23 June 2011

England When It Sizzles: London.

For part one of England When It Sizzles, Hannah from Bow Dream Nation is here to fill you in and share her secrets on London.

If you've done the whole museum thing, and most likely all the sights, it'll probably be more exciting if you concentrate on the alternative side of London - by which I mean the East and North. That's where all the fun little shops are, cute cafes, interesting looking people, atmosphere and sometimes (not always) less tourists. Going mid week is a good thing but also bad, of course the weekends are more busy but that's also when all the markets, etc, take place - but fear not because the shops (in my opinion) are better anyway (most of the time).

I'd probably spend a day looking around some of the tourist spots, then Camden and the Primrose Hill area (Chalk Farm tube). First of all, if you haven't been to the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgur Square I'd recommend you go there. It has some incredible modern art portraits and it's free! It's not as popular as the National Gallery but I adore it there. Spend an hour or so wandering and then hop on the Northern Line towards Camden. The markets wont be open but there will be plenty of Shops, plus Primrose Hill is a little more high end, so it's much nicer anyway. If you go to Camden Town Tube you can walk down towards Primrose Hill, crossing over the river where there might be markets and if not plenty of shops - Mary Portas' Living and Giving charity shop is there, which is lovely. In Proud Camden (which is on route to Chalk Farm/Primrose Hill) there is an excellent photography exhibition by Moby on at the minute. It's free and only takes 10 minutes, if you get the chance it's definitely worth a look.

NYC By Moby

After Primrose Hill you can then have a walk through Belsize Park and catch the tube back into the Central London. Maybe spend the evening exploring the bars around Covent Garden as there are plenty of them or go into Soho, which is a lot of fun (if you head to Leicester Square tube, off Tottenham Court Road, you'll be in the right place). One thing I love doing after a night out is going to China Town at 3am for a cheap (and greasy) meal!!

The next day I would say head East to Shoreditch. Again the markets aren't really happening mid week but there are loads of great shops and Tea Rooms. If you get the tube to Liverpool Street station you can walk through Spitalfields Market, visiting the shops, and then it's a further 5 minute walk to Brick Lane, with plenty of shops en route, where Beyond Retro and Rokit are definitely worth visiting for Vintage. There is also The Vintage Emporium, a lovely Victorian Tea Room and Vintage shop, plus Tatty Devine on Brick Lane (right at the top end) is worth a visit as they might have a sale! There are a couple of tiny free art galleries too that are worth popping into, like the Stolen Space Gallery, Brick Lane Gallery and East Gallery.

Then maybe catch the tube from Aldgate East to Embankment and cross over the river to South Bank, at this time of year there's always loads going on in the afternoons and evenings, plus there is a massive second hand book market under Waterloo Bridge that's fun for browsing. There are lots of cafes and bars here and just a general place to soak up the after work atmosphere - I love it here, definitely one of my favourite parts of London, you can see Westminster etc too so worth just visiting to see some touristy stuff. If, in your free time, you want to do some high street shopping I'd say head to Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, which is around Liberty, as there are lots of fun little shops there.

Kensington, in the south is great, you can visit the Natural History Museum or the V & A, plus grab a cupcake from the infamous Hummingbird Bakery! You can walk through Hyde park, past the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall, before turning left onto High Street Ken which is my favourite place for High Street shopping as it has all the bog standard shops, it might be a little out the way, and it's not like it's any better than Oxford Street, just less tourists! You can visit Kensington Palace where I think they have a Fantasy Land Exhibition on, or something similar (The Enchanted Palace is now open showcasing the secret stories of Kensington's Princesses, it is now your Kensington Palace Ticket as The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, 'Diana Fashion and Style' and 'The Last Debutantes' are now closed due to the building works) Then i would suggest getting the tube to Notting Hill, check out Portobello Market and the surrounding shops (Friday or Saturday). The Windsor Castle is a great Pub for drinks and the Churchill Arms is a pub that does amazing Thai food, also the Notting Hill Arts Club is cool for live bands and if you buy something from Rough Trade Records on Portobello Road you get Two for One on beer and wine! I really like Notting Hill, it's such an electric area.

I recently went to Hoxton for the first time ever and whilst I didn't get to see much I could tell it was an amazing place, it's also towards the East and there are tons of cool bars.

London is such a great city, have fun exploring!

View London is a great website for finding out about all the best things to see, do and visit while you're in the Capital, it also updates with all the up and coming events.

Written by Hannah from Bow Dream Nation, Photos by Myself unless otherwise stated.

1 comment:

  1. If you did all that in 2 days you would be exhausted haha, but there is so much to see and do in London you could stay here for a week and not see it all.

    Bow Dream Nation xx


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