Where to even begin? I LOVE London and have always said I would live there if I could. This trip was my first trip back since I studied abroad there in 2015 and it was so much fun. We stayed in Shoreditch at an airbnb and the neighborhood was perfect for me. On the way back we stayed in Bermondsey at an airbnb and it was so pleasant and different. Highly recommend both neighborhoods.
We dropped our bags after a relatively smooth journey and decided to get a bite at The Attendant. We had iced coffees and healthy lunches (I think we were both looking for something more substantial, but that will come later at dinner) We made the decision to take a quick nap, and I'm glad we did, it helped us with the jet lag, and we actually were set time-wise for the rest of the trip. We showered in our minuscule shower and decided on The Hoxton Hotel for pre-dinner drinks. Though our Airbnb was tiny and hot, the location was EVERYTHING. Shoreditch is so cool and fit me and Bridget's vibe. A ton of excellent coffee shops, cocktail bars, and fashionable people.
After a fresh glass of Rose, dinner went down at Gloria. I had heard of Big Mama group on Instagram and was thrilled that we could get into the location right by our studio. The decor was cozy and warm, and we were so excited to be in Europe finally!! All of the servers were Italian, and it added to the authenticity of the meal. We started with creamy burrata and pesto, alongside fresh focaccia with tomatoes. We cheersed with our spritzes and dug in. We ordered the carbonara for our main, and it came in a parmesan wheel…OH.MY.LORD. We asked for to-go boxes because the serving size was aggressive and our waiter gave us a chuckle…maybe the Italians don't approve of late-night carbonara snacking? We were tempted to pass out after dinner but forced ourselves to stay up a bit later…so what an excellent excuse to go to a wine bar! After a brief (slightly sketchy) walk, we sipped on cool glasses of white outside of Sager and Wilde, a quaint little wine bar with a nice by-the-glass list.
Time to snooze!
We woke up around 7:00 Am and were eager to start our first day in London yay! It was a rough nights sleep, but our excitement gave us the adrenaline. The neighborhood was quiet, and the morning light and temperature were perfection. We strolled to Paper & Cup for a cup of coffee and croissant. As we sat outside and enjoyed our morning bite, I couldn’t help but notice the other people in the shop. They were all shipping on their coffees, reading their books and enjoying the peace. I love social media and am on my phone a lot, so it was a good reminder to get off and take it all in. We wanted to check out brick lane and Spitalfields, but it was a little early still so while we waited for things to pick up a bit we decided to WALK! And walk we did… Twenty-seven thousand steps to be exact! We walked along the Thames, across Tower Bridge, to Borough Market and back. By the time we reached Borough Market, we were ready to EAT. We started with glasses of sparkling rose because VACATION am I right?
We sampled cheeses, meats, and baked goods as we examined every vendor before deciding what we wanted. I picked the salted beef bagel with mustard and pickles, and it was so tasty and flavorful. Bridget picked a pad thai dish. We journeyed back through Spitalfields and Bricklane and checked out some of the shops in Boxpark. Woo we were tired and ready for a rest and a shower. Dinner was early at Dishoom, and we ordered delicious cocktails, the lentil dish with basmati rice and garlic naan, chicken tikka and then an appetizer that sadly never came….even though we told her it never came. The atmosphere is entertaining, and it is a good spot if you are visiting. After dinner, we walked over to The Boundary for drinks on the roof. It was such a lovely night, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drink a rooftop Spritz. It was a super cool hotel and worth the views alone. We were feeling the euro energy and decided for another drink across the way at The Owl & Pussycat. The bartender poked fun at Bridget and asked for her ID…after realizing it was a joke she decided to show him anyway but embarrassingly pulled out her credit card….one too many drinks? Did we stop there? Def not. Cocktails at Callooh Callay and then some weird bar where we met Brits and almost went to a casino….time for bed.
Not feeling our BEST but we must continue on! Breakfast at Ozone Coffee. Super cool spot where the coffee is ground downstairs. We sat at the bar and got to watch the chefs work their magic. I ordered some obscure coffee drink called a Coffee Spritz that came with coffee, sparkling water, mint and cranberry juice - very tasty! Bridget got some other really fancy coffee with date milk that was also a hit. Scrambled eggs with chive on sourdough and a granola situation were our choices, and the food was so good. The eggs were incredibly creamy and flavorful, some of the best I have ever had. We had planned on spending the day in Hyde Park, visiting the Serpentine gallery and popping into Churchill Arms for a pint. We decided to hop off at Covent Garden and grab another latte at Jacobs Angel in Neals Yard. Covent Garden is a charming area to explore, and Neals Yard is a must if you’ve never been to London before.
From there, we continued to Hyde Park, where we walked, enjoyed the views and explored the Serpentine galleries. It was a lovely day, and we were even a little chilly….finally a break from the heart! We went for a pint at Churchill arms, and it was fun to check out, but we were exhausted and needed to head back to chill before dinner. As I napped, Bridget went off to a photoshoot with a London couple - the pictures turned out amazingly! We decided to check out a spot called Dinerama, which was a food hall/court situation and was SO cool. We munched on pork dumplings, bao buns, and the most fantastic lamb kebab I have ever had from Babek Brothers. We popped into B’acino for a little more wine and sat outside on the quaint terrace. Off to bed and ready to head to Paris in the AM!
DAY 9 + 10
After a trip to Nice and Paris, I wrapped up my European adventure back in London. This time we had a first time Londoner with us, so we hit the usual tourist spots and mixed in a few new things as well. We stayed right off Bermondsey street, and I was immediately obsessed with the neighborhood. Cute restaurants, cafes, and pubs lined the roads, and I was eager to explore. For our first night in the new area, we checked out Jose, a small but lively tapas bar. We sipped on wine, and I sampled a glass of sherry. Croquettas, chorizo tortilla, patatas bravas, and shishito peppers were our picks, and everything was delicious.
On my last day, I woke up early in need of caffeine. I strolled right across the street for an iced americano at Fuckoffee (gets me every time) and the most delicious ham + cheese croissant at the local french bakery, Comptoir Gourmand Bermondsey. The baked goods and savory dishes were gorgeous, and I wish I could have eaten more. After some time at the Victoria and Albert Museum, we sat for tea at the Kensington Town House Hotel. The theme was London Landmarks, and it was absolutely lovely. After a small pub crawl through the neighborhood at The Shipwrights Arms, Bermondsey Bar + Kitchen, and The Woolpack it was time for a rest. We had a late final dinner at Flour + Grape and sipped on spritzes and dined on tasty pasta dishes.
London, I love you and I can’t wait to go back.