AD | I was gifted the spending money for this collaboration by Hotels.com. All words, opinions and images are my own.
I do have my moments of missing London since moving back home to Surrey two years ago. Those even remotely familiar with the city will understand why. It has the best of high-end and independent shops, food from all over the world, heaps of entertainment and the buzzing nightlife to wrap it all up.
Another great thing about London is that you can pop there for the day or treat yourself to a city getaway. There are plenty of hotels in the heart of the city and if you’re lucky you’ll get an incredible view to go with it. Either way, you know you’re going to have a lot of fun.
One aspect that is difficult to avoid when visiting any capital is the crowds and London is definitely an example of that. Public transport is manic and the streets are packed full of people; getting away from that for even a little while can be blissful.
Not everyone enjoys the chaos that the west end brings and for that reason, I want to share my recent visit there to prove that you can dip in and out of the noise whilst still seeing the best bits.
But First, I Needed a Drink
Picture this: I’ve been travelling through the humid underground and come out to the streets of Oxford Circus ready to browse the shops. It’s the afternoon so I needed a drink with a bit of a boost. Luckily a friend and I came across Joe & The Juice last month and have become obsessed with their juices ever since! I went with my new favourite the Power Shake: strawberry, banana and vanilla milk. Freaking dreamy!
Top tip: their shop in Regent Street gets busy and you may have to wait for your order. You can try the one near Carnaby Street as from my experience it’s less packed.
Books, Books and More Books
How could I visit Soho and not go to the famous Foyle’s bookshop? Over 5 floors filled with countless books, stationery bits, DVDs and a huge cafe! I could have stayed there all day and still come home happy. I didn’t actually buy anything while I was here – I know the horror! Instead I walked out feeling very ‘zen’ after looking at the bookshelves ready to face the busy streets.
Oh Look, A Pop-Up Shop
It’s easy to get caught up in the big stores in London, but you can also discover some great unexpected ones. Although my find is sadly not a permanent fixture, there are bound to be many like it! Know The Origin are an ethical clothing brand aiming to make us think more about where we are buying our products from. They have been hosting their biggest pop-up in London and I managed to stumble across them on their last few days. I treated myself to a colourful notebook by Nikki Strange and sneaked in a quick selfie in a full-length mirror.
A Garden in Soho?
I’m ashamed to say that I never knew of any greenery being here! I always thought of Soho as the place for shopping and seeing theatre shows, definitely not for relaxing. Soho Square Gardens is a little green escape near Tottenham Court Road station. I enjoyed my Bellatwix Lestrange doughnut from Doughtnut Time with the sound of the noisy streets way in the background. The doughnut was enough for two people so I need a sit down.
Top tip: looking to try something a little different? Just a few minute walk from the gardens is Chin Chin Labs: the first UK liquid nitrogen ice cream hop. Sounds bizarre, but it honestly works! I treated myself to a Burnt Butter Caramel ice cream with marshmellow fluff – sickly but delicious.
It’s Time to See a Show
It had been well over a year since I had been to the theatre and decided it was about time I changed that. Now tickets can come at a big price, especially if you want seats with no view restrictions. Luckily I done some research and found TKTS London offer last minute tickets at discount prices! I walked over to their booth in Leicester Square and 5 minutes later I had a front row seat to The Comedy about a Bank Robbery that night! Technically it was the second row, but for nearly 50% off I’m not complaining.
Top tip: they do have a website where you can buy tickets for same or next day shows. But at the booth I was told it was separate, and it was true because they had different (read: better) seats on offer then online.
Dinner That’s Bigger Than a Plate
At this point I had been walking round London and had time to kill before the 7pm show. I decided I should probably have some dinner as I wouldn’t be heading home till late, and headed to Kingley Court near Carnaby Street. This food court offers everything from Indian, Italian and Caribbean cuisine to smoothie bars and options for vegans and vegetarians. All of them were independent brands surrounded by a vibrant outdoor courtyard.
I felt as I had done enough experimenting for one day so went with my favourite: pizza! The waiter at Pizza Pilgrims brought out my order and I couldn’t believe how big it was as my plate was nowhere to be seen! The taste reminded me of what I had in Rome so if that’s not a huge compliment then I don’t know what is.
Without tooting my own horn too much, I’m shocked with how much I got to do on a Sunday afternoon in Soho. Definitely want to try replicating this with another UK city and see if I can pull it off. Or maybe London is just that good!