The capital and largest city in the United Kingdom on the Thames River in southest London. Consists of 32 boroughs with a population of 7,520,000.
I love London. There are no two ways about it. Maybe because I’ve lived away from my home for so many years, maybe because I’ve never had to live in central London. I’ve done stints here and there, and in surrounding counties, but my love affair with London has developed over the past ten years since I’ve been a frequent visitor. The best time to go? In my opinion. The summer.
The summer in London is unbeatable. Brits are renowned for being grumpy, whinging inhabitants, who go about their day without a care in the world for others. I tend to disagree. And in the summer, well, give a British person just a hint of sunshine and it’s all smiles, barbecues, tank tops and cold beers.
I want to share with you, MY London. The little spots of London that might appeal to someone with my taste for the eclectic, delicious and the beautiful. And this is my… ‘if I had an endless disposable income London’, which I currently do not. So please bear with me, and let me dream my beautiful dream…….of a summery London weekend.
The Boundary, Shoreditch I stayed here a few years ago. It was on my wish list of global hotels. I’m a Conran fan and was curious to see the way the hotel had been designed. Plus, it’s in one of my favourite borough’s, Shoreditch. Each room is themed with different design house or era, and all are spacious, sumptuous and with a true East London vista. The lobby area is very small and surprisingly un – designed, but this is immediately overshadowed by the punchiness of the rooms, the welcome of the British shop and cafe; The Albion and the rooftop bar. Result.
Upper St, Islington, Liberty Soho and Borough Market. These three destinations can provide you with just enough of a spectrum of everything to feel like you’ve done a little bit of it all. Which is the way I like to roll. Upper St has been a firm favourite of mine, it is home to Abigail Ahern, Whistles and many more. Liberty in Soho is a London institution. It’s wonderful to look at from the outside with its Tudor revival architecture, and beautifully elegant inside. If you can’t afford anything, simply pop in and spritz some perfume.. you’ll feel a million dollars. Borough Market has the hustle and bustle of London, mixed in with the uber cool of artisan foods, slow foods and farm to table fare. Toss in a little hipster and there you have it.
Claridges, Mayfair I’ve never stayed here, but have been lucky enough to meet a dear old school friend for drinks on balmy evening one August. The thing that tugged at my heart strings the minute I walked into the lobby was the fresh flower arrangements. Stunning, abundant, and alluring. Immaculate service, and a bill to go hand in hand. I will be back one day; Claridges.
To eat a Sunday lunch….
The Owl and The Pussycat, Shoreditch Just looking at their website makes me think we were destined to be kindred spirits, this pub and me. It’s a hidden gem of London, with just enough effortless and eclectic style to make it feel homey, but with an edge of cool. The food is delicious; and to seal the deal it’s a hop and skip away from The Boundary.
To buy lingere… (if it takes your fancy)
Rigby and Peller. There are no words to describe how amazing it is to walk into the shop of a traditional corsetière and have them waft a tiny hand across your back, and simply state your size.. from one glance. The lingerie here will last you for years, beautifully made, elegant, and a true old school experience. Their original store is in Knightsbridge, and flagship store in Mayfair. I went many moons ago to the original, and I was blown away by their knowledge, grace, and professionalism.
To really experience London on a perfect summer’s day……
Take a walk to Columbia Road flower markets, my eyes welled up with emotion when I first went. Thousands of beautiful flowers, salt of the earth Brits and endless smiles all crammed into one space. Heaven. A large array of street food, coffee, other such delights make this an all round top experience. If you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, make your way across London on the Central Line to Portobello Rd – the bric a brac stalls are open in the antique markets. It’s a beautiful way to catch some rays whilst foraging around for vintage finds. You won’t find yourself too far from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens here, and if the sun is shining and you are in England… you know the drill. Buy a takeaway sandwich, find the nearest park….. take off your shoes and socks.. and enjoy.
To finish off any summers day in London, you must find a spot anywhere, to enjoy a cold drink outside. Something that is profoundly London is the length of the summer evenings. I remember when I was growing up just thinking how the summer day goes on and on, it is truly magical. The buzz of being outside for the evening, as the sun sets behind London Bridge, that’s my London….sometimes you really know how to turn it on. London, I love you.