Colin and I are just back from a fab week in London and wanted to share with you some great things we found to do in the Capital. This is in no way a definitive guide to London but just a wee blog about our meanderings. In our 6 days we visited 4 areas of London and here are the highlights from each of them:
Kings Cross and Euston Square
When we were in London it was our lovely niece, Maisie’s, 8th birthday and we all went to the Railway Children at Kings Cross Station. Yes you heard me right, this production is in a disused railway platform-with an actual train. It was such a clever set and was great fun for both adults and kids. I had forgotten quite how stiff upper lip the railway children is but it is a great story and I have had great fun trying to incorporate phrases such as ‘You’re such a brick’ into my daily repertoire.
From a more adult perspective, the area of Kings Cross and Euston Square, offered us two yummy eateries.
The first was the Somers Town Coffee House, Chalton Street, where we met friends. I was delighted that even though we were only a party of four we got a private dining room. It felt like something out of a funky Downtown abbey with a mix of great music and chinawear on a sideboard. It is spread over three floors: the basement is a speak-easy serving skilfully made cocktails, the ground floor is a good old English pub and the upstairs is cosy private dining. The food is British tapas which was so nice- Colin and I shared BBQ ribs, slow braised in London Stout, Spicy Calamari, Piggies wrapped in Blankets and sweet potato fries. Delicious!!
The second was the very fashionable Caravan, Granary Square, Kings Cross. This is where we had our last London breakfast and it ticked all the boxes- fun, funky and filling. I had avocado on toast with olive oil, lemon and chilli on sourdough bread. What a healthy end to the week.
Please if you are in London before the 13th of December go to the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts-it is SENSATIONAL. I actually had no idea who Ai Weiwei was before we went to the exhibition but I sure do now. He is a Chinese artist who is the ultimate recycler, political activist, blogger and creator of beautiful things. If you go you must take the audio tour as it beautifully takes you through the exhibition detailing Ai Weiwei’s life and art. The Royal Academy is also the most gorgeous building in which to house this exhibition and is well worth exploring.
When finished there nip over to Fortnum and Mason to look at the displays and if like us, you decide the prices are out of this world then plump for some delicious cakes from the bakery as you go in-I have never eaten such a decadently wrapped bun.
Seven Dials, Covent Garden and Soho
Seven Dials and Covent Garden were the perfect place for a bit of retail therapy. Seven Dials is seven lanes radiating from a central square and is home to a number of well known shops, independent retailers and delightful cafes, whilst Covent Garden hosts even more shops and a covered market. My favourite shop was The Colourfield Company, a satchel shop where you customise your own satchel. It is owned by a Manchester couple and all the satchels are handmade in their Manchester factory. Loved it and Colin treated me to an early Christmas present-I am spoiled.
If you are craving a sweet snack in Covent Garden stop for a delicious ice-cream from Venchi-White Chocolate and Salted Nuts yummmmm…..
If you are more in the strong liqueur mindset head to Balthazars, restaurant and bar, where you will feel that you have been transported to 1920’s Paris. The barman lovingly made me a Spiced Cardamom Negroni, deliciously spicy with a definite hit.
For dinner head to Bubbledogs in Soho. It is the epitome of trendiness. The menu consists of 60-70 different types of Champagne which can be accompanied by a range of 15 beef, pork or vegetarian hot dogs. I had the Jose pork hot dog with fresh tomato, salsa, avocado, sour cream and pickled jalapeños. It was delish and weirdly felt well accompanied by my glass of fizz.
The Borough Market at London Bridge is heaven for street food lovers. This iconic market would fulfil any palate with its range of patisserie, pulled pork, Indian food, British classics such as a dedicated scotch egg stall, exotic teas, honey, fruit and even a relish stall. Well worth the tube ride to London Bridge at lunchtime to grab yourself a treat.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum, on St Thomas Street, is just round the corner from the market. At the top of a 32 step spiral staircase in the attic of St Thomas’ Church it is interesting and stomach turning in equal measure. The old herbalist is fascinating, whilst the operating theatre is gruesome in its description of amputations without anaesthetic, operating gowns which were never washed and in the fact that you can see the gouges in the original operating table.
The swankiest thing we did all week though was afternoon tea in Gong, Shangrila Hotel, on the 52nd floor of the Shard. This was soooo lush and what could be a better way to appreciate the view of London than with cake in hand. The service was lovely and the afternoon tea was decadent. It is worth mentioning that it is £26 to go to the viewing platform on floor in the Shard, whilst it was £49 for afternoon tea on floor 54-worth considering paying the extra £23 and having afternoon tea as well or you could always go to Gong just for cocktails and a view-minimum spend £30 (same as viewing platform ticket only).
Obviously this blog is not about my usual stomping ground but I hope if you are ever heading London bound that this may give you some ideas.