London was my first big non-Canada international trip. I didn’t expect to be back so soon, but two years later, there we were for another week! This time was for the Seahawks vs. Raiders game at Wembley Stadium - which is funny because we didn’t actually get tickets to the game until the Friday before. Ha! I was tryna play it off at home like I didn’t care whether or not I saw the Seahawks abroad, but after seeing so many fans and jerseys walking around the first couple of days, the FOMO set in QUICK.
One of the things we didn’t do last time was have a proper afternoon tea. I almost booked it at Sketch (for the ‘gram), but we decided to kill two birds with one stone and have a boozy afternoon tea at the recently crowned World’s Best Cocktail Bar, Dandelyan at the Mondrian. The British are known for their tea but their cocktail game is just as strong! The cocktails were so interesting and paired well with the tea and food. Highly recommend!
London is truly one of the best cities in the world for food. My favorites on this trip were: the salted beef bagel at Beigel Bake; drinks & dinner at Smoking Goat; lunch at Borough Market (we had veal wraps); and of course, Dishoom. Dishoom is the Beyonce of Indian restaurants. It’s just unmatched. We ate there once for dinner and twice for breakfast. Their house chai is my favorite chai on the entire planet. In 2016 I came home and tried to replicate their house black daal for like two months straight. We fucking love Dishoom so much.
p.s. Cereal Killer Cafe is so, so fun and a must if you love cereal & the 90s!
Another big thing on our list was Tate Modern. One of my favorite things is that entry to most London museums are free! The Tate is incredible and can take up several days on its own.
You do have to pay to see any special exhibits at museums, however. The one we did pay for was the On the Wall exhibition of artists honoring Michael Jackson’s legacy at the National Portrait Gallery. I loved this exhibit and may have cried in the room of people singing acapella to MJ’s greatest hits.
Speaking of art, that’s just one of the many reasons we love staying in the Shoreditch area. We spent our first (half) day wandering around Brick Lane, the nomadic community garden and other parts of Shoreditch. There’s so much street art to take in throughout the entire neighborhood; I wish we had more of that culture in Seattle.
One of my favorite ways to beat jet lag is to get a workout in as soon as we get into town. This time we dropped into Psycle Shoreditch a couple of blocks away from our condo for a spin class with Wolf. I love seeing how different each spin studio and instructor is from what I’m used to at home, and they did not disappoint! The smoothie bar is a nice touch and extremely clutch for that post-class refuel.
There are so many great day trips from London, and this time we took the train up for a few hours in Oxford. I saved that for a separate post!
I did too much shopping on this trip, but London’s high street is just so irresistible. I love Carnaby Street, vintage shopping around Brick Lane, and the basement at Topshop in Oxford Circus where they have a whole section for indie British brands and vintage racks. I love stopping into Nike and sneaker shops in any city. I finally got to spend some time at Dover Street Market and Selfridges, which paid off on Saturday when Marshawn Lynch made an appearance at his Beastmode pop-up shop! Marshawn sighting aside, I can really see how you’d spend the entire day at a department store like Selfridges (or Liberty, or Harrods).
We also did hella sightseeing on this trip, checking off our list: Buckingham and Kensington Palace, Borough Market, Hyde Park, Notting Hill & Portobello Market (though at night), the original Banksy piece at Cargo bar in Shoreditch and the Bridges (London, Tower, and Millennium).
Okay, so the European NFL experience is weird. I wasn’t expecting to see soooo much Seahawks gear in London though I should have. Fans were EVERYWHERE. Wembley itself is a beautiful stadium and super easy to get to on the Tube. Final attendance at the game was 84,922, but you would never have known that if you’d watched it on TV because the noise wasn’t even half that of Qwest Field! I think the NFL is trying to educate the Europeans on the game itself, because that’s what the commentators spent half their time doing. And it was weird to see people from lots of different European countries at the game wearing whatever NFL jersey they happened to own. Like, I didn’t fly halfway around the world to see your Patriots jersey or your cheese head! Weirdness aside, if your team is playing in London, I HIGHLY recommend making a trip out to see them!
I’ll end this extremely long London trip diary & say that it’s always nice to see your best friends, but extra special when it’s in another city. I love Anisa so dearly and was so happy to see her (and have my first Sunday roast!) at a random pub in West Hampstead. Love you Anisa!
If you need tips on London, check out my Things to Know, Pack & Do in London post!