Monday, June 13, 2016

London Town

I work in the insurance business, where you buy insurance in the London market (Lloyd's) and have had the good fortune to need to visit the city a few times each year.  It is one of my favorite cities in the world and I thought I would share some of my favorite places.  This may need to be two posts!

Lodging - we normally stay near Lloyd's in the insurance district at the Andaz or Doubletree near the Tower of London.  I've also rented a flat just north of there in Hoxton through Airbnb at $125/night.  I've also used Priceline's "name your price" for a 4-star hotel in Mayfair for about the same price.  I would refer to TripAdvisor for staying in Covent Garden or Westminster.

Shopping Markets - my favorite is Old Spitalfields Market, which is near the insurance district.  It's open air but covered consisting of market stalls (awesome crafts) and shops and plenty of places to have tea or sweets.  I've found great gifts at Inspitalfields and great fish and chips at a little joint called Poppies on Hanbury St. You can spend an entire afternoon exploring the market.  I also like to have a simple dinner our first night at Wagamama, which is a chain restaurant with Japanese noodle dishes.  Or go fancy at Chamberlains.  Spitalfields market is open 7 days a week. 

Just north of Spitalfields you'll find converted railcars turned into small shops at Boxpark in Shoreditch.  It's a funky area with amazing graffiti and you'll feel just a tad nervous, but don't be.  Keep going north/east to Columbia Road and an amazing little stitching shop owned by Jessie Chorley.  She's very talented and a joy to visit.  I also enjoy her Instagram posts.  Be sure and pop your head into all the little shops on the road, there's a few resale shops and a garden shop.   

Sweetest shop - look at the Steiff dog on wheels!

If you've got a free Friday morning, head south across the Tower Bridge for Bermondsey antique market.  It starts at 6am and fun for the search.  At first look it may seem pricey but keep looking.  It's also fun to walk back across the bridge and snap a few photos of the black taxis or red double decker buses on the bridge. 

I've never made it over to Borough Market which is on the same side of the bridge, just west of Bermondsey.  It's a food market and a lot of people rave about it, I've just never made it there.  If you've been there, do you like it and would you recommend it?

And while we're on this side of town, an interesting excursion is taking the boat down to Greenwich where the world's clock is set (Greenwich Mean Time) - you can stand in two time zones.  It's a sweet little town, nice to walk around with a small crafts market, a maritime museum and the Cutty Sark.  The boat can be caught at the Tower of London where you will ride down the Thames river to Greenwich and then up the river to Westminster and Big Ben and the London eye.  It's a very enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

If we're talking about antique markets and London, of course we have to talk about Portobello, with market day on Saturday.  I don't care what anyone says, you should go and see it.  Yes, it's expensive.  Yes, it's crowded.  And you really should experience it, at least once.  Take a look-see in some of the brick & mortars. There's a vendor that sells printers blocks and trays - my hearts desire!  Start as early as 8 am and walk the entire street.  Stop at Biscuiteers and Cath Kidston for a look-see (but buy at the large store on Picadilly - later post).  Have some breakfast at Mike's CafĂ©, across from Notting Hill Bookstore.  Or eat from the street vendors.  Just experience it! And keep walking on Portobello, past the crowd until you get to the vendors that lay their wares on the ground.  Now you may find something you must have. 

I'll come back this week with more London shopping suggestions. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! I like your blog. Keep it up. Alan T.