What Could Be Prettier Than London In Bloom?
I have been dying to go to London after seeing the gorgeous magnolia bloom all over Instagram this past February. Although I missed the magnolias, London was full of pastel blooms and rainbow florals. To add to it, the time of my visit at the end of May was during the Chelsea Flower Show. Virtually every store front and restaurant window was covered in a gorgeous floral display. Of course, the Chelsea/ Kensington area was the most efflorescent, and each borough in London has a unique vibe and culture worth exploring. Besides being extremely Instagrammable, you don't want to miss the sightseeing, museums (most are free!), experiences, and rich history London has to offer.
Must See In London
1. Tower of London
We visited the Tower of London on our very last day on a whim, and I regret doing so! It ended up being one of my very favorite things that we did this trip. I would recommend going on a week day so that it is less crowded. The line to see the infamous Crown Jewels can be extremely long, however it does go by very quickly. Standard Adult Tickets are £25 per person, ($32 USD). Give yourself at least three hours to spend at the Tower of London, you will want to see everything. Next time I would plan a day to visit the Tower of London after walking across the Tower Bridge and then hopping on a River Thames cruise!
2. Tower Bridge
Walking across the Tower Bridge was magical. It's so majestic and vibrant! Make sure you bring a jacket, it's very chilly from the cool river breeze. Tower Bridge is also stunning at night, you can catch an amazing view of it at the Aqua-Shard Lounge!
3. London Eye
The London Eye is Europe's tallest ferris wheel, located along River Thames. Book your ticket ahead of time to reserve your spot for £27- £37 ($34- $47 USD). Tickets include a 4D cinema experience and Champagne Bar entry!
4. Buckingham Palace
Of course when visiting London you have to stop by the official residence of royalty! To see the changing of the guards, please note it only take place on certain days. It happens at 11 am at the Windsor Castle. You can check Google online during your trip to see which days it takes place! After your visit to the Buckingham Palace, make sure to walk across the street through St. James Park!
5. Westminster Abbey & The Palace of Westminster
After a nice walk through St. James Park, you can find The Westminster Abbey and The Palace of Westminster. The Westminster Abbey is absolutely beautiful and rich in English history. You can do a full guided tour on the inside of the building. The Palace is also open to visitors, and you can't miss the incredible architecture on the outside.
6. Big Ben
Big Ben is perhaps the most famous London landmark, however it is currently under construction. :( It is supposed to be finished in 2021.
7. River Thames
I highly recommend doing a boat or bus River Thames tour. You will be able to see most of London's most famous landmarks, including the London Eye, Palace of Westminster, The Shard, Tower of London, and more. It seems that the best place to jump on a tour is around the river walk by the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London!
8. St. Paul's Cathedral
Standing at over 1,400 years old, St. Paul's Cathedral is a must-see when in London. It is located on Ludgate Hill at the peak of the City of London.
9. Rosetta Stone
What comes to a surprise for a lot of tourists is that you can find the Rosetta Stone in London! It is located at the British Museum. Entry is free!
10. Abbey Road
I completely forgot to do this while I was in London! So I am here to remind you, take a picture at Abbey Road. It is known for the infamous album cover photo of the Beatles.
Here is a list of the food/drink that is unique to London that you should try while visiting! As a little disclaimer, most people say that the food is not good in London besides their brunches. I did not have any negative experiences with the food here, but I do have to say it was overall mediocre. Definitely not a foodie town, but don't worry, I listed some of the best restaurants below!
Brekkie is what the English call breakfast or brunch. 'Brekkie' as they call it, is a hit in London. You must try the English Breakfast! Some of the best Brekkie places: The Wolsely, Regency Cafe, Duck & Waffle
Fish and Chips
Eating fish and chips is a given when in the UK! I think its the same everywhere, but here are some of London's "Best," according to Trip Advisor: The Golden Chippy, Fishers Fish and Chips, & Bailey's Fish and Chips
Bangers and Mash
Basically sausage and potatoes.
Filet Steak wrapped in a pastry puff.
Meat, vegetables, & mashed potatoes.
Before coming to London, I had no idea that the gin market starts in the UK! We discovered that our favorite London Gin is Monkey 47. Best gin cocktail: French 75. Here are some distilleries you may want to check out! Beefeater Distillery,East London Liquor Company, City of London Distillery. There are also lots of Gin Tours, such as the Gin Journey.
