The United Kingdom will forever hold a piece of my heart. London is a city that felt like home even before I stepped off the plane. Having spent quite a bit of time there I still know there’s so much more to explore and I’ll count the days until I’m back on that plane, heading ‘home’. Even the grey skies didn't dampen the happiness I felt as I tried to explore as many places as I could. If this is your first time here you'll be surprised at how big and vast the city is but don't be disheartened as their transport system will have you exploring like a Londoner in no time. Be sure to keep an ear out for the many buskers located in the tube stations, they're always sure to lighten the busy commute. London is not quite the concrete jungle but it’s pretty damn close to a good cup of tea. It not only met my expectations but it truly left me wanting more. In a city with so much to do it’s easy to become unsure of what to see and where to go. Here’s my top pick of the trendy places to which you should be heading.
Camden is the complete definition of ‘there’s more to this than meets the eye’. Walking down the perfectly lined streets you get the feel that it is slightly industrial but strikingly posh. You could rock up with purple hair and no-one would blink an eye. The thing I loved most about Camden was that it felt like you had popped back to the eighties. On a summer day you can drink your cider whilst people watching from the rooftop bar above. Definitely a must. While you're here check out the cool food markets that feature food that's bang on trend.
PICCADILLY CIRCUS (AT NIGHT)
What a place. Piccadilly showed me that there was such a thing as watching time vanish right before your eyes. Full of lights and life – Piccadilly Circus is much more than your little circus act. It’s more a charismatic character bursting with life, oh and those classic red double decker buses. Follow the street along and you’ll soon find yourself shopping to your heart’s content on Oxford Street, which stays open quite late.
Shoreditch is like that jumper your Mum wore in the 80’s that was so uncool but has now surprisingly become cool. It’s bustling with an array of unique and trendy places to check out throughout the year, good coffee and even greater buildings. Shoreditch is the most unique outdoor art gallery I have yet visited. It is constantly evolving as new artworks appear and others get painted over. I especially loved the graffiti walls and little pop up art galleries. You might want to watch out for an original Banksy or two. If you’re a Jack the Ripper fan be sure to explore this suburb at night – check out the website and book tickets here.
This part of London still maintains it’s slight edge, which is why a visit is so worthwhile. Shoreditch has so much to offer – just head down Brick Lane and your little hipster self will be sweet. If you're a fan of this quirky place be sure to make a stop at Carnaby Street – a classic.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM
This place is almost a given. I mean, can you really say you went to London or even England if you don’t go to the British Museum? Being the Australian I am, I’m amazed at anything older than 300 years so everything seemed to make me stop in my tracks. You’ll especially love this place if you’re into your Ancient History; it has enough Egyptian memorabilia to make you smile – especially since it's free entry. Find out all about it here
The Borough Markets – pretty much any foodie’s heaven. Pack yourself a little picnic and head on over to Hyde Park to make the most of it. Even better if it's summer and you can hire a deck chair. Fresh fruit, breads and amazing desserts await in a market warehouse centrally located in Southwark. You won’t regret it.
NOTTING HILL MARKETS
Notting Hill has so much beauty. From the moment you head out of the tube station to walk to the markets you’ll be in awe of the multi-coloured pastel houses that lead the way. The markets themselves and the shops that surround add to the quirkiness of this rather long street. Be sure to stop by the many antique stores that line the street and pick yourself up a charm to match this suburb’s character. Don’t forget to make a pit stop at the Notting Hill Book store, you might not be lucky enough to see Hugh Grant himself but you can buy a mask and that’s almost the same thing.
Southbank adorns the river Thames and in the summertime it’s a little paradise daydream that you won’t want to wake up from. With market stalls, restaurants, bars and the London Wonderground featured in the warmer months. Southbank boasts some of the best places to check out. Heading there in Winter? London has your festive spirit sorted with a winter wonderland featured not only here but in some of the most popular places around the city. Don't forget to grab your skates and head to Somerset House for a truly magical experience.
London has an evident character and although each city does there is something so distinct about London it sets it apart from the rest. London is always a surprise, with so many pop-up events and festivals you'll never be short of something to do. The city is so easily accessible via the underground system I feel as though you could explore a new part each weekend. You could hopelessly fall in love with London over and over again and every time find something slightly different that will make you want to explore it just one more time.