A place that’s never been too high on my bucket list, but a place I longed to go to see my very best friend after she packed up and left the Gold Coast a few years ago. After my work trip to the South of France and then Sarah meeting me for a week in Paris, we got on the Eurostar and made our way to London, England. Something that still baffles me to this day, that you can train from France to England.
Unfortunately, Sarah had to go back to work for a few days, so I explored London and met up with a few other friends while I was there. I was definitely glad to be hearing people speak English again, with different variations floating through the wind, some cockney and Northern and some elegant and well-spoken. Read on for the top things I managed to tick off in my short time in London and the things I recommend adding to your London hit-list.
Walk around Hyde Park
Since I had had a few emotional days having been mugged twice in Paris I decided to walk to Hyde Park and have a wee journal to get myself out of my slump and realise how lucky I was to be in London with my best friend. Hyde Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks and is huge, covering an area of 350 acres filled with fountains, a lake and waterside cafes, bike paths and hosts world-class events and concerts. It’s also the perfect spot to people watch and marvel at the world passing you by. I had a lovely morning laying in the Summer sun and think this is definitely a must do in London!
Overcrowded by prying tourist eyes, Buckingham Palace is a bit of a mad house but one of those things you kind of have to see. I mean who doesn’t want to see how still the guards are out the front and where all the important Royal decisions, meetings, weddings and the like take place. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms with 54 of these being for Royal and guest bedrooms and 188 for staff bedrooms – meaning more staff to people! If you are fascinated by English history then you are able to do a tour of the palace in the Summer months. I didn’t stay long as it didn’t really interest me all that much, took a few snaps and kept wandering.
Try a KO BOX-ing class
After a week in Paris eating croissants for breakfast and champagne for dinner, we realised we needed to do some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and what better place than KO Boxing. What an insane class, with incredible facilities and even the option to have a post workout protein shake waiting for you once you are finished. The class we tried, we were split into two, with one group on a boxing bag and the other doing wall exercises. There are numbers on the screen for the boxers with different sequences that you follow and after a round of boxing on a bag both groups switch. It’s an epic full-body workout that torches serious calories and so of course we went out for brunch afterwards!
Check out the colourful houses at Notting Hill
Notting Hill is an affluent district of London that has the most charming pastel coloured houses all lined up in a row, perfect for some photos! Not only is it the setting for the famous movie, it also is home to the iconic Portobello Road Markets that specialise in antiques, vintage clothes and some quirky people! Notting Hill is brimming with restaurants, bars and shops and is the perfect place to wander and get lost for a few hours. You just never know what you will stumble across. We had many a laughs musing at the characters that wander and entertain at the markets, some people dress up in very odd outfits.
View London Bridge at night time
We decided to have a night out and ventured to the Garden Sky Bar for a drink overlooking London City. London Bridge is wonderful to see during the day, but spectacular to see at night. The iconic area surrounding the bridge is one of London’s oldest, boasting historical, maritime, culinary and other ghastly connections to events that have shaped the city’s history. Head up The Shard (the tallest building in Western Europe) for incredible vistas of London Bridge and beyond. Also, near the bridge is the famous, maybe now infamous Borough Market, the UK’s oldest food market with traders selling artisan cakes, cheese, meat, fish, vegetables, breads and sweets and so much more.
See a Musical in West End
My first ever musical I saw in London and it was Matilda, very fitting seeing as I was obsessed with that movie as a child. There is always a plethora of different musicals on every single night in the West End at a number of theatres showing different types of work from large scale musicals to intimate dramas in a smaller setting. Matilda was brilliant and I was enthralled the whole time with the singing and dancing and production on stage. I couldn’t believe they had to do this every single night, even the young kids! But they do have a few “Matilda’s” so they can at least get a few nights off. It was such a fun night out and we shared champagne and treats and tapped our feet to the music all night long.
Afternoon Tea at Peggy Porschen Cakes
I had seen this cute wee place on numerous blog posts as one of the most Insta-worthy cafes to go to in London, so of course I had to go. A very chic bakery located in Parlour, with creative cupcakes and sweet treats that are quite simply, edible works of art. We had some pink lemonade and a couple of cute cakes for afternoon tea and were completely mesmerised at all the pink and attention to detail in this place. Peggy Porschen even has her own academy, London’s first cookery school entirely dedicated to baking, cake decorating and sugar craft. Now that’s a school I’d love to go to!
A rooftop Yoga class
Gone are the days where you want to be cooped up in a studio when you want to be exploring a new city. The Summer rooftop yoga at Madison Terrace will have you gazing across London’s most iconic landmarks as the sun rises, with St Paul’s Cathedral right in prime position. The location is a rooftop bar come night time, but the perfect spot for a morning flow. Sarah’s friend took the yoga class which is the only way we knew about it but I’m sure there are plenty more like It across the city over the Summer months when the sky is clear and you don’t have to wear too many layers.
Shopping at Carnaby Lane
Now this spot I could of spent more time in. It’s 14 streets in the heart of London’s West End with over 100 shops and 60 restaurants, bars and cafes and the perfect place to daydream the day away. Kingly Court is worth a mention, a three story alfresco food and dining destination that has 21 of the best international concept restaurants in one open-air courtyard; all chosen because they offer a unique dining experience you won’t find anywhere else in London. You can pretty much shop away the day and then eat around the world
Visit the Mayfield Lavender Farm
Now this is a place everyone flocks to for the famous Instagram photo, a family run organic lavender farm that has to be seen to be believed. Only open a few months of the year (June-Aug) it is quite a nice day out and only 15 minutes from central London. The smell of the lavender is enough to put you to sleep, or at least relax you amongst the crowds of tourists all trying to get their shot. There is also a beautiful nursery, café and gift shop so you can take away a lavender infused treat. We tried the ice-cream and it was so delicious!
Drink Champagne in a Courtyard
Because that’s what Sarah and I did most nights in London, but the best night of all was the one we cracked open the 2009 Vintage Dom Perignon. I never thought I could taste the difference in champagne, but after trying this, I now know. WOW. We enjoyed a platter in Sarah’s courtyard with the finest of French wine (bought on our champagne tour) and savouring every single sip before heading out for a night on the town.
And that was my week in London. A place I hope I’ll be back to more than once, where my soul sisters roots are, where my ancestors would of come from no doubt and a city filled with vibrant culture
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