawling, historic, edgy, and classic all at once. This weekend I was scrolling through my Lightroom, cleaning up the immense archives of photos that I regularly take (its currently at 14,000) and the below photo of brick mews, red telephone box and bay windows of the corner pub, brought me back to London. In August, I had the chance to go over to the U.K. for a week with my mum, retracing my steps from the years I lived in Scotland and would take the train down to London on university breaks. It was my first international trip since the start of the pandemic and London just so happened to also be the last international destination I visited before we all went down the rabbit hole in March 2020.
There was a mix of wind and sunshine as I strolled with friends through the statuesque white mansions of South Kensington, rain later and gray skies wandering the narrow brick lanes of Spitalfields, and all of it brought a smile to my face. My favorite thing about London is that just by wandering around you can get your fill of the iconic, tourist moments and the hidden gems. I know I’ll never get tired of this city and so today I’m sharing the sites I saw and ones that I can’t wait to see on my next trip (or move… we shall see) back!
- Georgian House Hotel (Victoria), I stayed here in January 2020 and it’s the loveliest little spot in a block of converted mansions.
- The Connaught (Mayfair), just up the street from the showroom where I used to work as a fashion intern, I’ve always wanted to stay at this beautiful, classic London hotel.
- Artists Residence (Pimlico), with a sister hotel in Brighton, this a charming and quirky townhouse is a decor lover’s dream.
- Batty Langley’s (Spitalfields), golden swan taps and a cozy library lobby, need I say more? I got to pop inside with a friend who was staying at this boutique hotel and it looked so lovely.
- The Ned (Blackfriars) a luxury hotel and spa in a restored bank building. Perfect if you need to be on the east end of the big smoke.
- Nopi, the latest of the Ottolengi restaurants, and just a stone’s throw from Carnaby Street. This dinner was my favourite meal of the trip, and given London’s food scene, that’s saying something.
- Fortnum & Mason, for afternoon tea, you can always look at the hotel where you are staying, or another venue, but the service at this iconic food hall is a quintessential London experience and not to be missed.
- 34 Mayfair, recently we sat on their newly converted terrace and watched everyone stroll by on South Audley Street. Beautiful food, beautiful atmosphere.
- Gunpowder, small plates Indian food that is out of this world good at this hole in the wall restaurant in Spitalfields. I adore this cuisine and so the shareable portions are ideal to try everything on the menu.
- Stanley’s Chelsea, I spent an afternoon with friends catching up over coffees, cocktails and antipasti on their patio. It was the loveliest space and we even saw a small wedding party celebrating a few tables over. Highly recommend
- Granger & Co, ricotta hotcakes with bananas and honeycomb butter, or corn fritters, you really can’t go wrong with my favorite brunch spot in London.
- Daylesford Farm Shop, I want to buy everything in this beautiful shop and café but their matcha lattes and perfect eggs are a great way to start the day.
- Gail’s Bakery- best coffee shop, their pecan brownie is all I crave most days. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up.
- Milk Beach- We visited this Australian style restaurant in Queens Park with our family friends who live nearby. Located down the converted warehouse mews, it’s the prettiest spot and serves up some seriously good food.
- Marchesi 1824- this Mayfair patisserie place is perfect for a luxurious treat after a day of museums, and site seeing and shopping.
- The Queen’s Galleries, tucked on the side of Buckingham Palace, this gallery often exhibits the royal archives. When I visited, I saw a collection of Dutch and Venetian masters. It’s also a fun way to see the palace without all the fuss of the crowds.
- Papersmiths- the loveliest stationary shop near Sloane Square filled with pretty cards and decorative things.
- Liberty London- my favorite department store in London, it’s almost more art gallery filled with clothing and beauty items.
- The Wallace Collection, I didn’t make it this trip, but this is one of my favorite museums. It’s filled with the most gorgeous 17th and 18th century art, furniture and even a collection of armor.
- Antiques on Portobello Rd, the best spot for a wander is Notting Hill, and I love poking around the rabbit warrens of antiques shops on Portobello Road. Great if you’re hunting for the perfect birthday or Christmas gifts over the next few months.
- Hyde Park,the best spot for a run or bike ride, especially at the changing of the seasons. You might even see the palace guards training on their horses
- Victoria and Albert Museum, when I visited, they were hosting a special exhibit sponsored by Mulberry called Bags: Inside and Out. It was fascinating, and it runs through mid-January 2022, so I highly recommend getting a ticket. Their permanent collections are wonderful and the architecture of the building itself is stunning, so regardless the V&A is worth a visit
- Kew Gardens, the next few are on my list for future visits. Especially these botanical gardens just outside of the city, which are beautiful at any time of year but also feature light displays during December.
- Leadenhall Market, as you may have guessed I have a thing for old buildings and statement architecture and this covered market built in 1881, is a London landmark.
- Skygarden, this elevated space is home to several bars and restaurants and has a fantastic view of the city skyline. Apparently, they even host yoga classes some mornings.
And if you’re missing London, might I recommend watching Fleabag, Lovesick or About Time.