So we had a grand plan to move to London but since fate sometimes has other plans we’re actually heading back to the balmy Aussie climate and Sydney. Yay! We did however, manage to do a little touristing about in London so I guess that’s worth a post!
One of the nicest walks we took in London was down along Southbank to Tower Bridge. We happened upon the Southbank Centre Market next to the Royal Festival Hall (Waterloo underground stop) just in time for lunch one afternoon. Handy! There are so many places to eat around here and plenty to see so it’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon. There was a really cool book market on this walk and you pass by the Tate Modern too. We happened upon Borough Market (London Bridge underground) around here and must have revisited 3 or 4 more times in a number of days. Worth it! The sweet potato fries from Scotchtails were delicious and John’s coffee fix was had at the awesome Monmouth Coffee (the original is on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden) – queues out on to the street but worth the wait. Since we’re on coffee – in a world a million miles away but still on the tube was Brickwood (just across from Clapham Common) which has some seriously tasty banana and walnut bread with espresso butter (who knew?). Anyhoo…back to Borough Market and let’s just say some chocolate was had at Rabot 1745. Awesomes! The Shard is around this area and that’s one building definitely worth checking out.
Notting Hill and Portobello Road are definite must visits in London. We unfortunately didn’t make Portobello Road for the infamous Saturday market so I guess I’ll just have to sit and watch Notting Hill again. We stopped off for some Pimm’s on a Sunday afternoon instead. Tough life!
Shopping in London
I’d probably say that my favourite shop to visit in London is Harrods (Knightsbridge tube) and that’s honestly fully because of the Food Hall. First stop Harrods, next stop Hyde Park to enjoy the food haul. We came across Park Close, a cute little alleyway to get you across to Hyde Park and you’ll pass by the trés cool Bvlgari Hotel on the way. Nice! Since we’re on food I’d have to say that Fortnum and Mason (Piccadilly Circus or Green Park tube) AKA mecca for tea and coffee lovers comes a close second. Amazeballs. They sell overpriced everything but it’s worth meandering here anyway. Their hampers are absolutely beautiful and they’ve a great range of tea and biscuits too. Selfridges (Bond Street tube) needs a mention. I’m currently obsessed with the Mr. Selfridge show so it was pretty cool to wander around this store. It has everything. Everything. Topshop (Oxford Circus stop) is probably worth a visit since it’s so gigantic and Liberty a short walk from here is housed in the coolest building in London. Forget Buckingham Place/may as well be an office building. Liberty is where it’s at. Just around the corner from Liberty is Regent Street – probably my favourite street for shopping in London. All the shops you could need are lining up for you on Regent Street. There’s a lovely Anthropologie which is really good for gifts and homeware. This is also where Hamley’s Toy Store is; enter at your peril… We were wandering around SoHo feeling hungry one evening and came across a place called Spuntino – I guess you could call it a bar/diner hybrid that sells some full sized meals and tapas. Pretty damn good tapas at that. And the staff were very friendly.
The Covent Garden area seems to be where every single tourist congregates in London. It’s mayhem, particularly around the Covent Garden Market. Maybe because Shake Shack is here?!! Oh and Ladurée is too – they actually want £5.40 for ONE macaron. Eh, WHAT NOW?!! They’re nowhere near that price in Sydney and that’s a damn long way from France. Just across from the market lies St. Paul’s Church with the most peaceful garden in the middle of the city. Such a nice place to chill out in the sunshine. Neal’s Yard is also around here and of course Neal’s Yard Remedies, the natural beauty/apothecary emporium.
I took in the National Gallery, just off Trafalgar Square one morning (free entry) and got to see some Van Gogh and my favourite, Monet. So lovely. It started to get unbelievably busy about 11.30am so I definitely suggest getting here as early as possible. Although everybody seems to hang around the Van Goghs and Monets anyway! The National Portrait Gallery is just behind here and they’ve an Audrey Hepburn exhibition until 18th October. Tickets were all sold out for the time we were there, sadly 😦 You can easily walk from the National Gallery down to see Big Ben and Westminster.
We took a little trip to Camden Market and obvs it rained and rained. Not that that has ever stopped an Irish person in the history of ever. Honestly, we went to Camden because I wanted an açai bowl from Samba Swirl. I’ve been researching açai bowls outside of Brazil since we went there and I haven’t been able to find one that didn’t taste like bananas or water. Unfortunately this one didn’t live up to Brazilian standards either. God damn it!! It’s a problem of an obsession 🙂 Camden Market is ridiculously busy at the weekends so we also went during the week and had a lovely potter around. The surrounding area is really cool too; lots of pretty houses, small cafés and awesome graffiti. Ooh and a Whole Foods. Awesome.