Photos by Sarah Treacher.
I like to think of myself as an adopted Londoner. No, I don’t live in London, but I did spend several of my formative years working there as well as many weekends hanging out with pals in the city, and so I’ve quite the roster of places to drink, shop and do. Including Drink Shop Do! 😉
And although I once famously ditched the city in order to be able to enjoy non-work life not on a train, and then ended up moving halfway across the world, there really is a special sort of magic about London. The way the locals are friendly but the suits certainly are not. The way the Underground has its’ own unique climate and how the Central line is our adopted tropics. The way you can be in the City looking up at dizzying skyscrapers one moment and then laying out a plaid blanket atop Primrose Hill for a picnic the next.
I’m constantly asked for ideas of what to do in London by friends and family from home as well as from far-flung destinations, and rather than type out my recommendations time and time again, here is my guide to the destinations in the big smoke that you should totally add to your address book.
Drink (and Eat!)
The Botanist have locations dotted throughout the country, but I couldn’t not include this beautiful bar and restaurant. They specialise in botanical-based drinks and their food is incredible: their vegan option is grilled cauliflower floret which is delicious! Alternatively, their bottomless brunch is truly something to behold and an excellent way to either kick-start or round-up your weekend.
Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS. Tel. No.: 020 3058 9888.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Shackfuyu remains one of my favourite places to eat in London. I loved Flesh & Buns, and their sister restaurant provides Japanese izakaya dishes right in the heart of the West End. Their main menu is brilliant, but it’s their bottomless brunch that I always recommend time and time again. Meat-eaters: get the Korean chicken. And always save room for their French toast hybrid. It’s genius.
14A Old Compton St, Soho, London. W1D 4TJ.
Ask for Janice
I’ve only been to Ask for Janice once and yet it still features prominently whenever I’m asked for London recommendations. Their breakfast menu is pretty damn great, and it’s a lovely spot if you’re after a couple of Instagram shots.
50-52 Long Lane, Farringdon, London, EC1A 9EJ. Tel. No.: 020 7600 2255.
Drink Shop Do
To be honest, I think I only began to enjoy evenings at Drink Shop Do because it’s so close to the train station that takes me home, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to include this cosy spot in my post. Drink Shop Do is a shop of many parts: you can buy coffee, take part in creative workshops, buy from independent sellers, or drink in their underground bar. I enjoy all three and just find the space inspiring and versatile. I’ve even heard that it’s good for hen parties!
9 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX.
I’m sure you’re no stranger to the beautiful The Ned, a hotel based in an one-time banking hall. Within the main hall are eight restaurants in a stunning blush pink and forest green palette, each serving up different cuisines. My recommendations? Kaia’s poké bowl, the bottomless vegan brunch at weekends, and Cecconi’s asparagus and lemon risotto.
27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ.
For affordable Japanese food, you’ll need to add Eat Tokyo to your list. There’s almost always a queue outside, but for good reason: their bento boxes are really well-priced and SO generous in portion size. They serve amazing sushi too.
16 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TL.
Somehow I’ve become a huge fan of afternoon tea. And top of that list is sketch! Tucked away just off Regent Street is this stunning pink tearoom, all pink velvet, brass metal and quirky artwork lining the walls. Their afternoon tea menu is my absolute favourite because their sandwiches are equally as tasty as their sweet treats. I’m yet to be disappointed by this place, which proves that style does mean substance. Oh, and be sure to visit their iconic bathrooms!
9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London, W1S 2XG.
Wulf & Lamb
If you’re vegetarian or vegan or are hanging out with somebody that is, be sure to visit Wulf & Lamb over in West London. Their small but perfectly formed menu is truly delicious: I love their chilli con carne with rice. They’re also dog-friendly, which is always a bonus!
243 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London, SW1X 0BP.
Sadly I no longer get to indulge in Korean BBQ as it’s notoriously meat-centric, but if you’re in the market for a barbecue meal, I’d highly recommend Koba. It’s just behind Oxford Street and is incredibly easy to get to. Expect informal dining and delicious food. Always order the plum tea.
