It isn’t only that when you are on local only restriction that you realise how much love you have for a place, but it certainly helps! I know I’m not the only one feeling the same way, and I’m constantly writing little lists of where I’d like to get back to, or try for the first time, when we are given the all clear. I love a to-visit list!
So I’ve come up with 5 London places I’ll be returning to, and 5 London places I’m recommending you try too, which are on my list to visit for the first time.
5 of my favourite London locations/activities that I’ll be returning to:
I don’t have any snaps of one of my best London evenings at the Globe, watching the magnificent performance of Twelfth Night, which was one of director Emma Rice’s last performances back in 2017. Therefore it remains golden, in the mind only, a truly special London evening. We paid just £5 for standing, open air tickets, and right at the very end, a small light July summer drizzle of rain came. It was glitz and it was glam, and one of those nights that you know will never be repeated and that you’ll certainly never forget. When lockdown is over, I totally recommend a trip here- if standing for a few hours is not your thing (with the right play, anything is possible!) their seating runs from around £15 from recollection.
Did you also know the Globe also offers Afternoon Teas as well as a regular menu at the adjacent Swan restaurant? https://www.swanlondon.co.uk/afternoon-tea/
Where to find the Globe: http://www.shakespeareglobe.com (website not currently working!)
2. Afternoon tea at the Ritz
High, low, mid: I have tried many afternoon teas and love them all. However if it’s a full treat you are after, having tried others of the top end including The Savoy and Claridges (which we also loved), The Ritz is truly where you need to go. We felt spoiled, super special and the atmosphere, staff and décor are exemplary. You’ll pay £61 a head from when they re-open. For that “once in a lifetime” experience, it’s definitely worth it.
Where to find the Ritz: https://www.theritzlondon.com/dine-with-us/afternoon-tea/
3. Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is multifaceted in what it offers. First of all, it’s absolutely stunning. There always seems to be plenty of room, no matter how busy it gets. You have the lakes to swim in, the heath obviously to walk on, Kenwood House to pay to visit, (or simply visit the café at).
Where to find Hampstead Heath: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/THINGS-TO-DO/GREEN-SPACES/HAMPSTEAD-HEATH/Pages/default.aspx
4. Brick Lane markets and the area around it.
The markets on Sunday and the amazing variety of street food, my favourite GF cake cafe Vida Bakery, the Huguenot streets where time stood still to take a walk down (Princelet St is one of my favourites), the street musicians, and the nearby Spitalfields Market which connects on to Liverpool St station, all easy walking distance…this is one of my favourite areas to pop along to on a Sunday. It can be crowded and sensory overload, sure, but it has all the right London vibrancy and stimuli you need to feel marvellously in the thick of it and alive! Bring. It. On.
5. Victoria and Albert Museum.
My favourite of all the London museums. I love the renaissance sculptures, the free tours offered daily and weekly (an incredible range- see https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/tours) and the high level exhibitions it holds time after time.
It’s romantic, beautiful and whilst it gets busy as everywhere in London does, it’s also the perfect “me time” escape, as well as to meet a friend or even have a date.
It’s also in a superb location, in the lovely setting of South Ken and right next door to the Natural History museum, super handy for families.
Where to find the V&A: https://www.vam.ac.uk/
5 tips for London activities and venues I highly recommend:
- The Pergola, Hampstead
Interestingly, this is one place that myself and other Londoners who really know and have enjoyed the top London activites really well have yet to try. One friend described it to me as a “secret garden”, and I read from searches that wedding photograpsh can be popular here. It looks really stunning, and one I’d like to really check out.
Its lovely history is detailed here: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/Hampstead-Pergola-Hill-Gardens/
2. Freemasons Tour
I distinctly remember the first time I clapped eyes on this building in its Covent Garden location, as despite living here for 16 years as an adult this year, it was only in the last 3/4 years I first saw it. It’s art deco grandeur stood out to me, and I was surprised to learn it actually belonged to the Freemasons. They run (out of lockdown) free regular tours, as long as the grand hall is not in use.
For more information, see: https://www.ugle.org.uk/freemasons-hall/tours
3. Nunhead Cemetery, Peckham
This gorgeously gothic cemetery is known as one of London’s “Magnificent 7”, built in the mid 19th century, it normally offers free regular tours (out of lockdown), with donations gratefully received. It calls itself one of the least known of the 7 cemeteries in question, but the “most attractive”!
For more information: https://www.fonc.org.uk/guided-tours-2021.html
4. Old Bank of England Pub
The Pub was The Bank of England from 1888 to the 1970s, and whilst the food sounds fairly standard pub fare, the interiors look absolutely stunning. Unfortunately their main website appears to be down, but for a bit more info, including where to find it once open once more, see here:
5. The Ned Bar
Also a former bank apparently and Grade 1 listed, The Ned houses a variety of bars and restaurants and looks sumptiously beautiful. I particularly liked the look of the Nickel Bar, which I believe you’d need to book once everything is open again.
For more information see: https://www.thened.com/restaurants/the-nickel-bar
Where will you be returning to once restrictions have eased?
For more London ideas and recommendations, come and find me over @lovinglivinglondon on Instagram!