Oh London, my home away from home. It’s like the cooler older sister of Toronto but with 10x more neighbourhoods, markets, and restaurants to explore along with the kind of sophistication one can only aspire to ever have.
The thing about London is that you can scour the streets like a hungry Nancy Drew more than once and still have hundreds of more undiscovered spots you’ve got to visit still. I spent a week last year in the city (check out my 2016 ultimate guide here) but returned this past September for another round. If you’re planning a trip, lucky for you, I’ve done all the work already. Here’s my ultimate London guide and your itinerary with my updated must-visits!
A trendy upscale vegetarian lunch spot in the heart of Oxford Piccadilly district buffet style. Stop picturing overhead hot lamps and nauseating aluminum serving tins. Ethos has it right with decadent displays of delicious plant-based dishes, marble table tops, and impressive decor complete with large ‘trees’ erupting from the floor to ceiling. The restaurant says its self-serve concept allows for maximum choice and flexibility in building your meal exactly as you please. With an extensive selection of healthy salads, casseroles, desserts, and lattés, Ethos is the perfect post-shopping spot to satisfy all your cravings without the gross feeling after.
They say some of the best Indian food is made in London! And what a truth that is! I’m a huge fan of Indian food and all it’s comforting, savoury, and buttery-ness so this cozy spot in Kensington certainly did the trick. I honestly can’t think of another occasion where I had a better version of this delicious cuisine (casually drooling as the memory resurfaces on my taste buds)!
If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a romantic dinner date? This is it. With it’s elegant yet darling decor, warm atmosphere, and killer vegetarian menu, Manna is one of my favourites. Adorably tucked away in the most darling neighbourhood of London (I say this with complete confidence), Primrose Hill, you’ll have lots to explore before or after your meal. I reccommend ordering the leek and almond tart and enchilada bake.
You’ve probably seen this place on your favourite blogger’s Insta feed. Without a doubt, Peggy takes the cake (literally) for London’s most Instagrammable spot. With its lavish pink and floral facade and uniquely flavoured sweet treats, it’s almost impossible not to flat lay and selfie the shit out of your experience.
Okay if there’s one thing you HAVE to do in London. THIS IS IT. B Bakery takes two incredibly iconic British concepts–having afternoon high tea and the famous red double decker buses–and puts them together! Enjoy a wide array of fresh finger sandwiches, buttery scones and clotted cream, refreshing tea, and a nice glass of bubbly on the bus while a nice lady guides your tour around the city. The bus hits all the famous sights including Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye so you’re good to go. Now is there anything more British than this?!
Walk along the Thames River
I don’t usually like doing the typical touristy things and try to avoid crowds at all costs but here’s one of the pleasant tourist activities in London. The boardwalk along the Thames River is a lovely one, especially around sunset. Watch skateboarders pull off tricks at the graffiti undercroft, grab a book at the side walk used book sale, grab a beer, and admire the city scape views across the river.
I’ve visited here a couple times but I always come back because it’s just so lovely. Have a picnic in Hyde Park, then take a peak into the royal Italian style gardens or grab a coffee at the palace cafe. Who knows, maybe Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will be out for a casual garden stroll.
Portobello Market/Notting Hill
Feel like you’re starring in your own romantic comedy in Notting Hill, a cheeky little neighbourhood that’s saturated in colour and bursting with quaint esteem. It’s pastel coloured terraces are interspersed with buskers, antiques shops, historic pubs, independent cafes, and vintage apparel shops. There’s so much to do, see, and capture (hello Instagram heaven) from it’s cobbled streets to its many candy coloured doors. Catch a flick at The Gate Cinema, grab a book and coffee, or simply stroll the market for quirky gifts and rare finds!
Need a break from the city but don’t want to stray too far? Simply hop on the tube to Richmond Station at the end of the ‘district’ line to explore the friendly and quieter streets of this neighbourhood. You’ll still get the trendy boutiques and restaurants but without all the traffic. There’s also a little place down by the river you can also grab a cold brew that’s just too nice of a moment to pass up. If you look for it, you’ll know what I mean.
A stone’s throw from Camden, Primrose Hill is a gem rich with independent shops, pampering boutiques, incredible brunch, and top-notch pubs. The sweetest playground to spend a Sunday afternoon in, you can enjoy suave saxophone buskers on the bridge, shop for fresh blooms, and treat your tastebuds. Perfect much?
Want to see these places in action? Get a real feel for London in my latest travel vlogs around the city!