Wow, hi London. Flying over London gave me the same excited chills as seeing New York from above. Can you see the London bridge in the pic above? Ryan and I only had a few nights in London, which was sort of a blessing in disguise given that the Australian currency conversion meant we chewed through money faster than we were hoping! Luckily I had planned to be in London over the weekend, which meant we could explore all the famous markets and see how vibrant the city really is.
Our Airbnb was located on Brick Lane and a stones-throw from Shoreditch which was a perfect location for exploring and had easy access to the tube and bus. After finally checking into our apartment (we ended up a bit lost on the tube, whoops) we wandered around the neighborhood, checking out the amazing street art and old buildings, followed by a coffee and obligatory photo in the photobooth at the Ace Hotel. Our Airbnb host suggested checking out BOXPARK for food and drinks and it did not disappoint. After filling our jet-lagged bellies with a big meal and beer, we walked to Callooh Callay, an Alice in Wonderland themed bar, for cocktails and good times with an old friend from Perth.
Eager to get as many hours out of the day as possible, we woke early and walked to Allpress for our coffee fix before catching the bus to Tate Modern for ‘The World Goes Pop’ exhibition.
We had the full London experience when we got caught in a massive downpour walking down South Bank! The rain cleared the crowd for The London Eye, so we grabbed a ticket and jumped on for the most terrifying ferris-wheel ride that existed. I forget how high those things go and I wish we just grabbed a drink at a rooftop bar instead.
Lunch was at Ottolenghi’s NOPI restaurant, where we ordered a vegetarian feast to share. There was no bland risotto in sight. Even though we were pretty full, Sketch was pretty close by and I convinced myself that I could fit in some scones and tea. The decor at Sketch was incredible… and look at the bathroom selfie below!
That evening we wandered around Regent Street in London in search of a new suitcase for Ryan (which had burst open on it’s way over from Iceland!) and a pair of boots for me. We picked up the cheapest case we could find ($300 thank you, London) and I splurged on the greatest pair of boots from Clarke’s.
The next day was spent traipsing through famous markets, eating custard filled donuts and looking at pastel-coloured terraces in Notting Hill. The Portobello Road Market was as vibrant as expected, filled with antiques, delicious food, street-performers and wonderful architecture.
We caught the tube over to the Borough Market where we sampled as much as we could fit into our bellies. It was here where Ryan and I realised it was best to try lots of different food, rather than one full meal. We ate dumplings, raclette (!!!), cheeses, biscuits, oysters and drank Pimms to wash it all down.
I had read that there was an amazing installation at Covent Garden, so we walked over to take a look, before enjoying a coffee from Monmouth and day dreaming in Orla Kiely around the corner. You can read more about the installation here.
It was a bit of a trek to get to and from our Airbnb on Brick Lane (I didn’t realise how huge London is) so we decided to enjoy the sunshine and rest our feet in Green Park, before heading to the West End to see Matilda the Musical. I’m exhausted just thinking about how long that day was!
I was most excited about visiting the Columbia Road Flower Markets. I could only dream of Perth having such an array of fresh flowers available – peonies! hydrangeas! Even though I couldn’t purchase anything, it was so nice to take in the atmosphere and people watch.
I couldn’t leave London without a visit to the V&A Museum, which was so inspiring and grand. There were a few contemporary art installations around for the London Design Festival which really made it a special visit. Afterwards, we walked to the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park to see this colourful installation. I also saw white swans for the first time! That evening we caught up with old friends for drinks and had dinner at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant – a fitting way to end a whirlwind couple of days.