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happy friday + london!

Notting Hill, London

Notting Hill, London

I can't believe it's almost May, and I just realized I'm going to London in a little over a week! I'll be the keynote speaker at Blogtacular and heading to London for the first time ever. I'm super excited for the adventure and would love any tips of where to eat and shop and explore? I'm definitely in need of some new adventures and inspiration, and you guys always have the best suggestions.

Have a great weekend guys!

{Photo by Casey Brodley}

79 comments

  1. Eric Snook is a great toy store in Covent Garden on the lower level. If your little like Jellycat stuffed animals they make ones that are only about 4 inches high that I can only seem to find in London! I bought three at Eric Snook and wish I’d bought more! Also…Laduree in Covent Garden, Wagamama for chicken katsu curry, and if you have time for the theater The Drowned Man according to my husband was incredible, but it’s interactive so it’s not everyone’s thing. Also Marks and Spencer treats by the Green Park tube stop and a nap in the park. Oh and if you like Calico Critters…go to Harrod’s there’s a big wall of them. I got my little a red panda family and a red telephone box.

  2. OMG London is the BEST!!!! I studied abroad there and miss it so much! Tea in the Orangerie at Kensington Palace is beautiful, food stalls and farmers market style stalls at Borough Market is my favorite, the London Eye at sunset is a must, as is the Tower (budget at least 2-3 hours if possible). There is so so so much to do, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.

  3. Ah, I love London! I also studied there. Brick Lane for good Indian food. Hampstead Heath or Primrose Hill for great green spots (or Kensington Gardens for a visit to the Peter Pan statue). Shopping on Portobello Road obviously. I weirdly liked going to Gap (or other American stores) to see how they did European clothing. I lived in Bloomsbury and it was my favorite area. Have so much fun!

  4. Cath Kidston opened a new shop at 180 Piccadilly that looks like a lot of fun! I also recommend walking through Notting Hill, Oysters at Wright Brothers near Borough Market, ping pong and pizza at Bounce, the Liberty shop, and strolling the aisles to look at British branded merch at Booth’s. Their packaging is really fun for a pharmacy!

  5. I am a foreigner living in London so I thought I’d share my fave spots to go (and shop!)
    – definitely portobello rd is a must (market on Fridays and Saturdays only)
    – Harrods because its another world, and they have Laduree for the best Parisian macarons
    – I also love Liberty and Selfridges
    – Regent St and Oxford St for general shopping
    – Camden market for people watching and Borough market for food
    – covent garden to watch the buskers
    – Heals and Habitat on Tottenham Court Rd for homewares
    – I love to escape the city in the beautiful parks (Hampstead Heath or Richmond Park which is my fave) – you feel like you have been transported to the English countryside with deer and lakes etc
    – and lastly, if the weather is chilly, cosy up in a London pub with a hearty meal.
    – an absolute must do is “high tea” somewhere, preferably a fancy hotel such as the ritz or claridges etc
    Hope you have a fabulous time!

  6. For food I would definitely recommend checking out Brixton Village/Market Row. It’s an indoor market with loads of tiny eateries all serving really delicious food pretty cheaply. It has a pretty interesting history too – it used to be called Grandville arcade and was full of empty lots. The council wanted to rejuvenate it so they offered free rent for a year which allowed all of these small food businesses to come in.
    One word of warning: Be cautious about going on a Friday night or Saturday night as nowhere takes bookings and the queues can get pretty long.
    Some of my favourite places
    Brixton Village:
    federation coffe
    Senzala (savoury and sweet crepes)
    Market row:
    Wishbone (chicken wings!)
    Franco Manca (widely regarded some of the best pizza in London)
    Its in Brixton which is at the end of the Victoria line (on the underground). It can be tricky to find so I recommend following the directions here: http://brixtonmarket.net/brixton-village/
    Another place that you might like is Brick Lane, which has a market on a Sunday. It’s in the east and is full of Indian restaurants and vintage clothes shops. Oooh, and if you are there on a Sunday, you should go to Columbia Road flower market (http://www.columbiaroad.info/) which is really close to Brick Lane (you can walk).
    Also, two museums I recommend are the V and A museum and the Design museum.
    Finally, on a Saturday there is a small market in Bermondsey called Maltby Street Market which sells food. And lots of locally distilled Gin.
    I live in London, so if you want any more suggestions, then just ask!

