So here goes… my trip to London! I want to start by listing a few resources I used when planning my trip. The first is Time Out London, a great website for current events/listings/restaurant reviews. I came across this blog post before I left, a London Design Guide by design*sponge which has some great addresses, as well as this blog by This Is Naive, an insiders guide to London. And for those who speak Dutch, I really really like the 100% guides by mo’media which are broken up into districts/areas and include lovely long walks as well as addresses of great boutiques and restaurants. OK, so let’s start with day one.
One of the first things I really wanted to do was visit Notting Hill (and yes, it was because of the movie, guilty as charged!) We went on a Saturday morning and the antique market was in full swing. We walked all the way down Portobello road to the Travel Bookshop (13-15 Blenheim Crescent), the bookshop where Hugh Grant worked in the movie. The store has such a lovely collection of travel books, I definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. Across the street you’ll find Books for Cooks (4 Blenheim Crescent) which is an adorable little bookstore of cookbooks, and includes a little cafe in the back which hosts cooking classes. On our way back up Portobello Road, we passed by the Portobello Star (171 Portobello Road) for a quick coffee, then to the famous Hummingbird Bakery (133 Portobello Road) for a delicious red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. We also spotted a band, The Ryan O’Reilly Band, performing on a street corner, and stopped to listen (apparently they’re regulars in Notting Hill!) Check out their MySpace page here. For a more detailed post of photographs of Notting Hill, click here!
We then took the tube from Notting Hill to Oxford Circus, walked down Regent Street to Great Marlborough Street for the famous Liberty London (check out the blog here). What a beautiful store, definitely the most beautiful department store I’ve ever been to. The shop was originally opened in 1875 by Arthur Liberty, selling ornaments, fabric and objets d’art from Japan and the East. As the business grew, neighbouring properties were bought and added. By the late 1890s, the store became one of the most prestigious in all of London, adding fashion and costume designs of famous London designers. To this day, the shop sells fashions, cosmetics, accessories, gifts etc. in addition to its homewares and furniture. If you ever get the chance to visit, be sure to check out the fabrics section, it’s absolutely beautiful! See more photographs of Liberty London by clicking here.
From Regent Street we walked to St Christopher’s Place in Marylebone, a very quiet square away from the crowded and busy Oxford Street. We popped into Apostrophe (St Christopher’s Place W1), a fuse of “boulangerie-patisserie food with a strong cafe culture [in] a modern, cosmopolitan environment” to split a baguette and a lemonade for lunch, before exploring the lovely district of Marylebone. Right off St Christopher’s Place you’ll find Mrs Kibble’s Olde Sweet Shoppe (4 St Christopher’s Place), absolutely adorable. We walked by Paul Rothe & Son (35 Marylebone Lane), popped into La Fromagerie (2-6 Moxon Street), Daunt Books (83 Marylebone High Street) and Cath Kidston (51 Marylebone High Street). Other places I’d like to visit next time include Divertimenti (33-34 Marylebone High Street), the Marylebone Farmer’s Market off Cramer Street on Sundays from 10am-2pm and Postcard Teas (9 Dearing Street). My photographs of Marylebone can be found here.
We finished the afternoon by popping into the Selfridges (400 Oxford Street) and browsing the famous Shoe Galleries, as well as the unbelievably large (and incredibly chaotic!) Primark (499 Oxford Street). We walked down the beautiful Bond Street/New Bond Street, found my newest obsession, Mulberry bags (42 New Bond Street), randomly found the beautiful department store Fortnum and Mason (181 Piccadilly), ended up at Piccadilly Circus and then walked back up Regent Street to Anthropologie (158 Regent Street). From there we popped into Top Shop (36-38 Great Castle Street) and Urban Outfitters(200 Oxford Circus), then back to Marylebone to the most wonderful dim sum restaurant Ping Pong (29a James Street) for dinner. My sister and I both ordered the Ping Pong Collection (9.99 pounds/person) which was absolutely delicious. A great way to end a very busy but productive day!