Firstly I have to admit that I’ve never been that interested in visiting London or England in general. Since I’ve lived in Paris 7 year ago (oh boy, it’s scary how fast time flies by :O) and because I just ADORE everything French, I always went to France when I had the chance to get away for the weekend or on a holiday all by myself. So it was about time to branch out a little bit and to give another europeen country the chance to win a place in my heart. Soo how did it work? Let’s begin by saying that I completely fell in love with London. I was absolutely amazed by its atmosphere, the people, all the little restaurants, the shops, the architecture, the red busses (at the beginning we were excited about each red bus that passed before realizing that they’re not that extraordinary in London ;)) the variety of things to see and to do… and we haven’t seen the most of it yet.
First of all I was surprised by how friendly the people there are. We haven’t had one bad experience the whole week apart from the officer that accused me of being a lier after I had lost my train ticket on the journey – if you ever take a train in England you’ll have to show your ticket at the end of the platform AFTER leaving the train… so don’t EVER throw your ticket away before getting off the platform… EVER! But back to all the friendly pleople in London: The staff at our hotel, the people at the restaurants, the cashiers at the supermarket, the guy that did our tattoo, everyone seemed very relaxed and helpful. I’m sure there are other cases as well, but we, as sometimes a bit lost tourists, felt very welcomed. Secondly we were impressed by all the beautiful places there. From the obvious, very touristic ones like the London Eye (little tip: go there on an early morning – not only will the queue be way less long but also will the light and the athmosphere be even more beautiful) to others, a bit more hidden ones like all the little, cute streets in the middle of this huge city and all the green spots in the Hyde, Regent’s and St James Park (to name just a few of them), the options are endless. Thirdly I, as a girl, was VERY excited about all the shops there. If you walk down Oxford Street (and this is only ONE street) you will pass Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Boots, River Island, Urban Outfitters and so many more. On one side I was amazed by all the clothes and jewellery you find there in one store but on the other side I was comletely overwhelmed – Topshop on Oxford Street has 4 or 5 floors and you can’t even imagine the amout of clothes they put there on one floor… if you think that ZARA at Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich is crowded on a saturday afternoon than Topshop at Oxford Street will teach you better ;).
- The Trafalgar London: Perfectly located, this hotel offers very nice staff, spacious rooms, good breakfast and a beautiful rooftop bar
- Soho, Covent Garden, Carnaby Street: Beautiful areas where you find markets, shops, restaurants, bars, theaters etc
- Hyde, Regent and St James Park: Huge green oases in the middle of the city. There are lakes (where you can rent pedalos!), sunbeds, banks to relax and read, restaurants to eat and drink and lots and lots of space to walk around, go jogging etc (everything in company of the countless squirrels running around :))
Eating & drinking:
- The Bedford in Balham: About 20 minutes by tube from Central London, restaurant, bar, location for concerts and shows. We went there to see Mark Wilkinson and we’ve never been to a more beautiful location for concerts and shows
- Jamie’s Italien Restaurant in Covent Garden: Great burger, fries, salads and meats
- Bill’s in Soho and Covent Garden: Tip: try the halloumi burger
- Rooftop Bar Vista at the Trafalgar: Beautiful rooftop bar where you can overlook Trafalgar Square and London’s skyline while eating and drinking
We also went to Brighton for a few days which is a very beautiful little city about an hour away from London. Much smaller than London of course (but because of all the tiny streets and corners I would have gotten lost a hundred times a day witout my sister, the living and walking navigation system :)), but with a lot of charme as well. The streets are decorated with little flags in different colours, the houses are sometimes blue, pink or green, the little coffee shops are furnished like personal living rooms and along the beach there are small shops where you can find local art, jewellery and other things. You can go visit Brighton pier which includes restaurants, bars and fairground attractions, go to the beach where free sunbeds are already waiting for you and walk around in the beautiful heart of Brighton where you’ll find lots of little coffee shops and restaurants. Apperently Brighton is known to be a perfect location for weddings and even if I’m not that interested in this subject (..yet?..) I completely fell in love with this dome-like building that you can see on several pictures down below, where I can totally see myself dancing in a long white dress while the sun is setting on the horizon..or maybe we’ll skip the slow dancing part..but the dress and the dome, yes pleeease!
So the conclusion of this post would be: If you ever get the chance to visit London then GO! And if you have some days extra then jump on a train and go to Brighton as well – but keep in mind: DON’T loose your trainticket on the journey! Just don’t! 😉
Thank you for reading.
Photos by Caroline Neuhaus and Sabine Neuhaus
Edited by Tanja Etzensperger
Top: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell
..and last but not least: Rainbowy umbrella that I sadly had to abandon: little shop in Brighton