  7. The Engineer is a fabulous gastro pub in Primrose Hill (which is a lovely area to mooch around in) + close to Regent’s Park (beautiful) and Camden Town (always fun). Have a wonderful trip!

  8. Kaffeine (look out for square mile coffee-it’s the best!) or Workshop for coffee
    Quality chop house
    Caravan kings cross
    Jose
    Elliot’s (especially if going to borough market)
    40 Maltby street restaurant (especially if you are going to Maltby street market)
    Homeslice London in covent garden for pizza
    I could go on…!
    Some chains but really good:
    Dishoom for Indian food
    Wahaca for Mexican street food
    Polpo or any of their other restaurants
    Check out the Time Out London blog for cool things to do like this post on street food markets:
    http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2014/04/25/five-of-londons-best-street-food-markets/
    I have loads more suggestions if you need any help! @jessiehunt

  9. I definitely recommend Liberty. On my last visit, I spent a few hours with a friend browsing the beautiful store. And they have a cute cafe inside. Enjoy the trip!

  10. I agree with Jade – Ottolenghi is a must! If you happen to stop by the Notting Hill location, Daylesford Organic Market, Granger & Co and a bunch of other cute restaurants and shops can be found on Westbourne Grove. Enjoy!

  11. I second The Wolseley but you’ll need to book. Make sure you walk through St James’s Park as the flowers are beautiful at the moment. Avoid Leicester Square butMarylebone and Notting Hill should be on your list. Ottolenghi in Islington is lovely for dinner but again, you’ll need to book. Enjoy London, it’s my home town but I love it!

  12. Hi Joy! I’m a long-time reader and a Canadian whose been living in London for just over 2 years. All the above suggestions are great (150% agree on Wahaca and Franco Manca!) – here are a few more:
    -If you go to the V&A museum in Kensington (the design museum), it’s in a super traditional part of town: beautiful courtyard to have a coffee, and there’s a little fountain where all the kids play away the afternoon. Plus there’s a great gift shoppe and the dining rooms are stunning. Instead of going for afternoon tea at a fancy place, I always get the belgian chocolate scone with clotted cream.
    -Abigail Ahern has an interiors shop near Highbury & Islington, which is amazing! This part of town is really eclectic and vibrant – lots of shops and restaurants, but not as hectic as central.
    -New Greek restaurant we tried a few weeks ago with a very modern twist called Ergon near Oxford Circus.
    -Great brunch place near Marble Arch called The Lockhart that does southern US food – chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits are lovely.
    Have a great time!

  13. How fun! I’ve never been to London either. Can’t wait to read your trip recap about London and Blogtacular. Have a great trip!

  14. I’m a Londoner now, and recommend the following (though my old stomping ground used to be Echo Park in LA):
    – Most beautiful park: St. James’ Park. Situated between Buckingham Palace and Parliament Square. Plenty of swans, geese, heron, etc., right in the middle of the city. Highly recommend a stroll along the Southbank as well.
    – East London. If you can, check out Upmarket on Sunday. For great coffee, try Allpress or Nude Coffee nearby. Albion at the Boundary and Dishoom are nearby if you fancy brunch!
    – Best Indian restaurant: Tayyabs.
    – For amazing views of London: try Duck & Waffle restaurant.
    – For beautiful desserts and tea: Yauatcha

  15. I know it’s been mentioned, but Dishoom is a definite must! Their breakfast is incredible, with an adorable quirky industrial dรฉcor. (The egg naan roll is an item I still dream about!)
    Also, Jamie (Oliver)’s Italian in Covent Gardens is great for a late night meal!
    Lastly, high tea at the impeccably designed Corinthia Hotel is a luxe experience to say the least. Have so much fun, Joy!

