After living in London for just under a decade, there are things about this city that I have absolutely loved. Since today is the day I’m flying out and moving on, I thought I’d share some of my favourite places and things about this great city.
Fortnum And Mason
This one has to come first. Fortnums is a London department store, and while it’s perhaps less well known outside the UK than Harrods and Selfridges, it’s supplied the royal family with it’s groceries for generations (by that I mean since the 1700’s). It’s one of the few places in the world that still makes Earl Grey made with real bergamot, rather than just flavouring, and it’s range of teas are considered amongst the best in the world, if not the best. While it also sells amazing hats, jewellery and stationery that’s to die for, you have to come for afternoon or high tea in the Jubilee Tea Room. The queen comes for her birthday every year, and even though it’s the best quality and service, it’s not as expensive as other places and less touristy. Most importantly, Fortnums knows the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea, which even in London is really rare. (Click HERE for their website)
London has some really beautiful bookshops, but two places come to mind as favourite places that I like to visit. Just down from Fortnums is Waterstones on Piccadilly. Even though Waterstones is a huge franchise with stores all over the UK, this particular store is five floors. Housed in what was once a department store, this place has everything. And when you’ve picked out your books, you can head up to the bar or down to the cafe. They also have loads of book signings too. It’s the perfect place to duck into on a rainy day and lose yourself in. If you prefer antique or niche sellers, the Bloomsbury area has loads of smaller book stores. There are some that sell antiquarian books, other that focus on a particular subject (one store I love sells only Alice In Wonderland), and some that feel like they’re right out of Harry Potter, like the Atlantis Bookshop, which is one of the oldest occult book stores in Europe.
History and Museums
I was going to say that the British Museum is one of my favourite places to visit whenever I have a spare afternoon, but then I thought of other museums that I love and wasn’t sure I could not include them. Firstly, London is an ancient city, which means that you can still go and see the Roman walls, wander past Gothic cathedrals built in the 1300’s and then walk to have a drink in Dickens favourite pub. One of the best things is that the main museums are free, like the National Gallery or British Museum, so you can wander in and visit them every time you have a free afternoon. They’re often really huge, with the building being as much of a treat as it’s contents. London also has really quirky museums, and they tend to have a nominal charge, and are usually pretty eccentric and delightful. (Dickens Museum and John Soanes in London spring to mind).
Fashion and Fashion Week
In the last few years, I’ve loved heading to fashion week twice a year. Since the 60’s, London has been a powerhouse for fashion that pushes boundaries, designers like Vivienne Westwood. Now it has a lovely dichotomy of old meets new. Hunter boots and tweed jackets meet punk. On the one hand, Burberry with it’s long history, on the other, Alexander McQueen and it’s Savage Beauty. There’s something eccentric about the British, and their fashion brands often demonstrate that. On the “high street” as they say here, I will miss Collectif the most. It’s a brand that takes vintage patterns to make modern clothes, and I LOVE them so much. They’re such a beautiful fit too. Click HERE to check them out.
Finally, London is a very green city. Whilst it’s one of the most built up and populated cities in the world, it also has a lot of parks too. Hyde Park is in the centre of London, and spreads over a large amount of space. In Summer, is a great place to soak up the sun. In Winter, it looks like a postcard under it’s blanket of snow. In Spring, it has fields of daffodils and the Autumn leaves are perfectly gold and crunchy under leather boots. It also reaches to the edge of Buckingham Palace. It has Peter Pan’s statue, a walk dedicated to Princess Diana, beautiful ponds and lakes, and also some really beautiful horse riding. (It’s a little pricey, but a lot of things in central London are and it’s totally worth it). The birthday that my boyfriend surprised me with a ride in the park is one of my favourite memories of London.
Have you been to London? What would you love to do here or what are your favourite places? After so many years here, it was hard to pick my favourites, and I’ve probably left out something important! I’d love to hear yours. Let me know in the comments below.