web analytics

6 Days In London

6 Days In London

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, or read one of my latest blogs, you probably know that my #Yearofme is in full effect. Yes, I’m being so selfish this year. And for good reason!

To catch you up to speed, a few weeks ago, as I approached my birthday, I realized that a lot of the anxiety, depression, and frustration I experienced in my life over the past few years was caused by me putting everything and everyone before myself.  In order for me to live a fulfilling life full of happiness, it was time for me to take the reigns back and really make sure I was practicing self-care, and making sure my needs were being met and my cup was full every day before I went out into the world and started pouring that love into others. 

And so I decided to spend a year simply loving myself more.  

Before I began, I wrote down a list of things that made me happy and travel was at the top of my list.  Now, I will admit that as I get older, I am a little hard on myself for not achieving the things that society says we should have as a woman at my age. You know, the kids, the house with the picket fence, the husband, a popping career (okay, maybe my career is somewhat popping LOL!!) — but what I lack in those areas, I feel like I overcompensate with my experiences.

When I am somewhere far off, experiencing a lifestyle I never knew existed, breathing in crisp fresh air while staring at snow-capped mountains in Switzerland, or listening to the sexy accent of a Parisian, or watching the Changing Of The Guard out in front of Buckingham Palace, I suddenly forget about the areas in life I’m lacking in and I start embracing and appreciating the freedom I have as a single woman who is still trying to find her way.  And it’s incredibly exciting!

With that being said, my first stop on the #YearOfMe tour was in London last week!

And boy did I have an interesting time! 

Gogo Bot App

First, thanks to the amazing Gogobot app, I was able to navigate London flawlessly.  I’ve used it a bit during my travels in the US, and it has helped me discover new hotels, restaurants, and things to do in cities like Chicago, LA, DC and even where I live in Scottsdale, Arizona, but I had no idea how useful it was going to be out of the country. Most of the restaurants and tourist attractions I visited, I found on Gogobot.  I recommend this app for anyone who loves to travel and discover new things, or even for people who are looking for new things to do and discover in the cities that they currently reside in. It’s so useful.

Now on to my adventure….

Where I stayed:  

Paddington Neighborhood 2

I stayed in the Paddington neighborhood next to Hyde Park (which could be compared to New York’s Central Park and it’s surrounding neighborhoods.)  What I loved about Paddington was that it was very residential and it didn’t have overwhelming foot traffic. It was close to everything. There were two train stations within a five minute walk, and you could get to most London tourist attractions within 15-20 minutes. 

I stayed in a gorgeous one-bedroom flat I found on airbnb for a week (which I will discuss in another post :)).  

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.04.33 PM

I also loved that a lot of the buildings were all white. My Romero Britto luggage set from Heys America was the most colorful thing on the block! 

What I Did: 

Big Ben

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.47.06 PM

Big Ben which is a part of the Palace of Westminster is a must-see in person.  Ironically, a friend and I had just stepped off of the subway when it started chiming at the top of the hour.  It’s absolutely gorgeous but the foot traffic in the area makes it hard to get a good shot.  

 

Big Ben taken from the London Eye

This photo was taken from inside The London Eye. 

The London Eye

The London Eye is one of the world’s tallest observation wheels (I’m assuming this is a fancy way to say ferris wheel). At it’s highest point you can view The entire city of London and take amazing breathtaking photos. 

The London Eye London Eye Attraction The London Eye London 2

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.47.14 PM

lee and Necole London Eye

Bring a camera and don’t get suckered into buying a keychain, and photo album of photos like I did -_-.  (This is my long-time friend Lee who came to see me for a few days. He’s a flight attendant)

Also in the area:   In walking distance of Big Ben and The London Eye is the Whitehall Area which has a ton of government buildings, palaces, and monuments. 

Whitehall Area London Monty Monument Whitehall London

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.47.36 PM

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square (also a short walking distance from Big Ben and The London Eye) is a movie.  There’s a ton of street performers, and interesting things that will leave you wondering, “how did they do that??”