  16. Such a wonderful city…must visit:
    Hampstead Heath
    Comptoir des Cotonniers (a french clothing brand)
    Marylebone High Street (a much quieter, classier shopping street than Oxford)
    Tate Modern
    Ooo, and stop at Kidsen for the cutest Scandinavia clothes and toys for Ruby!
    Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I second, third and fourth suggestions to go to East London. THE BEST.
    I lived in the Hackney area for a year when I taught abroad (Canadian).
    London Fields, Broadway market on the weekends, Columbia market on Sundays, Cat + Mutton for the best non pub-pub food ever, walking along the canals off of Broadway market, Brick Lane, searching for Banksy art, Spitalfields Market, Borough (there’s this amazing mushroom pate there)….
    I’m heading there next summer for a wedding and I can’t wait.

  18. I live in Angel (Islington) and absolutely love it here because unlike any area in town, Camden or Notting Hill, the level of tourists is still quite low here and a weekend stroll won’t feel totally exhausting. Camden Passage and Upper Street have some lovely shops, restaurants and pubs/bars and if the sun’s out there’ll be plenty of locals around enjoying the many outside seating areas.
    For a Saturday morning I recommend Broadway Market. You can get there via a stroll along the canal or just with the bus. The Scallop Bacon Rolls from one of the stalls are amazing!!
    Hoxton Sq or Rivington St are great for a Fri / Sat night.
    Do go to Selfridges for the Shoe Gallery – it’s a dream – and then pop into Liberty which is a truly magical place. I particularly like the stationery and haberdashery / fabric areas.
    Hopefully you’ll get some sunshine while you’re here! Enjoy your trip!!

  19. Most of these have already been mentioned but:
    -Polpo, the Beak St branch is just 2min walk from the Royal Institute
    -Also just round the corner from the Institute is Shoryu, a really good ramen restaurant on Regents St, south of Piccadilly Circus. Although the best ramen in London (I think) is Tonkotsu on Dean St; they make their own noodles and it makes all the difference.
    -V&A is definitely worth a trip, and as said above courtyard cafe if its sunny and dining rooms if not
    -Columbia Road flower market on a Sunday, lots of good food places and cute shops along there too so great area to explore
    -Liberty’s a must,favourite shop and London institution.
    -Ottolenghi
    – And one that hadn’t been mentioned: The Modern Pantry. Good brunch, but book a table (even though the website says they don’t take bookings)
    Enjoy London, it us a great city.

  20. I used to live in London before moving back to Paris, so I can suggest you some nice things to do:
    *try a cupcake from one of the Hummingbird Bakery, they are so cute and tasty. There’s one in Soho and one in Notting Hill.
    *Brindisa, serves really good spanish food. There’s one in South kensington near the V&A, one in Soho, and one in Borough Market.
    *Princi, on Wardour street, in Soho, serves delicious italian “fast food”.
    *For pretty fabric and art&craft shops, there are plenty in Soho, in Wardour Street, Berwick street, Frith street and Dean street. the most beautiful ones are The Clothes shop.
    *For shopping, Liberty is amazing (they also serves afternoon tea but I don’t know if it’s good) and also Brown’s and Brown Focus in South Molton Lane, in Mayfair, are great.
    *The V&A is the most beautiful museum ever ๐Ÿ™‚ and their shop is also very nice.
    *My favorite parks are Regent’s park and Holland Park (with a pretty japanese garden), they are cute and charming, and slightly less touristic than the others.
    *Saint Katharine docks is a wonderful hidden gem in East London, south of Whitechapel and Brick Lane
    *And finally, Spitalfields market, also in East London, features lots of interesting independant designers and crafters.
    Enjoy your time (and don’t forget an umbrella!)!

