#ExploreMore: London

Hi everyone,

In case you didn’t know, a couple of weeks ago I hopped the pond and spent some time in one of my favorite cities – London! London holds a very special place in my heart; I first visited the city with my family when I was nine, and it’s also where I studied abroad in college, so I have a ton of incredible memories of London that still make me smile to this day.

This was my first time back in the U.K. since my semester abroad in 2014, but everything was just as amazing as I remembered. My trip was short, but very sweet! I covered a lot of ground in just three days, and I’m excited to share my mini-adventure in London with you.

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Getting There

Once again Norwegian Airlines was the 🔌 P L U G 🔌. I bought my ticket two weeks before takeoff for an incredible price, and because I slept for most of the flight I was ready to hit the ground running the minute I hopped off the plane. I cannot stress enough that if you’re sleeping on Norwegian it’s time to wake up and get on-board (literally — get on-board the plane!).

 

The “Suite” Life

I stayed at the Arbor City Hotel, a modern hotel located in the Aldgate East area, close to Brick Lane and the Old Spitalfields Market. The hotel was the perfect place for me to relax and rest up after a day of sight-seeing.

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Now, I’m a simple girl; all a hotel really needs to please me is a clean room, a comfy bed and a good shower, so the Arbor City passed my test with flying colors. 

In addition to the big bed and amazing bathroom, I loved that the tea in the room was complimentary, and the blackout shades really helped me get over my jet lag. Most importantly, the hotel had USB outlets on the nightstand, which came in clutch because I forgot my universal power converter in the US (a packing #fail on my part🤦🏾‍♀️).

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Arbor City Hotel – London Feb 2018

Getting around Town

MIND THE GAP! I was so excited to use the train (or in British terms the “tube”) again, because London’s public transportation system is incredible. If you’ve ever used public transportation in LA you would understand why I geek out at how efficient and easy to navigate the tube is in London. If you miss a train at any station London, it’s no biggie – there will be another train coming in 3 minutes or less. But If you miss a train in LA? Start saying your prayers, because it’s anybody’s guess when the next one is coming.

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I will never get over how convenient the tube makes getting around in London, and let’s be real, it’s also always fun hearing that british accent reminding you to “mind the gap between the train and the platform.”

Best Bites 😋

As one of the world’s biggest cultural hubs, there are unsurprisingly a lot of food choices in London, and with so many options it can get pretty overwhelming to decide where to eat. This is especially the case for me — I’m low-key crazy when it comes to deciding on where to eat, and I will spend hours scouring over restaurant reviews and checking out photos of the food, ambiance and pricing before deciding on a place to eat. But the extensive research was worth it, as I ate like a #queen my entire trip. Here are some of my foodie highlights from London!

Wahaca 

Wahaca - London
My mini-feast at Wahaca! The tacos were amazing

Wahaca, a Mexican-style restaurant with multiple locations throughout London, is a great place for either a casual date or a group dinner. The small taco plates are great for sharing, and are pretty decently priced for London! The food was so yummy, and was the perfect fuel-up before hitting the town!

 

 

 

 

The Book Club 

The Book Club in London
This “Ginger Lady” drink from The Book Club in London was delicious!!

If you’re looking for a fun night out in London look no further than The Book Club in Shoreditch. The Book Club gives you the best of both worlds: A chill space to grab a drink with friends on the first floor, and an underground club where you can dance the night away to the best hits.

This trip we opted for a chill evening on the first floor,and enjoyed a variety of delicious drinks from the menu. My favorites were the the Ginger Lady drink and the Dark and Spicy!

 

The Breakfast Club

This trendy breakfast spot is the place to go for recovery brunch after a night out on the town. It’s very popular, so if you want to avoid long lines get there early! Everything on the menu looked delicious, but I ended up settling on the croque madame and the disco fries. I may or may not have had to unbutton my jeans when I left but I have #noregrets.

Scotchtails at Borough Market

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I absolutely love going to street markets in new cities, and Borough Market might be one of my favorites in the world. I have such fun memories of my first time going and checking out all the stands when I studied abroad.

I couldn’t believe that four years later some of those same stands are still there, including Scotchtails! It is THE place to go to get an authentic scotch egg (a british speciality), and I highly recommend checking this spot out if you go to London. Your taste buds will thank you!!

Soho’s Secret Tea Room

One of the top things I was determined to do while in London was to have a classic afternoon tea, so I was ecstatic when I discovered Soho’s Secret Tea Room. 

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How cute is Soho’s Secret Tea Room?

The tea room is hidden away in the second floor of the Coach and Horses pub, and is straight out of a scene out from Downton Abbey. I ordered the “grey lady” tea, a platter of assorted tea sandwiches, and obviously a slice of red velvet cake (#treatyoself2018). 

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One random thing that I loved about the tea house was their mix-matched dining sets – no plate, tea cup or kettle was the same! I had such a great time at the Soho’s Secret Tea Room, and loved getting to experience an iconic part of British culture.

Sights to See

Tower Bridge in London
Posing in front of Tower Bridge in London!

Since I lived in London for six months, I didn’t think that I would want to do any of the typical tourist stuff, but I surprised myself by going to see some of the most popular attractions, including the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

(Side note: If you’re hoping to see Big Ben up close and personal, you will unfortunately have to wait; The clock tower is currently under construction, so it is covered in scaffolding at the moment).

It was such great weather when I went to the Tower of London that I had no choice but to have a full fledged photoshoot (#doitforthegram).

Street art in Shoreditch

I also spent time in two of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, Shoreditch and Soho. Shoreditch is one of my favorite neighborhoods to explore in London – you can find unique clothing, jewelry and shoes at the numerous boutiques and vintage shops throughout the area, grab a bite to eat at the Boxpark Pop-Up, and admire the cool street art that is featured on almost every block.

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Soho is one of the trendiest areas in London, and the best place to go if you’re looking for great food and shopping. You can shop until you drop on Carnaby Street, take a leisurely stroll through Soho Square, or have afternoon tea Soho’s Secret Tea Room.

 

And that just about sums up my mini-vacation to London! If you ever visit this beautiful city, I hope you check out some of the places I’ve talked about here, and let me know what your favorite spots in the city are as well!

Xoxo,

Veesass

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