Hoola Trafarlar Square Trafarlar Square silver man

Man with Sand Dog

Covent Garden

There’s also Covent Garden in the area which is a shopper’s dream if you love jewelry, British made crafts, art and leather goods. 

Changing Of The Guard — Buckingham Palace

This was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip!

The Changing of The Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place every day at 11:30am in June and July, and the rest of the year, you can catch it every other day.  As many people that it attracts each day, you’d think it was a once in a lifetime occurrence with an appearance from The Queen!  But it’s exciting nevertheless, and it lasts around 45 minutes with appearances from guards on beautiful horses, and a band.

Changing Of The Guard Buckingham Palace Changing of The Guard Buckingham Palace London

Changing Of The Guard BuckingHam Palace

Across the street from Buckingham Palace is Memorial Garden.  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be stepping on the line. Excuse my manners. I didn’t know! 

Memorial Garden Buckingham Palace 2

Tip: Save your money. Don’t book a tour for Changing Of The Guard, just get there early and claim a good spot. 

ShoreDitch

Oh Shoreditch, how I love you!!!  I happened to come across the #shoreditch hashtag on Instagram and immediately fell in love with all the street art photos.  I knew it was a must-visit area for me, and I actually went two days in a row. 

What you can expect: Tons of Street Art, graffiti, vintage shops, bookstores, and restaurants. 

Shoreditch Street Art STreet Art and Graffiti Shoreditch Prince Mural Shoreditch Shoreditch Street Art 0 Shoreditch Street Art 3

All the magic seems to happen on Brick Lane.  I spotted Dark Sugar Chocolates which sells amazing chocolate and cocoa imported from Ghana. 

Dark Sugars Chocolate Shop Outside Dark Sugars Chocolate Shop

There was also a neat cereal place called Cereal Killer Cafe.  

Cereal Killer Cafe

And The Beigel Shop sells these unique colorful bagels!

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.01.40 PM

Other things you should know:

Black Cars London 3

Avoid the black cabs! They will cost you a fortune. I’m pretty sure I paid one $100 USD to get from the airport when a train ride would have been 20 bucks or less, and an uber no more than $40 or 50.

Take The Tube:

As much as I love taking Uber, those expenses will add up QUICK. Not to mention it takes far longer getting to where you need to go in traffic than if you just took the train.  I’ve had some really crazy New York Subway experiences that have left me skeptical and scarred but I will say London has one of the cleanest subway systems I’ve seen. And everyone is very helpful. People were coming out of the wood works asking if we needed help and offering directions.

You can get a peek into my London Tube experience below:

One final thought: 

The Food

I have to be honest when I say the food that I ate over the course of seven days in London was unmemorable.  The only restaurant that stood out was The Island Grill (directly across from Hyde Park.) I actually went twice because it was so good, and their caipirinha’s where everything.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.02.57 PM

FullSizeRender (17)

Yes, it was as good as it looks. My mouth is still watering!

If you frequent London, or live in the area and you know of anything I may have missed, let me know in the comments. I want to return in the near future, and this time I will definitely plan a meet up!

I also have a vlog on my trip coming soon!

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on GogoBot (now Trip.com) to read all of my reviews as I travel from city to city, and country to country.  My username is Niki Necole :).   My next stop is Washington DC (Sept 2), followed by Asia (September 12)

25 Comments
  • 2 Sep ’16

    Looks like you enjoyed your trip Necole – when I go to London, I go to visit family so I don’t really go to the tourist bit. Oh and those black cabs – I’d rather ride a donkey! They’re extortionate!

    I’m from Jamaica so I’m used to spice and flavour and I have to say the food here rarely excites me.

    I live in the Reading, (Berkshire) in the UK (25 mins train ride from Paddington but outside of London).

    If you come back to the UK, check out Windsor Castle in Berkshire or even furth afield and book a day or two away to The Lake District of The Peak District. England’s countryside is magical!

    I turn 30 last year and have been on a little journey myself so I look forward to see where yours takes you.

    Enjoy your travels missy.

