After being away from London for so long, Francesco and I felt like this was the right time to go back. Although I used to visit the city almost every year when I was younger, I hadn’t had the chance to return very often as an adult. Instead, we’ve focused on other European capitals: Rome, Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm, among others. But London was missing from our travel itinerary, so we decided to book a trip to the Square Mile.
We visited in February, and although we were slightly terrified of the weather, we were happily greeted with spring-like temperatures. We stayed at The London EDITION hotel in the heart of Soho, and were in walking distance of many popular areas — such as Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and Carnaby Street — which is why we spent our first couple of hours just walking around. I love being in the middle of city life and seeing people go about their days in their natural habitat — local life is always fascinating to me.
One of our favorite things in London was exploring all of the beautiful neighborhoods — from Primrose Hill to Notting Hill, this city is a picture heaven.
If you go to Primrose Hill, don’t miss Chalcot Square and its surrounding streets. The colorful houses are lovely to look at, especially considering how quiet this part of town is. You definitely won’t mind walking around for a bit.
Notting Hill is not only beautiful, but also makes you feel like you’re walking through a movie set. It’s so full of quaint, pastel-colored houses; it’s easy to wish that one of them was your own. We were guided around the neighborhood by a long-time friend who knows everything about her neighborhood, and it was helpful to have extra insight from a local Londoner.
Our first stop was St. Luke’s Mews, which is where they shot the famous “Love Actually” scene in which Mark declares his love to Juliet. After wandering its streets for a few hours, we headed to Portobello Road Market — the Notting Hill gem everyone in the world seems to know about. People travel far and wide just to discover its beautiful antiques. When we first entered the market, our thoughts immediately went to the Disney movie “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” Talk about childhood feels!
From there, we decided to head over to Big Ben in Westminster to catch the sunset. Even though it wasn’t freezing while we were there, the sun hardly shone — but that ended up playing to our advantage, as we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets we’d ever seen! It was breathtaking. I ran from the train station to the the bridge because I was so excited to capture the iconic clock tower in front of the fire-lit sky. It was one of those moments I’ll always remember.
Our day in London ended on Regent Street, after going to Fortnum & Mason and falling in love with every little thing they had. It was then that we saw the real London: people leaving packed subway stations, pedestrians crossing traffic-packed lanes, cars swerving, towering busses navigating narrow streets. Everything was happening at once. It was insane, but commanding.
Our time in London was short, but meaningful. We spent most of our time exploring the city’s famed neighborhoods and foods scenes while wandering on foot as much as possible.
I love being in London; I always have. The amount of diversity and the culture in a single city has always fascinated me. I was sad to leave, but I guess I’ll just have to return again soon.