It’s all about understatement in Britain. As an American in London, one of the first things I learned about fitting in is that self deprecation goes a lot farther than self aggrandizement, and what is unsaid is often more important than what’s stated aloud. This phenomenon extends beyond human interaction, revealing itself in the city’s neighborhoods as well. The best example of this is Hampstead, an unassuming little village in north London.
Summer is coming to London. I hope so, anyway. May’s weather hasn’t been stellar, but there’s still a chance that the sun will dazzle us over the next three months. Summer in the city brings locals to life, and there’s no better place to witness the lifting of our spirits (and our bottles of spirits, for that matter) than London’s parks. As such, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the 11 best parks in London.
One of the biggest struggles for Londoners is leaving our own neighborhoods. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine on weeknights and weekends, going to our local pubs or eating at restaurants near where we live. We’ll make a trip to Soho to meet friends, but ask us to venture too far north, south, east, or west and we’ll quickly start complaining about how far away things are. But some out-of-the-way places are worth a special trip, and one of them is Chatsworth Road Market.
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.
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.
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 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!
The Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A has won London’s heart. Barely open a week, the show—the first and largest retrospective of the fashion designer’s work to be held in Europe—has had Londoners queuing, tweeting, and drooling over McQueen’s tartan and tulle since before it launched. As someone that loves food over fashion, I found a great way to experience the excitement: a McQueen exhibition afternoon tea followed by a trip to see his work.
This week has been exciting for me. First I got an email from Instagram saying they’ve added me to their Suggested Users List that highlights the top photographers on Instagram. Then Harper’s Bazaar featured me as one of 17 must-follow travel Instagram accounts. Coming off the back of being listed as Skyscanner’s #1 travel Instagrammer to follow in 2015, it’s been a good start to the year. In appreciation, today I bring you A Lady in London’s 6 Instagram tips for great photos.