After some research I found that flying into London is a better deal than flying into Paris. It would be silly not to take advantage of the ease of travel between London and Paris so I have added in a few extra days to spend in London!! From there, I will take a train into Paris. Swoon. I couldn't be happier!
Airline tickets have been purchased so planning is officially underway (FYI I am a HUGE planner). I have been asking everyone I know that has visited London what their favorite traveling memories are and decided it would make a great post.
For each of those I asked, you will find a personal photo from their trip to London followed by a list of their top 10. Enjoy!
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Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles' Associate Editor, Kate Abney:
- Liberty of London: This was basically the first department store and now houses the most incredible fashion and home furnishings. You will be on overload, it's like an orgasm for your eyeballs.
- The British Museum: The building itself is incredible but it houses some of the most precious treasures. Personally the Parthenon Marbles is exceptionally moving for me, being that I'm Greek and all...
- Inamo: Pan-Asian cuisine with a CRAZY awesome interactive ordering system with a touch screen (menu is projected onto the table top) It's really cool but also very delicious. Have the black cod, it will change your life.
- Johnny Cupcakes in SoHo: SoHo is awesome, lots of cool boutiques and shops, but Johnny Cupcakes makes me happy. One Note: They do NOT sell real cupcakes.
- Spitalfields Market: go on Sunday, it's incredible. There you will find unique jewelry, art, and clothing vendors. But go hungry because they have the most amazing food vendors as well. You can find anything from a ring made out of horn to raw oysters.
- Colombia Road Flower Market & Shops / Suck & Chew / Cake Hole: Walk down there after Spitalfields, beautiful flowers, massively crowded. Suck & Chew is a family owned candy store and it's awesome and delicious and has a great name, the vintage candy and packaging will make you happy. Cake Hole is located inside the sweetest little fine china shop in the world. It's called Vintage Heaven, it's adorable and beautifully antiqued all at once, Cake Hole is in the back and run by the owner's daughter. She has things like plum tarts. Plum tarts are awesome.
- The National Portrait Gallery: walk around Trafalgar Square and pop in to the National Portrait Gallery, it really is incredible and you will love it. Remember to look out for the self portrait made of blood. It's creepy. But then go upstairs to their restaurant and order yourself some fresh mint tea and check out the amazing view (you can see all the way down to Big Ben.)
- The Muffin Man Tea Shop: he doesn't live on Drury Lane he lives on Wright's Lane. If you find yourself in Kensington stop in for really really scrumptious things.
- Cornelissen & Son Artists' Colourmen: Imagine an artist in the early 1900's going to an art store for supplies, canvas, pigment, etc. Well this store is and was that store. It's beautiful and if you get into that sort of thing, go check out their jars of powered pigment (which I want for decorative reasons) and their incredible leather bound pastel or pencil sets.
- Pick a park, any park: London has the most beautiful parks tucked in the most random places. Get a great snack and a book and just go sit in one and soak it in.
Wonderlust Photographer, Jona Oliva Payne:
- Eat.: Get the brie, cranberry, and basil sandwich on ciabatta bread.
- Hotel Chocolate: Does chocolate turn you on? This is the sexiest chocolate you will ever see. It is literally candy to your eyes and your mouth.
- Sir John Soane: Most amazing personal collection of architecture and artwork. He used his home as a place for students to work. Walls open to other walls.
- Eat at the Belgian waffle stands!!
- Victoria and Albert Museum: The most amazing fashion and architecture gallery. Rooms of architectural drawings and famous models as well as furniture. Great gift store.
- Have a Coke: Tastes different. Not bad, different.
- London Eye: Ride (giant ferris wheel that overlooks all of London- worth the wait.)
- Trafalgar Square: Have lunch on the steps. Grab some lunch and just soak in on these steps that you are in London. Take pictures by the fountain.
- Tate Modern Museum: - Probably the most disturbing/weird museum you will EVER go to, but the coolest at the same time. Ride the adult slide. Good gift store. Some of Andy Warhol's work can be found here. Also Mark Rothko. Check to see if the dead birds are still nailed to the wall.
P.S. The pastries and sweets are very deceiving. They aren't as sweet as they look. They taste nothing like American desserts.
SNAP Director & Renaissance Woman, Amanda Brown:
- Go to Hyde Park and take a nice long stroll through the lush green gardens. When you are ready for a break from the outdoors and a pint of ale, go find my favorite pub near the Albert Memorial. I can't remember the name, but it is housed in the basement of a building across from the park that used to be the storage and vault for a bank. My favorite on the menu: Guinness Pie
- Take a tour of the pubs. My favorite pub for viewing men: The Old Bank of England – it is a fantastic place to view British eye-candy at the end of a work day...quite crowded with great looking business men with charming accents.
- When you are ready for the ultimate battle of wills, go watch the Changing of the Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace. It occurs daily during the summer and is quite the spectacle to behold.
- Take the tour of the Tower of London Museum, grounds, buildings and see the Crown Jewels. Follow along as one of the famous Yeoman Warders leads you through the history of the grounds, from the Debtor's Gate to the spot of Ann Boleyn's beheading, to the ravens, to the murder of the little Princes in the Bloody Tower. History is brimming from every surface...if only the walls could talk!
- My favorite place for shopping and staring in the world...Harrod's....if even just to window shop! View the art gallery, wander through the floors of designer clothing, make certain to walk down the stairwell and view the stained glass architectural elements, grab a bite to eat at the cafe and bring me home a tin of their ginger cookie
- My favorite spot for people watching is Trafalgar Square. Walk through the National Gallery (free admission) and view my favorite painting “Whistlejacket” by George Stubbs. Go wandering through the shops that are a few blocks behind the gallery...I picked up some of the oldest and best etchings there; one was printed in the late 1800s and I paid a whopping 5 pounds for it.
- The British Museum is a must, an all-day affair and a free experience! Make certain to be the first in line because it will take you the entire day, if not multiple days, to absorb all of the antiquities.
- I stayed at The Gore when I was in London on my honeymoon, a small, quaint boutique hotel tucked away in Kensington...or I should say it looks that way until you walk through the doors and run directly into well-known, extremely popular guests.
- You really can take the Underground everywhere and it is my preferred method of travel in London. My suggestion is to have a driver pick you up at the airport to take you to the hotel and do all other travel in the tube.
- For those of you who saw the movie and fell in love with the charm and eclectic mix of people, a walk through the Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Friday and Saturdays the booths fill with antiques, flowers, food and other oddities which provides plenty of entertainment whether searching for the prize piece or window shopping.