Oh London, I miss you already. I finally gave myself a much needed vacation this year with my trip to London last month. My mom tagged along too and we had such an amazing time. I accumulated thousands of points on my credit card and used it to save money on airfare for both of us. We bought our roundtrip tickets with Virgin Atlantic three months in advance and with the points added, we managed to take an additional $200 off both tickets so in total each ticket cost under $400 after taxes.
London City Travel Guide
London is such a photogenic place with gorgeous historic buildings throughout all parts of the city and the blooms are everywhere. We originally planned to take a day trip to Paris, but I’m glad we scratched that idea because there was just so much to see here in London in our 3 1/2 day trip.
I had a list of places written down in my notebook; but due to our tight schedule, we only went to half of them. I was a tad disappointed but on the bright side, it’s just another excuse to go back to this beautiful city.
Here’s a roundup of places from my recent London visit.
Where to Stay
The Principal London in Russell Square, Bloomsbury (*Now called Kimpton Fitzroy London) // A beautiful modern hotel inside a 19th century landmark building. From the outside, the hotel is very grande and dame but the inside is so contemporary and modern. We stayed in the Superior Double room and it was so spacious. Their was a nice size closet to place our clothes, shoes and carry-on luggages, a sitting area and a big window that brought in a lot of natural light.
Don’t get me started on their bathroom. Simply gorgeous! There was a nice-size window inside too (draped over of course) to bring in natural light and the shower was huge.
The staff were friendly and helped us navigate London.
*Note: When we went in early October it was called The Principal London; but I saw on Instagram the hotel recently got acquired by Kimpton Hotels. It’s now called Kimpton Fitzroy London.
Uber & The Tube // We took the Tube a lot during our stay. We really did pick the right hotel because everything was within walking distance. Lots of cafes, eateries, and just a block away from the Russell Square Tube Station. We took the tube to Mayfair, Notting Hill, Westminster, Soho, and several other places within the city. The only time we used Uber was when we arrived and left London. We each spent less than £20 total using the Tube.
Where to Eat
Since we were there for just a few days, we didn’t really get a chance to stop by all the eateries on our list like the popular Sketch, Monocle, and Crosstown Doughnuts. Below are the ones we did manage to check out and we narrowed down our top picks!
Burr & Co // A cafe shop located inside The Principal London hotel that has delicious food and coffee. Came here a few times for brunch because it was good. I really enjoyed their latte and grilled sandwich. It’s big and spacious too. I even brought my laptop with me once.
Franco Manca // We just arrived at our hotel and since it was late, we wanted something simple so we stopped by this place since it was a block away. I’m glad we did because their sourdough pizza came fast and so tasty. It’s very reasonably priced too!
China House Bloomsbury // A cozy place with great service. The food is great and affordable even on a student budget. I would try their chicken & sweet corn soup, it was delicious!
North Sea Fish Restaurant // The best fish and chips I’ve ever had! It was a few blocks away from our hotel but still walking distance.
Farm Girl Cafe // I’m still mad at myself for letting my phone die because everything was so picturesque here. If you’re the health conscious type, then you’ll love this place!
Soho & Shoreditch
Grind Cafe // This is a must-stop for all you coffee lovers! They have several locations in London but we stopped by the Soho & Shoreditch locations several times and everything was spectacular. The standouts for me were their matcha and beet root lattes!
What to Do & See
We took a Big Bus Hop On & Off Tour to most of the popular spots and attractions. It was great because we were able to walk around like a local.
Marble Arch | Gap Factory Plaid Blazer (Take an extra 15% off til 11/18/18) // Old Navy Jeans (Take 40% off til 11/20/18) // Gap Factory Shirt (Take an extra 15% off til 11/18/18) // APC Belt Bag // Sam Edelman Mules
The London Eye
Marble Arch // It was the first stop on our bus tour. It’s a huge historical monument that’s easy to get to on the tube. An instagrammable location too. Well worth a visit.
Trafalgar Square // A popular tourist attraction with statues, beautiful fountains and live entertainment put on by locals. It’s right next to Piccadilly Circus so there’s plenty of shopping.
London Eye // It’s a sight to see and I hear it’s more beautiful at sunset.
Buckingham Palace // Should be on everyone’s must do list!
Big Ben // It was currently under construction so not much to see.
Covent Garden // Lots of cool shops and cafes in the area.
Where to Shop
Columbia Road Flower Market
Oxford Street // The streets were lined with shopping and all the major department stores (John Lewis, Liberty London, Selfridges, Harrods and etc.) were within walking distance. It’s the most famous shopping district.
Piccadilly Circus & Regent Street // We went through this area during our Bus tour. It’s the Time Square of London. Huge shopping district, with restaurants, pubs, and more. We planned to go back but didn’t get the chance.
Carnaby Street // Another great place to stroll, shop and dine.
Chelsea // Lots of posh shops and restaurants along King’s Road. I also checked out the Zara store at the Duke of York Square and it’s huge!
The Brunswick Centre // We spent a lot of time here since it was just two blocks away from our hotel. Stopped by Boots a few times to pick up items we forgot to bring with us. Bought a few items from stores like New Look and River Island. Also ate at a couple of the cafes and restaurants there.
Notting Hill // During our walking tour, we came across tons of lifestyle shops and boutiques like Matches and Cath Kidston. One of my favorite brands, Sezane just opened up there. We planned to go back and explore after the tour but it started raining heavily so we decided not to.
Portobello Road Market // Went through here during our Notting Hill walking tour. Lot of antiques and cool items to purchase at a bargain. You’ll definitely find something unique here.
Columbia Road Flower Market // If you happen to be in London on a Sunday, head to Shoreditch and stop by the Columbia Road Flower Market. There are stalls of fresh flowers at reasonable prices. Lots of cool local shops too! We got there around 9am but by 10am it was packed so get there early.
Be sure to check out my Instagram stories if you want to see more videos and photos of my London trip!
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