  21. I just just got back from a London visit (happy I hit up many of the things mentioned above!). My last night in East London we went to Fairground which is this really wonderful space – 3 floors of talks, food, music and lovely people. http://www.fairgroundlondon.com/ Also really enjoyed the Boxpark which is a pop-up mall made entirely of shipping containers and home to some great fashion & gear https://www.boxpark.co.uk/

  22. what a gorgeous photo! that’s so cool that you’re going to London. I’ve never been, but have always wanted to visit!
    Have a great trip! take loads of photos, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ Blogtacular sounds awesome!

  23. Hi – that’s great that you are coming to visit us here in London. I hope the weather will be kind to you.
    Covent Garden in general is amazing but try and visit POP BOUTIQUE – WC2H 9HB. It has the most gorgeous vintage and 2nd hand bits in there. Never been in there and not found anything I like. You will love it !
    Have a good time ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Ah London. I lived there for 7 years and miss it very much. A second these recommendations above:
    – Polpo
    – Upmarket
    – Tea at the Wolseley
    A walk along the South Bank is beautiful, start at my old workplace, Royal Festival Hall, and make your way past The Globe, up to Tate Modern. It’s worth knowing that the foyers of Royal Festival Hall are open all day (all the way up to level 5), and you can just sit as long as you want, looking out at the beautiful view. An oasis of quiet in a bustling city. The bar in the Hayward Gallery right there is nice, as is the one inside the British Film Institute next door – also the BFI bar does a good pint of mini sausage rolls. (Says the girl who spent way too much time in both after work!)
    It’s worth hunting down a Bea’s of Bloomsbury for their sweet afternoon tea. There’s one right by St Paul’s, as well as the original in, er, Bloomsbury.
    Though if you do nothing else, go to the Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. It’s only on Sunday mornings, and you need to get there before 11. There’s a beautiful pub in the middle of it called The Royal Oak, with a gorgeous upstairs dining room – book again for a proper Sunday lunch. You sit there, having a lovely meal, listening to the flower sellers below calling out their wares. One of my favourite Sundays.
    Have a wonderful time. x

  25. I spent a semester abroad in London-and I miss it!
    Skip the postcard locations (you could go through those in a day) and spend some time in East London. My favorite places to go were Pizza East in Shoreditch and Broadway Market on Saturdays. Columbia Road flower market on Sundays is lovely too.
    In Covent Garden, I liked Asia de Cuba for cocktails and dinner and La Gelatiera for a sweet treat while walking around the area. Ask for samples of the gelato, you can even get a mini scoop for a pound.
    If you wake up early I would suggest the doughnuts from St. Johns Bakery near Bermondsey. It’s been a year and I am still craving them.

  26. I’m looking forward to hearing your keynote! Making the trip from Dublin for Blogtacular and really looking forward to exploring London as well!

  27. Wow, this sounds amazing, I’m sure you’ll love your stay ๐Ÿ™‚ As for where to eat I would definitely suggest going to either Honest (http://www.honestburgers.co.uk) or Wahaca (http://www.wahaca.co.uk/). They both have great food and truly lovely atmosphere. Just keep in mind that you might want to arrive a little early as you often need to wait for a table… Have a great time in London and good luck at the Blogtacular!

  28. Sounds like an awesome opportunity — both speaking + getting to know the city!
    I second the recommendation for the Time Out listings; they’re usually spot on.
    While the V&A IS one of the postcard tourist spots, it’s for a reason ๐Ÿ™‚ I also love the Tate Modern.
    Nobrow is an illustration company/shop in Shoreditch and Magma is another nice books for graphic design, etc. in Covent Garden.
    In Camden Passage, Smug has twee trinkets and in Bloomsbury, there’s Volte Face for stationery.
    Nordic Bakery is a chain with really good cinnamon rolls and a “typical” Scandinavian aesthetic you may or may not enjoy. Further afield in Hampstead, I like the atmosphere at Ginger & White, as well as their carrot cake.
    Borough Market is an amazing market in this amazing food city; just think of the offerings at that place makes me mouth water! Brixton Market is also a very strong contender — the dumplings from Mama Lan are so good!
    Sorry this is so long; enjoy!