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Super dope article!I try to travel once a year just to treat myself. It definitely recharges you. P.s. i love your luggage

  • Nchimunya
    Reply
    2 Sep ’16

    Next time you travel down try check out Camden. It’s very nice and vibrant loads of stuff to do out there

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Definitely go to Camden next time you visit, you’ll love it

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Loved that you stayed in Paddington I recommend to any tourist staying in London

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Good museums here too.. Victoria and Albert is pretty good if you love taking a peek into history.

  • Rainelle
    Reply
    2 Sep ’16

    I lived in London for 2 years, and I absolutely loved it! I want to go back to live there, that’s how much I loved it.
    You have to check out Camden Town, and Angel. Fifty5, this amazing bar, is in Camden. They have the best cocktails. The next time you go to Shoreditch eat at Pizza East!

  • 2 Sep ’16

    I am Leaving for London on Tuesday!! Im super excited

  • 2 Sep ’16

    I love London so much, I make it my business to go at lease once a year for just a few days.

  • 2 Sep ’16

    I did everything she did and more, live theatre also, canal district, stayed in the same neighbourhood, Tower(s) of London, etc. too much to write, how come I never posted, ooops, sorry, no FB, Twitter, etc when I did mine. Lol Great fantastic city.

  • 2 Sep ’16

    I wish I could move there for a year.

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Leaving the country is not in my funds…but a few of my friends have gone so I just admire the pictures

  • Merlene Cross
    Reply
    2 Sep ’16

    They have spectacular restaurants in London! Not sure which ones you’ve been too but you need to check out Brixton and they are some amazing restaurants in Central London. Hakessan, Tamaring, Ivy cafe to name a few

  • Merlene Cross
    Reply
    2 Sep ’16

    Sorry meant Tamarind. You should also check out Clapham next time

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Harrods for afternoon tea and shopping
    Definitely a walk down Oxford St for shopping in central London- you’ll find selfridges there.
    Lots of free museums and galleries
    Cable car at the 02

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Love myself always no need to travel -don’t like planes. Enjoy

  • 2 Sep ’16

    I live in London and I can testify to get to Shoreditch in East London. So many amazing places to eat! It’s not touristy at all and often gets missed by visitors. It’s more like ‘real’ London. I can also recommend Brixton for amazing eateries.

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Camden, Chelsea, Kensington, Shoreditch, East Olympic Park, Brixton, and so much more. Glad you enjoyed my city.

  • Nade
    Reply
    2 Sep ’16

    On your next trip definitely explore a bit more, if you are going to stay in London then areas around Holborn aka Noho are cool and still central or maybe one of the Hoxton hotels in Shoreditch or Holborn. Going out there are loads of bars in Carnaby Street, Soho, Bermondsey High Street and you have to try one of the many street food pop ups, roof top bars. We also have loads of beautiful spaces, Greenwich, Primrose Hill, Regents Park, Holland Park. I would always recommend getting up early and walking around the City and night especially crossing one of the bridges Chelsea, Blackfriars or Tower and just looking at the city just before dawn. This is when London is at its best.

  • 2 Sep ’16

    I can’t wait!!

  • 2 Sep ’16

    Visit Camden, Brixton and Southbank especially at night time next time!☺️

  • LisaJ
    Reply
    7 Sep ’16

    Thanks for sharing your travel to London. I plan to do more travelling next year to celebrate my 50th birthday in February but I kicked it off in early August with a trip to London (along with day trip to Paris). I stayed in South Kensington which was a five-minute walk to the Tube and tons to do (Natural History Museum was a favorite). The neighborhood appears to be similar to the Paddington area. The “silver” man was a favorite of mine and I still can’t figure out how he does it! A return trip to London is definitely in the works in the next couple of years because I could’ve spent the entire time in the Covent Garden area which has all the theatre plus I want to visit some of the outlying areas.

  • 21 Sep ’16

    Love it so quit

Leave a Comment:

Sign up to receive weekly inspiration from Necole.

You have Successfully Subscribed!