Heya, friends! If you’ve been following my Instagram stories lately, I’ve hinted a little at where I’ve been these past couple weeks. I know I’ve been MIA for a while now, but I have a preeeetty reasonable excuse (if I do say so myself)🤷🏻♀️.
I’ve been in LONDON!
Y’all! Ever since I was a little girl, my absolute dream destination has always been someplace in Europe. Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, whatever it might be, I’d always envisioned being able to fly across the ocean and explore a whole new part of the world. And after being obsessed with the history, Harry Potter, and obviously the basic tourist attractions, London jumped up to the tippy-tippy top of my bucket list. I mean, the British accents, gorgeous architecture, and centuries of the royal monarchy had me hooked. I couldn’t wait to experience the city itself.
And now? I’ve been so incredibly blessed with this life changing experience, and I want to share my memories with you. I believe that you, if you ever decide to travel to London, should be able to make use of the time spent abroad to the best of your ability. It goes by FAST. Seriously. As you walk through the city, explore what it has to offer, hours turn into days and suddenly you’re back on an early morning flight home. In this London travel guide, I’ve spent a few days gathering together basically every single thing we did in London and shoving it into one giant blog post. Well, not shove (this post is practically my baby), but it’s a crap ton of information.
So, sit back and relax. Let’s spend six days in London together, shall we?
What’s a London travel guide without food? We ate at so many great restaurants, but these six are definitely the best. Plus, gotta keep “six” theme going, right?
1. Padella: I’d eat here over and over again if I could, and even that’s an understatement. This small, family-owned Italian restaurant was by far my favorite Italian restaurant that I’ve ever been to. Life changing. If pasta everywhere was this good, I’d be on a pasta-tarian diet for my entire life.
- Starter: My family and I ordered a burrata (which was a pretty popular order) and bread to share. The simple, creamy burrata was so good, and paired with the sourdough, is absolutely fantastic. Trust me, if I could, I would have ordered one all for myself!
- Main dish: I had the gnocchi with sage and nutmeg butter. ohmygoodness I cannot even begin to describe the pure carby heaven I was in while eating. I could have had at least ten more orders of it and still be hungry for more, it was just that good. And can we talk about their hand rolled pasta?? Phe-no-me-nal.
In general, you should probably expect a long, 20-30 minute long queue when they open at noon, during lunchtime. We tried coming in the evening, for dinner, and the line to get in was almost 2 hours long! They operate on a first-come-first-serve basis and do not take reservations (if they did, they’d be booked in a matter of minutes), but the line is definitely worth the wait. They are located right next to the famous Tower Bridge and Tower of London, so definitely check those out afterwards!
2. Farmacy: I first found out about this place in one of Aspyn Ovard’s blog posts. Located in the Notting Hill area, the Farmacy is a plant-based, vegan/vegetarian restaurant serving fresh, organic, healthy comfort foods. I came in with super duper high expectations, only because Aspyn had spoken so highly of them. The food was delicious, but nothing too fancy.
- Drink: I had their Golden Milk, aka milk with turmeric. Golden milk has been super trendy in the food world for a while now, and this was actually my very first time having one! It was sweet, super photogenic, and warmed me up from the chilly weather outside.
- Main dish: I ordered the Mexican Bowl, which was delicious but enormous, not gonna lie! The bowl consisted of rice, PURPLE mashed potatoes, guac, vegan sour cream, and some other things I can’t exactly remember. Yummy!
3. The Wharf: Much like the Farmacy, the food here at the Wharf was great but nothing too fancy. We came here for breakfast on day 3, I believe, and the cutest little restaurant ever! It’s located right on the riverside and near the London Eye, which we visited shortly after. And the best part? From the window, you can see the glittering River Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and all the beautiful buildings on the other side of the river.
- Drink: A classic latte. Nothing special, just some coffee to get me out of my morning rut :)
- Main dish: I got the vegetarian breakfast, which came with eggs, toast, avocado, spinach, and a grilled portabella mushroom and a grilled tomato half. It was such a nice way to start off the day!