11 Rathbone St, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1NA.
Wild at Heart
A beautiful florist based in West London. Go for the ‘gram, leave with a stunning bunch of fresh cut fleurs.
Turquoise Island, 222 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2RH.
If you’re similarly into healthier eating, then Wholefoods will be your mecca. Full of amazing, wholesome brands, I love popping in and picking up some fresh produce for that evening’s dinner.
20 Glasshouse St, London, W1B 5AR.
Another greenery-filled shop, the Petersham Nurseries are somewhat of a marvel amongst the rest of the Covent Garden noise. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon, gathering inspiration for the home and garden. Stop by for a coffee, or wander on over to…
27-31 King St, London, WC2E 8JB.
This pink concept store is nestled right the way in to Covent Garden. I absolutely love wandering in to peek at their new wares, featuring wonderful independent creatives. There’s a little coffee pitstop inside too.
23 Rose Street, Rose Street, London, WC2E 9EA.
If coffee isn’t really your jam, then walk a little further on and you’ll discover Milk Train, the ever-popular candy floss ice-cream store that is all over Instagram. Their soft serve is delicious and all of their toppings are popular Asian snacks! I distinctly remembering LOVING the candy floss ice-cream concept when I was living in Hong Kong and so it’s incredible to see it performing well here too.
44 Bedford St, London, WC2E 7NR.
And Other Stories
Clothes-wise, you can’t go wrong with a meander around And Other Stories. The two-floor store is full of styles that you’ll find on your favourite bloggers, a beauty range that is shockingly good, and visual merchandising that is so clever you’ll have spent £££ before you’ve realised!
256-258 Regent St, Soho, London, W1B 3AF.
Lastly, a worthy mention must go to my beloved Brandy Melville, where almost all of my ridiculously soft white slogan tees come from. Annoyingly they’re a one size only kinda shop, but if you’re a size 8/10, you’ll enjoy browsing.
9-15 Neal St, London, WC2H 9PU.
Browse the V&A
The Victoria & Albert Museum has been one of my favourite museums ever since I began regularly visiting in order to produce articles for University. The building itself is a lesson in architectural beauty and I always find such comfort in spending a morning there.
Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 2RL.
Walk along Regent’s Canal
On sunnier days, I really enjoy wandering along Regent’s Canal. Harvey and I spent an entire afternoon walking along it, stopping for coffee and food where needed the first summer that we began dating! And as such, the canal holds wonderful memories for me.
Take a Barrecore class!
Why not spend an hour getting sweaty and toned in a Barrecore class? You can browse the full timetable on their website, and while they’re expensive, I honestly couldn’t recommend Barre classes more. They work by fatiguing your muscles through small isometric movements that condition, lean out and sculpt your muscles. My butt has never looked better!
Picnic atop Primrose Hill
I just love a good picnic, okay?! My recommendation here is to catch a Tube to Baker Street, and walk to The Marylebone Kitchen, who make the best salads in town. Mix and match a few boxes of salad and then head on up to the very top of Primrose Hill to enjoy a view of the city that has my heart aflutter every single time.
The Marylebone Kitchen: 106 York St, Marylebone, London, W1H 4QN.
Book tickets to an outdoor cinema
Did you know that for our first official date, Harvey took me to an outdoor cinema? It was the sweetest first date idea and I had the best time. So I have no qualms about adding this to my list of things to do in London. The one we visited was in East London, where he lived for a year, but there are several dotted across the city.
Grab coffee and cake in Little Venice
One of my favourite neighbourhoods in London is that of Little Venice! It’s a well-kept secret where you can see tons of boats lining the canal, and is beautiful year-round. I shot a few autumn shoots here with Kaye and it was just darling! A short walk around the area (it’s mapped out when you arrive) will take you to several cafes, perfect for a slice of cake and cup of Joe.
Which are your favourite places to drink, shop and do in London? Would you like to see a similar guide for Hong Kong?