Alrighty! Last stop on our grand European adventure: London!
It was actually my second time in London. I went in college (I think I was there for about three days), and we did all the touristy things.
I was especially excited to go to London again because I now have a better appreciation for food. And a better understanding of food! The first time I was in London, pretty sure I just had mac & cheese and sandwiches. Lame-o.
London is so much more than that, so I was beyond thrilled to finish our time in Europe in this exciting and easy-to-navigate city!
As always, here are some jumping points JIC you’re only interested in the eats (I hear ya):
Let’s do London, frens!
Eating Our Way Through London
How I got there
Because we were coming from Newcastle, we decided to take the train to London. It was one of the fastest ways we could get to London (about a 3-hour train ride), and it was perfect.
Also: no way was I going to trust myself driving on the other side of the road. That’s gonna be a no from me.
It was easy to reserve train tickets online, easy to find the train, easy to find out seats, easy to ride. Just easy all around.
They offered wifi on the train, so we did a bit of work (granted, the wifi wasn’t super fast, but it was usable). And in a blink of an eye, we were in London (King’s Cross Station, to be exact).
Where I stayed
Okay. One of the really fun surprises of the trip was where we stayed. We ended up finding a nice Airbnb in the Kensington area, which is kind of out of the way from the hustle and bustle of city center.
Apparently Kensington is pretty boujee. I saw tons of Ferraris and Maseratis, the architecture was stunning, and I’m 98.6% sure that I saw Eddie Redmayne walking down the street.
The Kensington area is awesome, and I definitely recommend staying there. It’s a short tube ride from pretty much anywhere (with minimal transfers), and I loved it. I always felt safe, and we actually ended up sleeping with the windows open (granted, we were on the fourth or fifth floor of our building, but still!).
Our Airbnb was great. Really small, not a ton of bells and whistles, but just what we needed. It had a washer/dryer combo, a really nice bathroom, a super comfortable bed, a pull-out couch bed, and a teenie tiny kitchen. Perfect for what we needed.
The actual listing for the Airbnb is no longer available, but I’d suggest searching around Kensington for a place to stay!
How we got around
We earned our food for sure! We walked a lot. Like, more than we had the rest of the trip. Abby was such a trooper navigating us through the city, and we saw a lot on foot.
We also took the tube (we snagged an Oyster card and put £15 on it, which happened to be the perfect amount for our entire stay!), and it was so easy to navigate.
So much easier than Paris. Lolz. I still feel betrayed by the Paris Metro.
Our Airbnb was just a few blocks from the entrance of the Circle and District Lines, so we’d get up, get on the Tube, and go to our destination of the day! Super convenient and awesome.
What we saw
I was so excited to see a ton some new-to-me places in London. Some highlights were:
- Hyde Park: Our Airbnb was crazy close to this park, and we loved walking around in the sun. It was a surprisingly toasty day, but it was also beautiful. The bird pond (not a technical term, just what I’m calling it) is not to be missed. There are hundreds of birds there, including swans. Such a weird, awesome, unexpected find!
- Soho: Super cool, hip area of London that gets crazy busy on the weekends. Still worth the trip though! Expect to find lots of fun cafes, bakeries, and restaurants there!
- Freddie Mercury’s House: Kind of a random find actually. Abby took a quick snooze in the Airbnb, so I decided to venture out on my own to Freddie Mercury’s house. It’s just a door in a wall with a plastic protector on the front, but it was still really really neat. If you’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody or know anything about Freddie’s life, I think that the real-life Mary still lives there!
- Westminster Abbey / Big Ben / London Eye: Obviously had to go here! We went on a Sunday, and omg. SO many people. It was cool, but not super enjoyable because there were just people everywhere. I’m glad we went, but next time, I’ll absolutely go on a weekday. And maybe early in the morning. Also, Big Ben was under construction (as it was the last time I was in London), so that was a bit of a bummer. Someday I’ll see it!
- Harrod’s: We actually spent a nice chunk of our time in Harrod’s on our last day in the city. It’s a giant luxury department store with everything from £80,000 watches to souvenirs to speciality foods and pastries. It’s definitely a unique place and worth the visit. Next time, I’d love to try some of their pastries (they looked amazing, but I had a nasty head cold at that point, and I couldn’t really taste anything). I was a dummy and thought I would find cheap sunglasses there. Not a thing. They were very expensive. Like. More expensive than most of the other things I had in my suitcase. It’s a very unique place!
I’d love to spend some more time in the Soho area next time, as well as explore Kensington a bit more. Overall though, I think we saw a nice chunk of the city in the three-ish days we were there!
Where we ate
I think I’m still a little full from all of the eating we did in London. Kidding. But also kinda not?
Regardless, we had tons of amazing food. Here are some of our faves:
4 Derry St, Kensington, London W8 5SE, United Kingdom
Fun fact: we had reservations for Dishoom on our first day in London about…a month and a half in advance? Maybe more?
I don’t think you need to do that, but I wanted good Indian food, and Abby had heard great things about Dishoom. It’s a pretty famous modern Indian chain in England, so we were stoked.
Luckily, it was super close to our Airbnb, so we actually ended up going back there for brunch our last day in the city!
The food was good. It didn’t hold a candle to the Indian food I had in Newcastle (still dreaming about it, btw), but it was good. It was very different than other Indian food I’ve had before. I’m in no way an expert in Indian cuisine, but I feel like maybe the flavors were a bit different or muted? I have no idea. I also could have just had insane expectations of this place that were just unreasonable. Regardless, it didn’t blow me away, but it was good.
