By now, you’ve likely realized my love for New York and city life in general. But before New York, there was London. Let me rephrase that, I’ve had a New York love affair from a young age, but lived in London first (and absolutely LOVED every second).
Living, working, and studying in London 5 years ago taught me SO much about myself. From realizing I’m wired for city life to solidifying my NEED to work in the fashion industry it truly was a defining time. So when given the opportunity to return to London again with my best friend (who also lived, worked and studied in London) I could not resist! I mean, I waited 5 YEARS to dine, shop and simply spend time in spaces that made me, me. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned I had romanticized my London living experience and it would be different this time around, but let me tell you, it was just as amazing as I remember! And to give back to the incredible city that has given me SO much (and to all of you incredible people) I’ve curated a quick “locals” guide of London MUSTs!
When living in London, I spent EVERY weekend experiencing (to an exhausting extent)EVERY tourist attraction. So this time around I knew EXACTLY where to go not only for the best views but the perfect Instagram pics too.
Particularly if you’re a first timer, you’re likely most excited to see and snap Big Ben and the Tower Bridge(what most American’s know as the London Bridge) while on your trip. Rather than simply standing at the base of these inspiring but busy tourist spots, I’d recommend taking the Queens Walk. Not only is this walk filled with sights (and stops) for Big Ben, Parliment and the London Eye Ferris Wheel, but this promenade also follows the Thames River on the South Bank and falls beautifully between the Lambeth Bridge and London Tower Bridge too. Both when living and visiting London, this walk gives me ALL the feels, tears AND countless photo opportunities!
Another favorite spot of mine, offering views and photo opps of the ENTIRE city, is the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. You may be familiar with this spot as the Prime Meridian, situated on one of the highest points in the city, a picturesque hilltop. Though being in two places at once is once in a lifetime (and very low cost), in my opinion paying to stand on the Prime Meridian is not as high on my list of MUST dos as enjoying the surrounding landscape and community of Greenwich. I would DEFINITELY recommend picking up a yummy lunch from the Greenwich Market at the base of the Royal Observatory before hiking up the hilltop to snap photos, enjoy views, and create memories money can’t buy.
And speaking of markets….
Certainly London is not known for its food but I’ll be honest. Some of my favorite eats EVER have been in London Town!
Like much of Europe, London LOVES markets and does them VERY well. If you stumble upon a market during your stay you can not go wrong by popping by! But my favorite market? The London Borough Market. This market is perfect for enjoying both prepared food AND shopping fresh foods to prepare at home during your stay. My favorite items to pick up while at the Borough Market include true English muffins and strawberry jam (my mouth is watering as I type).
Looking for a sit down dinner? Though pubs and restaurants are a dime a dozen they are a must visit as well. Be sure to check out your local pub for classic British ciders and fish and chips (because more likely than not there is a pub on your corner). But most importantly PLEASE enjoy the best burger EVER(the Smokey Robinson Burger to be exact) at Patty & Bun in St Christopher’s Place. I know, seems so American! But when living in London this restaurant was recommended to me by my British friends and it does not disappoint! Just be sure to go at off peak times as they do not take reservations and they seat parties through a physical queue. A few of my other favorite London MUST eats include the Breakfast Club Spitalfields, Brownie Box on Old Brompton Road and Busaba Thai Chelsea.
Being the style guru I am, OF COURSE I’m more than excited to recommend shopping in one of the world’s fashion capitals! BUT be advised different areas of London cater to different types of shoppers based on budget and style.
If you enjoy shopping designer and/or fast fashion retailers with perfectly placed tourism’s shops sprinkled between, you MUST shop the High Street. The High Streets of London are classically known for housing high end designer shops and flagship stores, but in recent years include British favorites like Topshop, River Island and Selfridges (which are a bit more budget friendly too). My favorite High Street(s) I recommend exploring during your stay in London include Oxford Street and Bond Street.
Perhaps you like a good vintage dig? Or you enjoy stumbling into designer popups and warehouse sales? Take the tube to Brick Lane. Though you will enjoy Old Spitalfields Market shopping and major retailers like (my favorite) Dr. Marten and All Saints on the main street, feel free to explore side streets where you are sure to discover thrift, vintage and popup gems!
So there you have it. My London favorites wrapped in all one! If you’ve visited London or are heading there soon, what spots excite you the most?