London City Guide
I was just in London for the first time a few weeks ago! I find it so surprising that I never really had the desire to visit London, even though I've been to Europe plenty of time... Not sure why to be honest... Maybe it was the fact that it was another large city and I thought it would be similar to NYC? Maybe it was because I had always heard growing up that British food was bland? Anyways, I just never really HAD to go. But something shifted a year or so ago after hearing from friends and people that London was a must visit. From then on, I just really really wanted to go! Isn't it funny how quick your mindset can change??? When I got there, I wasn't completely wrong that the initial impressions were a big city like New York... But it wasn't long before I realized, London, besides being a large city, was very different than NYC. Here's my non-exhaustive list of my favorite things I did! :)
Jacob the Angel
Jacob the Angel is a small coffeeshop located down a small alley in Neal's Yard... I went on a somewhat rainy day (like every day in London TBH! hahaha), but sat outside under their covered table. I cozied up and drank a few cappuccinos while people watching before moving on with the rest of my day. I wish I had a good book to read while I was here as it's definitely someplace I could sit for hours. I came here twice while I was in London, so I'd definitily reccomend checking it out!
Paper & Cup
Paper & Cup was probably my favorite coffeeshop I went to while I was in London... And speaking of good books, this coffeeshop has tons of them! It's actually a "Not-For-Profit" social enterprise created by a local charity that provides supportive training ground for people in the later stages of addiction recovery and rehabilitation. Truly inspiring!! We need more places like this!! Read more about their work here.
Pavilion Bakery is somewhat of a small chain in London (I believe there's 3 or 4 locations)... They have AMAZING baked goods and some great coffee! The one I went to was on Broadway Market... It's more of a grab-and-go spot, but they do have some seating just in case you wanna stay for a while.
Campania is a southern Italian restaurant located near the Columbia Street Flower Market in Shoreditch (one of my favorite areas of London). All the food is incredibly fresh and the environment and ambience can't be beat. Sit outside on a Sunday out front and you'll feel the bustling energy of the flower market (just a block away). They also have an outdoor terrance in the back! 100% recommend!!!! Also, plan on walking around this area for a while!
Located in the Burberry flagship store, Thomas's Cafe is truly iconic. Everything from the modern yet traditional British food to the naturally lit interior is spot on. This is inside Burberry so don't expect to come here and save money... While it won't completely drain your bank account, it's by no means cheap. Worth it? I would definitely say yes! Especially if you're into fashion and love Burberry.
Sketch. The super-trendy-incredibly-overdone-but-tasteful-tea-spot you must go to if you're in London and want to go to afternoon tea and want a selfie in their iconic bathroom (I literally saw a girl doing a photoshoot with her boyfriend when I went to the bathroom... Don't be those people). When your getting tea at Sketch, you're assigned a "tea master". They will help you figure out which tea you like based on what you tell them you're in the mood for. There's also unlimited sandwiches and cakes that come with the tea, so come somewhat hungry... This spot is also a great place to come for late night cocktails!
Blending classical French with South Pacific influences, Mere is a must go if you're into fine dinning. Me and my friend went to lunch here and it was definitely my favorite lunch I had in London!
Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road Flower Market was definitely the highlight of my weekend in London! Not that I'm super into flowers or anything, I just loved the energy in the air, the people watching, all the little street shops that were open and just walking around. There was a booth serving hot boozy apple cider so I grab a cup of that and just chilled out while looking at all the flowers. If you're in London over a Sunday, you MUST GO HERE! :)
If you've never heard of the Tate, google it... A must see if you're into modern art, or just art in general.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is another must-go-to museum! It's free and centrally located so you have no excuse to skip it ;) You can spend hours in here or skim through it in 30 or so minutes. Fun Fact: It was actually the first portrait museum in the world when it opened in 1856!!
Hackney City Farm
There's a legit farm right near Shorditch in Bethnal Green!! It was so fun to walk through and see this urban farm with all the animals! There's even a small Italian cafe on the property! If you're in the area, stop in for sure!