London is a yearly trip for me, however this year I saw a different side of the city which made me fall madly in love with it. Whilst I am definitely no expert I thought I’d mention a few of the places which I think are worth sharing. So if London is on the cards for you anytime soon put on Notting Hill, swoon over Hugh Grant and read this little guide – and hopefully you’ll be feeling inspired to discover the English capital.
Whilst I had just jumped off the plane from Paris, I can still never resist the temptation of French delights, I don’t feel quite so guilty about this telling myself that France is celebrated for its gastronomic talent for a reason. Aubaine is the perfect little French spot in central London offering something delicious at every time of day. I stopped in for a superb smoked salmon and duck egg omelette and a few macarons to follow.
London is a large sprawling city which means that it can be more difficult to find the beautiful spots as they’re not all condensed into one walk-able area – nonetheless when you do find them it is all the more rewarding. Below I’ve listed some of the areas which are not to be missed.
Covent garden is an area which I normally tend to head straight to upon my arrival in the city. Working my way through the chic boutiques nestled within beautiful buildings provides no short of amusement for me. The market is made up by a mix of cute quirky stalls and high end boutiques all under the roof a of turquoise metal structure. This area is also home to the wonderful Somerset house where I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the best exhibitions of my life including Tim Walker’s storyteller, I am confident that there will always be something worth seeing. For some of the best cupcakes in town, don’t miss Primrose bakery and their saccharine treats.
SOMERSET HOUSE Strand, WC2R 1LA// PRIMROSE BAKERY 42 Tavistock St, WC2E 7PB//
The pastel-hued apartments of Notting Hill feel a long distance away from the madness of central London. Everyone is heading to Portobello road for the market on the weekend which is worth seeing but I actually prefer meandering the quiet more residential parts to take in the breathtaking architecture. Westbourne grove provides the perfect mix of high-end shops and organic bakeries and is also where you’ll find the extravagant Gaudi inspired restaurant Beach Blanket Babylon which is the ideal place for a tea break.
MARYLEBONE HIGH STREET
A wonderful street, not far from Bond Street for a bit of quiet shopping. I would be tempted to name this road little Paris due to the sheer amount of Parisian spots I passed on the way, I thought I had a deja-vu moment when I saw the most Parisian of all pastry shops – la pâtisserie des rêves. For the most phenomenal book shop make sure to enter Daunt books for its vast travel section with row after row of curated city guides.
DAUNT BOOKS 83 Marylebone High St, W1U 4QW //
FORTNUM AND MASON
There are a few stores which are punishable if missed, whilst everyone knows of the extravagance of Harrods, I personally cannot talk highly enough of Fortnum and Mason. A British symbol of high quality goods offering everything from hard-boiled sweets to guimauve marshmallows. World famous for its tea selection, their tea infusers in pastel blue boxes are perhaps the most adorable kitchen accessories I’ve seen. For hours of shopping fun also make sure not to miss the two department stores Liberty and Selfridges both of which I could spend days inside.
FORTNUM & MASON 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER // LIBERTY Regent Street, W1B 5AH // SELFRIDGES 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB
I stumbled across the little stop-in cafe completely by coincidence only to later learn of it as a staple London coffee house. A couple of other flawless cups which I tried due to invaluable recommendations from London friends were from Flat white and Monmouth coffee.
WORKSHOP COFFEE 75 Wigmore Street, W1U 1QD // FLAT WHITE 17 Berwick St, W1F 0PT // MONMOUTH COFFEE Arch 3 Spa North, Dockley Rd, SE16 4RP
I couldn’t imagine a more pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning other than perusing the stalls at this farmers marketand being greeted with a smile and a bit of chatter about the local produce. Head to the bottom of the road to start your morning off in the best possible way with a sourdough tartine topped with Norwegian smoked salmon which melts in your mouth accompanied by a Climpson and Sons coffee. Other delights include Coco and Me home-made tarts and Violet’s red velvet cupcakes, a recipe handed down through generations of an all American family, so I’m told. One of the things I was most excited about was meeting the Meringue girls in person, they’re multi-coloured meringues are stirring up quite a storm with all sweet tooth’s like myself.
COLUMBIA FLOWER MARKET
You won’t find a more cheerful place in London on a Sunday morning than the happenings along Columbia road. The incredible smell of the fresh flowers together with the banter of the Cockney hagglers will surely have you smiling to yourself when choosing your bunch of flowers. Afterwards head to the Lili Vanilli bakery for mountains of layered home-made cake and the homeliest atmosphere.
CHARBONNEL AND WALKER
The pink champagne truffles sold at this darling chocolatier are to die for, as if the packaging isn’t reason enough to buy a box they’re also the queen’s favourites. The generous staff will often offer you a chocolate or two when deciding which box to buy.
One, The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond St, London W1S 4BT
RED VELVET CUPCAKE
Hummingbird bakery is famous for its red velvet cupcake and whilst I cannot refute its deliciousness, I found a couple of other bakeries who are producing even yummier versions. Primrose bakery which I mentioned above does an equally as delicious one yet in a much more pleasant tea room with feminine touches where you can enjoy your treats at ease. My favourite of them all would have to Violet, the same baker who sells her treats at Broadway market also has a charming little cafe in London fields making the best Red Velvet in London in miniature or classic sizes.
PRIMROSE BAKERY 69 Gloucester Ave, NW1 8LD// VIOLET 47 Wilton Way, E8 3ED
Multi-coloured meringue kisses are the stuff of any girls dreams. The Meringue Girls know where it’s at, now stocked in Selfridges, Fortnum’s and at Broadway market as featured above. I thought they deserved a little feature of their own seeing as no trip to London would be complete without one of their sweet meringue kisses.
And there you have it a little guide to London, I hope this helps you discover the best of this beautiful city.