During the Summer months of 2021 we visited London. I have lived and worked in London for many years before venturing further afield for more space (as I acquired more children and dogs). I absolutely love London. So when it became very obvious that going abroad in 2021 would require way too many forms and tests (and possibly heartbreak), we realised our best bet was to stay more local. So London it was.
London has so much to see. It can feel a little overwhelming when deciding which hotel, restaurant, tourist attraction, shop, garden, gallery or museum to choose, especially when you can travel from one end of the next in just one day. We therefore decided to concentrate ourselves in specific areas over our stay. Places that I had lived or worked that I wanted to revisit. Islington, Kings Cross, Greenwich, East London and then a little bit of the West End. I have tried to summarise as best I can the places we visited during those three days.
We stayed for the duration of our three days in CitizenM (London Bankside). This is a budget hotel, but with a difference. If you are taking children that are old enough to have their own room, it allows for this without breaking the budget. As much as I love a gorgeous hotel, we stay in it for a very limited time, so I would prefer to spend more of the budget on a lovely restaurant.
We started with a walk around Islington, one of my favourite haunts in London. So much food and not enough time. I rented a gorgeous flat here many moons ago (2003) in Canonbury Square. I recall the most amazing cocktail bar a few doors away. Back to the trip in 2021. A couple of donuts in and we visit the restaurant Brother Marcus which is hidden in a favourite street Camden Passage. Flavours and recipes from Eastern Mediterranean. On warmer days, you can sit outside and be part of the hustle and bustle. From Islington we take the bus to Kings Cross, I love taking the bus you get to see what's around you, rather than a cramped tube. At Kings Cross we head straight to Coal Drops Yard. If you haven't been, it is an absolute must-do in London.
'Coal Drops Yard is London’s newest boutique and foodie hotspot where Victorian heritage and contemporary architecture collide in an extraordinary canal-side setting. Coal Drops Yard invites independent craftspeople and brands both big and small to work alongside each other, and to swap stories, skills and ideas'. We eat more ice cream, meander around the shops and enjoy the sights.
By the evening, we were once again ready for more food, so we walked the Thames from the hotel to Covent Garden where we had dinner at Ave Mario. Pics below (credit BigMammaGroup Website). It's worth it for the desserts and cocktails alone.
The next morning we were heading for Greenwich, so we grabbed some breakfast from Gails, and took the Uber boat from Bank to Greenwich. I used to commute from Greenwich to Tower Hill with Erin in tow, so it's always great to take her back on the water taxi. My daily walk along the River Thames and through the University will always be remembered with much fond memories. We repeat this walk in the opposite direction and have a drink at the Cutty Sark, a pub that was just two doors down from the house. We take a walk back to the Uber boat and head to North Greenwich. We depart at North Greenwich and get a one-way ticket on the Emirates Cable car.
From here we take the DLR train and head to Westfield, a little shopping and more eating and we take a walk around the Olympic park, with a walk up to the Arcelormittal Orbit and back down via the slide!
From here we head to Shoreditch, stop for bubble tea and a browse around Spitalfields and the vintage shops. I lived on Brick Lane and Shoreditch High Street, so we do a quick walk by there. Redchurch Street is an absolute favourite street of mine, so make sure you include this if you are down that way. We then head towards Hoxton along Shoreditch High Street, visit my favourite the Kick Bar. We grab a drink the Motorcycle Club, which is fun if you have any motorbike enthusiasts among you. We then head to the Bao Resturant.
On our last day we visit the Victoria & Albert museum, for the Bag exhibition. Once finished we head to Carnaby Street for lunch at Imads Syrian Kitchen , beautiful story and beautiful food. Also a great atmosphere at this location in Carnaby Street. We then head to bowling at Ham Yard Hotel and maybe a sneaky cocktail, finishing with James Bond at the Selfridges Cinema.
It was a whirlwind 3 days and actually quite hot weather, but I loved every second of it. After London we head to Brighton for one night, which was equally lovely. I better save those recommendations for another day.