As several people I know are headed off to London in the new year, I decided it was time to write some recommendations about where to go while there! First of all let me clarify, I’m not claiming these are the best ever places in London, because for every one place I visited there were thousands more that I didn’t. Also, I was on a budget so I tried not to do anything too fancy so if you’re looking for fancy you might be on the wrong blog. But here are just a few of my faves from my trip!
F O O D
Mother Mash– Oh my good gracious, this was my favorite place to eat. I am so sad that we discovered it late into our trip, but oh buy was it delicious. The concept is simple: mash, main, gravy. And can I just say all the combinations were good? To name a few of the mashed potatoes they had, there were cheesy, horseradish, sweet potato, and colcannon. Then for your main you could get a sausage or a pie, and there were several options of either. I quite enjoyed the Chicken, Leek and Bacon pie. For gravy you could get traditional, or vegetable, or even liquor. The possibilities of different meals you could eat here are endless!
Scoop– This gelato chain had three locations in London, and if I’m not wrong, I think we made it to all three. This place was by far our favorite gelato spot. First of all, the flavors were fantastic. That’s a must with gelato. They had sorbet as well so my dairy free friend even loved the place! The flavors vary by day I believe, as some were there one and not the other. My favorite was the “Carmello”; I ate a lot of things that were caramel (especially salted) while in Europe because it was so, so good. But the real catch about Scoop was that you could get your gelato on a crepe, brownie, or waffle. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.
The Café at Hotel Café Royal– I had the best hot chocolate of my life at this little café. It was salted caramel flavor and oh so good. If you know me personally you know that I dearly love hot chocolate, so to say that this is the best of my life is to say that you must go there. They had an array of pastries to pick from, and it was a tad bit pricey, but the venue is super classy and you’ll definitely feel like a princess. (I’m talking the bathrooms were floor to ceiling marble) My favorite treat here was their cheesecake which looked absolutely out of this world and tasted that way too. There was just something about the texture of it that made it fantastic, see for yourself below. Oh, and if you need to get your macaroon fix, this place had them too.
Chegworth Farm Shop- I ate a lot of almond croissants while in London. They were a staple of my meals. I’m swooning just thinking about them now. The best one I had came from this little shop in Notting Hill. It came from a local bakery that I can’t remember the name of but it was basically the croissant of dreams. I mean… look at it.
It’s going to be hard to write after this section because I am drooling… but moving forward!
D R I N K S
I’m going to preface this one with the fact that I did not drink at all before I went to England, and even there I still didn’t drink much. While I won’t be able to tell you which place had the best drinks, I can tell you about some places with pretty darn cool atmospheres.
Icebar London– The coolest bar in the city (sorry). You pay a fee, under 20 pounds I believe, that gets you into the bar for 45 minutes and your first cocktail! The cocktail comes in a cube of ice with the center carved out, which was kind of amazing.When you go in they give you thermal ponchos with gloves, and even still I was definitely cold. The whole room is made of ice and there are a ton of ice sculptures for Instagram worthy moments. I went the Queen Elsa route because of my hair.
London Riviera– This little bar made the middle of London feel like the tropics! It’s location is super scenic, you can see the London Bridge, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London. Though the buildings around it may be grey, the London Riviera is bright and inviting, they have fabulously bright lawn chairs and tables, along with those huge sun couches. My friends and I settled in for a break from walking and promptly ended up taking a nap in the middle of London. My friends sipped on a piña colada, which I thought was very good! Happy hour everyday from 4:30-6:30!
Walkabout at Temple Station– They have karaoke every Thursday night. Enough said? They also had a selection of fish bowls which made it a lot easier to get up there and sing karaoke. Our group had so, so much fun at this bar.
O’Neill’s – This was one of our favorite bars because there was no cover and they had live music every night! Many memories were made here and I’ll never forget loudly singing throwbacks with my favorite people!
S I G H T S
I mean you have to go to to the big things like Buckingham, Big Ben, the Eye, and Westminster. I regret not trying to go to a church service at Westminster because I think that would have been a really cool thing to have done.
There are also so many museums in London and you should definitely try to go to as many as you possibly can. But if you’re in a bind, these are my top three.
Tate Modern (no pictures allowed)
S H O P P I N G
Old Spitalfields Market– There are a ton of markets in London, and we went to a good handful of them, but this one was my favorite. First of all, it was indoors on a seriously rainy day, but they also had a wide variety of products and a lot of it was handmade or run by a small business (in contrast to fake designer goods and cell phone cases). There were just a ton of cute things here, I bought most of my gifts at this market and there were cupcakes there too. Everything is better with cupcakes.
Camden Market– This market was a little bit like china town, but it had this super punk edge (Amy, this one goes out to you). The buildings had huge shoes on them, the people there had mohawks, and there was lots of leather. There are a ton of street vendors for delicious food, plus there’s a dairy and gluten free bakery for any friends with allergies.
G E N E R A L / O T H E R
Pret A Manger– I mistakenly pronounced this fast food chain like a southern american on our first day and that moment lived in infamy. However, we loved this place, it is literally on every corner and the food is so good and cheap. Sandwiches, pastries, snacks, whatever you need for a quick pick me up!
The Orangery at Kensington Palace– Our professors took us here on our first full day in London. We had our first English tea along with some petite desserts and sandwiches. It was an amazing experience, and coming from a family who follows the royals, it was pretty cool to dine that close to the palace. The gardens there are also wonderful so make sure you take a look around!
Kew Gardens– We visited this place for our conservation and english classes while in London and it was beyond beautiful. The most amazing collection of plants that I have ever seen.
Platform 9 3/4– In King’s Cross they have a cart flying through the wall of “Platform 9 3/4” for photo opportunities. They also have a magical little Harry Potter shop. I died a little on the inside.
Harrods– This is my absolute favorite place in London and I don’t think I need to tell you why, you just need to go see for yourself.
Anyway, if you find yourself in London, please send me pictures. I love that place and am so excited to return one day. There is so much that I didn’t get to do there, so do everything you possibly can. I am sure you will find more amazing things than are on this list (not more amazing than Harrods but ya know that is hard to beat). Have the time of your life!