If you’ve been following me since 2018, then you’ve likely come to know that London is my absolute soul city and second (adopted) home. I have been spending months on end there, working remotely but mainly just enjoying LIFE. The city is so vibrant; the food, people, design, fashion, music, and proximity to the rest of Europe, Africa, and Middle East make it such a phenomenal home base for me. Needless to say, I have come to know this city like the back of my hand and have updated my guide below to reflect all the places I adore while there.
What to Pack:
- London’s weather can be pretty unpredictable. I’ve been there for some of the hottest summer days on record but by the time August rolls around, I was in desperate need of fall sweaters and hunter wellies. Obviously what you pack varies from season to season but no matter the time of year, layering is key, and so is an umbrella. London also tends to bring out my ladylike style far more than edgy New York, so I tend to play into my idea of femininity. In central/west London, they are big into print and pattern, long sleeve dresses (think RIXO), whereas the east is a bit more streetwear inspired (think LES/Brooklyn).
Where to Stay:
- Corinthia London – one of the nicest, most tranquil hotels in the city and situated conveniently below Trafalgar Square and just above the River Thames. It also has one of the most exquisite spas, so do make sure to book a treatment and build in extra time for the vitality pool and sauna.
- Sonder – the experience is somewhere between an AirBnb and a hotel and is perfect for extended stays. It gives you a sense of living in your own flat without having to deal with signing a lease. The rooms are modern, clean, and outfitted with the essentials. I have stayed at their Kensington, Bayswater, and Edgware Road locations but Kensington is by far my favorite.
What to See:
- Marvel at the National Portrait Gallery
- Stroll up the Mall to Buckingham Palace
- Boat Cruise along River Thames
- Take a ride on the London Eye
- People watch in Trafalgar Square
- Grad a drink at the Shangri-La The Shard, for a view of Tower Bridge
- Walk from the Big Ben across the Thames
- From there head to the Tate Modern
- Rent a paddle boat in Hyde Park
- Stroll along Portobello Road in Notting Hill
- See a show at the Old Vic Theatre
What to Eat:
- The Wolseley – this has become a go to spot for me! I love the bustling atmosphere, hanging by the bar reading The Times while I wait for my table, and people watching. It is a London institution for a reason.
- Langan’s Brasserie – one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had in London. The interior is beautiful as is the upstairs bar.
- J Sheekey – iconic fish and seafood restaurant in the heart of the theatre district. You are likely to find a celeb or two there!
- Fallow – super innovative and tasty plant-based dishes, where the open kitchen takes centre stage.
- KOYN – a contemporary Japanese experience located in the heart of Mayfair. Try the crispy rice and Sakura Negroni.
- Decimo – located on the rooftop of The Standard, it offers stunning views of the city and a tasty Spanish meets Mexican menu.
- Bar Des Pres – small, chic, and well curated crowd. The food is exceptional with a French meets East Asian menu. It is the perfect spot to grab dinner and then head out for cocktails or a night of dancing in Mayfair.
- Casa Cruz – in the heart of Notting Hill, this place is covered in mirrors and velvet walls. The menu is an interesting mix of Argentinian style dishes but the vibe is really the attraction.
- The River Cafe – a true institution in the London hospitality scene and a bit of a celebrity favorite!
- Spring Restaurant – daily changing, seasonal menus, served in a restored 19-century drawing room, tucked within the heartbreakingly beautiful Somerset House.
- GOLD – a Notting Hill staple! There is always a great vibe there, the food is super yummy, and the orange wine by the glass is simply perfection!
- Suzi Tros – modern greek restaurant tucked behind Notting Hill Gate, serving super flavorful and shareable dishes. The tzatziki and grilled leek bread is to die for!
Where to Tea:
- Cedric Grolet at The Berkley – the rockstar French pastry chef has taken up residency at The Berkley where you can experience several rounds of both his savory and sweet creations with tea and champagne. It is worth every penny!
- Sketch – there is a reason it continues to draw boatloads of tourists, year after year. Make sure to book afternoon tea in the pink room so you get the full dining experience. Also head to the bathroom for a glimpse at the egg pod stalls!
Where to Shop:
- Selfridges – despite being a department store, they have very unique designers and rare finds on their contemporary floor!
- New Bond St – comprised mainly of luxury designer boutiques, it is fabulous to walk and window shop along the way too.
- Regent St, Carnaby, & Liberty London – this area in central London is brimming with all your fave shops and more.
- Covent Garden & Soho – from Glossier to rare gems like stationery shop Choosing Keeping, this is a great area to browse.
- Harrods – is a must if only to see the window displays or a cool pop-up cafe inside.
- Westbourne Grove – a mix of chain and independent boutiques, you’ll always find the most stylish in the west here.
- Portobello Market – I have found some of my most coveted pieces here, including two crochet dresses I brought to Sicily.
Where to Play:
- The Connaught Bar & Red Room (Cocktail)
- Claridge’s The Painter’s Room (Cocktail)
- Isabel London (Cocktail)
- Maison Estelle (Drink & Dance)
- Chiltern Firehouse (Drink & Dance)
- 5 Hertford Street (Drink & Dance)
- The Twenty Two (Drink & Dance)
- The Pelican (Pub)
- The Anglesea Arms (Pub)
- The Footman (Pub)
What to See Outside the City:
- Cotswolds – Soho Farmhouse is great but not your only option. Rent an AirBnb with friends in Charlbury, head to The Bull Inn, and take in the countryside.
- Cambridge – totally feasible to drive out for the day, relax on a punt tour, then grab lunch/dinner in town before heading back to London.