4. Snog: “snog your heart out!” << best slogan everrrrrr!!! I had to include this cute frozen yogurt shop because… how could I not? British froyo is a must. And y’all know how much I love chocolate and pistachios… this frozen yogurt is basically what I would be if I were a dessert!
5. TomTom Coffee House: We ate here before embarking on our full day tour outside of London (see here), another quick, simple grab-and-go cafe. I ordered a simple black coffee and avocado toast, ’cause I was feeling really simple/basic, and it did the trick. We were running late that day, and the servers there were so kind to us! I definitely recommend TomTom for if you’re looking for a quick n’ easy breakfast.
6. The Dandelyan: The Dandelyan bar was part of the hotel we stayed at (see more here), and naturally, we just had to have a traditional afternoon tea. Normally, I’d opt for coffee rather than tea, but we were in friggin Britain, so how couldn’t we?
- Drink: I ordered an english breakfast tea with a side of mixed olives, and my family and I spent the late afternoon relaxing and drinking tea. Well, relaxing, drinking tea, and watching UK-only Netflix shows.
Actually, I think my dad ordered a beer, and my mom had a cocktail or something. So I guess I was the only one who actually had the afternoon tea, haha.
What we did
beautiful british architecture!
navigating the subway stations
it’s a pity that the big ben is under construction! :(
the london eye
… Stonehenge …
… and Oxford University! Book your tour here.
views from the London Eye.
St. Paul’s Cathedral! We booked our tickets ahead of time here
from the very top of the cathedral! (golden gallery)
piccadilly circus (aka a mini version of NY Times Square)
Westminster Abbey and the British houses of parliament. Book your tour here!
views from a double decker bus!
the famous Tower Bridge
The Tower of London – home of the Crown Jewel
King’s Cross Station (for all you die-hard Harry Potter fans) – we took a 4 hour train from London to Edinburgh, Scotland.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Mondrian London, located conveniently right next to the Blackfriars bridge, so we could easily get to the other side of the river Thames. Our room was clean, modern, and very very nice! However, because of it’s location, the Mondrian was a little on the pricey side. Because we didn’t want to pay any extra, we had a view of a big brown building and construction. Not ideal, but that’s okay! The free cookies downstairs made up for it :)
We learned a lot while traveling, and these are a few tips you’re definitely going to want to hear if you ever go to the UK:
- Book everything ahead of time, especially during high tourist seasons, because things get booked fast. If you clicked on any of the links I put in the “what we did” section, you’ll notice that all of them are TripAdvisor links. When it comes to making the most out of your time in London, I highly recommend booking a tour a couple weeks in advance!
- The subway station is your best friend: London is pretty big, and Ubers can get pretty pricey! If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, skip the traffic and jaywalkers by taking the tube (as the locals call it). Make sure you get ahold of an Oyster card; a pre-loaded card that makes public transportation a breeze. All you have to do is swipe, so uou don’t have to buy a ticket every single time you want to use the subway.
- Walk. In the US, basically everyone drives a car to get around. In the UK, most people walk. And I’m not just talking about the tourists or a fraction of the locals, I’m talking about pretty much everyone! It’s actually much easier to walk to the subway station, ride the subway, and walk to your destination.
- It’s much colder than you think, especially if you’re a native Texan gal like me. I took a glance at the weather forecast, which predicted temperatures at about 65-70 degrees fahrenheit. In Texas, that’s basically tank top weather! But London is located next to a rather large body of water, and is constantly cloudy and windy. I came with a suitcase full of sandals, tank tops, and shorts. As soon as I stepped outside, I promptly froze and turned into a human popsicle. So, take my word for it and bring some jeans and a light jacket or cardigan.
If y’all ever get a chance to go to London, I truly hope that this travel guide will help y’all out! Oh, and I don’t remember if I mentioned above, but we traveled from London to Scotland by train. A Scotland travel guide will be up in a week or so, so make sure you’re on the lookout for that!
These past six days have been a dream, but I guess I’m really glad to be home :)