*POST UPDATED NOVEMBER 2022.
Our weekend in London started out a bit differently from pretty much any trip I’d been on before. Boyfriend had told me two days before my birthday that we were flying somewhere & that I’d need to pack a bag for similar-ish kind of weather. That’s all the information I got. He had packed the passports, checked us in, booked the bus tickets, train tickets, and everything else involved in travelling. All I had to do was pack a bag & try not to nose around in Boyfriend’s stuff for clues during the next two days. It was torture, but I somehow managed it. Only after we’d got through security at the airport on my birthday, as we sat down to a desperately needed coffee, Boyfriend handed me a gorgeous birthday card with a bright blue oyster card held within.
(I died. isn’t he the best?)
London is one of my all time favourite places to visit. As soon as I saw the oyster card I quickly became one of those smiley, annoyingly happy people that we all hate to see at the airport, especially before 5:30 in the morning. The birthday card invited me to dinner that night at Wahaca, but other than that Boyfriend informed me that he’d left the weekend relatively unplanned so that we could just explore & have fun without having to stick to a schedule.
The two of us had done most of the touristy attractions in London previously, so we decided to stay away from any of the crowded main areas, choosing instead to spend our time wandering the streets of Bloomsbury, Hampstead, & Notting Hill; three areas of the city I’d never spent much time in before. We had nothing particular in mind for our time in London, other than to eat as much food as we could possibly get our hands on & drink as many margaritas as we could hold down. Life goals.
I have to admit, I fell hard for the beautiful streets of Hampstead, lined with the types of gorgeous houses I will never own – the two of us wandered around (with a £4 sausage roll in hand) gawking in the windows of other people’s homes. The same thing is true of Notting Hill, but we mainly only made the journey out there for one thing: The Blue Door, from Notting Hill. One of my top 10 movies of all time, I was determined that we’d hunt down the door & snap a picture.
Below is a list of some of the places we loved on our trip, as well as a handful of photos that give a small sneak peek into our weekend.
where to eat
Bloomsbury Coffee House // we found ourselves here on our first morning in London. Standard breakfast menu, good coffee, delicious cinnamon sugared French toast with bacon. Address: 20 Tavistock Pl, London WC1H 9RE
Raoul’s // busy little restaurant in Notting Hill. Boyfriend had some of the best pancakes he’s ever had, soaked heavily in butter maple syrup. Address: 105, 107 Talbot Rd, London W11 2AT. *2022 update: sadly, now closed.
Wahaca // home to what turned out to be – hands down – the best tacos Boyfriend & I have ever had, ever. Pork pibil was the taco of choice, washed down with a classic margarita and a Negra Modelo Mexican beer. Nothing better! Address: 66 Chandos Pl, London WC2N 4HG
The Hawksmoor // we’re one of those couples that order the same thing against our better judgement, and this time it came back to bite us – the Hawksmoor Burger with bone marrow nuggets didn’t live up to expectations (too much mustard), but the beef dripping fries are almost worth a visit alone, so dang good. Address: 11 Langley St, London WC2H 9JG
Byron // I have a secret to share with you: Boyfriend & I stopped into Byron to grab a burger… after we’d just had dinner elsewhere. That’s how good these burgers are. Classic, no cheese, always rare, always perfect. Address: 1a St Giles High St, London WC2H 8AG
Chipotle // so cheap & so good. We stopped in for some emergency guacamole & tortilla chips (genuinely, a real emergency), as well as some happy hour margaritas. Both were surprisingly great for the price! Address: 92-93 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4AP
The Hampstead Butcher // I’ve never before seen a butcher with a queue out the door. We paid £4 for a sausage roll & we don’t even regret it one bit. Address: 56 Rosslyn Hill, London NW3 1ND
Fabrique // Best. Cinnamon. Buns. Ever. Address: 212 Portobello Rd, London W11 1LA
where to drink
Coach & Horses // a classic English pub that’s somehow found the happy medium between old-timers & hipster-folk, making it one hella pleasing experience. Bonus: they sell Aperol spritz here! Address: 29 Greek St, London W1D 5DH
The Horseshoe // cozy restaurant in Hampstead that has a killer ranger of Camden Town beers. Boyfriend highly recommends the standard Camden lager. Address: 28 Heath St, London NW3 6TE
The Holly Bush // cozy old style English pub hidden up a small lane way in Hampstead. Perfect for nestling in with a quiet pint. Address: 22 Holly Mount, London NW3 6SG
Freud // down the stairs into a basement under an abandoned old shop lies Freud, a hidden gem. The bar is only identifiable by a sign in the window of the shop above, giving a real speakeasy feel to the place. Boyfriend & I managed to squeeze ourselves onto a step in the middle of the chaos for a well priced cocktail. Address: 198 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JL
what to do
The British Museum // Boyfriend suggested we wander around the BM to add some culture to our trip & I must say we really enjoyed it. Only when we were inside did I remember that the original Parthenon frieze is housed here, sending my inner archaeologist fan-girl-ing all over the place. Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
National Portrait Gallery // we saw a totally amazing exhibition here on William Eggleston, so I have high hopes that all of their exhibitions are totally amazing. Address: St. Martin’s Pl, London WC2H 0HE
just cool places
Foyles Books // the best book store I have ever been in. Five floors of books & knowledge, with a great café on the top floor! Address: 107 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DT
Monmouth Street // such a cool street to wander down, filled with quirky little shops & coffee bars.
Forbidden Planet // Boyfriend got to relive his childhood love for movie memorabilia while we wandered around. It was amazing. Address: 179 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JR
St. John-at-Hampstead Graveyard // I have a thing for graveyards, which works for us, because so does boyfriend! A beautiful graveyard to wander around, also home to grave of John Constable. Address: Church Row, London NW3 6UU
280 Westbourne Park Road // because everybody has to go and see the blue door from Notting Hill the movie. It’s disappointing, sitting beside a Starbucks, but still. This is the door that Anna Scott falls in love with William Thacker at & that’s the best reason ever to go and take a picture outside someone’s front door. Address: 280 Westbourne Park Rd London W11 1EH