As you may know, I was in London for a quick trip with friends. While it’s a six hour time change, it was completely doable and I had no problem with jet lag there and back. Also, I have visited London a few times (the last time I was there was when I was newly pregnant with Harry! So it had been awhile) and so had my friends, so we didn’t do much sightseeing; we wanted to explore, eat good food, drink, shop, and enjoy each other’s company. Here’s what we did:
- Departed Wednesday night at 6PM (Chicago time) – landed at 8AM (London time)…I slept about four hours on the plane.
- Dropped our stuff off at our Sonder (early check in) which was located in Westminster
- Lunch in Chelsea at Granger & Co (recommend: the kimchi grilled cheese, caesar salad). It’s located on Pavilion Road and there’s such charming shopping all along the street–specialty boutiques, flower shops, coffee, markets.
- Shopping in Chelsea–most international stores are there, but I love visiting European Zaras. Also visit along Kings Street: SpaceNK, The White Company, The Kooples, COS, Boden, & Other Stories, BA&SH, Jigsaw, Claudie Pierlot–all brands available in the states but with European roots, which is why I love them.
- Respite and drinks at Soho House White City. We were all a little disoriented and unsure as to where we were–I had never been to that neighborhood (glad I got to see it, though!) but my friend wanted to see it and the house did not disappoint. And we did get to see the BBC Studios building.
- Trip to Notting Hill to see the GOOP store (definitely go in there–it’s gorgeous and the staff is amazing), pop into specialty shops and get snacks for our Sonder at Daylesford Market, which is the most absolutely charming market I’ve ever been to…we need one in Chicago.
- We slept two hours from 5PM-7PM because we were dead tired and had a late dinner reservation–and to beat jet lag.
- Dinner at Gymkhana which is the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted. We asked the server for recommendations and he was fantastic. The butter masala chicken, goat appetizer, naan, tiger shrimp–all SO incredible and I’m singing it from the rooftops. I love eating Indian food in London and this blew everything else I’ve had out of the water! I also loved the tequila/cucumber drink on the menu…very refreshing.
- Post-dinner drinks at Mr. Fogg’s Residence in Mayfair; quintessentially British decor and just a low-key place to chat with each other after a long day of travel.
- Up and at ’em…kind of. We were out until 2 and slept until almost 10 (I blame the time change, of course) and we were supposed to have breakfast at Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. We called them and changed our breakfast for lunch and made it by noon. It’s a London institution–an old firehouse converted into a chic and scene-y restaurant and the bathroom is gorgeous. Get the crab stuffed donuts, KFC, white asparagus, cod–and the coffee is excellent!
- We had to stop at Selfridges, of course! I’m a Selfridges girl and will take it over Harrod’s any day. I love to browse and picked up a dress from the Whistles section (I can’t find the exact dress online but this one is similar). And ooh-ed and ahh-ed over all the Chanel of course.
- Drinks at Hush in Mayfair on the patio–any excuse to drink rosé during the day, right?
- Bought my long awaited bag at Goyard (I actually only bought two things the entire trip)–I went with the reversible Anjou GM in black as I felt it was worth it to have the leather option. And due to the exchange rate snd VAT, it was less expensive to buy in London!
- Dinner at Bob Bob Ricard--a Russian restaurant knows for its -18 degree celsius vodka shots (yes, I begrudgingly took one and I did NOT taste the vodka…it was amazing! So I took another, ha), caviar, and English fare. My only disappointment was that I wish we had been seated in the Red Room downstairs; we were at an awkward table with no one around and would have preferred a more lively place to sit.
- Out for the night at 76 Dean Street – the original Soho House. It was happening! All of the Soho neighborhood was happening, really, so you can’t go wrong in the area if you’re looking for nightlife. We sat outside on the patio, enjoyed each other’s company and made some British friends whilst sipping overpriced drinks (heh).
- This was a tougher day because the weather was crazy! It was so windy that awnings on the buildings were blowing away and it poured off an on all day. We had intentions of visiting the Notting Hill markets (which I’ve done before but love it) but we didn’t last long due to the inclement weather. We browsed for a bit and then grabbed coffee at Farm Girl Cafe – I recommend the latte black…great after a rough night as it has charcoal and cashew milk (and makes your mouth a little black).
- Breakfast at Egg Break in Notting Hill which was amazing. I recommend the Turkish Eggs with a bottomless cup of coffee.
- More browsing around town–other parts of Notting Hill and we also checked out Kensington Palace/Hyde Park. We also visited High street where there were plenty of floral facades, pop-up shops, and cute book stores (bought my boys the CUTEST London books at Daunt Books on High Street in Marylebone) We mostly wanted shelter because of the bummer weather. We also went into my other favorite London staple: Liberty London, which is a must-see if you love clothing and shopping like I do.
- Jaunted around Buckingham Palace and the Wellington Arch because, well, you gotta see it, even if you already have. The architecture in this city is so incredible and I just can’t believe how old and well-persevered everything is. Remember that Westminster Abbey is almost 1,000 years old!
- Pre-dinner drinks at Hotel Corinthia (at the Bassoon Bar) so we could also gawk at all the government buildings–beautiful inside! This is also near where I stayed in 2013 at the Savoy.
- Dinner at La Petite Maison; it was a mediterranean French cuisine and it was heavenly. Plus, the atmosphere was lively and chic. I loved the burrata, green bean salad (I MUST recreate this–so much garlic and balsamic), warm prawns, and beef carpaccio. Honestly, the olive oil and bread itself was worth the visit.
And that’s all she wrote. Again, this was a girls’ trip so we just wanted to relax, enjoy each other’s company and wander. I’ve done all the tours before and when I bring my boys across the pond to visit one of my favorite cities in the world, I will gladly do them again (I DO love the Tate Modern and London Tower tour–those are my favorite).
What to pack:
London weather in the spring is a little unpredictable (hey, sounds familiar CHICAGO). Check the weather beforehand, but pack:
- Layers, layers, layers–especially jackets! I packed a trench because I knew it would rain, a suede jacket for a sunny day, a nblack leather jacket for going out at night, and my jacket 01 from One/Third.
- Comfortable shoes, mostly flats. Easy sneakers will be your best friend during the day–I lived in my Greats and also wore my Gucci loafers one day. Bring a pair of heels and/or sandals for evening.
- A few dresses. I feel like London, like any big city, is as dressy as you want it to be. I wanted to be on the fancier side, so I mostly wore dresses at night, except the last night because we retired early. Wear dresses you can easily throw a jacket on top.
- A couple pair of jeans in different washes. For tops, bring: a silk cami, lightweight sweater, basic tee, and dressed-up top that go with all your jeans and your flat shoes. You’ll wear them during the day and you want everything to go together without thinking. You can throw any jacket on top of them!
- A couple converters for your phone and hair tools.
That’s all she wrote. If you have any recommendations you want to share, please leave in the comments!