Guide to Big Old London
In this guide I won’t be talking about Big Ben or Westminster Abbey. Many of you have already been to London and seen the sights. There’s so much more to London than that! I love the food scene, the cool bars and the shopping. And the neighbourhoods that are so different from each other!
Shoreditch and Hackney Wick
I adore Shoreditch. It’s filled with graffiti, great bars, excellent restaurants and interesting shops. Here are a few of my favourites:
The Hoxton Shoreditch. We stayed in this hotel, and I love it. The rooms are cool, you get a free, healthy breakfast in the morning to your room (a banana, an orange juice and a yoghurt with granola), the wifi is free, and the gorgeous restaurant and bar downstairs are always filled with people (not only hotel guests, the place is just that cool). It’s not cheap but look for non-refundable rooms online and you’ll find good deals.
The Breakfast Club. You’ll find these here and there in the city, I like the atmosphere and the food is fun. Their playlists makes you want to sit up and dance on the table..!
Rök Smokehouse. This restaurant is so great. It’s Nordic-inspired and focuses on smoked meat. The dishes are to share, and everything we had was fantastic. My favorites were the cheesy cauliflower and the scallops.
The Princess of Shoreditch: This is what London tastes like. The place is fresh and cozy at the same time, and the food is delicious.
Bone Yard: An old gas station has been rebuilt to host food trucks, and next to them you can also find Bone Yard. If you want to drink alcohol with your bone marrow burger you need to sit in the wooden shed-like building outside, but I prefer it (and they have heating during winter!), it’s a cool space!
Howling Hops: A big brew pub filled with long tables and benches, almost German biergarten style. Huge tanks are filled with recently brewed craft beer, and street food is available by a guest kitchen (when we were there it was Billy Smokes). Great place to hang out.
Crate Brewery: Just next to Howling Hops you find this gem, a brew pub with a beautiful terrace. But the most important thing about this place is their pizza. It's AMAZING. Among the best pizzas I've ever had. Try the one with Mozzarella, grated potato, parmesan, crispy sage and truffle oil. Unforgettable.
The Book Club: A hip and casual restaurant/bar/ping pong space that seems to have something for everyone. Great place to go with friends for brunch.
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium: For all you cat lovers out there, a cat café! I didn't have an opportunity to visit it yet, but it's definitely on my list for next time.
Stoke Newington Church Street is filled with cute shops and really great places to eat or have a tea and some cake. I enjoyed The Good Egg, that was packed with hip young people. It’s all local produce and interesting Middle Eastern inspired cuisine. I had a killer shakshuka with halloumi there.
Lucky Seven: A fantastic place for vinyl records, but they have a lot of second hand books, too. Reminds me of The Thing in Brooklyn, where you can get lost for hours.
China Plate Espresso (Stoke Newingston High Street): Delicious cupcakes and vegan banana bread. We had hot chocolate here but they have a long list of coffees, too.
Elk In the Woods: Adorable cottage like bar/restaurant, very hip but without being too expensive. Camden Passage where it's located is worth a visit, it's lined with several cute shops and bars.
Just by the metro you can find some stairs that will take you down to what used to be a public bathroom. Now it’s a restored restaurant that is absolutely adorable! It’s called WC (Wine and Charcuterie) and the food is really great.
The King and Co: A brew pub with guest street food traders. The place is cozy and inviting, we could have stayed there for hours, sitting by the fire and sipping craft beer and cider. This would be my favorite hangout if I'd move to London.
Soho & Covent Garden & Kensington:
You can’t avoid going to Soho, so you might as well embrace it..!
Princi: I love this Italian bakery for breakfast! They make everything in a wood fire oven and there’s so much to choose from. Now they do pizza, too.
Dirty Bones: It’s inside a small shopping center just by Carnaby Street, and it’s perfect if you have a craving for ribs, burgers or pulled pork buns that are well made.
Clos Maggiore: It’s quite expensive but if you’re looking for something romantic this is it. You need to book months in advance though if you want to sit in the beautiful conservatory.
Anthropologie: My favorite shop by far. They have beautiful, really good quality clothes, and nice things for the home.
Maggie Jones's: So much atmosphere in this dimly lit cottage-like restaurant. Great for a romantic dinner!
Fortnum & Mason: Their food hall is amazing! I could have spent hours and hours there, looking at the walls clad with jars of marmalade and the trays with delicious looking scones. Leave lots of space in your luggage for presents (for yourself) from here.
Uniqlo: Together with Anthropologie my favorite shop for clothes. It's a Japanese chain of basic, good quality clothes that last forever.
Soho's Secret Tea Room: The name already says it all. Amazing afternoon tea in a semi-secret location.
Skoob Books: Paradise for book worms. I could have spent hours here, browsing all the second hand books. There's even a piano in there should you feel like playing..!
Notting Hill & Marylebone:
Granger & Co: they have several locations in the city. Their brunch is fantastic. Ricotta hotcakes were invented here, and they are so tasty. The cakes are out of this world.
Oxfam books: Second hand books for very cheap (170 Portobello Road).
Daunt Bookstore: such a lovely book store. Really worth a visit. Feels like something out of Harry Potter!
Marylebone High Street: A bit posh perhaps but a great street lined with cool clothes shops and little cafes.
Nordic Bakery: If you have a craving for Nordic cinnamon buns this is a cute place to go.
For vinyl lovers: There are plenty of great record shops in London, as one would imagine.: Flashback Records, Rough Trade and Rough Trade East, Honest Jon's, Phonica Records and Reckless Records among others.
Citizen M: A cool hotel that's good value for money and the bed is huge. There are lots of free movies to choose from in your room and you can change the colors of the room according to your mood. Love it!