If you don’t already know by now, I’d like to think I’m working towards being a pro at using my time wisely & making the most of it. Nothing was truer this weekend when I decided to head into London for the day (yes, the day) & do some more exploring. With < 12 hours on the clock I set off from Brighton & explored some new neighbourhoods, ate some great food & spent the day falling even more in love with London. So if you have a long layover, or only a limited amount of time & don’t want to miss out, here’s my guide to a quickie day in London!
Soho/West End - Although I hadn’t bought tickets for any of the dozens of theatre shows (currently making plans to do this next week though) walking around the West End you’re sure to find something that draws you in, whether the great theatre marquees or the lovely side streets & parks in Soho it’s definitely worth stopping in even if only for a little stroll.
Camden Market - A quick tube ride & you’ll find yourself immersed in the market stalls in Camden. Whether you’re after some local art(including wicked street art), a quick bite to eat or just want to take in the vibes this place has it all! I was recommended to check out a quirky ice cream shop down here, and with the sun shining and..well no other reason than that I found myself diving into pure ice cream heaven at Chin Chin Labs. Depending on the time of day there could be a solid line as the place itself is quite small tucked into a side lane of the markets, but do yourself a favour and wait! I went in & ordered a “brown-wich” which is the classic ice cream sandwich from Chin Chin, and I opted for the burnt butter caramel flavour (totally as good as it sounds). It takes a bit of time for them to make it but during that time you can witness all the creations coming out of that “lab” including the hot chocolate which has home made marshmallow fluff perfectly burnt with a blow torch for that campfire vibe in a cup. Be prepared to get your brown-wich with a spoon and served in a bowl..it’s far too large to use your hands!
Regent Canals - After eating every last bite of that sweet treat it was off for a casual 3 mile stroll through Camden locks & into Regents park along the canal. Insanely cool houseboats line the edges of the canal and mid way through you’ll find yourself in “backyard” of the London Zoo. A fact I probably would not have realized if not for hearing some weird noises that turned out to be Hyenas laughing, which was pretty cool. You can continue on this path all the way to Little Venice where the #houseboatgoals will continue on.
Little Venice - Aptly named because, well I’m sure it resembles the actual Venice in Italy (although I can’t compare, yet!), this part of London stems from Camden Locks & it stunning! Cafes & bars on boats, bridges over the the houseboats totally equipped with beautiful gardens & surrounded by incredible mansion style homes. Definitely worth taking a coffee and sitting down here to people or swan watch, whatever tickles your fancy. If you tire of looking at boats (shame on you if you do) then the regency style town houses (aka MANSIONS) should keep your eyes occupied for a while, because if you aren't living or eating on a boat in Little Venice your non aquatic home or cafe choices are in the most stunning of buildings.
Nottinghill - What I knew about Nottinghill before visiting this part of London, had everything to do with Hugh Grant..but sadly I didn’t stumble upon him or Julia Roberts. Nevertheless it was a great spot to enjoy the afternoon. There are cute cafes and restaurants lining the streets, but for the most part it’s quite residential and home to some pretty instagram-worthy houses (I mean those front doors right?!). It’s the perfect place to escape some of the mega crowds that descend on London on the weekend (or all the time during school holidays) & day dream what the insides of these gorgeous homes would look like.
Trafalgar Square - A classic spot I missed out on my first visit to London last month, and one of my favourite places of the whole day. I could tell you about the statues or history of the square itself but I won’t because chances are you’ve read that somewhere else, what I will tell you is, make sure you keep your ears open when walking around the square. I’m glad I didn't have my headphones in when I wandered in or else I wouldn't have heard the most amazing busker ever! There has never been a time I’ve stopped for more than a chorus or a bridge being sung by a busker, but man am I every glad I stopped for the guy. An hour & about 10 songs later I was smitten & thoroughly impressed. The few guys who played after him were pretty wicked as well. Not to be missed!
South Bank/The Strand- My last stop for the day before heading back to Brighton, and one I had been looking forward to all day. On my last visit to London, I didn't get the chance to see all the iconic structures lit up at night, and knew I had to do it. Definitely a perfect ending to a great day! All the buildings, bridges & structures along Southbank light up as soon as the sun sets and everything looks just that little bit extra magical, topped off by a killer sunset it’s the perfect way to close out your day trip to this amazing city.
Closing out a day trip to what has quickly become on of my favourite cities waiting for the train I decided that I’m going to start planning (or at least making sure) I have one thing every week to look forward to. Whether it’s a trip to London, a day at the beach, a hike or even the start of a new adventure, I think it’s something I need to make the most of my time here. And kicking that off I have 2 great things to look forward over the next few weeks, first - Aladdin on stage in London next week! And at the end of the month? A long weekend trip to Belfast! I’m so stoked to finally get to see more of the UK, so if you’ve ever been to Belfast & have suggestions for places to see, food to eat or way to say I would love to hear from you!