Firstly – I need to make it clear that this photo is not, I repeat NOT a picture from our Greek summer holiday. But it does totally look like it right?
I’ve been to London hundreds of times over the years and have never felt compelled to do one of these posts before, so why now?
Well, because myself and the Mr have been so often, we’ve settled into a routine of doing the same things and eating at the same places, which is nice but also a bit ‘same old’. So this time we decided to change it up – different activities, different places to eat, different areas of London we’ve rarely ventured to, and it went so well it felt worthy of sharing!
After arriving early afternoon and checking into our hotel (just a Travelodge; perfectly fine but not blog-worthy) we headed over to Covent Garden to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner at The Real Greek.
As you can probably tell, we’re not quite ready to let our summer holiday experiences in Santorini go! We arrived here at about 3.30 on a Thursday afternoon and it was really quiet, so we were served really quickly. The food was delicious, portion sizes were good and overall value for money. We’ll definitely be laying another visit.
After dinner (and a quick Google search) we went to check out Blame Gloria a sassy AF basement bar just up the road.
I don’t think I’ve ever visited a bar quite like this! Both the front and back sections of the bar (and the walkway separating them) were decorated in a different yet super cool way, and it was happy hour. Strawberry Fields cocktails all round!
I even got to appear on the telly…hehe.
Then it was time for one final drink at the rooftop bar in Leicester Square before heading out for the evening.
As well as a delightful host we enjoyed the Stylings of 4 comedians, including Ed Gamble who we’ve seen on Comedy Central/Channel 4 a few times. If you’re a comedy fan, or just want to do something a little different whilst in town then a comedy club is a great option – as well as discovering new comedians to follow, you may be lucky to catch someone who’s breaking into the mainstream circuit at a much cheaper rate (though it may also be worth noting that sometimes the slightly bigger acts have a tendency not to appear at last minute)
Day 2 started bright and early with breakfast at Duck and Waffle, which claims to be the highest restaurant in London.
At 40 floors up (with a speedy lift that made my ears pop) the views are preset darn great on a clear day. To take full advantage, make sure you book in advance and you’ll be more likely to get a seat right next to the window.
How d’ya like them waffles? Quite a lot, actually! Although no duck was featured in mine as I was in more of a sweet mood, so I sipped my green tea whilst munching on an apple and cinnamon topped creation. The only sad part is that it wasn’t bigger.
After breakfast came a few hours of shopping (that part was same old – Oxford Street, Topshop, Selfridges, you know the drill) we headed to the Sanderson Hotel to indulge in the infamous Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea, something I’ve been curious about for years…see what I did there?
Since we only booked the day before we were lucky to get a seat in the courtyard near the flamingo water feature, which is the most coveted location due its quirkiness.
Menus were hidden inside an old book left on the table atop a jewellery box (which cleverly concealed sugar cubes) and were presented with apothecary-style bottles containing different tea blends we coumd choose to enjoy.
They have regular tea and coffee too, if these aren’t your thing.
Then, the Foodie magic happened…
Look how pretty! There were such a variety of flavours, textures and colours that nodded to Alice in Wonderland – marshmallow magic mushrooms, Queen’s jam tarts and crockery featuring the original imagery of the novel.
The staff are super obliging and are happy to refill tea pots and plates (sandwiches and scones), or pop it in a box for yoh if you’re simply too full. I think we paid about £55pp which is pretty standard for central London, however they do add on a 20% service charge which is a bit steep even fkr the Capital, but you can ask for this to be taken off in favour of a more appropriate amount.
After a slow walk from Oxford Street to Leicester Square through Soho (and possibly via the pub) we did something we have very rarely done in London – visit the theatre. There’s very rarely anything on that we both like the sound of, so we decided to take a risk and booked a show neither of us were that fussed but had heared great reviews about – Book of Mormon.
I thought it was frickin’ awesome. Satirical, hilarious, dangerously un-PC and downright weird, I’ve had the soundtrack stuck in my head ever since. Wholeheartedly recommend if you’re not easily offended.
We had a couple of hours free on our last morning so used them to have breakfast at one of Instagram’s favourite haunts, Clerkenwell Grind.
The decor is really cool and chic so it’s obvious why everyone loves it. I’m so into navy blue for interiors right now.
I had a turmeric latte and acai bowl which were both yummy, but neither more so than I’ve had elsewhere before.
As much as I liked visiting here (even though I didn’t get any Insta pics of myself because all the staff were bored and watching us as the only people there) Clerkenwell doesn’t seem to be a natural part of town to visit unless you live round there or are coming here.
Not many people seem to be aware that The Grind is actually a chain and has a few other branches in what I’d say are more convinient locations – Covent Garden Grind sits in a street behind the Piazza, and we actually passed Shoreditch Grind (the original location, apparently favoured by Sam Smith) on the walk to Clerkenwell from Islington. I’d definitely consider going to Grind again, but perhaps one of these.
So that’s our summer visit to London summed up! We had a great time trying new things, some of may make it into our ‘same old’ rotation next time we return.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared the places I always visit in London in a blog post before so if this is something you’d be down to read let me know in the comments or tweet me.
Thanks for reading,