03.28.16

LONDON TRAVEL GUIDE / PART 1

london trip | designlovefest

i’m sitting on the couch writing this post and i just want to go BACK!! i had gone to london twice before, but it was for teaching blogshop so i never had too much time to explore and one time i had the stomach flu. i am SO happy i had a change to change my mind on london and can honestly say it’s now one of my favorite cities. denise and i went on a 5 day #bleisure adventure with british airways and set out to make a long weekend london travel guide. a few of my close friends gave me recommendations and i also had tons to explore from your comments, so thank you! hope you enjoy part 1 and i will be posting part 2 very soon!!

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

we flew in the world traveller plus section on british airways, which is under business class but more than coach. every plane is different, so i’m always curious to see what the experience is going to be like. it was my first time on a double decker plane! there was tons of legroom in the world traveller plus section and it definitely felt luxurious compared to coach. it’s way more room! you also get a leg rest, the seats lay back really far, and you get lots of free movies and wine for that travel anxiety. the plane ride was a breeze. ps, check their jetlag calculator to get on track for your trip. they also let me visit their lounge at LAX (silver pass member can also access the lounge!). i was seriously impressed with the lounge. they had showers, recliners with mood lighting, a smoothie bar, a full food buffet, a firepit (!), a free bar, beautiful chairs…i wanted to go to the airport hours earlier just to chill in there.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE WHOLE GUIDE!…

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

the first hotel british airways had us stay in was there partner, artist residence. it’s a smaller boutique hotel with tons of personality. just look at that headboard! it feels like you are staying in someone’s stylish home. we went to the hotel bar called the clarendon cocktail cellar both nights because the bartender made awesome cocktails and the vibe in there was chill and intimate. we also had two meals in their restaurant that we loved. look how cute the decor in there is…

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

after getting our french fry fuel, we beat the jetlag by just avoiding our room and getting on the tube to explore. i wanted to show denise liberty which is a giant department store with SO many floors of home and fashion.

ps using the tube is so simple, don’t be afraid of it. just use the google maps app and it will tell you the lines to take. we stayed on the victoria line for most of it. they also have uber, so getting around is super easy!

a few tube tips: avoid the hours of 5-7 pm if you can because it can be very busy. pay for your oyster card in the machine at the station. keep right on the escalator unless you want to walk fast (people are always in a rush down there). you need your oyster card to enter and exit the underground, so keep it handy.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

liberty feels like it’s in a castle almost! we didn’t want to actually shop, but it’s worth a look. it’s also a good place to sort of get your bearings as there are a lot of cute shops and restaurants in that soho area.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

there are pubs on just about every corner for you to slip in for an end-of- day pint. try polpo for lunch, i heard the meatballs are amazing.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

also in that same area is where we ate for dinner. bob bob ricard felt like a date place in one of wes anderson’s movies. blue velvet curtains, art deco details, a press for champagne button, vodka shots in tiny ornate glasses, lobster mac and cheese, chocolate ball desserts that crack open when they pour the syrup on top. it’s fancy and special, and worth it. i would definitely be having my birthday dinner here if i lived in london.

restaurant tip: everything books up very fast in london, i would say to always call ahead just in case. reservations are kind of their thing.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

we made a reservation to idea books and i am SO happy we did. a tiny room full of utter inspiration, idea books has books and exhibition catalogues on contemporary architecture, art, photography, design, fashion, and film. you can’t go in here and not want to buy something. i could have spent hours just sitting there, drinking tea, and flipping through those cool books and magazines. angela has curated an amazing collection that had my mind spinning with ideas all day. i left with a book on woody allen, jane birkin, juergen teller and that book on wild flowers by joel meyerowitz. loved this place and also really love following them on instagram!

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

we did lots of walking and wandering and taking photos which is always fun in london even if you only have small pockets of time! our first day was very sunny so we took advantage of it! it’s such a picturesque city.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

this was my favorite lunch spot. NOPI, an ottolenghi restaurant. white brick, gold countertops, amazing lighting fixtures, colorful and interesting dishes. get the burrata salad and the vegetable crudite to start. almost too pretty to eat. everything we ordered was delicious. there’s also communal dining and a SUPER cool mirrored bathroom downstairs. what’s up with london having so many well-designed bathrooms?! i saw so many.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

the glade is in sketch (next to the pink room) and it has it’s own forest fairytale theme. 50’s rattan furniture, decoupaged walls, fancy cocktails. it has a weird and interesting twist…it feels like alice in wonderland almost! have a drink in there before your afternoon tea in those pink chairs…

