from March 2015 until now…
Years ago I’ve imagined London as a sad, grey, boring city. Well, I was wrong.
My story with London has started almost 2 years ago, when I came here for the first time. Just before christmas, I’ve found great deal for tickets so without hesitating I took my friend and we went to take an obligatory selfie with The Big Ben and see London lighted with thousands of christmas decorations. What I’ve seen later has totally shocked me! “Am I in a right place?!” – I thought…
As many places I’ve been to in Europe, trust me, there isn’t any you could compare to London. London is unique! While history and tradition are greeting you at every turn, London is also one of the most modern and coolest place in the world.
London has stolen my heart without asking for permission! Suddenly I’ve begun to imagine myself living behind the blue door on one of those winding streets, jogging early morning in the Hyde Park, having a lunch in a vegan Japanese restaurant in Soho, shopping on Oxford Street and watching the sunset over the Westminster, while strolling on the Southbank… I’ve started to believe in that picture and I’ve loved it that much that I’ve decided to make it happen! I left everything behind me and came here with the hope for a new adventure, a new challenge, and apparently, a new life. I won’t lie to you, the beginning wasn’t easy, as I didn’t have a job, flat or friends, but I haven’t given up! So here I am, after 1,5 year still in love with that magic city, which I can proudly call home now <3
London is a real “world city”. Worldwide famous architectural icons, museums, galleries! Place where design, fashion and pop culture contrasts the 2000 years of history! Where else can you see such a perfect combination of international styles and influences with its own? People from the farthest corners of the world are making their home here. So there is nothing surprising in a fact that the British Sunday Roast is probably same common as Indian Tikka Masala. I think I don’t even have to mention about millions of tourists visiting London every year, right?!
So, whatever you’re interested in – from museums to shopping, rock to opera, budget to luxury – there’s a London that will suit you. As I am always saying, London is a place for everyone.
This buzzing central London area is home to many bars, clubs, and leading place in LGBT’s nightlife. Crowds flock to this edgy epicentre to experience its widely understood entertainment… Although, in the day time you might also discover fashionable galleries, cosy coffee shops and asian cuisine, as the Chinatown is apparently part of Soho.
* Have a look around for proper asian experience and great food deals – eat as much as you like – buffet starts from 6 GBP/person, sounds like a good idea for those who are constantly starving! 😉
Neighborhood steeped in sophistication and pomp, so girls, it’s time to put your heels on! Instead of doggy english beer pubs Mayfair have wine bars and elegant lounges. Restaurants are decadent, buildings impressive, and streets clean. It’s also a perfect place if you want to spend some money in brand boutiques like Coco Chanel, Zanotti, Zegna, Louis Vuitton, and yes, you’ll find all of them here! So take your credit card with you and… shop till you drop!
* Go to Claridges for fancy Afternoon Tea ceremony or have a drink in Sketch if you prefer creative designs and modern interiors, you might be really impressed!
SHOREDITCH & CAMDEN TOWN
Shoreditch – quirky place where old brick warehouses are being transformed into interactive art galleries and empty walls covered in colourful murals. However Camden appears more like an alternative oasis away from the royalties prestige. Both rich in uncommon pubs, live rock concerts, vintage markets and bohemian cafes. Artsy area perfect for fashion freaks! Hanging around dingy side streets you might discover lots of unusual spots so keep your eyes open!
*Have a look in Brick Lane Market for a vintage shopping and Columbia Flower Market for bouquet of peonies! Camden Town Market is great for good, cheap and fresh food from all over the world!
CHELSEA & KENSINGTON
While Kensington equal elegance, Chelsea means class. Definitely the most beautiful and posh areas of London, but with all its opulence, with great sense of taste. Peaceful environment makes Chelsea an ideal place to live. It’s also favourite spot of celebrities, so don’t be surprised when you’ll meet David Beckham training at the gym (yes please!), or Taylor Swift, sipping a flat white just next to you in the local coffee shop. Girls, if you’re planning to look for the future husband, here is a place to start! Who knows, he may turned out being a famous designer or a movie star! 😉
* Try Ivy Chelsea Garden to spoil yourself with delicious food served with the style and check out South Kensington for National History & Science Museums.
This relaxed cafe lifestyle area is very close to my heart as I spent there my first months after moving here. However with every next visit I love it more and more! Trust me, nowhere does pretty little pastel houses like Notting Hill and I know what I am talking about! Let yourself wander around the idyllic alleyways, admiring colourful doors! I swear, it’s a real visual fest and you’ll be delighted with their charm! Visiting Notting Hill can’t be ticked off without seeing the famous Portobello Market with passionate antique vendors, vintage clothes and stalls with home made
food! Don’t hesitate to have a look in the Notting Hill Bookshop. Maybe Hugh Grant will greets you from behind the pile of books! 😉
* Instabloggers, get your camera ready, as it’s perfect spot for photoshoot! You won’t get enough of these sweet, little houses…:)
CAN YOU SEE LONDON IN A DAY?
Seems that London is so huge that you would need weeks if not months to discover it all. That’s completely true, but…if you’re really short with time, come even for a day! You’ll still be able to see the most important places, without even wasting your time on the Tube!
Ready? So let’s go!
