This is the first of a series of mini-guides I’m going to publish here and…somewhere else.
If you have been with me long enough, you know I love lists, collections and notes, so here is my “London List”, some of my favourite places around the city that was my home for the past five years.
The stars you see in the map are places I’ve tried and loved. I know it would be easier to share the map directly, but nope, I’m not going to do that, as I would miss all the fun. However, if you do wish to have a copy of it, leave a comment below and I will see what I can do 🙂
The list below is not comprehensive of course, firstly because a post wouldn’t be enough, and second because I can’t share ALL my secrets in one go, can I? 🙂
This guide is divided in five sections.
BUT FIRST, COFFEE
I’m a coffee addict, so here are some of my favourite places for a good espresso, a flat white or a cappuccino
Some of my favourite galleries, landmarks museums and other interesting places
What guide would it be without some tips about food?
Putting coffee aside, reading is my other life-lasting relationship.
Here you will find my favourite bookshops as well as interesting books to read ahead or during your trip.
Where to stay? The best hotels in town
Here is a collection of all these places, if you are on Instagram you can check some of them under the hashtag #see_my_london2015
BUT FIRST, COFFEE
This not only an excellent cafe, restaurant and one of London’s oldest horticultural institutions, but it is also an oasis of peace tucked away in a gorgeous street of white-washed houses in central London.
This is coffee-shop with a twist. In fact it is not even an actual coffee shop but a charity, so any profit that is made goes into supporting local community projects and other charitable causes.
Address: 135 Brick Lane E1 6SB
This venue is filled with natural light and shadows as you can see. It’s also full of East London vibe and energy as it sits just off Broadway Market. Great flat whites too.
Barber & Parlour
I only found out about this little gem on my last few days in London. Silly enough, I never thought to check it as I wrongly thought it was a barber first and my beard doesn’t need trimming yet! 🙂 This fantastic venue, managed by Soho Group, is worth the visit and it has a cinema too!
Address: 64-66 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DP
Iris & June
This cute, minimal, artisan cafe in the heart of Victoria, loves coffee. There, I had one of the most amazing flat-whites in London and, as I was starving, I also had a beautifully-presented and very tasty feta, sun-dried tomatoes and rocket sandwich.
The space, mainly white and very simple, has a great vibe with loads of room to seat for a meeting, to read or just chill with a coffee.
I love coffee-shops with a soul and a story. This is not exception and you need to pay them a visit to understand why.
Address: No.1 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG
Not normally open to the public, but very savvy in terms of social media, so if you follow their blog you can get a proper insight in the magnificent work and maybe be lucky enough to be invited to one of their open-studios day!
One of the most beautiful buildings in London. Not only a gallery, but a venue full of exciting events, talks, open-air cinemas and workshops. A must-see also for the architecture.
Wilton’s Music Hall
The oldest surviving Music Hall in the world, now home to a theatre with original cast iron pillars, balcony and decor, staging an eclectic event programme.
Address: 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a masterpiece of traditional Hindu design in north London. It’s made of 5,000 tonnes of Italian Carrara and Indian Ambaji marble and the best Bulgarian limestone. It was completely hand-carved in India before being assembled in London. It is possible to visit the inside free of charge, but you are not allowed to take pictures of the indoors.
Address: 105-119 Brentfield Rd, London NW10 8LD
One of the best-kept secrets in London and one of my most recent discoveries in the city of the thousands museum. The Wallace Collection is that place you want to visit over and over again as every time there is something new or something you didn’t see before.
Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
The Queen’s House, Greenwich, was commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of James I (reigned 1603–25). James was often at the Tudor Palace of Greenwich, where the Old Royal Naval College now stands – it was as important a residence of the early Stuart dynasty as it had been for the Tudors. Traditionally he is said to have given the manor of Greenwich to Anne in apology for having sworn at her in public, after she accidentally shot one of his favourite dogs while hunting in 1614.
(source: official website)
The Queen’s House is currently closed for refurbishment and will open on 4th July 2016. Hold your breath, it’s going to be even better than before!
The Painted Hall
This magnificent hall has been described as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the UK’ and having seen both, I can surely agree.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, it was initially intended as an dining hall for the naval pensioners who lived here at the Royal Hospital for Seamen.
Nowadays, it is open to the public as well as for private hires. It has been the setting of several movies, including ‘Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides”, “Les Misérables” and “Sherlock Holmes”.
Address: King William Walk, London SE10 9NN
Surely the most beautiful green area in London, not only it would take days to see it all, but the deer add that touch of wildness and freedom you can rarely find in London.
Address: Richmond, Greater London
Not only an excellent coffee-shop, but also an outstanding dining venue with great cocktails too.
Address: 11 Leonard St, London EC2A 4AQ
Ladies and Gentlemen say hi to the best Eggs Royal in #London.
In terms of coffee: both the black americano I had to start and the macchiato I had to finish were delicious and tasty. I highly recommend this place run by Sof and Jo, not only because it’s cute and the food is real good, but also for the outstanding staff, including the very talented chef, also known as @tucktogether
Address: 115 St John’s Hill, London, SW11 1SZ
THE best brunch in town. Nope, actually, this is not only the best one, but the best bottomless brunch. In the picture below, the famous and award-winning banana bread sandwich with honeyed mascarpone and fresh berries.. Yummy! 😋😋
Address: 2qs, 1 Broadgate Cir, London EC2M 2QS
Address: 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW
This is an oasis of peace in a fairly busy and quirky museum. At the Wellcome Collection there are always strange exhibitions going on. But this heaven quickly became my little heaven for a quiet read or browse among medicine books.
Corrado Augias – The Secrets of London
Craig Taylor – Londoners
Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities
London Hidden Walks
This is an hotel not only with a true soul, but with a history within every wall and ceiling. Opened as the Great Eastern Hotel in 1884 and one of London’s original railway hotels, the Andaz is housed in a beautiful redbrick Victorian building designed by the architects of London’s famed Houses of Parliament.
Once inside you will be transported into a 21st century time-travel, a stunning blend of traditional and contemporary features throughout. There are 267 beautiful rooms and suites, some of which, are decorated in a unique style by famous local street-artists which gives a personal touch and a sense of home .
Andaz hosts seven impressive restaurants and bars as well as a 24-hour Health Club and wedding venues.
But the best-kept secret it’s their Masonic Temple. Yes, you read that right: there is an authentic masonic venue now used for special events and reception.
Strategically located next to Liverpool Street, it is also the best base for your stay in London.
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