When visiting any city, I prefer to hit local favorites instead of touristy spots. Often times I turn to Twitter or my favorite blogs for travel suggestions. Throughout travel month, I’ve rounded up bloggers from different cities to share their favorite restaurants and over looked gems so you can travel like a local in their city.
Today I’m excited to welcome the fantastic Robin Reetz of Second Floor Flat to the blog to share her favorite London hot spots. Until recently, Robin was living in London with her husband, but has since moved stateside (Lucky for me, she now lives in North Carolina!). If you have plans to visit London, be sure to add her suggestions to your list.
Click through to learn more about Robin’s favorite London hot spots!
Coffee Shop – Lazy Social in my old neighborhood of Stoke Newington
Brunch Spot – Granger & Co. – They have two locations, but the Notting Hill location is my favorite and the most scenic
Dinner – Has to be a tie between Foxlow and Mildreds
Place to grab a cocktail – The restaurant bar at Dean Street Townhouse
What is your favorite way to spend a day in London?
My favorite place in London is Borough Market; it’s a huge, well known food market located in the neighborhood of Southwark which is right by the Thames. (There’s a tea seller there that serves the most amazing chai tea I’ve ever had, and that’s just one of the vendors!)
You could easily spend the better part of a day at Borough Market, but the central location allows for plenty of options once you’ve had your fill; the market is near the Tate Modern, Southbank, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and plenty more. Sight-seeing or heading to a nearby dock and hopping a boat to the neighborhood of Greenwich, which is very scenic and feels a world away from the rest of London, would be a great way to spend a post-market afternoon or evening.
What would you consider London’s hidden gem?
The Barbican! It’s funny, because it’s not a hidden gem in the sense that it’s a very well know residential area and arts center. Aside from the galleries and everything else it has to offer, The Barbican also has some incredible architecture and plenty of places to hang out, kind of like a public park, but no one seems to use it. I always loved going there because it felt like hidden; we spent a sunny Sunday in May in the park and it was almost empty! It’s one of my favorite places in London, and I highly recommend looking up photos of the architecture and overall design of the area to see what I’m talking about (or, you can visit this post where I included a few). I just love it! (The photo on the right is also taken at The Barbican.)
Why do you love your (former) city?
Not to go on about green space, but my favorite thing about London would have to be the public parks, hands down. Almost 50% of the city is green space, which is such a treat when you’re living in a big city and just need a place to go to relax. I lived in New York prior to moving to London and it was such a change to have so much green space. Public parks are just about everywhere, and they’re all amazing and interesting in what they have to offer. Our old local park had a lake, goats, chickens, deer, and a public pool, not to mention a really nice cafe. It was amazing and I definitely miss it.
Two recommendations for travelers to London: Black cabs (which are London’s version of New York’s yellow cabs) are great and available everywhere, but are also very expensive. If you’re looking to save some money, look for a local “mini cab” service. These are local taxi dispatchers who are completely licensed and will get you wherever you need to go, but will cost much, much less than a a black cab. London buses also no longer accept cash, so if you plan to ride a bus (you should!) be sure to go to a Tube station first and grab an Oyster card. You’ll be able to add money to this card and use it on the bus as you please. Happy travels!