In lieu of traveling to London this year (due to many, many reasons) I thought I would do a photo tour of what I would be doing had I been there. I’ve only been there a handful of times but I already have habits established. Despite my love of travel I am a creature of habit, so once I find something or someplace I enjoy, I tend to stick with that. When in London, I stay in this comfortable little nook between the Bayswater / Hyde Park / Notting Hill neighborhoods. This area suits me so well and is the closest residential area to my favorite places. I start off every morning with a walk down through Kensington Gardens to my favorite Starbucks on Kensington Church Street. I love coming to this one because of the seating area in the basement. I’ve noticed a lot of Starbucks in London have these, but this one is my favorite partially because it never seems too crowded, and also because it’s got the cleanest bathroom. When you’re spending three hours writing and drinking coffee, the bathroom conditions matter.
Next up is a leisurely stroll to Burlington Arcade for some macaroons at the world famous Ladureè. It’s over two miles so I make some stops along the way. While some people have religious experiences visiting museums or buildings of religious significance, I tend to have these at shopping landmarks. Or just shopping in general. Just walking down any of the high streets makes me happy and giddy. But I never get as excited as when I’m walking down Brompton Rd and seeing the gigantic mothership: Harrods. So beautiful.
Now that half the trip is over, it’s easier to focus on the trip now to Laduree. One of my favorite things about walking around London – really any metropolis, but more so with London – are the sights to be seen on the way to any destination. I pass at least seven landmarks of all shapes and sizes on any given walk on any given day. After a few left turns and a few head turns on Saville Road we’ve made it. So many delicious choices!
After an afternoon snack, I like to window shop on Regent Street. In particular there is an amazing toy store by the name of Hamley’s. It covers five floors and has different themes on each floor. An entire floor for board games? Yes please.
After all that shopping and writing, it’s time to head back to the hotel for some dinner. If I haven’t picked up Pret A Manger yet, I stop at Whiteley’s shopping centre. After my most recent trip, Whiteley’s is seen as kind of miraculous in my eyes. It has loads of shops, really gets into Christmas, and most importantly has a Marks & Spencer for those last minute foodie needs.
Regent Street in November 2012
London is my favorite place in the world, despite the pitfalls that have plagued me the last two times I visited. Also we’re just not going to talk about how badly I wish I could go there this year, or how quickly I would give up an essential organ for a cranberry & brie panini. But until next time...