A weekend in my London
London has always been a special city for me, since I first visited on my 14th birthday. So much so, I then convinced my parents to bring us back the same year, while I plotted a way to move there – University a couple of years later was the perfect excuse!
I loved my time in London.. and although life took me back to Lisbon, then to Madrid, Barcelona with some stops in Istanbul, I ended up marrying – guess what – an Englishman! I know I don’t live in London – I live in the stunning town of Henley on Thames, but I am under an hour away and visit almost every week for both business and pleasure.
The point of this post is to share some of my favourite places and the perfect way, in my opinion, to spend a week in this trendy, elegant, sexy and exciting city!
The perfect way to get things started is, of course, with a drink and join Londoners as they have the first pint or gin & tonic after work. Many places to go to, but somehow I always end up (or start up) in Marylebone, one of my favourite London areas.
If you fancy something more upmarket and special (and if you have booked a table way in advance), my choices are, in nearby Mayfair, Hakkasan (and please try their signature cocktail, the Hakka) or Nobu. Closer to Regent Street/Piccadilly/Covent Garden, my favourites are Asia de Cuba @ St Martin’s Lane (and great bar pre and post dinner). Coconut Cloud Martinis are a must here – and if you can’t find it on the menu, ask them to call the New York branch. Momo’s signature Marrakesh O’ Marrakesh cocktail is to die for and so its the food (pretend it is your birthday so you get a special Moroccan dance).
If breakfast isn’t included in your hotel rate, it is worth exploring some more cost-conscious places as they are much easier to find nowadays. The usual coffee-chain suspects offer some decent options – from Starbucks, to Nero (my favourite) and Costa, but also Patisserie Valerie has many branches in London.
Recently, I decided to go back to Portobello Market in Notting Hill – it had been at least 20 years since my last visit and there had been some exciting changes! But the reason why I really wanted to go was I needed an excuse to visit little Portugal and try some delicious pasteis de nata – I think I am becoming slightly obsessed with them.. but don’t care!
From there, it was time for some decent shopping, so we took a cab to Harvey Nichols, a nice department store in Knightsbridge. Walking down Sloane Street, where the nicest designer shops can be found, you get to Sloane Square and the King’s Road, one of my favourite parts of London (shopping wise!).
On Saturdays, by the Saatchi Gallery, which is worth a visit, there is a little food market – not your conventional fruit and veg, though! You have stalls from all over the world, and the idea is that your lunch is quite multicultural. You can also buy some goodies to bring back home!
I like taking my time on this street – has a great selection of shops and 3 LK Bennett - all that I need to be happy! Worth mentioning that further down the road, on number 329, you will find one of its outlet stores with quite decent stuff! If you are a bit peckish, Byron has some fantastic burgers further down the road.
A visit to London wouldn’t be complete without a walk by the Thames River. It will be cold, but it will certainly help clear your head from any excesses from the previous night!
I like starting at Big Ben, have a walk around the Houses of Parliament and cross Westminster Bridge. From there, walk towards the London Eye, which I try to go at least once a year. It has amazing views on a clear day. From there, walk towards Tate Modern which is also worth a visit, and then cross the Millennium bridge and go to St. Paul’s.
It must be time for lunch, and one of our favourite places is St. Katherine’s Docks, just next to Tower Bridge. Easiest way to get there is to get a bus from St. Paul’s to Tower Hill.
Our lunch choice is always Pizza on the Dock at Dickens Inn, which supposedly was Charles Dickens’ house which was moved to this location. Careful with the portion sizes and get a table outside, weather permitting.
With this, it must be almost time to make your way back to the airport, knowing that there is so much more to see in London, that you certainly have to come back – again and again.