London

Posted by on Aug 8, 2015 in England, Travel | 0 comments

London

I first visited London almost ten years ago.  Since then a good friend of mine has moved there, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to add a stopover to the end of my Europe trip.

London greets me with a cloudy day and temperature of about 15 degrees celsius – how’s that for “summer”!  Thankfully throughout the week the temperature does increase, and there’s even blue sky on a few days.

My friend graciously hosts me in her beautiful apartment, which is conveniently located near Earl’s Court tube station.  The London underground is not cheap, but it is a fast way to get around the city.

The first night she takes me to rooftop bar Radio, which being a Friday after work is buzzing.  The bar has a gorgeous panoramic view of the city, although the drinks are priced accordingly.

 

Taking in the view from Radio

Taking in the view from Radio

 

We then head to Covent Garden to The Coach and Horses pub to meet up with some friends, and to dinner at The Real Greek.  More drinks are had after dinner at Waxy O’Connor’s which strangely has an old tree in the middle of it!  I think we went on to another pub, but by this time my memory is getting a bit hazy..!

The next morning we were off to a wonderful free yoga session in Hyde Park.  Afterwards we strolled through the park, past Buckingham Palace, and made our way to Big Ben.  We met up with friends and walked along the river to Borough Market, stopping to peruse second hand books at South Bank.

 

Yoga in Hyde Park

Yoga in Hyde Park

 

Borough Market is a food lovers dream.  There are tonnes of vendors selling drinks, hot food and snacks, as well as fresh produce, flowers and more.

I had a delicious mix of vegetarian curries from Gujarati Rasoi, followed by a pear, parsnip and caramel cake from The Free From Bakehouse.  For the meat lovers I am told the pulled pork is to die for.

 

Fresh produce at Borough Market

Fresh produce at Borough Market

 

Every kind of berry at Borough Market

Every kind of berry at Borough Market

 

We walk towards the Tower Bridge, stopping for some relaxed drinks at summer pop-up bar London Riviera.

That night we meet friends at the Hollywood Arms where the house cocktail “Hollywood Star” cannot be faulted.  Later we wander across the road to Made in Italy for some yummy Italian.

 

Relaxing at London Riviera

Relaxing at London Riviera

 

Sunday we leisurely ride London’s hire bikes around the city, my favourite way to get around.  There are pick up and drop off points everywhere, and it’s cheaper and more fun than taking the tube.

We stop for a coffee at Daisy Green, a really cute Aussie owned cafe (they even have vegemite!)
I head back here another day to meet a friend for lunch, and have a plate of mixed salads that are super fresh and tasty.

 

Dani & I with our trusty bikes

Dani & I with our trusty bikes

 

We continue on foot, walking around Baker Street and Marylebone.  We check out the end of the Marylebone Farmers’ Market, which is on from 10am to 2pm every Sunday selling fresh fruit and veggies.

We walk through beautiful Regent’s Park, and eventually to Camden.  We make a beeline for inSpiral, a raw vegan cafe where I have an awesome “lasagne” made with vegetable layers and cashew “cheese”.  This is only topped by the raw cakes we share for dessert, one hazelnut and one passionfruit – seriously delicious!

 

Blue sky!

Blue sky!

 

After we stuff ourselves silly we walk through Camden Markets, which being a weekend were packed!  There’s plenty of stalls selling things like clothing, jewellery and books.  There’s also a lot of food vendors, I taste some amazing things from Cupcakes and Shht, but am too full from lunch to buy anything.

The next day I meet a friend for lunch, and spend the afternoon wandering the streets until it starts to rain.  I decide to take myself on a movie date, and watch the Amy Winehouse documentary at the Prince Charles Cinema.  Just off Leicester Square the theatre is small and inviting, and cheaper than the bigger ones at 8 pounds a ticket.

 

London Eye and swan

 

That night I have dinner with another friend at Ethos, which I highly recommend.  Although vegetarian, there is so much on offer here that even a carnivore would enjoy it!  A restaurant with a different concept, there’s a buffet of hot and cold dishes where you simply get what you want and pay by weight.

I love this because you can literally get exactly which things you want, taste several different dishes, and only pay for as much as you want.  Despite the buffet and pay by weight system, there isn’t a cafeteria vibe and it still feels like a nice restaurant, with table service for drinks.

Nearing the end of my week I simply relaxed and spent a lot of time out walking.  Brompton Cemetery is large and tranquil, and perfect for a big wander.

 

Brompton Cemetery

Brompton Cemetery

 

I also stop in at Moosh Cafe, hidden just off Fulham Rd serving fresh juices and good coffee.

It’s great to see healthy food so readily available.  There’s a Pret A Manger or Eat on almost every corner, both of which have great salad options.

London is a dynamic city with so much happening and a quick pulse.  But there’s more than just busy streets full of hustle and bustle.  There’s large leafy parks with families relaxing and people reading books, and hidden cafes where friends catch up.  There are famous sights to see, countless museums and galleries, and an endless supply of bars and restaurants.  What’s not to like?

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