Best Places For Afternoon Tea in London
Let me just say, that was my absolute FAVORITE thing we did in London. I could do this every day! Afternoon tea is so proper and fancy, and everything that I love! Tea, crumpets, sandwiches, pastries, and desserts in the most elegant display! What more could I ask for?! (If you don't like tea, you can order champagne). Most hotels offer their own afternoon tea. However, I listed some of the most popular ones below!
**You must book your afternoon tea in advance! You can typically call or make a reservation online.**
Make sure to have proper dress & dining etiquette! If you're not sure, look it up on YouTube.
1. The Ritz London
£58 ($74) per person
"World Famous, Unforgettable"
More on the pricey side, but is perhaps the most tasteful and ornate afternoon tea in London!
2. Mr. Fogg's
£44 ($56) per person
Mr. Fogg's serves afternoon tea with a twist! They offer a selection of champagne and gin teas along with Victorian sweet and savory treats.
£70 ($89) per person
"The Real Deal"
Very traditional, non-touristy afternoon tea. Pricey, but a unique, cultured experience.
4. The Kensington Hotel
£42 ($53) per person
The Kensington Hotel afternoon tea is a little on the touristy side but, it is so fun and unique! Delectables come out on the "London Eye," with London themed food and pastries such as The Shard, Big Ben, The Gherkin, and a telephone booth.
Best Museums in London
1. The British Museum (free)
This museum is AWESOME. It contains millions of ancient artifacts and artwork. It is most famous for the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian Mummies, and the Parthenon Marbles.
2. Natural History Museum (free)
History museum contains seasonal exhibitions along with fossils and skeletons.
3. Science Museum (free)
Good for kids. Many people visit to see Stephenson's Rocket and Puffing Billy.
4. Tate Modern (free)
Art museum featuring world famous artists such as Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein.
5. National Gallery (free)
Contains art works from famous artists, including Da Vinci, Monet, and Van Gogh.
Best Parks in London
Don't skip out on London's parks! They are so incredibly peaceful and wonderful. Most of London is actually fairly walkable. If any of the following parks are close to where you are headed, make sure you allow time on your way to walk through the park to get to your destination! You won't regret it.
1. St. James Park
2. Regent's Park
3. Hyde Park
4. Greenwich Park
5. Holland Park
Most Famous Pubs in London
The UK is more of a pub crawl scene than a club scene. They say each pub has a story to tell. You have to try a few at least once! So here are the most famous pubs in London to try:
1. The Cittie of Yorkie
2. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
3. The Mayflower
4. Earl of Essex
5. Ye Olde Mitre
6. Old Bell Tavern
7. The George Inn
8. The Star Tavern
Best Restaurants in London
1. The Wolseley
2. Sketch London
4. OXO Tower Restaurant
5. Clos Maggiore
6. Boulevard Brasserie
7. London in the Sky
Best Bars in London
Most amazing view in London. The cocktails were great, service was not so great... but I did notice most places in London did not have great service. Make a reservation ahead of time!
2. The Savoy Hotel American Bar
The American Bar was actually voted the World's Best Bar in 2017! It is the oldest cocktail bar in London, featuring cocktails in the "Savoy Songbook." Enjoy a luxury cocktail while listening to their lovely pianist!
Speakeasy jazz bar with fun & beautiful cocktails.
4. Punch Room
Located at the London Edition, this bar literally serves cocktails in a punch bowl, garnished with flowers.
5. Connaught Bar
Known as one of the best Martini Bars in London.
6. Three Sheets
Supposedly this bar has the best French 75 in London!
Oxford St. Soho
London's most famous shopping street. You must stop into Selfridge's for a London shopping experience (like the Macy's of NYC), and have lunch at the Aubaine. Although, there are lots of wonderful and trendy places to eat around Soho. Oxford St. is mostly made up of big department and chain stores, most of which we have in the U.S.
Harrod's is the home to the most exquisite and expensive designers in the world. Even if you don't plan to shop, you have to stop by Harrod's to experience why it's so famous! Harrod's dates all the way back to 1834. If you don't plan on shopping some of their most exclusive designers, you can grab some chocolates and desserts to take home!
A wide variety of shopping stems from Piccadilly Circus! Find small handmade goods and souvenir shops down Coventry Street, and department and flagship stores down Regent Street.
New Bond Street
You can find all of the coveted designer stores here such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Make sure to stop by Fenwick too!