  29. I hope the weather cooperates! London is my favourite city (but I may be biased on that one).
    you’ll be amazed at how much more pedestrian friendly it is than NYC, perhaps a bit more like DC in that you can walk from one historical attraction to the next.
    Sooooo envious!!
    Make sure you drop into Fortnum and Mason (you will not believe) and go to the market at portobello road, if you’re there on a saturday.

  30. Oh I am jealous joy! So many wonderful things to see and do! Flower market on Columbia rd, ottolenghi restaurant in islington, Tate modern and walk along the Thames, to name a few favorites.

  31. Lucky! I lived in Angel/Islington for a few months and get heartache every time I think about London. I loved it so much. When I was there 3 years ago, I went to many places featured in the book Eat.Shop.London – good listings of places to eat and shop.
    Another vote for East London – Columbia Road flower market, Sunday Upmarket, and the shops in Brick Lane.
    Ditto V&A and Tate Modern and the British Museum. One quirky museum I loved is Sir John Soane’s Museum – he collected art and antiquities and his home now houses his private collection.
    If you’re in Covent Garden, eat anything at Food for Thought – it’s cheap and great. There’s also a toy store in Covent Garden called Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop that sells toy theatres and other interesting things for kids. And another vote for Wahaca.
    I blogged about my time in London here, if you want more ideas: http://blogadillycircus.blogspot.com/
    Enjoy – it’s a fantastic city!

  32. I’m also attending Blogtacular and really looking forward to hearing you speak. Hopefully the weather will be nice so you can really enjoy exploring! People have had some really fab suggestions – I’d suggest an early walk along the Thames from Westminster/Houses of Parliament down to Tower Bridge stopping at the Tate Modern along the way. Safe travels x

  33. You have to go to John Lewis! Best department store ever. Their kids clothes is really lovely.
    Have a fab time

  34. Agreed with all the suggestions above:
    Lovely streets with lots of cute shops:
    – Redchurch Street (East London) (Dishoom is around the corner and has a quirky lounge area for drinks)
    – Marylebone High Street (West London)
    Department store:
    – Liberty!
    High street stores (Chains):
    – Cos (cutest baby outfits too)

  35. Seven Dials or Carnaby Street for shopping, Soho, Brixton Village or Exmouth Market for eating, Tate Modern or the Hayward galleries, Columbia Road Flower Market, Broadway market, Regents Canal, Hampstead Heath for wandering. You’ll have the best time. I’ve lived here for 10 years so if you have any specific questions drop me an email.
    Anna x

  36. I’ve lived in London for the past 6 months and I love it! You absolutely have to head to Borough Market, especially on Saturday or Sunday when there are more stalls set up. You would die over the coconut pancakes (coconut milk and toppings) at the Thai stand and the raclette cheese sandwich is legendary.
    You are coming at a perfect time when everything is in bloom and the weather has been a steady 62 degrees for the past couple of weeks. Take a picnic lunch to Primrose Hill and enjoy the views of London!

  37. Grab a cheese scone from the food court at Harrods for breakfast (my mouth is watering just thinking about them!), and some macarons from Laduree for a snack later. Definitely hit up Borough Market, and create your own little picnic lunch to eat by the Thames. For dinner, try one of the great Indian places in Brick Lane. (There are a lot of cute little shops in that area, too.)
    Enjoy!

  38. You must check out Liberty! that store is just amazing It’s located off of Reagent street, and Carnaby Street! It’s in a beautiful building with tons of flowers outside for sale. It’s a department store, but the stationary section has me wanting every notebook, card, and pen. I’m still regretting not picking up a silver leather notebook there.
    Another place to check out would be Harrods, because it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen. You can get lost in Harrods and enjoy every moment of it!
    If you have a chance, i’d check out the National portrait gallery! It’s right on Trafalgar Square and has some amazing portraits there, painted, and photographed! There you can also find those portraits of the Tudors. it’s also free… so great to take advantage of!

  39. LOVE LOVE LOVE London! Jigsaw and Monsoon are two of my favorite shops, and they’re both chains so hopefully you can find them wherever you are. Accessorize is fun too and I think there may even be a small shop in the airport! Have fun!

