Being an English immigrant living in Australia, there is a comforting sense of calm and ease that washes over me when back in the UK. But whilst I think of myself as English, I am always left in awe by the streets of London. This is most definitely not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a summary of a few highlights that the next time you're in London we recommend...
MUST EAT AND DRINK:
- Cafe Pacifico, Covent Garden. The cod hot pot is superb when escaping the cold outside, the mojitos are also deadly in the best way.
- Dishoom, Kings Cross. Be warned you may have to line up but if you're lucky they bring out sherry while you wait. The curries and chilli chocolate cake are worth it, Bombay style curries done with a modern twist.
- Leggero, Covent Garden. For fellow gluten-free/celiacs, the focaccia here is literally a gift from the gods and you will want to beg for their recipe.
-Borough Markets. The first tip, bring the biggest bag you own and then head unashamedly to the cheese section. Taking the time to chat with the mongers and hearing about the producers behind the products is a rarity in such a fast-paced world.
- Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour, Leister Square. Not a fan of gin? Who even are you? Joking - but this is probably not the bar for you, with hundreds of gins to choose from you're in for one hell of a night as a gin fan! If you can't secure a spot in the upstairs parlour, the pub below is just as quirky and serves an amazing Botanist Gin with Rosemary and lemon.
-Sketch, Mayfair. If you've been scrolling through Instagram it's almost guaranteed you've stumbled across a blogger posting about Sketch. But it's interiors are worth the hype. Our hot tip, if you've already spent up big on the aforementioned eateries (well done you), the à la carte menu's prices can seem a bit steep, but you can book a table and opt to just enjoy a cocktail whilst taking in their art inspired dining rooms.
Tate Britain, Millbank. The Tate Modern is also wonderful but the architecture of the Tate Britain alone is breathtaking. Take your time to wind through the gallery corridors but make sure you set aside a good hour to look through the bookshop at the end - if only weight wasn't an issue in bringing books back to Australia!
- Take in the street art. A hidden Banksy, or a new up-and-comer, London has really embraced the street art scene and it's worth getting a hot cup of coffee and going for a stroll to see what you can find.
- Look Up. Whilst walking around make sure you take it all in. Coming from Perth where most of our architecture has only recently been created it's incredible to see how the old world buildings of London have been reused in modern contexts.
- Harry Potter. If you're a geek like us, make the trip out to Warner Bro's Studios to see how the Harry Potter movies were made, from the initial set sketches through to unknown trivia you'll admire the series in a whole new light.
- Make it your own. If you can, take a week or more to explore major cities like London. Hiring an AirB&B and living like a local is one of the best ways to experience a new city in our opinion. The tourists' guide to the top 10 of London 'must-sees' will always be there, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben are of course wonders to behold, but it can be even more exciting to stumble across something no one else in your circle of friends has found, and that you can only do by straying from the tourist lists!