Hop across the pond and traipse about our favorite neighbourhoods, pubs, and brekkie hot-spots.
PACKING LIST Londoners are a notoriously fashion-forward crowd, unafraid to be more daring than the usual style-set. To keep up with England’s best-dressed, pack the following for your trip:
- Bold colored bag - Collared shirts - Cozy pullovers and lightweight layering sweaters - Jaunty hat – A trilby or fedora is a street style must and a nod to the hats’ London roots - Leather jacket - Oxfords or walking boots - Rocker-inspired cut-off or leather shorts - Trench coat and pocket-sized umbrella – No matter when you time your visit to London, it’s going to rain at some point. Stow your umbrella in your handbag because the one time you leave it behind, we assure you, the heavens will open up.
TIPS To make traveling by Tube or bus easier, purchase an Oyster Card at any London Tube station. Add credit to the card and save money compared to buying individual ride tickets.
Skip full-priced theater tickets like a real Londoner and head to the Leicester Square (pronounced Less-ter) ticket office, situated inside the tube station. Here you can purchase tickets for same night performances for as much as half the price of the ticket’s face value.
A great way to see London is the Thames Clipper Boat. These boats run down the Thames and stop at various important landmarks and they are part of the public transport network so are very affordable.
STAY The Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell This area, once famous for its meat market, was where William Wallace, a commander in the Scottish Wars of Independence, was brought to be executed in 1305. Located right on the edge of the city, Clerkenwell is the perfect area to base yourself when visiting London. You’ll be surrounded by some of the best bars and restaurants in town, exciting galleries and historic cobblestone streets. The Zetter Townhouse is located in the heart of Clerkenwell on St John’s Square in a row of exquisitely restored Georgian townhouses. Each of the rooms is designed to feel very British and celebrate the history of the city.
DINE Taylor Street Baristas This gorgeous local coffee shop, Taylor Street Baristas, now has a few locations across London and they make the some of the best coffee in town, as you can tell by the long line out the door at 8.45AM each morning. Don’t let that put you of, they have two amazingly talented baristas working all the time and it’s usually only a few minutes before you’re admiring the artistic design on the top of your perfectly made coffee.
The Anthologist This big restaurant located just near the historic Guildhall in the heart of the city is a favorite amongst local professionals for lunch meetings and after work drinks. The food at The Anthologist is scrumptious and reasonably priced, with a constantly changing menu and cocktail list, the eclectic design of the restaurant is cozy and welcoming. Reservations are advised for lunch.
The Breakfast Club London has come fairly late to the brunch game, until the last few years it was a, “full English” at a greasy spoon café or nothing. Enter The Breakfast Club. These talented purveyors of breakfast and brunch now have four locations around town and they have an extensive menu to match-- who knew eggs could be prepared in so many ways? As with all the best places in London, expect to wait for a table on the weekends but the chorizo scrambled egg burrito is well worth it.
DRINK Be At One Happy Hour isn’t something embraced by London bars but if you’re after a cheap cocktail Be at One’s chain of bars around town offer two-for-one cocktails most evenings.
Olde Cheshire Cheese If you want a more authentic London experience as well as a cheap drink or two, the Sam Smith’s pubs are your best bet. Their pub Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street was frequented by Charles Dickens
The Albion London is a city that sometimes feels like it has a pub on every corner, and the best place to unwind at the end of the week for most Londoners is their “local.” A lovely pub to visit that will make you feel like a local no matter where you come from is The Albion. It’s located on a small residential street in a large Georgian town house in North London, the beautiful courtyard is covered in wisteria in summer and in winter there are cozy log fires in the fireplaces throughout.
DO The Town of Bath, England Bath is only just over an hour from London by train and is one of the most beautiful cities you will ever see. The Roman baths are exquisite, and the Regency architecture will make you feel like you’re in a Jane Austen novel. While you’re there, the Thermae Bath Spa http://www.thermaebathspa.com/ is a must for luxurious spa treatments and bathing in the natural mineral pools, and afterwards enjoy dinner at the Circus Café & Restaurant www.thecircuscafeandrestaurant.co.uk .
Brick Lane Neighborhood Located in the heart of London’s very trendy East End, Brick Lane is famous for its curry houses and over the last few years has become a shopping destination, full of vintage clothing and housewares stores, weekend flea markets, and street food stalls. The side streets off Brick Lane are full of charming bars with outdoor tables, ideal for people watching. While you’re there, drop in to Rough Trade, an amazing record store, so cool even Adele used to work there http://www.roughtrade.com/
The National Gallery London’s galleries and museums are some of the most celebrated in the world, and considering they’re free to visit there’s no excuse to miss out. The National Gallery overlooks Trafalgar Square and is home to works by some of history’s greatest artists, including Botticelli, Vermeer, Cezanne, Monet, Van Gough and Rembrandt.
Jessica Wilks works on the eCommerce marketing team for Kurt Geiger London, where she looks after international brands including Vince Camuto.