London is one of my favourite cities in the whole world. Along with Budapest it breaks my rule to never visit the same place twice. This city never ceases to amaze me. I love its diversity, its vibe, its rules and even its weather. London is such a romantic place! A place full of possibilities, artists, rebels, energy and new trends, I never seem to outgrow it. I was lucky enough to stay for 1 year and finish my studies there, a time I often reminisce.
If you asked me, I’d say:
- London is the “greenest” of almost any other major city in the world. Seriously, there is a park around every corner.
- London’s black cabs are the most beautiful- beat that NYC!
- The buildings are exactly as you’ve seen them in the Mary Poppins movie. Each and every one of them has a beautiful story to tell.
- Everything is overpriced compared to your country.
- Despite of what you’ve heard London has AMAZING food, even at the street markets.
- London is stubborn: double-decker busses, a queen, its own currency and the iconic red phone booth, are a few examples of this.
The last time I visited London was a month ago, for only 5 days, just enough to do my absolute favourite things. One of which is Winter Wonderland…London’s most magnificent Christmas destination located in Hyde Park. Its famous Bavarian village, its delicious street food, the tasty treats and candies, the exciting Christmas market and the adrenaline show of Cirque Berserk kept me there for an entire day.
Places I love to visit:
- Fortnum & Mason. If I had to pick only one department store to visit during my stay there, hands down this would be it. Their Christmas tea is to die for, and you can try it in one of their tea salons, the Diamond Jubilee, which is probably the best place in the world for it (±50£ per person for the proper experience). For shopping or just browsing, it’s the place to be.
- Whittard, offers anything related to high quality tea and coffee. Also really nice Christmas gifts and the most delicious chocolate I’ve ever tried: the White & Dark flaked drinking chocolate…Mouth-watering!
- SalumeriaW10 is a new Italian deli, down the Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The fact that I went there 3 times in 5 days speaks for itself. Ideal place for breakfast or lunch with freshly made Italian pasta and finely prepared soups and sandwiches right in front of you.
- Sketch is a total win. A place for all tastes, anytime of the day. Featuring a Michelin starred dining restaurant, a lounge bar and a tearoom, it is an inspiring and unique site that’s definitely worth paying a visit.
- Ben’s Cookies is (obviously) a cookie shop that I happen to miss A LOT now that I live in Greece. Imagine a freshly baked, soft peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie (and a cup of milk for me) on a lazy Sunday. It cannot get any better.
- Nando’s and their notorious Peri-Peri flame grilled chicken is a casual restaurant chain, which reminds me of my student years. We had one across the college and we’d meet with my group to discuss our assignments along with a quick bite during lunch break. I cannot imagine visiting London and not going to Nando’s!
- Pret (A Manger) is my favourite place for a healthy bite, a takeaway coffee or tea or a meeting point. There is one in every other corner and it’s 10times superior comparing to Starbucks. If you visit during Christmas, try their cranberry-turkey sandwich. Yum!
- Byron or GBK are my top burger choices. It is hard for me to choose which one I like the most, so I go to whichever is in closer distance!
I have to admit that Christmas is my most anticipated period of the year and especially this year, London is expecting it as festively as ever. Stunning decoration full of lights and colours, makes you feel like a kid again.
- Regent Street aka the Queen of Christmas illuminations, this year, leaves you in awe.
- South Molton Street is a beautiful escape from the buzz, and only a step away!
- The Southbank Centre that is transformed into a magical festive village.
- The feeling of walking over the Thames after dark. Any bridge will do, but I recommend the Waterloo Bridge.
Any fashionista with respect for themselves knows that if it’s not London approved, it doesn’t worth wearing. My list of favourite streets, shops and department stores for shopping is:
- Dover Street
- Regent Street
- Oxford Street
- New Bond Street
- Portobello Road Market
- Carnaby Street
- Sloan Street
- Westbourne Grove
- Ledbury Road
- Jo Malone
- Molton Brown
- All Saints
Noisy, yet peaceful, rough but beautiful, London holds something for everyone. And it is impossible to get bored there. The endless interesting neighbourhoods make sure of it. In case you haven’t visited already, arrange a trip asap! You won’t regret it.