Last october I had the great fun to visit the UK. After spending 5 days in London, two friends and I rented a car and traveled the countryside. All in all it was a simply wonderful trip with just the right mix of buzzing city life and calming countryside.
London is one of my favorite cities. This was my third time there and every time I feel like I‘ve only seen 2% of what this city has to offer. So much culture, beautiful architecture, fleamarkets, food, museums, parks… The countryside has just as much to offer. Great natural sights, old forests, sweet Bed & Breakfasts and lots of animals.
Todays post is all about London and which places I would recommend to check out. But check back for a post on the countryside soon.
PS: Which are your favorite places in London? I would love to know!
Although it might be convinient to stay in a Hotel right in the city center, my favorite place to stay is the B&B London – an organic, family run Bed & Breakfast in Ealing, only 20 minutes by train from the city center. The rooms are cozy, breakfast is vegetarian/vegan and of course all organic (even the towles, soap and tea in the room). The family is very warm and welcoming and were always up for a little chat or giving us tips for our stay in London. Simply a great Bed & Breakfast! PS: They also have a dog… which Hotel can beat THAT? 😉
London is very green, with lots of parks and trees – one thing I love about the city. So far the Hyde Park has impressed me the most. It‘s huge and beautiful. The big lake is great for bird watching and the wide open gras landscape makes you want to sit down and relax. So take your time and maybe even bring some picknick!
Green Park is another great park, mostly for its friendly habitants, the squirrels! I never saw so many of them in one place. They were not shy at all and came very close to check if we had snacks for them. I saw some people feeding peanuts to them, which they seemed to love, so bring some when you go. 😉 I could have sat there for hours just observing.
Portobello Market – This market is a must visit. The Portobello Road itself is beautiful, with lots of interesting stores (great for antiques and jewlery!) but make sure to go when it‘s market time. The atmosphere is so special! Between market stands with fresh fruits, veggies and flowers there are muscians playing good music. It sucks you into a really nice and relaxed London feeling, as if you were living in the “Notting Hill” movie. If you enjoy cooking, definitely check out the store „Books for Cooks“ located on a side street!
Old Spitalfields Market – This market was recommended to us by the guide of a Jack The Ripper Tour while she was showing us a very historic part of the city. My friend and me had to come back to check out the market closer and it was so worth it. It has so many nice market stands, all under the roof of a market hall (→ perfect for rainy days). It’s especially nice for shopping clothes and jewelry with a lot of unique designers. And not to forget the food! Go there hungry – trust me, there will be so much food that you will want to try. (Like the Roti Wrap ↓)
Rainforest Creations – Let‘s continue with the Spitalfield market… there is a food stand called Rainforest Creations and I had the most amazing wrap made of wholewheat corn and filled with split lentils, sprouted Hummus, pineapple, beet roots, salad and dressing (all organic). Ask for the Carribean Roti Wrap. You won‘t regret it.
The Monkey Burger – After falling in love with this burger recipe from the blog Vegan Guerilla, we had to go find the original Monkey Burger that is also mentioned in the blogpost. Located on the Camden Market is a little food stand called Ha Ha Veggie Bar. After we searched for it quite a while, we finally found and loved it! I wish I could have tried more of those delicious sounding burgers (like the Garlic Burger), but I‘m happy that I got to try the Monkey Burger with peanut butter and banana. Soooo good, right Anna?
Jamie Oliver Italian Restaurant – By accident we passed this Jamie Oliver restaurant and couldn‘t resist to try it out. Ever since, I‘m basically in love with Jamie. We had the Pumkin & Squash Gnudi, the Wild Mushroom Cilindretti Pasta Pillows and Funky Fries. It was a pleasure with every single bite! Other pluses: reusable napkins, free tap water and cheerful waiters. PS: Jamie, if you read this…. when is your vegetarian/vegan cookbook coming out? Please say soon!
If you are in the area of Covent Garden, stop by this nice little place for lunch. They serve wonderful vegetarian and vegan dishes that make you feel like home.
Mildreds – This vegetarian restaurant is fancier and a bit pricier than „Food For Thought“, but with a wonderful atmosphere – a great place to enjoy a calm evening meal after a restless day. It was hard for me to pick a meal, since everything on the card looks tasty. I ended up with the veggie burger that was served with sweet potato fries and a wicked good vegan basil mayo.
Other Fun Things
Natural History Museum – If you are as much of a fan of dinosaur bones as me, you will love this museum. It was as fascinating as it was sad to see the beauty of animals that once lived on this planet. Sad, because humans are responsible for a lot of their deaths. It made me realize even more that we have to try much harder to save our biodiversity.
We were also lucky to be there in time for the museums annual exhibition of the best wildlife photography. Definitely worth checking out! And aside from all that, this museum is impressive and worth visiting just for its architecture. What a beautiful building…
Lush Spa – Now, this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We went to a Lush Spa in Kingston upon Thames (they also have one in central London). Eventhough it‘s very pricy it‘s worth doing once in your lifetime, because it is such a special experience, one that I will never forget. The massage was combined with music, lighting and scents – all individually fitting to your mood/personality. And of course they only used Lush products (massage bars that you cannot buy in the store, but you get to keep one after the massage). My friends and me had the biggest smiles when we came out of the massage rooms. Soooo relaxing.