I fell in love with this city a million years ago. London is so inspiring for me. Its independance, originality, freedom of being whoever you want. Its people, so warmful with such a good sense of hospitality. I always feel welcomed, safe and well surrounded.
I used to go several times per year since I’m only 2 hours away with the Eurostar. This past years, I’ve been too busy discovering the rest of the world to go back there every 3 months but I love to spend an entire week once a year, either during the Holiday season or during Spring or Summer.
This is why I decided to spend the week between Christmas and New Year in London with all its magical atmosphere, breathtaking lights and decorations. It really felt like “the most wonderful time of the year”.
But with no time to rest! We had to hurry up to Harrods and Selfridges to get the best deals of the big winter sale started right after Boxing Day! And trust me, as a shopping addict, I couldn’t be more happy. I mean … Jimmy Choo at 50% off, can you believe it??
As a London lover, I try to discover new places each time I’m going to and this time was dedicated to food places. Thanks to Yelp, I’ve never been disappointed. We went out for breakfast, brunch, lunch and diner and were always satisfied.
We stayed at the London House Hotel near the Kensington Gardens (closest underground stations were Bayswater and Queensway which are really well deserved!). The hotel was in quiet square but right behind a busy street with lots of restaurants and little shops.
So I would definitely recommend this area and the hotel for short stays like a long weekend. I would have preferred a higher rated hotel for a long stay like we did, but it was fine.
Anyway, the prices during this time of the year are the most expensive ones and to get the best rates would means booking your stay at least +6 months in advance! I booked mine in early October and 89% of the 3 or 4* hotels were already full. Even the tickets to enjoy the spectacular firework were already sold out 🙁
I’m happy to share with you my favorite addresses.
I did a lot of shopping – this is mainly why I have to challenge myself to make a shopping-free January now! But here’s the list of the coolest boutiques that have amazing sales and collections you might not find everywhere!
Clothing & Shoes
Harrods – Even if it’s not really affordable, it’s a must-see. The show windows are just beautiful!
Selfridges – Totally worth it during sales! All your favorite luxury brands finally affordable.
River Island – So cool during sales too!
Stradivarius – totally in love with this store. I usually shop online but its nice to go in a real store and try things on
Forever21 – not the biggest one but still nice for basics and accessories
Victoria Secret & Pink – Also interesting during sales, not easy to find (near Bond St)
Hollister – I don’t really like the big one in Regent St, kinda dark. But they have smaller and cuter ones in each Westfield mall.
Primark – my favorite one is in Tottenham Court Rd, less crowded than Marble Arch but still big.
& Other Stories – my reference in jewellery and accessories.
Office – Best sneakers & shoes deals ever!
Missguided – the one and only boutique finally coming to life!
Stationery supplies, home accessories and gifts
Beauty & Wellness
— Caffe Connect —
It’s a lovely all-day breakfast cafe, ideal for breakfast on-the-go or long brunch. We had a full english breakfast and a continental breakfast with warm almond croissant and fresh smoothie of our choice. It wasn’t expensive and very friendly. I highly recommend it and will go back.Where to find it : 13 Hereford Road, London. Closest tube station: Bayswater & Notting Hill Gate (500m)
— 65 & King —
Great spot for a saturday night, great atmosphere for diner and the food quality was really good. We had a lobster Caesar salad with a poched egg and a surf and turf (combines here lobster and BBQ ribs). They have a large choice of cocktails, unfortunately we didn’t pick a good one. Bummer!Where to find it : 65 Westbourne Grove, London. Closest tube station : Bayswater & Notting Hill Gate
— Shake Shack —
When it’s about cheeseburger and cheesy fries, I’m all in! It’s a famous spot in NYC and I didn’t taste them yet in UK. I wasn’t disappointed. Good enough for a quick lunch in Picadilly, even if the queue was kinda long it was totally worth it! Still better than any other fast food.Where to find it : Leicester Square, London. Closest tube station : Piccadilly Circus.
— Guste Remo —
Lovely Italian restaurant just around a corner. I found it on Yelp as well, the night we arrived. It was already late so I hoped they would still serve diner. I was able to take a reservation on their website for the same night. Glad I found this little treasure, the atmosphere was so romantic and I hope they keep these pretty twinkle lights all year long. We were only 2 or 3 table so it was quiet and the service was perfect. I was really happy to find a gluten-free pizza that still has a crust that tastes like a real one! Pizzas were really well served, I couldn’t finish it! We choose a Montepulciano red wine which was amazing. It’s my new favorite Italian spot in London! Can’t wait to go back.
Where to find it : 43/45 Porchester Road, London. Closest tube station : Royal Oak & Bayswater
— Moor & Hitch —
This was our second choice for breakfast / brunch. I loved the design, they made an industrial style interior. Modern & nice with a fresh menu with several choices. We had an english breakfast and scrambled egg + smoked salmon toast with again – fresh juices. A little bit more expensive but well served. I hesitate a lot with their pancakes but got a healthier choice instead.
Where to find it : 96 Queensway, London. Closest tube station : Bayswater & Queensway
— Cafe Liberty —
How to NOT stop by Liberty for an original tea time? My favorite of all times! I’m craving for their scones all year long and despite the price, it’s always a good treat. We’ve been lucky to find a nice table as we walked in. Ten minutes later, there was a huge queue. It’s a bit cliché and probably not the best place according to native Londoners but I like its old atmosphere and feeling like a little British lady inside these ancestral walls. I’ll say a must-see when it’s your first time in London. Note that it’s actually called Arthur’s Restaurant now.
Where to find it : Regent St, Carnaby, London. Closest tube station : Oxford Circus
— The Swan —
Another must-eat shall I say, is their famous Fish’n’Chips. We wanted to experience a real British Pub and its atmosphere but not really in the centrum. So we choose one in the Notting Hill area with great reviews on Yelp and looking good from outside. There was a live music that felt great and not too loud (like we were still able to talk lol) and the plate was as good as expected! I couldn’t finish it either, British eat a lot! Also, I had an amazing Chardonnay that made it all.
Where to find it : 66 Bayswater Rd, London. Closest tube station : Lancaster Gate
The best instagrammable places :
Cereal Killer Cafe : Brick Lane or Chalk Farm, London
Bubblewrap waffles : 24 Wardour St, London
Sushisamba : Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London
Aubaine Selfridges : 2nd Floor, 400 Oxford St, London
Sketch : 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London
Oxford St – Carnaby St – Covent Garden – Camden Town – Sr Lukes Mews – St James Park – Winter Wonderland – Portobello Road & many more
There is so much to see in London and so many things to enjoy! I never got bored in this city. It’s a perfect getaway to explore each time and I can’t wait for my next visit to discover more places and share them with you!
Have you been to London ? I’m looking forward hearing all your favorites places in the city that never sleeps.