  40. Oh I love London. You must hit the weekend markets–they are the best places for style, indie designers and amazing street food. My favorites are Broadway Market in Hackney, and the wonderful trifecta of the Columbia Road Flower Market, Brick Lane Market and the Sunday Upmarket in the Old Truman Brewery. You can walk all the way down to Spitalfields from those three. Portobello road (which you have pictured) is also a lovely market, but can be mobbed with tourists, so it’s best to go Friday instead of Saturday, and early in the morning. For a lovely stroll, I highly recommend the Regent’s canal around Islington. And you must go to the theatre! Go to the National and the Globe, both on the South bank. You will not be disappointed!

  41. Oh and Lambs Conduit street in Bloomsbury. And Sir John Soane’s Museum near Gray’s Inn. Seconding everyone who recommended Tayyabs and Dishoom. I still think Saturday Broadway Market is the best, even though it’s way up in Hackney. It’s got the best and freshest food, plus there are a few shops on barges on the Regent’s Canal.

  42. London is my hometown and is such an awesome city!
    You have lots of great suggestions already, but one that i would add that is one of my favourite things to do in London is to go high tea at Claridges. I would also definitely second the Brick Lane suggestions. Head down to Columbia Road on a Sunday and take a short walks across to look at the markets in Brick Lane and finish off with some of the best curry in London.
    I’m also going to Blogtacular and I’m very much looking forward to hearing you speak ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Hi Joy! I’m an American living in London and looking forward to hearing you speak at Blogtacular! It looks like you have some great suggestions already, but I would definitely recommend (as some others have) spending some time at Liberty, strolling down Columbia Road on a Sunday for the flower market, having dinner at Dishoom (the best Indian restaurant in London) and grabbing lunch or an afternoon treat at Borough Market. Have so much fun! I think you are going to love London. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Hi Joy! We grew up in London (now we are in Brazil, so sad we will be missing your talk!) so we have lots of recommendations for you (and anyone else interested in travelling to London). Check out our lifestyle blog based in Brazil: taleoftwocities.squarespace.com
    Restaurants:
    Bocca di Lupo (Soho): The best Italian resto we’ve been to in a while. Don’t miss out on the granitas (italian shaved ice) in beautiful flavors like blood orange!
    Hakkasan (Tottenam Court Rd) Fancy modern Chinese
    Yuatcha (Covent Garden): Modern Chinese, slightly cheaper sister restaurant of Hakkasan, very cool fish tank
    Lahoor’s Kebab House (Brick Lane): Very traditional Indian/Pakistani, very local!
    Muse (Mayfair): Great for al fresco dining, get the mars bar cheese cake!
    Otto Lenghi (Notting Hill) Casual, great Mediterranean vegetarian cooking and fantastic deserts – a must!
    Busaba Eat Thai (Soho, Oxford Street): Casual, inexpensive, great thai food
    Sketch Tea Parlor (Mayfair): Great “casual” high tea experience, less expensive than a traditional high tea experience
    Well’s Tavern (Hampstead): “Gastropub”, great to combine with an outing in Hampstead Heath
    Nicole Fahri Cafรฉ (Westbourne Grove): Good brunch place
    The Wolsley (St. James): The “Power” lunch spot; use to be a bank
    Borough Market (Tower Bridge): Fun food market; don’t miss the raclette stand
    Crepe Stand (Hampstead High Street): They use real melted chocolate in their crepes!
    Things to do:
    Tate Modern Art Museum: Down by the Tower Bridge tube stop. This is a fantastic Modern art museum that is in an old factory building (FYI all museums are free in London). Definitely combine this with an outing to Borough Market and some of the sites along the Thames. Cross the Millennium Bridge (right in front of the Tate Modern) and you will be at the doorstep of St. Paulโ€™s Cathedral (go all the way to the top to get great views of London).
    National Gallery: Some of the worldโ€™s most famous paintings are here. Very huge museum but would be nice to pop inside especially since you will already be here for Trafalgar Square.
    British Museum: Equivalent to the historic artifact part of the Met. Home to the Rosetta Stone. We would combine this sighting with a visit to Covent Garden (old flower market from My Fair Lady and theatre district with quirky shops) and Trafalgar Square.
    Buckingham Palace: combine this with a walk down Pall Mall and check out the old-fashioned suit sailors on Salville Row as well as the shirt makers on Jermyn Street. This would be a good place to combine with Fortnum and Mason (old-fashioned tea, jam, biscuit department store).
    St. James Park: Lots of monumental buildings in this park (including Buckingham Palace)
    Westbourne Grove: Lots of nice little boutiques and a cute little street to window shop. Combine with Portobello Market (street market that sells all kinds of things, only on Saturdays). Since you would be somewhat close to South Kensington, We would also combine with the Victoria and Albert Museum which has a really cool jewels collection. Itโ€™s sort of an odd museum in the
    sense it has a hodge podge of stuff (often described as the โ€œattic of Londonโ€), but the building is done in a Victorian style which is nice to see.
    Kenwood House and the Heath: The Heath is in North London and is an usual park in the sense that its very wild and unkempt so it feels like a forest. It was the hunting grounds for the Royal Family back in the day. Thereโ€™s a historic house called Kenwood House in the Heath where you can have tea outside. (It may be still under renovation.) This is great to combine with Hampstead High Street which is a street with all the shops/restaurants. Definitely get a crepe at the Hampstead Creperie for a snack!
    Hampstead is much more โ€œvillage-yโ€ and has its own kind of neighborhood charm. HollyBush is also a great classic pub to go to that is really cozy and cute (avoid weekends and in general pubs close by 11-12pm)
    Enjoy!!!

