It was two months ago that I packed my bags and unplugged my laptop for a two-week long European adventure with my best friend, Annie.
As I disembarked my Air Canada flight at London Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, I was amazed by how at ease I felt. Despite intermittent naps throughout the 6.5 hour flight, I felt recharged and ready to take on one of my favourite cities.
London is one of the most culturally-diverse cities in the world. On previous trips, I marvelled at the world-class galleries and architecture; visiting every unique neighbourhood I could fit into my jam-packed itinerary. On my last trip, I attended three West End shows and stayed with my high school friend, Katherine, who was attending London School of Economics at the time. She showed me her favourite pieces at The National Portrait Gallery and the best places to dine on a dime.
This trip was an entirely different experience: I was fortunate to stay with my good university friends, Kim and Greg, who are from New Zealand. They are spending two years working and living in London; sharing a house with five other Kiwis and one Brit. They have an amazing flat dynamic and all hang out and support each other. I love the sense of community Kiwis have no matter where they are in the world.
I navigated the tube with my duffle weekender bag (remind me to stick to the rolling luggage next trip!) and eventually ended up on their doorstep. After a shower, I was off to Chelsea to catch up with Emma, my English literature friend. We had plans to carry on our tradition of meeting for an al fresco bite and coffee before perusing the cobblestone streets of one of London’s poshest neighbourhoods. Emma, the eternal expat, is the best tour guide and conversationalist. She’s pursuing law in London, and I’ve never seen her more at home.
I’m obsessed with Oscar Wilde, so I wanted to visit The Cadogan Hotel that he frequented for high tea, and where he was eventually arrested.
After they finished work, we were joined by Kim and Greg. The four of us ventured to Shoreditch to sample one of London’s amazing street food festivals, Street Feast. Kim and Greg are on top of their London food game, which I am so thankful for! I highly recommend checking this food festival out if you’re ever in the area. The vibe was amazing, lots of locals and fellow foodies like ourselves. Not to mention, the cocktails (prosecco and elderflower, anyone?) were superb!
Next, we hit up Brick Lane – one of London’s culinary wonders. With some of the best Indian food in London, it’s worth stopping by. Since our bellies were full, we instead hit up a patio at the lovely, Apples and Pears. If you ever find yourself in East London, this place is not to be missed!
The next morning, we were up early for the Royal Ascot Races! I’m not sure how I missed out on the races whilst living in Auckland, but this was my first time attending. I borrowed Kim’s fascinator, put on one of my favourite dresses, and packed a picnic lunch (complete with sparkling wine as they don’t allow any other alcoholic beverages) and off we went…
We are the classiest girls around.
We travelled in style.
Here I am with another New Zealand friend, Nicky.
Queen Elizabeth II was in attendance (obviously!)
After watching a few races, we sought refuge inside this spectacular wine garden.
The next day, Kim, Greg, and I ventured to Borough Market, taking in the London Bridge and Tower Bridge before I caught my train to the airport. Until next time, London!
Next up, I’ll be sharing my Paris adventure with you! Please let me know if you enjoy these travel posts! xx