You know when you get back from a trip and you’re happy to be home, but also simultaneously wishing you could have stayed a few more days? That’s how I felt this summer after getting back from a short and sweet trip to London.
We flew over for a friend’s wedding and stayed five days/four nights. Since we had such a short timeline, we had our itinerary well planned out beforehand. I’m happy that I got to see and do the majority of the things I wanted to. While we were there, I snapped plenty of pictures and kept notes on all the places that we visited. I was hoping that I’d feel inspired enough to write a post about the trip, and here it is (about five months later!). Without further ado, this is my London travel diary!
I’ve been to London several times, but it’s always been to visit my family, who live in South London. This trip was different since I was primarily there for the wedding (but I saw my family too, of course!). We stayed in an Airbnb right on Brick Lane. This was my first time staying in Central London and visiting that area. I loved it! The neighborhood is packed full of places to eat and shop. There’s lots of street art in the area as well, which is always fun to look at. It was a really vibrant and fun place to be and it was great to experience it for the first time.
We stuck pretty close to the Brick Lane/Shoreditch area, since there were so many places to try that were within walking distance. There’s definitely no shortage of good places to eat in London! On our first night, we hung out at a cool pub in Shoreditch called The Owl and Pussycat. It had a good amount of space indoors, along with an outdoor area in the back which was really nice.
That same night, we had dinner at Dishoom, which was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I’d been wanting to try it for ages and I’d heard nothing but good things. As soon as I knew that we were definitely going on this trip, Dishoom was at the top of my list of things to do. Since we were a large group, we had to do the sharing feast and chose the non-veg option, which was so, so good. It includes the Black Daal, which is the one dish that multiple people told me that I had to get. Everything they brought out to us was absolutely delicious, but my favorite dishes were the Keema Pau, Chicken Tikka, Lamb Boti Kabab, Biryani, and the Black Daal (plus the breads were amazing too). I would highly, highly recommend Dishoom if you’re looking for a place to eat in London (they have locations all over the city)!
There were tons of good places to eat on Brick Lane as well. We caught the Brick Lane Sunday Market, where they had lots of food stalls on offer (as well as other goods for sale). I opted for a sausage that was fresh off the grill and so tasty. I also popped into Crosstown Doughnuts– you know I had to sample at least one donut while I was in London!
The evening before the wedding, we had drinks at Callooh Callay, which had cool decor, and then we also popped across the street to Strongroom Bar, which seemed to have lots of space both indoors and outdoors. And then on the day after the wedding, we posted up at Well and Bucket for a few drinks, a pub with gorgeous signage inside. It was the groom’s birthday that same day, so we met up with a few people for drinks and dinner at the Hoxton Hotel. I thought the lobby/bar area was beautifully decorated and had great ambience. Our dinner was really good as well. 10/10, would recommend!
We had brunch at Albion one morning, which was really nice. There’s a good amount of space in the restaurant with nice big windows and there’s also a portion of it that’s a small market, where you can just pick up a pastry or a drink. The pancakes and berry compote that I had there was delicious, so I would definitely go back.
We visited Box Park and I thought it was a really cool spot. It’s a structure made out of shipping containers. On the top level, there are a bunch of food stands (along with a couple bars), and on the bottom level, there are several shops. This is great place to go for a casual bite with a group since there are options for everyone and long tables where you can sit and relax for a bit.
Borough Market is another great place to visit. You can food to eat on the spot, or you could do a bit of grocery shopping there (think fresh bread, eggs, preserves, etc.). We only popped into the market for a short stint, but I still managed to sample a chorizo sandwich and some tasty fudge while I was there.
I went to the Tate Modern for the first time on this trip. I’ve been wanting to go for ages and was so happy we finally made it happen this time. I think it’s absolutely amazing that London’s museums are free to the public (NYC, when are you going to jump on that system?!) This museum is huge. We walked around for a little under two hours. We definitely didn’t see everything, but we saw the exhibits that we most wanted to see. There’s also a great terrace on the top floor where you can look out onto the Thames and get nice views of the city.
On our way back from the Tate Modern, we decided to walk across the Millennium Bridge (also known as the bridge that was in Harry Potter!).
Brick Lane is the perfect street for wandering. We saw a couple different markets while we were there, and there’s so many shops in that area where you can pop in and have a browse. We did spend about an hour or two wandering, but honestly, we were much more focused on the food stands rather than the product stalls.
Bookstores are always at the top of my list of places to visit when I’m traveling to a new city or country. On this trip, I visited two shops for the first time: Brick Lane Bookshop and Librería. Both were within walking distance of our Airbnb, which was amazing. I love supporting indie bookstores and I ended up purchasing one book from each shop: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton.
And that was really all the shopping I did on this trip. Oh, but I also want to mention that the Tate Modern has a really beautiful gift shop. I was tempted by many things in there, but I was able to resist!
That’s a wrap on my London travel diary! I hope I gave you a few suggestions of places to visit if you’re ever in London. Since I have family in there, I know I’ll always have an excuse to visit. I already can’t wait for my next trip!