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

this afternoon tea pink dream at sketch. i won’t ever forget it in my whole life!! i actually sat at the table and started tearing up because everything was so beautiful, i felt overwhelmed. denise made fun of me for it…until a song came on that she liked and she started crying for the same reason! hahaha. it was so funny. book a reservation for the champagne afternoon tea. it’s pricey but man was it worth it if you like pretty decor. it felt like i was eating in the movie the grand buddaphest hotel! i’m a big fan of david shrigley’s art (remember this post?!) so to see that many of his drawings on the wall felt so cool. they serve you tiny sandwiches and desserts on a tiered platter, with pink tea in funny glasses, and a glass of champagne. such a perfect experience. it’s my favorite thing i did on the trip! if you find yourself with a free afternoon, go! don’t let anyone tell you it’s touristy, just don’t.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

oh and the bathrooms there!! such a funny contrast to the pink velvet room…you literally walk into the future. it feels like a stanley kubric movie in there! individual pods that play astronaut sounds in them and a bar at the bottom of the stairs. totally wild. don’t miss it.

london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest
london trip | designlovefest

that evening we wanted to explore nightlife on the east side in shoreditch, which kind of feels like a williamsburg or silver lake. hipster, a younger crowd, more graffiti, cool vibe. we started at the ace to see that location (underwhelming, honestly. but took a photobooth pic just because) we had a martini at callooh callay, which has a lewis carroll-themed interior (bathroom through a large mirrored cabinet?! see what i mean about the bathrooms!) and then stopped over at the happening hoxton hotel before heading back to our hotel bar for late night snacks (and maybe singing jenny lewis in our swimsuits in the bathtub. ha. ultimate girls trip)

and that was just the first day and a half. we packed a ton more in, so stay tuned for part TWO soon!!

(photos by designlovefest. this post is in partnership with British Airways. thank you for supporting the sponsors that help designlovefest create daily content!)

18 COMMENTS

Add your own

    Gabriella says:

    I know I’d love London, I just have to get myself over there! It looks like the most wonderful city. Love your photos!

    Duyen says:

    I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE your travel posts. Your Tulum guide inspired me to book a trip there this Summer! Keep the travel posts coming!

    Nikki says:

    Amazing photos, my dream is to visit Sketch one day, preferably with that Donatienne bag in tow!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

    love it ! feel like visiting london soon !!!!

    Sarah says:

    I’ve heard so many great things about Sketch!! I never made it there last time I was in London, but it is on the top of my list when I make a return trip:)

    XO – Sarah
    http://beautyandblooms.com/

    arin says:

    I cannot handle the ‘press for champagne’ button! I need this in my life! You’re so cute and cheerful — Absolutely love following along on your adventures! XO from Chicago! http://www.heartofchic.com

    Kelly says:

    Fantastic post! You’ve made me miss London!

    I’m in London at the moment so I am taking notes! Currently staying at the Hoxton, great rooms!

    Wendy Taing says:

    AHHH! I was looking for a place to have Afternoon Tea while I am in London next month. I just booked my reservation at Sketch! Can’t wait to read part 2!

    Anonymous says:

    I did too!! I will be there mid may and I CANT WAIT

    Jessie says:

    AMAZING! I want to do it all! Also (if you don’t mind me asking) where on earth did you get that amazing fur coat?

    Marion says:

    I live a 40 min train trip to London and for the last 45 years have been there at least once a month to see the museums and galleries so I am thrilled to read your post as I never knew any of these existed. I am 68 years old but not too old to try almost everything on your list! Thank you for the inspiration!

    Diane says:

    I can’t say I miss London so bad. I do miss places like that. Glad you did enjoy your trip. Lets see next!

    Cristina says:

    Seems like tons of fun! I was really amazed by Sketch; looks so authentic. You can’t imagine how jealous I am right now. Looking forward to reading part II.

    Oh my gosh! All of your pictures make me want to go back to London immediately. I only went when I was studying abroad, and on a study abroad budget. So I know there’s so much more to explore in the city! I absolutely love the wall with the hearts painted on it. Did I miss where it was?

    Also…that plane. Woah!! I’ve never been on a double decker but it sure looks fun.

    Shelly says:

    Such great photos and tips…thanks for sharing your adventure!
    Also, I LOVE that small blush pink bi-fold wallet in the second photo. Any chance you can share the brand?

    Nancy Wilde says:

    you make London look and sound even cooler than already is. Amazing photos and what a great taste you have, judging for your choices! ah, how I miss London!

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