London is and has always been one of my favourite European cities. I used to go there quite regularly, but the past years a visit got pushed aside by many new cities that are still left to discover. Hence this January the need was high to go back and to discover more of this progressive & creative capital city.
If you, much like me, already visited London quite a lot and would love to catch some new sights instead of the typical ones like London Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey etc. (note to first time visitors: please go see these landmarks, they are very much worth it) then keep on reading because that is exactly what we did this weekend in London.
Stay in a new part of town
First of all we stayed at the Park Grand Paddington Court, which was nothing special apart from the location. I never stayed in Paddington & hadn’t even been there so this made me very happy. I loved the spaciousness of the neighbourhood & the splendid monumental houses. The streets in Paddington mostly consist of the same type of houses right next to one another in a similar type of colour (predominantly white). It really adds a majestic and static dimension to this part of town, I was quite impressed. We were off to a good start of the weekend.
Have drinks at a local pub
At night we had drinks in the nicest pub in Paddington: the Cleveland arms. Such a cute interior, friendly service, nice music and generally a great place to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time.
Discover Nothing Hill
Since Paddington was really close to Notting Hill and I had never been there, we decided to discover this colourful part of London. We had a quick breakfast at Paul Rhodes, a bakery founded by the homonymous former Michelin-starred chef. This bakery serves delicious baked goods & great coffee that you can enjoy inside.
We walked around the neighbourhood and we quickly came across the well-known colourful houses of Nothing Hill. I stumbled upon a lot of stunning pictures like this so I was very happy to be able to admire the vivid colours of the houses for myself :).
Portobello Road Market
We quickly came to Portobello road and were very happy to notice a vibrant market taking place. I have a deep fondness for markets, I could walk around for hours just taking in the atmosphere and perusing all the unique objects that are being offered. But mostly I love food markets: the rich scents coming from the various freshly prepared dishes, discovering and tasting new foods. There is nothing I do not love about it. If you feel the same, you will love Portobello Road market: a seemingly endless streets full of all objects you can imagine and near the end a great food market with Polish pierogi, a lot of vegan & vegetarian dishes, Spanish Paella, Portugese pastries, etc.
Explore Little Venice
We visited this neighbourhood for the very first time and we were so charmed by it. Little Venice is located around the junction where Grand Union Canal and Regent’s Canal come together, which adds a romantic atmosphere to it. Typical for this part of London are the narrowboats you can see along the canal. The name says it all: these boats were specifically made to fit the narrow canals of the UK.
Have lunch at the Quince Tree
Later on we had lunch at a real unique spot: the Quince Tree,which is a beautiful greenhouse turned into a lunch spot. The Quince Tree is located in Clifton Nurseries, a shop where you can find any type of plant. Accordingly, you will be having lunch in a greenhouse surrounded by plants & all types of flowers. I absolutely loved it and even better: the food was sooo good. A must visit when you are in the neighbourhood!
Admire the view at Tate Modern’s viewing platform
I have been to Tate Modern multiple times but it was the first time to discover the view of the city from the viewing platform. In my eyes, beautiful views are never a waste and it is completely free so go and see what this viewing platform has to offer!
Have breakfast at the Breakfast Club or Lantana Cafe
For a while now I had been looking forward to having breakfast at the Breakfast club. Finally I was meeting up with a friend to go there, but of course, on Sunday the waiting time (50 min) was already quite long. As a result: no breakfast club for me. But we did end up going to Lantana cafe & enjoyed a really healthy, vegan breakfast and some good coffee. The interior is very nice and warm. A great place if you love to have breakfast.
Walk around Primrose Hill
If you are as dog obsessed as I am, you will definitely appreciate Primrose hill: a beautiful, well kept park with walking paths that lead you up to a hill. Once you reach the top, you get treated to another magnificent view over London. Next to that, Primrose Hill is the perfect getaway whenever the big & buzzing city gets to be too much. This is a really peaceful & imposing place to discover & catch your breath.
What are your hidden secrets in London?