Without a doubt London is one of the most beautiful places, and I think its a place which is on almost everyone's bucket-list and it does not disappoint - in fact it was beautiful beyond my wildest dreams. For my visit to London it we had the most beautifully warm and sunny weather, which made it that much more special, because being able to be in that magical city whilst all of it's flowers are in bloom is an absolute dream. I now understand why so many Australians go over to London to study or work for just a year and never come back or end up staying for 5 plus years.
"There is nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere." - Vivienne Westwood
I've put together a few lists of must do's whilst your in London, but don't worry this won't be my last post about this amazing place there will be plenty more to come and in much more detail, but for now here is a list of places to eat, some fantastic sights to see and shops to visit (if you're a fan of dropping some dollars) as London is so famous for.
Granger & Co: Being an Aussie, naturally I am going to love anywhere which is run or founded by another fellow Aussie and Granger & Co is it. I spent and afternoon having lunch at their Notting Hill restaurant. The Notting Hill restaurant is simply decorated, no-bookings eatery with a passion – it is so popular you will find queues form at weekends for brunch, and even early in the week the tightly packed tables and stools along the bar are fully occupied. It’s no wonder: the room is appealing and light-filled, the global menu inventive without being alarming, and the cooking assured. Prices are on the high side, but portions are generous.
BB's Bakery: Specialises in Afternoon Tea with a French Twist - L'Afternoon Tea. They offer fabulous Afternoon Tea experiences in London and much much more - you won't be disappointed with their high tea spread. They also offer many different types of hop on hop off bus tours which is incredible handy for getting around the city and to the bakery.
Sushi Samba: If you're looking for the best sushi in town with panoramic views of the London skyline then look no further. Sushi Samba offers up a unique fusion of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine with artistic decor that compliment the stunning views. As expected, once at the top, the views and surroundings are spectacular. The outdoor bar with it's large autumn tree centerpiece and the bamboo trellis and lighting in the main restaurant are particularly impressive features.They offer a large selection of cocktails with lots of different options depending on your alcohol of choice, which as expected were very tasty and went down like water.We were particularly hungry so went for the edamame, salt and pepper squid, honey egg plant with sesame, tuna seviche and a large selection of assorted sushi.
Wahaca: Wahaca is the perfect stop-off for a Mexican street food hit in the heart of E1, so if your an epic fan of Mexican food like i am you must go here. With exclusive murals by the acclaimed Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo, which is also adds to the experience - it blends in with the unique East London street-art scene. Wahaca also has a cocktail and tequila bar if you fancy a drink, which again if you're like me you will make it your mission to spend the even before, during and after dinner making your way down the list.
Big Ben: Big Ben is located in Westminster and is the nickname for the ‘Great Bell’ of the clock but is often used to refer to the clock and clock tower, the clock tower’s official name is now the Elizabeth Tower named after Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 for her Diamond Jubilee. Big Ben is an iconic London landmark and a must on your list to see while you’re here!
Buckingham Palace: Buckingham Palace is the London residence of the Queen. Located centrally Buckingham Palace is at the top of Pall Mall next door to Green Park and St James’ Park. Similarly to the Houses of Parliament you can book tours round the Palace if you’d like to pretend you’re a royal for an afternoon or you can admire it’s beauty from outside the gates!
The London Eye: The London Eye was opened to the public in the year 2000, when it was first built it was the largest Ferris Wheel in the world and until the opening of the Shard in 2013 it was the highest viewing point over London. You can buy tickets to go up in the London Eye in one of the little pods, it’s definitely something to consider on your first trip to London so you can see out over London. The view of it from the ground is also pretty spectacular, it adds a different dimension to London’s skyline!
Hyde Park: Hyde Park is right in the heart of the city and one of London’s biggest parks. There’s a beautiful pond in the middle called the Serpentine which you can rent pedalos and row boats on and you can see the grounds/gates surrounding Kensington Palace which are located at one end of the park. It’s a beautiful park to wander around and it’s unmissable when visiting London.
Hyde Park, London
Portobello Road: Boasting the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. Visitors flock from all over the world to discover one of London’s best loved landmarks which contains the most extensive selection of antiques in Britain. Not to mention getting to see all of the stunningly bright houses all situated up Portobello Road.
Convent Garden: Offering a range of world-class fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores, Covent Garden is one of London’s hottest shopping destinations. From Apple to Tom Ford, Mulberry to Paul Smith and Petersham Nurseries to Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, the area boasts a unique blend of global and independent brands curated to satisfy every shopping need in London. And something which has recently been added which excites me a hellavalot is By Chloe a vegan restaurant all the way from New York has just opened there (see picture below).
Oxford Street: Oxford Street the UK's favourite High Street has more than 300 retailers from designer outlets to department stores and is the most visited shopping street in Europe. With its heady mix of unrivalled shopping, fascinating history, captivating architecture, mouth-watering cuisine and unbeatable deals there's nowhere better than London's Oxford Street. After a long day shopping, you can step away from the hustle and bustle and head to St Christopher's Place where you will find it difficult to find a more diverse offer of restaurants, cafés and bars all within a stepping stone from an exciting mix of boutique shopping which is irrevocably unique.
Carnaby Street: Famous for its history as the centre of the swinging 60s London, Carnaby has reinvented itself throughout the decades, with both the Mods and Punks calling the area home. Today, the 14 streets of Carnaby combine over 100 shops with 60 places to eat and drink. The area, in the centre of London’s West End, is in an exciting new phase: holding onto its musical heritage, but now resplendent with street style fashion, cult lifestyle brands and exciting places to refuel after all that shopping. Found between Regent Street, and Oxford Street, Carnaby is a short 3 minute walk from Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus Underground stations. You can reach the area within 10 minutes from Kings Cross St Pancras, Liverpool Street and Charing Cross. As well as perusing world-famous labels like Puma, Diesel and Vans, don’t miss the brands putting fun back into shopping like the quirky Skinnydip and Monki, then wonder down the area’s smaller streets. The quaint, cobbled Newburgh Quarter is home to some real hidden treasures: we love the ties at Peckham Rye, Shinola’s watches and heritage jackets at Baracuta.
Harrods: Harrods is the place to go if you want to experience luxury mall shopping in London. This mall has 8 floors and is about 5 acres wide. They have a toy section with sales people, showing kids how each toy works (not sure if they work on commission). They also have a huge selection of luxury purses from Channel, LV, Prada, Gucci etc., to affordable brands like Micheal Kors, Coach, Longchamps etc., electronics, shoes, jewelry and watch room, home furniture's and accessories, billionaire's toy section- yes, coolest toys that we can only admire and so much more. Lastly, the lower level is mostly occupied by the very famous "Harrods food hall". This is definitely a world of its own. A combination of wet (Fresh seafood, vegetables and meat) and dry food market, cafe, and food bars for people to dine in (limited seating) The big hall of to-go food prepared by Harrods chefs. The food hall is a huge buffet set-up with attendants in every stall, except, you pay for every item you get. My daughter ordered sushi of course, I got some meat pies and pastries to take back to our apartment. If you're a foodie, an hour is not enough to explore the food hall. So much food and they all looked so good!!! I highly recommend getting any of their deep fried pastries. You won't regret it!