Portobello Road Market
Famous for being the world's largest antiques and fashion market.
Camden Market has become quite overcrowded with tourists, but it is something you should try to see while visiting London. It is mostly food & drink vendors, but they also have some really unique shops and artists! I suggest walking though Regent's Park up to Little Venice to Camden Town. It is a very lovely journey up to Camden Market!
Most Instagrammable Places in London
London is an absolute Instagram heaven!!! From flower walls to beautiful store fronts, 23 carat gold milkshakes and glittery desserts, you won't miss an opportunity for an 'Insta-Worthy" pic here. Before my trip, I saved a lot of photos from London bloggers on my Instagram, and these are the top places I wanted to visit for a photo! When wandering around London, you will find so many cute and colorful homes and displays besides the ones listed here!
1. Peggy Porschen Cakes
Peggy Porschen is famous for its light pink storefront and creative cakes. You can sit outside or inside, and order a slice of cake, and tea or champagne to drink.
2. Elan Cafe
There are a few different Elan Cafes in the London area, and they are all equally as cute! Enjoy brunch and coffee on pink couches or stop in to sip some tea and have dessert. The food and drinks here are extremely aesthetically pleasing. They even have a Blue Sapphire Latte with crushed sapphire, blue flower petals, condensed milk and matcha.
3. L'ETO Caffe
L'ETO Caffe also has a few locations around London. The restaurant is so cute and fun, and has a wonderful display of cakes and pastries as well. Not only are their cakes amazing, but they serve a delicious all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner! My favorite thing about this place was the flower cake and the Magic Iced Tea! It was like a little science experiment... the color changed from dark blue to a bright purple! All of their drinks are garnished with beauty! They even have a little "Instagrammable" icon next to their most aesthetically pleasing selections on the menu!
4. Notting Hill & The Colville Houses
Notting Hill might be the cutest neighborhood in the world. With pastel colored homes from baby blue to pink to lavender, there are SO MANY cute photo ops. There are also lots of cute shops around this area, including the Portobello Road Market. There's a really cute black and white cafe called Biscuiteer's Boutique and Icing Cafe that is perfect for Instagram on Kensington Park Road. Now, I had seen the beautiful pastel pink, yellow, and blue row of homes all over Instagram, but we could not find it to save our lives. After extensive research and two hours of wandering around, we found them. To save you time, the houses are called Colville Houses, and they are located on a street called Colville Houses off of Talbot Road.
5. Saint Aymes
Named the prettiest cafe in London, this is one place you can't miss. Not only is it dripping with florals on the outside, but the inside is super cute too. They have the most adorable cookies, pastries, doughnuts, cupcakes, chocolates, and more. I had myself a pink hot cocoa with 23 Carat gold garnishing the whipped cream, with a side of gold glittery espresso. I ordered the berry waffles, which were also sprinkled with edible glitter!
6. Telephone Booths
When in London... of course you have to take a fun photo outside one of the classic red telephone booths! Or maybe a full on photoshoot... haha! You won't have trouble finding one, they're everywhere!
7. The Kensington
Besides the extremely fun and photogenic afternoon tea, The Kensington Hotel is also named 'One of the Most Instagrammable Hotels in London.' From the cute couches and colors on display to their glamorous bar area, you won't miss a photo op here.
8.The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Just walking distance from The Kensington on King's Road, you can't miss The Ivy Chelsea Garden. It is a restaurant and garden filled with art. Even if you choose not to go inside, many people take photos on the outside flower wall filled with color.
Where We Stayed
Grand Royale London Hyde Park
This hotel is absolutely beautiful and ornate. The building was built in the late 1800's, and although it has been refurbished a few times since then, its character is the same. Fun Fact: this building is said to have been commissioned by Edward VII for his mistress Lilly Langtry. My favorite part about the hotel is the theater bar! They have breakfast and afternoon tea available for purchase. This hotel was on the less expensive side in London, priced at $170 per night. This was a great location to stay in. Right outside of Hyde Park, we were just a train ride or Uber away from all of our favorite areas: Notting Hill, Chelsea, Kensington, Soho, Westminster, and The City of London was about 30 min away. The only downside to this hotel is the narrow room size. I found it extremely claustrophobic. There was barely any space to put our suitcases. A 'queen bed' was more like a full bed.
Thanks for reading! Please drop your comments or questions below. :)