I actually had an Indian and vegan version of a full-English breakfast, complete with vegan black pudding. The black pudding was odd, but the rest (baked beans, tofu scramble, toast, tomato, etc.) was yummy.
Oh, and I got their IPA (it’s like a Dishoom-specific IPA), and it was awesome. One of my fave beers of the trip!
That said, Abby loved this place hardcore, so I still think it’s worth the visit! Lots of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu too!
63-97 Kensington High St, London W8 5SE, United Kingdom
Lol. Yes. We were those Americans going to Whole Foods while in London.
But we had a good reason! We were kind of over eating out for every single meal, so we just wanted to snack on some relatively healthy things and try some fun British foods.
Man. Our spread was delicious. It was kind of like a meatless charcuterie situation. My faves were the Tyrrell’s Crisps (the Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar is outrageous), the hummus, the olives, the grapes, and the greatest of all oat milks from Minor Figures.
I’ve had this oat milk before (there’s a place here in Pittsburgh that actually has it!), but it’s an English brand. I’m obsessed, so I bought a carton and just drank it straight. It’s the best ever. Man.
I definitely recommend checking out a grocery store if you’re doing a lot of traveling. So many fun finds and experiences in this beautiful, multi-story Whole Foods!
8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, United Kingdom
If I could live anywhere forever, it would be the Borough Market. Oh. My. Gosh. What a religious experience.
The Borough Market is one of the oldest and largest food markets in London, and it surely does not disappoint. We went for “breakfast,” but we ended up eating everything from truffled olive oil to hard cider to desserts.
My personal highlights were:
- A Pimm’s Cup! My first ever, and man. Obsessed.
- Tomato Basil Olives! So simple, but honestly the best olives I’d ever had.
- Rye Bread! There’s a booth that specializes in rye baked goods, and I loved it all.
- A Madeleine Cookie! My first ever, and officially one of my new favorite baked goods. Such a unique flavor and texture. So yum.
If we had a bigger kitchen, I would have stocked up on so much produce. Fresh fruits, crisp veggies, a whole dang mushroom stand?!?! It was incredible, you guys.
You honestly can’t go wrong here. You’ll find everything you need and more, and I highly suggest getting there early and staying late. Make a day out of it! You won’t run out of things to do or eat.
It was the best day. The BEST day. Man.
Crumbs & Dollies
1 Kingly Ct, Carnaby St, Soho, London W1B 5PW, United Kingdom
Not sure I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I love watching cake videos on YouTube. Love it. They’re always so fun and just a great way to zone out watching something awesome.
I got a mini vegan red velvet cupcake and their famous cornflake brownie. The cupcake was yummy and a one-biter, and then the cornflake brownie was SO sweet, but really good. I took two bites, and had to save the rest for the next day. I don’t even think I finished it. But I’m glad I went and tried!
It’s located in the Soho area, and while it was a bit difficult to find, it was totally worth it. And their menu changes quite a bit, so it’s a fun surprise whenever you walk in. Such a cute place, vegan options, and just really cool to be in the bakery I’ve seen so many times in her videos!
119 Kensington Church St, London W8 7LN, United Kingdom
Churchill Arms is really cool Fuller’s pub in Kensington! Lots of WWII memorabilia on the ceiling and a really beautiful flower arrangement out front.
I was feeling pretty crappy at this point (thanks to the aforementioned head cold), but I got my new favorite beer (Fuller’s ESB) and it immediately made me feel better. I’m talking clogged nose, unclogged. Headache, gone. General grogginess, poofed.
Is it magical beer? I’ll let you go and decide for yourself.
Patty & Bun
14 Pembridge Rd, Bayswater, London W11 3HL, United Kingdom
Random! But we were hungry for burgers and fries. So we found a cute, hip place near our Airbnb for satisfy our cravings called Patty & Bun.
Totally didn’t disappoint, and one of my favorite meals in all of London! They had vegan burgers, great beer, and really awesome fries with dipping sauces.
87/135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom
French pastries in London. Let’s do it.
We happened upon a really fancy Ladurée cafe in Harrod’s, and we wanted to try the macarons.
I really like macarons, and I’d love to make a vegan version for the blog eventually, but they’re finicky and affected by about a million different things from humidity to moisture to oven temperature. So sometimes, it’s just easier to buy them.
We got two, and while I can’t remember the second one (I think it was a chocolate hazelnut situation of some-sort), the Marie Antoinette flavor was indescribably tasty. Man. One of the best bites of the trip!
Sweet, but spiked with a pleasantly bitter tea flavor. I loved it. So much. Such a fun sweet treat to fuel the rest of our exploring.
Would I go back
Totally. London is one of those cities where there is just so much to see, explore, and eat, and I know we didn’t even scratch the surface during out time there.
London seems like one of those places I could spend an extended period of time (like, a month or more), just learning the city and really immersing myself in the culture there.
It’s obviously very touristy in some parts, but once you venture off the beaten path a bit, it surprises you left and right.
I was pleasantly surprised with how vegan-friendly their restaurants are, and I feel like that old mentality that British food is gross is totally wrong. And def. recommend traveling with buddy who puts up with your inability to navigate and desire to do a lot of walking. Abby, you’re amazing and I love you.
London is such a fun city; it was a treat spending some time there again!
Have you been? What did you think? Did you find any yummy food?!