  45. Another vote for Ottolenghi – there’s one in Notting Hill and a couple of others. It’s really incredible. And if you’re bringing the kiddo, there are actually really good chain (!) restaurants in London – Giraffe, Carluccios, Pizza Express, Leon, Cote, Wagamama. They’re all used to having tons of kids around and the food is WAAAY better than at American chain restaurants.
    Hop Like a Bunny has gorg kids clothes in Holland Park.
    Shaukat in Earl’s Court – their basement is PACKED with Liberty fabrics at the best prices I’ve ever seen.
    And of course the Liberty dept store nr Oxford Circus is incredible – always worth a visit. And Conrad in South Ken.

  46. Eek! Be prepared for potential rain. I hope the weather is nice for you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Dover street Market (which is a store) is really inspirational if you can find it!! I remember going there with college at 16 and was blown away!
    http://london.doverstreetmarket.com/dsmpaper/new_spaces.html
    Also, I always visit is the Tate Modern whenever I go to London. http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern
    I know you like foodie things so try Borough Market http://boroughmarket.org.uk/
    Then of course there’s Liberty, Harrods, Selfridges.
    Have a lovely time!

  47. Hey,
    I am Italian and have been living in London for over 9 years. Sadly, it looks like I may be moving in the next couple of months for work reasons, most probably to DC or NYC. I have traveled quite a bit in my life and to my eyes there is nothing like London. You will certainly have a great time here.
    I read your blog regularly and when I saw you were coming over here I decided to also read the comments to see what others like about this city that is so special to me. Well, as you can see, there is quite a bit to love. And I can say that after almost ten years I still discover new things every day. London lives and evolves day by day. Reading all the comments and suggestions I got a bit emotional and am not sure I am ready to leave…especially today that the sun is shining and London is more beautiful than ever! You know what they say: Tired of London, tired of life. And I am not…
    Anyway, I live in a cute area called Shad Thames, right next to the Tower Bridge and very close to the Design Museum. Certainly off the beating path and worth a visit. If you opted to check out Borough Market as many people have rightly suggested (which is where I usually do my food shopping) Shad Thames is just a 10/15 minute walk from there.
    Also, Columbia flower market on Sunday morning followed by brunch at Hackney City Farm are just the perfect way to spend a lovely Sunday!
    Have the best time and I am sure you will fall in love with this magical city…
    xx

