An impulsively bought (and very over-priced) concert ticket and a well-deserved birthday weekend away led us to London. Where else would you go when you live and study in the middle of nowhere, Wales? We wanted… no… needed a real, classic city break. London was calling.
The weekend start, no surprise, in a little Italian café called “The Still Room”, just a bit outside the city’s center. Whilst we waited to be let into our Airbnb, we ate what could only be described as world’s best avocado on toast, well avocado on freshly baked Italian bread actually. As soon as we were let in the Airbnb, we rushed right back out again, feeling giddy and eager to explore. Somehow, we managed to navigate our way through the maze that is the London underground system and found ourselves in Piccadilly Circus. Among the bustling tourists, I admit, we felt at home. So, we embraced our new roles as tourists, going to all the popular spots to take our cliché pictures. But don’t worry, I found a few hidden gems to share with you too (quite literally).
I’m not even that big on candy, but even I got excited seeing all the sweets and treats I know from my childhood and through travelling. The variety and amount of sweets they sell is actually quite impressive. Finding “Chocomel”, the Dutch and the superior (totally non-biased Dutchie here) chocolate milk made my night. Well, that and the simple fact that I was in London of course…
I warned you, cliché, touristy stuff. But this shop is genuinely fun for all ages and the ideal spot for some fun photos. Check out all the merch they sell, all the crazy displays, or get your face printed on M&Ms! And if you’re travelling with kids, or are just a kid at heart, lego land is just across the road!
Taiyaki – China Town
After grabbing dinner and some giant cocktails, we wandered into China Town. I had the perfect place picked out for dessert: Taiyaki. This charming little bakery sells a variety of goods, mainly cakes. But their specialty lies in the soft serve ice-cream (matcha & vanilla flavored), served in freshly made fish-shaped waffles. As well as the small fish pastries filled with warm custard. Naturally, we had to try both.
Day two, you guessed it, started off in a café. Lantana is your classic insta-worthy café. With beautiful décor and beautiful food, you can get your caffeine fix and your photos in one hit. Staff was lovely and very accommodating. Slightly on the pricier side, but worth every penny.
London Fossils & Crystals
This was the day we found a real “hidden gem”… a gem shops. Sorry, I had to say it, I’m a sucker for puns and a sucker for crystals. The shop is small, but somehow manages to house one of the largest crystal and fossil collections I have ever seen. I didn’t even get to see everything, I just bought the first three things that caught my eye because I was so overwhelmed by all the choices available. The owners were so sweet and incredibly knowledgeable. They even let my shark-obsessed girlfriend hold a £3,000 megladon tooth! (I almost wish they hadn’t because she wouldn’t shut up about it for the rest of the trip, bless her).
The Natural History Museum
From the crystal shop you could easily spot the London Eye. I’d imagine it’d have been a nice walk to go see it, but we had our hearts set on seeing the natural history museum. Usually I’m never that impressed by architecture, but even I couldn’t deny the grandeur of this building. A massive building filled with an even bigger collection. You definitely need a full day if you want to see everything here. We ended up viewing the insects, large mammals and the ocean section before hitting up the gift shop. The displays are so impressive and interactive. For example, I weighed myself on a scale that compares your weight to that of large mammals, (such as blue wales, rhinos and elephants), does wonders for your body image!
So, there’s what I got up to in London, hopefully it gives you all some inspiration!
Let us know in the comments what you love doing in London!