Time is flying by so fast I’ve barely had time to plan or mention this fun news: We’re heading to Europe…next week! While I’ll definitely be asking for your tips and advice on the latter part of our trip, today I’d love to hear your tips on our first stop: London.
Truthfully, I wasn’t really looking forward to the London part of our trip. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the past few times we’ve been across the pond, it’s been cold and rainy (Hi, I’m Kelly and I like sunshine. All. The. Time.) and I play the part of a work widow as Fred Baby dashes off to meetings (tiny violin). I wish I liked exploring, shopping and eating on my own, but I don’t. That stuff’s always more fun with a partner in crime, so I was thrilled to find out that my lady loves Joy and Bonnie will be in London at the exact same time. We arrive on the same day. Crazy right? I’m excited for London adventures now!
But I need your help: Which neighborhood would you recommend staying in?
While I’ve made several trips to London, I’ve never really gotten a handle on it. I haven’t yet been to Notting Hill but am excited to go this time for the pastel buildings alone. I thought about maybe staying there, but after looking at a map (a map…now that’s an idea!) realize it’s a bit far west so maybe it’s better to just jaunt out to one day. Shoreditch sounds like where all the cool kids are at but is it still too up-and-coming?
I’m looking for the West Village or Nolita of London – neighborhoody, where you can walk to lots and be surrounded by charming cafes and shops, but easily see the sights.
We’ve stayed at the Park Lane in Mayfair the last few times and, while the area is nice, it’s never felt very neighborhoody. Though after actually looking at a map (a map!), I see the location is really central.
In addition to Notting Hill, I’d love to see Tower Bridge (after all these visits, can you believe we’ve never seen it?) and I kind of want to be super touristy and do the double decker bus thing or a river boat tour. Normally touristy is not my bag at all, and I’m a girl whose favorite thing to do in a new place is walk, walk, walk, but after doing double-decker tours in New York (with my arm twisted) and Palm Springs, I realize that it’s so fun to see a city from a higher perspective. SO fun (scout’s honor). And a boat ride in Paris last spring was a blast. You see so much, again, from a different perspective. So with all that said…
I’d love your help and recommendations on which neighborhood to stay in. And if you have a hotel or HomeAway rec, I’m all ears!
p.s. I’ve started a London board over on Pinterest, if you’d like to check it out.
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Ok! So. It sounds like you should stay West. Shoreditch/East London is awesome (and is fully gentrified at this point) however based on what you want to do, West is probably easiest Chelsea to be specific.
HOWEVER. What I really recommend is Clerkenwell. A historic area tucked just behind St Pauls which will give you the best of both worlds. It’s a 10 minute bus ride to Oxford Circus, and it’s nearest tube station is on the Circle Line which will get you almost everywhere (including Notting Hill – where you’d have one change at most) OR you can go from St Pauls, also walking distance and on the Central Line (so no changes)
Clerkenwell has tons of bars and restaurants and boutiques, super walkable. It’s home to Smithfield Market (a meat market – but stunning building) and lots of historical buildings and one of my favorite places Postman’s Park – a garden full of monuments to those who died rescuing others – it’s really fascinating.
There are three hotels you can stay in (that I recommend) Malmaison (bigger, but still cosy and historical), Fox and Anchor (stunning with only a handful of rooms – with the most amazing food) and The Zetter (more modern but still funky)
Anyway – feel free to email me if you want any more tips (I recently wrote a post on the best places to drink in London, here: https://thestylesmithdiaries.com/top-five-london-drinks/)
Hope the sun shines for you – London when the sun shines is the best city on the planet 🙂
This is SO helpful! Thank you tons. Um, and the drinking guide, yeah baby!