London, you leave me speechless. I just spent the what-must-have-been most intense week of my life in your beautiful surroundings. It makes me want to experience London over and over again.
Notting Hill Love Story
Had I known that my 3 hour research for a place in London would turn out this amazing I would have been way more relaxed. I possibly came across the best AirBnB I got to experience so far (besides my dreamy apartment on Bonaire). I remain impressed with the lovely Heather I got to stay with who had 20 years of experience in the music industry and now owns a therapy practice where she specializes in working with people from her former industry. Needless to say, I lived my very own Notting Hill dream. Living in a lovely town house with private garden and the most comfortable bed I felt like a local all the way.
So you weren’t flying to Heathrow?
No, I wasn’t. I took the cheaper option of a 40 € flight to Stansted. It’s honestly not that far away. Book your National Express Bus tickets beforehand and it saves you even more money, I only paid 17 € return. In London, get an Oyster card from a local kiosk and top it up starting from 10 GBP. The cheapest option will be to take the buses (besides bikes) which is the coolest way to experience London if you ask me. It’s 1,50 GBP and no matter how far you go you will be able to travel for 1 hr. even if you have to change buses in-between, sound good?
Experience London: Food Paradise
Well, I thought Hamburg had many plant-based and raw cafés. I clearly haven’t been to London for a while. And it indeed has been 4-5 years, I keep asking myself why exactly.
Here are a couple cafés and places I really enjoyed:
- JuiceBaby: Amazing juices, bowls and coffee (I had the Chai Latte with Cashew milk)
- Arro: The Temple of Coffee in Marylebone
- Deliciously Ella: Plant-based goodness in a vibrant space
- SnowFlake: Very prominent Gelato Stores
- Liberté Cherie: Waste-free shop in Notting Hill
- Redemption: Nutritious and beautiful vegan café/bar
- Wild Food: Natural plant foods at Neal’s Yard
- Yogland: Frozen Yoghurt place with a lot of vegan options
- Itsu: Although it’s a chain really good asian bowls that make you full after a long day of walking
- The Good Life: Smoothies, Juices, Bowls and healthy treats
- Tombo: Japanese Café with Matcha Ice Cream and great dinner food
- Wulf & Lamb: Vegan restaurant at a stunning location
- The Dickens Inn: Grill & Pub at St Katharine Docks, not so much for the food but for the location and the beautiful building
- Vegan Afternoon Tea Bus: Safe the Best (?) well definitely coolest for last, I didn’t do it but it looked so fun, it’s a typical red bus serving afternoon tea on board
You’re also a fan of hidden gems?
Whenever I am traveling a city I am trying to find at least some places that aren’t as obvious as the typical tourist attractions. So of course to experience London I was looking for some of those gems as well. One gem wasn’t far from my place in Notting Hill so I actually walked there crossing the infamous and definitely very cool Portobello Road Market. It just opens certain times so check beforehand. Also, don’t forget to pay The Notting Hill Book Shop from the original film a visit.
But now, the gem I am talking about is Little Venice. Who thought one would find Venice Canals in London. Although I’d been to London before I had never heard about this.
Neal’s Yard and the surrounding area will take you into a different world. I thought I was entering a movie set. I am such a sucker for cute alleys and dreamy cafés. Here you will also find the above mentioned Redemption Café and the Wild Food Café. Around the corner is also Covent Garden which is not exactly a hidden gem but still pretty to explore.
Harry Potter fans raise your hands. Apart from King’s Cross and the Harry Potter Studios Leadenhall Market is another relevant yet not nearly as crowded location. Right around the corner you’ll find St Dunstan-In-The-East. It’s an old church garden that has amazing light in the evening and is very unique with old ruins merging with nature.
Everyone knows the famous Regent St which you should definitely visit. But while you do, pay attention to what’s around you. Towards Oxford Circus on the right side you’ll find Tenison Ct. So, take a right and just take it in.
You wouldn’t suspect that right next to the tourist streams around Tower Bridge there is an area that is quiet and hidden, I am talking about St Katharine Docks. It’s a beautiful Marina which surprisingly not many tourists proceed to. This is where you’ll also find the extremely pretty ‘The Dickens Inn’.
And finally, of course, if you’ve never been to London you will have to see some of the big attractions. Go visit the Buckingham Palace, walk through Hyde Park and stroll along Oxford Street. Cross the Themse at Westminster Bridge after visiting Westminster Abbey and the Big Ben.
From the London Eye walk up along the water, it’s a beautiful walk. It will also take you through South Bank which is nice to experience as there are a lot of cool bars and restaurants right at the water. Soon you’ll get to the probably biggest attraction besides the Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge. Next to it you’ll find the Tower of London.
London, you’re my new home now…
…in my collection of places where I felt at home in the world. While this article has been touching the beauty of London as such it didn’t quite communicate the actual beautiful cause I was in London for what must be one of the biggest projects in my life. But at this stage I won’t reveal too much. So, lean back, stay tuned and expect to be pleasantly surprised very soon.