There’s nothing like planning a holiday, while you are already on one!
And as we approach the end of what has been a glorious summer, we can’t help but look forward to our next, well-deserved break. That being said, it can be difficult to find both the money and the time for a holiday abroad, so this week we introduce you to the first of our staycation guides.
Whether you live in London, or elsewhere in the UK, there is real joy to be found in exploring the place you call home. Approaching well-trodden territory with a pair of fresh eyes can help unlock inspiration in both your personal life and work. And so, without further ado, we present our borough-based guide of London. This week we’ll cover both East and West, and the wonders that can be found within them.
We’ve had to include various restaurant options in our East London guide because there are just so many culinary delights to be found here! We’ve organised the guide so that you can spend your whole day in the area. However, if you live nearby you can pick different elements of the guide below and explore them over time.
To earn all your delicious treats, start off the day with an outdoor swim at London Fields Lido. At a mere £5, it is a delightful way to greet the day. From here, wander down to Columbia Road. On Sundays they have a blooming flower market, along with a great number of independent shops and cafés. Grab a coffee and sweet treat from any number of the bakeries along here.
Next, wander over to Victoria Park. Comprised of 86 hectares of open green space it boasts a boating lake, among many other serene stretches of water. It is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Head over to Pavilion café for a late brunch. They do a mean eggs royale!
Later on, make your way to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. With free admission and both temporary and permanent exhibits, there is a wealth of information to be found in this lesser known museum. And unless you’re like Miss Trunchbull (‘They’re all mistakes, children… Glad I never was one.’) there is something here for everyone, whether adult or child!
Click here for a helpful map for getting around!
And now onto the main event, dinner!
We could wax lyrical about every single one of these restaurants, but we’ll let the food do the talking and give you a quick summary of each place instead.
For Italian: Head to Campania Gastronomia off Colombia Road. The best Italian food we’ve had outside of Italy! And that is a big accolade.
Tapas style dishes from Southern Spain to North Africa: Check out Morito, Hackney Road. Their menu is seasonal, but our current favourite is the cheese fritters with Cretan thyme honey.
If you’re after modern British food: Make your way to Legs. They have a real focus on wine, so if you are a connoisseur, you’ll appreciate the dedication to good pairings here.
And for a delicious Prix Fixe: If you’re able to order before 7pm, or after 10, Bistroteque does a great three course meal for a reasonable £25.
London is full of mini-cities, and the neighbourhoods in West London are no different. Start your day on the central side of West London and work your way out in order to discover some of the more suburban boroughs.
Begin your day at Portobello Road Market. The world’s largest antiques market also features fashion and fruit! Make like Hugh Grant and wander through Notting Hill with a fresh orange juice in hand, admiring both the colourful houses and fascinating antiques (although we can’t guarantee you’ll bump into Julia Roberts!)
From here, head down Kensington Church Street to the delightful Kensington High Street. Peruse the shops and amble over to Hyde Park and the Round Pond. On the way, stop off at Whole Foods to get resources for some al-fresco lunch. While in Hyde Park, check out whatever exhibition is on at the Serpentine Gallery. From Grayson Perry to Zaha Hadid, this bijoux gallery hosts some brilliant work.
Head back to High Street Ken and jump on the district line to Ravenscourt Park, to explore leafy Chiswick. With impressive houses, and a great stretch of the Thames to walk along, it really is a neighbourhood worth exploring. Grab a drink at The Dove, an historic waterside pub with a fantastic view of Hammersmith Bridge and the Thames. Charles II and Nell Gwynne were said to have dined here if you need further convincing!
Click here for a helpful map for getting around!
For dinner, Chiswick has a wealth of restaurants!
For casual Korean and Japanese food: Head to Yoshi Sushi. As the name suggests, they do Sushi, but the real winner at this restaurant is the amazing array of £10-15 meals that include salad and miso soup. Delicious!
For European Style cuisine: Make your way to High Road Brasserie. Part of the Soho House group, this restaurant also features a gorgeous interior.
For the most delicious and incredibly well priced Indian food: Head to Shilpa. We had two curries, two beers, Kerala Paratha (look it up!) and poppadoms and it came to £22 for the two of us. Need we say more!
And if you’re wanting to push the boat out: Check out La Trompette. With a Michelin star, this is fabulous fine dining.
So, book off your next weekend, and take the time to explore your city. If you don’t live in the capital, there are a surprising number of good value places to stay. Check out this article here
Next week we’ll take a look at both North and South, for an ever-different view of London.