A London Travel Guide

Sunday, June 14, 2015
Amongst all the cities I've ever been to, London is definitely up there with my favourites. The last time I visited was back in 2007 so I felt a return was in order. It only takes a 2hr train ride from Liverpool Lime Street so it's super easy to go and come back in the same day. 

First stop was Brick Lane! It has vintage shops a plenty, the famous curry mile (basically a whole street of curry takeaways and restaurants) and more street art than you can shake a stick at. It's definitely the more urban side to London with a lot less tourists. Of course, it's still a busy part of London but a lot more quaint with small roads lined with restaurants, bars and cute boutiques. It's definitely a must visit.

If you're a vintage lover, then a visit to London should definitely involve a visit to Blitz Vintage. When I stepped in the store, I thought I was going to faint when I saw how much vintage there was...or maybe it was just the 25 degree heat that day, who knows? The shop is over two large floors with everything from your classic Levi shorts and mom jeans, to flannel shirts galore, suede skirts à la 70s, , 50s shoes and bags...basically, what I imagine a vintage store to be like in my dreams. The shop is well organised and clean making it easier to look through everything...I honestly think I'd need a whole day to look through everything properly, it really is worth a visit. There's even a little coffee shop next door where you can enjoy a cuppa mid shopping spree.

This was inside at a vintage fair, which I believe is called Brick Lane's Vintage Market. There were tons of different vintage suppliers to look through, an absolute treasure trove of goodies. As we were only there for the day, we just had a quick browse round but if I had more time (and more dolla) then I definitely could have stayed for a few hours. Again, if you like your vintage then pop into the Vintage Market, you will cry with excitement.

The last, but not least, vintage store we popped into was Rokit (<- click there to shop their online store). Rokit first burst onto the scene way back in 1986 with a stall in London's iconic Camden Market. Fast forward to 2015 and they have 4 huge stores scattered around London. They've got everything from classic 50s, 60s and 70s dresses to grungy 90s denim, check shirts, band t shirts and leather jackets. If you're new to vintage and aren't sure where to start, Rokit is a great place to go as they really have something for everyone and pieces that are a cheaper, more authentic alternative to trends on the high street today. They're always reducing things so be sure to pop along and find yourself a vintage bargain.

These two photos above are at BOXPARK in Shoreditch. You may remember it from The Apprentice (see what I'm on about here) where Alan Sugar challenged the candidates to open up a pop-up store. The urban shopping street was opened back in 2011 and is said to be open for four years following, so I guess that may mean your last chance to visit is this year! 

BOXPARK is built up of stripped and refitted shipping containers to provide unique, low cost pop-up stores. It's filled with a mix of fashion and lifestyle brands, galleries, cafés and restaurants making for a fun, living community of brands and an enjoyable shopping experience. It's not like your usual shopping center at all, it's an open, outdoor, urban shopping street giving it a much more unique feel. Definitely worth a visit if you want to discover some new, innovative brands- perfect for a sunny day in London.

Located on 35 Brewer Street is this neon delight, Lights of Soho. We wanted to fit in some sort of exhibition/gallery into our trip to London and I heard about this through another blogger so we decided to fit this into our little itinerary of the day. Lights Of Soho is an art gallery and member's lounge...much to our embarrassment when we asked at the bar for drinks but got turned away because we weren't members. I've never felt so Jenny from Brooklyn compared to Blair in Manhattan from Gossip Girl in my whole life, sad times. 

However, you are allowed to wander round and look, that doesn't require a membership. There are fantastic art pieces and neon lights creating a cool, creative urban space. For those that do live in London, and fancy joining, it's the perfect place to rub shoulders with other creatives in a creative, chic location with food and drink on offer and invitations to events. Maybe if I was from Made In Chelsea and had the salary to match, then yaaaah darling Lights of Soho would be totally my go-to hang out place, yah.

After a day of walking round and seeing the sights of London, we built up quite an appetite. As recommended by good old trusty BuzzFeed (see article here), we hit up Franco Manca aka. the best pizzeria in London. Their iconic sourdough pizzas are made on site by specialised artisans from Naples and are, to put it bluntly, bloody delicious...the pizza, not the artisans (though they weren't bad either). I ordered pizza no.3 which had courgettes, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta & Franco's pecorino...is your mouth dribbling yet? I also added extra toppings (because why not?) of sweet potato which was just oh-my-gosh-amazing and worked so well together- there was a party happening in my mouth, just so many beautiful flavours. I pretty much cleaned the whole plate. My friend ordered the traditional Margherita which she also polished off without stopping, so I think I can confirm that she liked it too. 

The place had a nice bustily atmosphere and was decorated beautifully. You could also watch the artisans at work on the pizza right in front of you. We went to the Franco Manca in Soho but there are also 12 other restaurants in and around London...so if you're a pizza lover, this place is a must eat. 

As well as all the vintage browsing and pizza eating, I also had my first ever Snog in London. Snog...as in the frozen yoghurt company...ok, glad we've established that. Since my eyes are clearly bigger than my stomach, I still managed dessert after a whole pizza...though in my defense the pizza did not leave me with that stodgy, full feeling so I felt I could fit this in too. I went for the chocolate flavour with some crushed Oreos on top, an absolute dream and half the calories of ice cream, it's a win-win situation really.

I hope you enjoyed this post today about London and it gave you some recommendations whenever you visit.