Start your walk on Oxford Circus, where the main shopping streets cross, Oxford Street with cheaper brands and Regent Street with the more established high street chains. Strolling down Regent Street you will get to Piccadilly Circus. Situated in the heart of West End, this pop culture landmark, is particularly known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building. One of the favourite tourists meeting points and one the of the busiest squares in London. Walk down Coventry Street straight to Leicester Square. Surrounded by theatres and cinemas, often hosts the biggest movies premiers! For chocolate lovers – the M&M’s store! Go and create your own package of your favourite ones, yummy! Later on, just around the corner, Trafalgar Square. The London’s main square, home to Nelson’s Column and centre of national democracy and protest. Go to the National Gallery to get a bit of the cultural education. Do you recognise that majestic building in front of you? Oh right, it has to be Big Ben! Yes, you’re nearly here! Walk down the road to capture the world’s most famous clock! Looks like after all day of running around you need a bit of relax… Can you see London Eye on the opposite site of river? Great, that’s your next stop!
Southbank is the perfect place for a “drink with a view”, especially while watching the sunset, ah! Westminster Abbey bathed in the warm palette of yellow, pink and orange lights looks splendid!
* If you’re looking for the proper spot for photographers, while crossing the Thames, turn right, instead of going to the London Eye’s side. I promise, you won’t be dissapointed…:)
You are not in a rush anymore, slowly follow the Thames from the London Eye along to the Tower Bridge and you’ll pass some of London’s most famed buildings, like Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern. Are you wondering what is that pink illuminated monument? As you probably guessed, it’s Tower Bridge! On purpose I’ve planned it for you as the last stop, because it looks particularly beautiful at nighttime!
Area has numerous nice restaurants, so stop there for dinner and just enjoy the look of the cityscape!
*Strada – affordable cheap, with great Italian food and lovely view from the upper floor is my number one!
FOR THE BEST VIEW
London has few spectacular view points.
If you prefer spending your time outdoors, climb to Alexandra Palace or Primrose Hill. Calories burned, skin tanned and stunning cityscape warranted!
But if you feel more like a rooftop fan, I’ve also got few ideas for you.
Sushi Samba – located on the 38 floor of the Heron Tower. Offers a panoramic lift, spectacular view, outside terrace and amazing sushi and cocktails! Must try! Slightly expensive but definitely worth the price!
closest tube station: Liverpool Street
Sky Garden – top floor of the skyscraper for free? You just need to book your visit in advance, but they won’t charge you a penny. Obviously you can still stay there for a coffee or lunch. It has a terrace as well, but unfortunately behind the glass wall.
closest tube station: Monument
Shard – the highest building in London. Entrance to the view point on 72nd floor will cost you over 20 GBP, so better book yourself a table in The Aqua Shard or The Gong!
closest tube station: London Bridge
WHEN TO GO?
No matter the time of the year, a London trip brings a taste of bustling city life. There is always plenty of attractions waiting for you! Although the most interesting is during the summer periods, as it’s so much nicer walking around in the summer dress, and everything just seems more beautiful when the sun is up (!), or christmas time, when the atmosphere is simply magic! It never snows and it’s not super cold but be ready for wind and rain!
- Transport – The underground called the tube is literally everywhere and definitely its the cheapest and the fastest way to transport. simply get an oyster card and top it with! Travelling 1 day between zones 1 and 2 (you won’t go any further trust me) will cost you up to 6,5 GBP, and rides are unlimited! Try also the famous red bus, at least once! It’s quite fun looking down from the upper floor. Remember – the tube doesn’t work at night, but you still got the night buses, Uber or cabs.
- Food – If you don’t want to spend a fortune in restaurants – try food in the local markets! Borough Market, Covent Garden Market or Saturday Market on Duke of York Square. Typical english dish is obviously fish&chips or sausage&mash, but I wouldn’t recommend you any of them!
- Plugs – Make sure you get yourself an UK adapter cause plugs here are different then in the rest of the world!
- Harry Potter – take part in Harry Potter’s city tour, visit Warner Bros Studio or simply go to the King’s Cross Station to find the magic entrance on platform 9 3/4!
- Taps – Yes there are two taps, one with warm and one with the cold water, which is extremely annoying, buy there is nothing you can do about…
- Left hand traffic – Remember that traffic drives here on the left hand side so don’t get kill yourself while crossing the road!
- Parks – London have lots of green spaces and beautiful gardens. Getting a boat in Hyde Park or just simply relaxing in Holland Park might be a good idea during the hot day!
- Museums – there is a huge number of museums where the entrance is completely free! National History Museum (the one with enormous dinosaur’s skeleton!), Science Museum (for experiments) and Tate Modern (modern art exhibitions) are my favourite ones!
- Politeness – you better start practicing saying “thank you” and “sorry” every 5 minutes cause you are gonna need those skills here! 😉
I believe London is one of those places you just have to visit during your life journey. What you’ll see, what you’ll do, and what you’ll experience there will teach you a lot, and trust me, these kind of lessons are priceless. Here I’ve learned that nothing is impossible, and no matter who you are, London gives you a fresh start. I became more open-minded and tolerant while staying with people from different countries, with their individual habits and beliefs. I’ve also understood that chasing the successful career is pointless, if you’re not doing what you really love. And the most important, whatever you’re dreaming about, do it! Don’t waste your time waiting for the right moment, the life is happening now!