It’s no secret I always have been and always will be obsessed with all things English, a love that came to beautiful fruition when I spent four months in London studying abroad through the incredible FSU program.
Because I had so much time to explore and befriend this incredible city, I was able to find places that I consider my “spots”. I’m so lucky that for the rest of life, London will never feel like a “foreign” city. It will always feel like home.
- Borough Market
I have played host to two London newbies, bringing them to every major landmark from Big Ben to Tower Bridge. And both times, when asked about their favorite part of London, I was assured Borough Market was the best of the best. So I have full confidence in this recommendation. Borough Market is a culinary paradise, a dining dream, meals made in Heaven. Picture the very best of every type of food possible. Cheeses and baked breads, chicken and steak and sausage and beef and lamb, ripe fruits and vegetables, the freshest seafood, exotic sauces and truffle oils, the most indulgent cookies and fudge and cakes, every flavor of tea or juice or coffee you can think of… not to mention Borough Market sits just a short (and gorgeous) walk along the Thames from Tower Bridge. So you can eat all of this with a view of one of the most iconic sites in the world. Just a typical Sunday morning in London.
- National Gallery @ Trafalgar Square
This may seem cliché because it is essentially the Times Square of London, but Trafalgar Square feels like mine. Every week I took an Art and Architecture course that was taught in the National Gallery. It was an education like none I have ever received. To learn about the nuances and artistry of DaVinci’s work while looking at a DaVinci painting was brilliant. History was my textbook. I spent so much time in this museum studying all artists and paintings and sculptures that I could probably give a tour myself. And before every class I would eat lunch on my favorite bench on Trafalgar Square. I’d see Big Ben looming in the distance and watch the tourists run around and think, “I’m not a visitor. I get to stay here, and come back here every week.” Being in Trafalgar Square reminds me of what it felt like to really live in London, and how genuinely happy I was.
- Little Venice
Slightly off the beaten-path, Little Venice is a canal neighborhood filled with waterside pubs and shops. Slightly north of Paddington, this is the perfect place to take a little break for the hustle and bustle of London city. You can take a quiet and tranquil walk along the canal and see a very different side of London than in the postcards. I think I only ever went once with another person. I used to come here alone to study, read, and relax. I sadly didn’t make it out on my trip to London last summer, so I’ll have to make it a priority next time!
- Camden Town
The only way to describe Camden Town is… cool. You might not agree if you’ve only been to the street level Camden Market, full of touristy booths selling T-shirts, cheap jewelry, and fidget spinners. But if you really take the time to get lost in Camden, you find out how much there is to find. Camden Lock Market, Stables Market, Buck Street Market, the barns of Horse Tunnel Market, Inverness Market… you could wander around for days without seeing the same thing twice, and believe me I tried. In the depths of this maze, you won’t find cheap or touristy trinkets. You will find authentic and unique pieces that speak to how you want to remember your London experience. I can’t imagine a trip to London being complete without a look around here! Just bring a lot of money. What’s your budget? Bring an extra £50. Trust me.
- Maison Bertaux (May-son Ber-tow)
The pride of SoHo! At least to me, it is. Although I lived in Fitzrovia, a very short walk down Charing Cross road could have me in SoHo within just a few minutes of stepping out my front door. So I spent a lot of time either getting to places through SoHo, or just wandering around. I don’t even remember when or how or with whom, but I stumbled across this little cafe/patisserie on Greek St. When I imagined having tea in London, this was exactly the kind of place I saw myself. Cosy, charming, filled to the brim with sweeties and pastries, and true kettled tea… this place is 10/10. If you want to give it a try, it’s right across the street from the Palace Theatre!