I can’t believe my time abroad is already coming to an end! Thinking back to 10 weeks ago when I embarked on this journey, I had no idea what was to lay ahead. But, as I wrap up my travels, I am thrilled to be headed back to one of my favorite places for one last visit before boarding my flight back to the U.S.
London is hands down one of my favorite places in the world. It’s the perfect mix of modern meets classy with its skyscrapers made of glass, elegant palaces, lush gardens and picturesque streets. If there’s anywhere in the world I’d want to call my “home away from home” it would be the city of London, I simply cannot say enough good things about it.
During my journeys abroad, I’ve spent the most time in London (right behind Montpellier) and every time I’m there, I see and do different things. Granted Big Ben likes to hop in a picture here and there and once in a while you “forget” your phone and have to snap a pic in the red photos booths to capture the occasion, but when in London, some things never get old.
Both the city itself and the people are so charming, it makes me want a British accent if my own! My attempt is quite awful I must say…
But as I said, I could go on and on about everything I adore about this city but in order to save you a lengthy read I’ve cut it down to a simple travel diary documenting my favorite places and things to do in London, and not all require the “tourist” tag.
Biking in Kensington Gardens
Nothing says a quaint afternoon quite like a little stroll through Kensington Palace Gardens. Centered nearly right in the heart of London you’d never guess that you were in the center of a major city. Kengsibton boasts some of the most beautiful gardens accompanied by a little stream and of course, the palace itself. It’s wide sidewalks make it perfect for all sorts of activity. While I have ran through the Gardens a few times I prefer to take my time and opt for an afternoon bike ride, that is less “sweaty” and more enjoyable. Plus, when biking it’s much easier to hop off quickly and stop in for a bite at one of the many cafes in the Gardens to enjoy a sweet treat, fresh coffee, or if you’re really feeling like a local, a cup of hot tea. Don’t have a bike? Not to worry! There are several bikes stationed throughout the park that are able to be rented for as little as 2£.
Wine in St. James Park
If you can’t tell, the parks in London are a favorite of mine. Rightfully so I’d say… they’re beautiful! St. James Park in particular, is stunning. With views of the royal Buckinngham Palace, London Eye and surrounding scenery, it’s an eye opener for all, nature lover or not. There are multiple little cafes and snack huts scattered throughout the park, however, for the most leisurely and enjoyable experience, grab a picnic blanket, a couple light snacks and a bottle of your favorite wine and kick back and relax while enjoying the beautiful greenery surrounding. (Don’t forget the wine opener!)
It will become quite obvious within the first day or so of being in London that the Brits take their tea time quite seriously, but who’s to blame when the occasion consists of pretty pastel cups, dainty finger food and insta ready pastries. The last time I was in London I enjoyed a wonderful spread at The Wosley, and this time around, I’m giving the “Berkeley” a try.
Cupcakes at Peggy’s
This cute little “Indra famous” destination wouldn’t make the list if it where actually worth it and I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely 100% worth it! Nestled in a side street near Victoria Station this place is home to the sweetest and tastiest cupcakes in London. Need more convincing? Check out my ENTIRE post dedicated to PP.
Shops in Notting Hill
Ahhh yes, the beautiful Notting Hill. If I had to live anywhere in London (without a price tag) this area would be the place of choice. With streets lined in perfect unison of polished white houses and perfectly trimmed trees, it really is as close as it gets to picture perfect. In fact, I don’t know if there is anywhere else where I’ve collected so many photos of front doors! While the homes are one factor drawing me into Notting Hill, the unique shops and charming Portobello Road Market sure do the trick. This is the perfect spot to find that cute little token for friends and family alike.
Drinks on a Rooftop Bar
London is known to have some of the best rooftop bars. With that said, skip the extensive line at the London eye and wander off for a pint in the skies at one of Londons fabulous rooftop bars; consider Proud Camden and Rumpus Room.
Morning Run along the Thames
There’s nothing quite like a morning jog along the Thames river. Even for those who don’t like to run, a walk would suit just fine as well as the path along the river takes your through the entire city capturing new views of the city sky lines, famous monuments, and new discoveries.
Snack at Pret
I consider Pret to be the British version of Starbucks mainly for the reason being that they are EVERYWHERE. But I can’t conplain, their convienece accompanied by their delicious eats natural makes Pret a go-to stop of mine each and every time in in London.
There are SO many areas within London that I absolutely adore, but Carnaby Street is central and fun. Tucked in the side streets of the popular shopping areas of Piccadilly Circus and Bond Street, you’ll find Carnaby Street. A condensed little shopping area overflowing with cute boutiques and shops selling the most adorable pieces.
While there is so much to do and see in London beyond the sights, I hope with this little guide you’ll be able to skip the lines at the London Eye, the crowds at Buckingham Palace and the odd hours of Westminster and experience London like a local.
Photos Courtesy of Merina Burda Photography & Design