I feel like I've had "the travel bug" since I was in high school and it's only become more intense as I've gotten older. I have a strong belief that traveling is an essential part of learning who you are. It helps you to learn about other cultures, food, art, music and so much more. It teaches you patience and how to truly appreciate the world for more than what you see on a day-to-day basis.
One of my favorite places in the world is London, so here's a quick guide on where to stay, what to eat and how to have a great time in this fabulous city.
Stay: Where to stay really depends on your budget, and my suggestion would be to stay with a friend if you can. You could also check out options for staying in a hostel! (Which I've heard is much more fun and less creepy than that horror movie from a few years ago.) That way, you'll save money and be able to spend more on fun things. If your budget is more forgiving, here are a few beautiful hotels that are all great choices.
1. Soho Hotel London - by Firmdale. Soho is located around some of London's best bars and restaurants, so if you're looking for a place with lots of convenient stuff to do, go for this one! Plus, they have a movie screening room with cow print chairs. WHAAAT?
1. The Metropolitan Hotel - by COMO. This central London hotel is known for their spa and the best part is Nobu is located inside. Nobu is an incredible japanese/peruvian restaurant with locations around the world. Even if you don't stay here, checking out Nobu is a must, if you encounter one of their many locations!
3. St. Pancras London - by Marriott. The outside of this hotel is so beautiful. It's off the beaten path a bit, but if you're looking for something that is convenient to both the london and international trains, you're literally right there, so this is a good choice!
Eat: London has such a diverse population, which lends itself to diverse choices in cuisine. This city is one of my favorites sheerly because of the food. From quaint pubs where you can get fish n' chips to fancy shmancy restaurants where they put flavored snow on your food, there's something for everyone and all of it tastes GREAT!
1. Texture - With new european and scandanavian influences, the flavors in their dishes are out of this world. I'm also a freak about plating. I love pretty food... and Texture really goes above and beyond with their flavors, plating and their careful attention to detail.
2. Aqua - Here you'll find an incredible cocktail bar (Spirit), a sushi restaurant (Kyoto) and a spanish tapas restuarant (Neuva). Both restaurants have upscale dining options! Then you can head over to Spirit for a delicious draaank!
3. The Golden Hind - (73 Marylebone Ln) This "hole in the wall" spot offers quick and easy fish n' chips that are reportedly some of the best in the world. Not to mention, it's BYOB, which rules.
Do: Foggy London town has a plethora of activities for any type of vacationer (or resident!) from theatre to amazing bars and all kinds of daytime attractions. EXPERIENCE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!
1. The London Eye - Typical tourist spot that you have to check out. It's a ferris wheel where they put you in little bubbles (how else do I describe this, people?) and gives you the second highest public viewing place in London! RIDICULOUS VIEWS! This is on my list of MUST DO'S this year!!
2. TopShop Nail Salon - TopShop is taking over the world with their fun and unique clothes... but did you know their Oxford Street location has a bad ass nail salon on the bottom floor? They have a slew of very cool designs or they can design something unique and custom just for you!
3. Afternoon Tea at LaDuree - You can do this at a TON of places in London (Kensington Palace, The Berkeley Hotel, The Tea Rooms, etc) but I think LaDuree is just too darn pretty not to stop in for a little afternoon tea. Plus, their macarons are perfect.
4. WB Studio Tour - Okayyyy technically this isn't in London proper, but it's worth the short train ride to check out the filming location of Harry Potter!! They take you through an incredible tour behind the scenes of my favorite movies. One of my favorite parts was the tiny paper representation of the Hogwarts castle. After you saw that - and absolutely thought to yourself "HOW CAN WE LEARN TO READ IF WE CAN'T EVEN FIT IN THE BUILDING?! IT HAS TO BE AT LEAST 3 TIMES BIGGER!" you'd walk into this room where they show HOGWARTS FOR REAL. Ugh, I'm getting excited just thinking about it. Go there. See the costumes, check out how awesome Dobby is in real life, drink a butter beer and cry happy tears.
Safe travels, my lovelies! If you've been to London, share some of your favorite spots in the comments below! xo