Spring is here. Every tree in London is heavy with pink blossoms, and the parks and gardens are brilliant with the colors of a million tulips. March and April saw the city come into full bloom, and now that it’s May there’s another spring floral trend: wisteria.
When I moved to London, I was embarrassed to drink coffee. Tea is a national obsession here, and I was already American enough with my funny accent and foreign customs. Add to that the fact that ordering a “coffee” in London gets you a confused look—they don’t have a go-to style here like we do in the States—and I quickly converted to tea. But over the years coffee has become trendy in London, with independent coffee shops popping up all over and an annual UK Coffee Week developing. The latter kicks off this week with the London Coffee Festival.
You know a place is special when the peacock-shaped garden ornament turns out to be an actual peacock. At first I think I’m seeing things, but on second glance I realize this is not a hallucination. There is actually a peacock sitting in the garden of my hotel in the Cotswolds.
Exciting news: I’m giving away a getaway! After an amazing trip to Kent this month I am excited to offer one lucky reader a chance to experience some of the places I visited. If you love the Garden of England, this is the trip for you.
This is a big year for the UK. The Magna Carta is celebrating its 800th anniversary, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is turning 150, and it’s been 200 years since the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. There are celebrations and commemorations happening across the country, and some of them are taking place surprisingly close to home. The ones at Apsley House and Wellington Arch, for example.
Sunrise is an amazing time to see Berlin. The whole city is asleep and it’s so quiet I can hardly believe I’m in a place known for its perennial construction. When I arrive at the Brandenburg Gate, the huge square in front of it is empty. I’ve never had a major monument all to myself before, and I savor the moment and its solitude.
The problem with London is that it’s hard to leave. The city is so big and has so much to offer that it would be easy to spend a lifetime here without feeling done. But there are a lot of great places outside of London, too, and it’s worth getting away sometimes. As such, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the 15 best day trips from London.
One of the best things about London is that there’s so much to do. One of the worst things about London is that there’s so much to do. It’s a plus and a minus, with the city giving us so many options it can be overwhelming. But on the rare occasion I find myself in town on a weekend, I have a bit of a ritual. It makes a perfect Saturday in London, and it goes like this.
It’s sunny in Kent. New lambs are finding their footing and bluebells are opening in the forests. Apple blossoms bud in the orchards as the Garden of England awakens for spring. If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine I’m back home in California. But not just because of the sun. Also because of the vineyards. Yes, there’s wine tasting in Kent. Seriously good wine tasting. And that’s to say nothing of the cider and beer.
It’s market day in Kingston upon Thames. The aptly named Market Place is full of stalls selling everything from French cheese to fresh ginger. Inside the historic Market House, a vintage pop-up offers all things pink and pretty, while outside the gilded statue of Queen Anne surveys the square from above. It’s the perfect place to start a day out in Kingston, and a great introduction to the town that blurs the border between Greater London and Surrey.
London’s bar scene is hot right now. From exciting new openings to trendy pop-ups, hidden speakeasies to hip hotel bars, Londoners are spoiled for choice when it comes to cocktails. Given my love of travel, I’ve recently scoured the city for travel themed bars in London, uncovering a number of great watering holes that transport guests to other worlds and underworlds from the convenience of our own metropolis. Here’s what I found…
London is evolving. When I moved here seven years ago, the skyline was limited. The London Eye, Gherkin, and St Paul’s Cathedral were pretty much all that punctuated a low-lying architectural landscape. But not long after I landed, a flurry of construction began that has changed the skyline irrevocably. From the Shard to the Cheese Grater, these new buildings not only have quirky names, but also great views. One of them just opened its new Sky Garden to the public, and all of London is racing to the top. But it’s not the only place that offers sweeping panoramas, and today I bring you A Lady in London’s 9 best views of London—the last one will surprise you!