Don't go to London without doing these activities!

I never considered London to be in my top 10 cities to visit. To be honest, the first time I went, I wasn’t even excited. My sister, who had been there once before, fell head over heels for the exciting city and tried to convince me of the opposite. “You will love it”, she promised as we landed that first time.

 London Eye - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

London Eye - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

I did love it. I remember thinking to myself  "It's more beautiful than Paris”, but I didn’t share this thought with anyone because I knew I could be severely judged. I flew in with my mother and sister and we did the usual touristy trip: visited the London tower, got a tour of the Westminster Abbey, sat at Trafalgar square and visited the National Gallery Museum, had high-tea at The Wesley, hopped on the London Eye, shopped for a single chocolate at Harrods, and walked through crazy Piccadilly Circus.

 Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

I will never forget that feeling of amazement and wonder towards a city that is so beautiful, rich with history, modern, and clean.
 Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

This summer I had the privilege to visit London with my family once again. My cousin, who lives there, and some friends that had lived in London, shared with us a detailed list of things to do. You cannot imagine my level of excitement when I realized that most of these recommendations were related to food. Bring it on!

Read more : 5 musts in Dublin and its surroundings

 Granger & Co. - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Granger & Co. - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

About London

What I loved the most was walking around discovering all the different areas and zones; London is truly an amazing city. The architecture of every house and building is classic to the point of being cliché, except that it’s not, because this is truly what London looks like from every perspective. From Noting Hill to Camden, Greek columns dominate the frames of every single entrance, windows are decorated with plants or flowers, and short fences separate the streetway from the front stairs that lead to a beautiful door. 

 Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

 Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

We were very lucky to be in London the best two weeks of the year, it was sunny and warm every day. This made it easier to walk the city from top to bottom, 12 hours a day, with not a cloud in the sky, and not a worry in our hearts. "The city looks brighter and more beautiful", that’s what the locals kept on telling us.

 Hyde Park - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Hyde Park - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

The parks, with enormous trees and romantic lakes full of ducks and swans, are truly worthy of a painting. The classic and the modern don’t stand in conflict, but rather create a sensation of visiting both the past and the future in one day.

 Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

London is elegant, of course (Buckingham and Belgravia), but it has also the hippie-hipster side (Camden and Brick Lane), that compliments its character perfectly. The city is a mixture of different cultures, languages, and religions; which makes the gastronomical aspect so exciting. Finally, I would love to say out loud and in writing: London is more beautiful (and definitely cleaner) than Paris, sorry les français, this is my humble opinion.  

 St. James Park - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

St. James Park - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Things to do

1- Pick a sunny day and head to Borough Market for brunch (Closed on Sundays).

 Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

The market has plenty of food trucks, local shops, and a variety of European products to shop. You can get a full lunch just by sampling on bread and all the different kinds of olive oils that vendors have to offer. -Try the truffle oil from the truffle stand. – For brunch, we had the duck confit sandwich with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions at the corner stand in front of the strawberries. And for dessert, a cappuccino and a ginormous cookie the size of my face.

 Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

 Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

2- Visit Convent Garden, it’s touristy but still beautiful. Order a gin & tonic in one of the pubs located on the second floor- in London they have hundreds of different tonics- and watch the street performers downstairs.

 Covent Garden - Photo credit:  Tumblr.  

Covent Garden - Photo credit: Tumblr. 

3- Take a bus to Trafalgar Square, a public square in Westminster, Central London, where you will find some of the coolest street artists performing in front of historic monuments.  

 Trafalgar Square - Photo credit: Tumblr 

Trafalgar Square - Photo credit: Tumblr 

4- You can also visit the National Gallery for free and then walk through the Admiralty Arch past St. James Park to get to the Buckingham Palace.

 Buckingham Palace - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Buckingham Palace - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

5- Go shopping at Piccadilly Circus and finish your day at Carnaby Street.

 Picadilly Circus - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Picadilly Circus - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

 Carnaby Street - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Carnaby Street - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

6- Get a late lunch or dinner at Kingly Court, a food venue hidden in one of Carnaby’s streets. FYI, the nightlife there gets pretty vibrant. 

 Kingly Court - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

Kingly Court - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

7- On a Saturday or Sunday, take the trip to Noting Hill and go to the Portobello Road Market. Best thrift shopping of your life.

 Noting Hill - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Noting Hill - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

8- Kilometers of antique shops and stands that sell clothes, books, cameras, jewelry, accessories, etc. Make a refreshing stop at UKAI, best sushi around.

 Portobello Rd. Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega *The woman with the hat is my mom <3

Portobello Rd. Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega *The woman with the hat is my mom <3

 Borough Market -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega&nbsp;

Borough Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

9- But if you are looking for the greatest biggest thrift market of all you have to visit Camden Market. It is so big, it took us almost three hours to walk it all.  Try the PB & Jelly sandwich at the entrance!

 Camden Market -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega&nbsp;

Camden Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

 Camden Market -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega&nbsp;

Camden Market - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

10- Pique-nique! Go to La Fromagerie at Moxon St. in Marylebone and order some lunch to go; walk 5 minutes to Hyde Park and enjoy it while staring at the beautiful views. 

 St. James Park -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

St. James Park - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

For an authentic English dinner, visit The Grenadier, a hidden pub in Belgravia, one of the most beautiful and elegant neighborhoods in London. Order the Beef Wellington, it is to die for.

 The Grenadier -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega&nbsp;

The Grenadier - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

 Belgravia -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega&nbsp;

Belgravia - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega 

11- Extra! One of my favorite neighborhoods to walk around is Brick Lane in Shoreditch: cool people, cool coffee shops and pubs, street art, thrift shopping, and the best Indian food in London. Make a reservation at Dishoom for dinner, you can thank me later.

 Bricklane St. -&nbsp;Photo credit: Isabel Ortega&nbsp;

Bricklane St. - Photo credit: Isabel Ortega 

 Shoreditch -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Shoreditch - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

Personal favorites:

It would’ve not been very Beauties-type of me if I did not share my experience with you, les bons vivants.  

Where to eat Breakfast/Brunch?

Where to eat Lunch?

Where to eat Dinner?

Museums

 The banks, Thames River -&nbsp;Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

The banks, Thames River - Photo credit: Lucía Ortega

London is an incredible city with exceptionally good restaurants, elegant yet modern sights, and a very English 5-7 ambiance. I truly recommend placing it on your list of “Top 10 cities to visit”.

 
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