  48. I’m heading to London tomorrow for the long weekend (pretty much all of Europe has 1 May as a bank holiday).
    I’m mainly going to catch up with friends but on my to do list is:
    – the v & a, (my favourite museum in the world). Kensington, the area around it is lovely also. All public museums and galleries are free in the UK btw
    – a shopping trip to topshop
    – a walk along the south bank and a browse through the tate modern gallery bookshop (which is also an amazing gallery)
    As it’s your first time to london you may want to visit the tower of london which is quite touristy but interesting from a history point of view and it’s near tower bridge so you can see that as well. Covent garden is also lovely.
    Have fun!!

  49. London is just lovely!
    carnaby street with it’s lovely Pastell Colored houses is to recommend as well as the liberty London next to carnaby street.
    If you are looking for fresh, seasonal, vegetarian Food for sure the “tibits” Restaurant at heddons street (next to piccadilly Station) is the best place to eat.
    Greenwich with it’s parks is a great place to recover from busy City live.
    enjoy!

  50. Hi Joy! Looking forward to seeing you at Blogtacular. There are so many cool places to visit in London. After Blogtacular on Saturday, I’ve booked a table for 40 at Cha Cha moon for some of the attendees to go. Would be lovely if you join us. It’s Pan-Asian food. Let me know – my email is [email protected]

  51. That is so exciting! London is by far one of my favorite cities. Shopping the markets is a must … we loved Portobello Market (in Notting Hill) – go on a Sunday and check out the rows of colored houses too. And by the way, The Hummingbird Bakery at Portobello: best black-bottom cupcakes ever. (We didnโ€™t make it to Spitalfields Market or Camden Markets, though we heard really great things about those market as well!) Eat fish and chips, visit the castles, and go to Harrods. ๐Ÿ™‚
    xx Lexi, Glitter, Inc.

  52. You already have loads of good suggestions, but I just have to get on board the Franco Manco bandwagon. Great, great pizza that gets two thumbs up from many of my Italian acquaintances. Plus you get your pizzas super quickly because of the blast cooking. Be sure to dip your warm crust in some chili oil. Delish.

  53. I had one of the best meals of my life at The Corner Room at The Town Hall Hotel in East London. Everything from food to service to decor was on point. Michelin-starred chef, but prix fixe lunch ranges from 19-23 pounds. Make a reservation online.
    Also, my love for Borough Market (while sipping some Monmouth coffee) cannot be surpassed, but a stop at Broadway Market in Hackney is not to be missed. Grab a mushroom sandwich from Sporeboys and a cupcake from Violet and wander to London Fields for a picnic. Great smaller, neighborhood vibe.

  54. Also, London has some of the best burgers. Patty & Bun have my favorite. And it’s just a really fun spot.
    I’m surprised no one has a good fish and chip(and mushy peas) recommendation. Anyone?

  55. Wonderful tips everyone, thank goodness for Liberty hey. If you do get there, check out Annina Vogels jewelry, she is an old friend, and puts together beautiful victorian charms and pieces (popular with the celebs) and one to go on your treat list.
    Anyways I only meant to comment quickly to share a super tip for a fish n chip restaurant/ take away called FISHBONE — its the real deal, fresh, charming, and understated. It’s quite hidden away in Fitzrovia (West of Tottenham Court Road) near Warren St tube.
    There is also Poppies in Camden & Spitalfields, but I find it too busy, and over-designed, not quite tatty round the edges, like a true fish n chip shop should be.
    Last ones for the road seashell on lisson grove and rock and sole plaice in covent garden. I must write up a 5 best fishy kids post for my site soon, check it out if you need arts and culture ideas for london. Xxx

  56. what a rich source of information your chums are! I know the post is old but I’ve just stumbled across it and, anyone plotting a London trip would do well to do what I have just done, spent a very enjoyable 15 minutes reading the comments! Thanks all!

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