I love London. The way I feel about this city makes me feel like I’m cheating on Paris. I just can’t help it. The energy of this city is unlike any other. You’ve got the cosmopolitan buzz of a capital, the innate grace and poshness of English aristocracy, coupled with some spectacular architecture and cultural institutions. What’s not to love?
After a three month hiatus, I was thrilled to be back! I get positively giddy when I see us approaching Marylebone station. We got our Oyster cards and made our way over to Green Park. The lounge chairs scattered around the grass looked so inviting; I had a book and just needed a cold drink! But we had a full day ahead and were eager to shed our suitcases, so we legged it over to the May Fair Hotel, our home for the weekend.
It was so bright! Sunnies went on ASAP.
Oh, hello. Don’t mind me, just putting on the Ritz.
We arrived, and I immediately started to explore while DM checked us in. How cozy is the Mayfair Kitchen?
So normally, I don’t take bathroom pictures for obvious reasons, but I fell in love with this one. The day I design my own bathroom, it’s going to have to look similar to this! Maybe minus the chair – not sure that’s entirely necessary, although it is very cool.
A lovely seating area near the Atrium with a glorious Union Jack waving through the window.
Normally our Saturdays start off with a trip to Borough Market, but we’d already had breakfast on the train and had been craving dim sum. Where else to go but Royal China? Off to Queensway we went!
We arrived a little after noon, and the restaurant was already packed. The wait was about 30 minutes. What I find interesting is that in Paris, French people will happily wait in line for food, but are almost incapable of doing so for anything else. In London I don’t see queues outside of restaurants very often – except at the Royal China. It is that good.
What to do when you have thirty minutes to kill? A coffee – or if you have a Moroccan place across the street, some sweet mint tea. (Please note the camel in the window.)
Our number was eventually called, and we were seated and brought jasmine tea within minutes. The excitement (and hunger) was palpable!
We ordered a beef and noodle dish, followed by all sorts of buns, gyoza, and rolls. It was dim sum heaven.
If anyone knows how to make their incredible chili sauce, please do share!
The rice wrapped in lotus leaf is one of my favorites. Deliriously happy and completely stuffed, we tubed over to our next stop: Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Some presents from London were needed, and I knew just where to find them.
These places in Notting Hill are so dreamy and English. Wouldn’t you love to stay here?
The famous colorful way onto Portobello Road
Shopping: check! From Notting Hill, we walked over toward Kensington. DM surprised me with a visit to this gorgeous, flowery pub. Churchill Arms was named after Winston Churchill’s grandparents, who were frequent visitors. Fun fact: it was the first pub in London to serve Thai food. Innovation station.
The inside of the pub is rustic then goes back to flowery as you enter the restaurant. I loved the shabby-chic nature of the place.
The flowers are everywhere, even in the bathroom!
A cooling drink later, we hopped on a double-decker bus that took us back by Marylebone over to Camden. I was shocked by how packed it was, but then again, it was such a beautiful day.
Primrose Hill, one of my favorite areas in the city, is just across the bridge from Camden. We were in desperate need of some caffeine after our early start, so a visit to the Tann Rokka coffee shop for a little afternoon pick-me-up was in order.
How cute is their little back garden?
I highly recommend their all-natural popsicles. We inhaled those first…
And then the yummy soy lattes!
Crossing the bridge, I popped into Cowshed for a little visit. This cafe/spa combo has a homey vibe that makes you want to stay for hours, and the staff is so friendly!
This coffee shop is so cute!
Ahhh, Primrose Hill!
I was thisclose to getting this box of truffles. If they’re the Queen’s favorite, you know they’re delicious. Don’t worry, Diana Antholis, I am being good!
We love Primrose Hill and yet somehow had never been to the actual hill. It was a deliciously sunny day, perfect for a little picnic. As you can see, the view of London from here is divine.
Summer in England can mean only one thing: Pimms!
And maybe an icy gin & tonic, too 😉
We found a Nicolas with an amazing display of rosé, complete with a set of boules. I felt like I was back in Provence.
A pretty sweet set-up – and shorts.
Greenberry has the cutest bicycle parked in front and is always buzzing!
The view from the Lansdowne
Our last stop was The Engineer for a spicy ginger beer on the patio.
We headed back to Mayfair, got ready for dinner, and headed out for our meal. I did a double take as we walked past this house – Harry Selfridge lived here! I absolutely love the show, so it was exciting to see where the real Mr. Selfridge lived.
After a few circles around Shepherd Market, (Saturday night and no reservations, whoops!) we were seated on Al Hamra’s terrace. I couldn’t wait to try their famous Lebanese cuisine! They brought us fresh vegetables and olives, and we ordered the most beautifully presented hummus I’ve ever seen and little lamb sausages to start. We both had lamb for our main, with a crisp white Lebanese wine. Sadly, the pictures all turned out quite yellow and blurred, but the food was fantastic!
A bonus of sitting in the terrace: a glimpse of those heading for dinner at the famous Loulou’s, aka people-watching heaven!
Happily stuffed, we basically rolled out of there and back to the hotel. What a fabulous whirlwind of a day. I can’t get enough of this buzzing London energy.
Stay tuned for our Sunday Funday, coming soon!
City of Westminster, Greater London
The May Fair Hotel
Stratton Street, London W1J 8LT
13 Queensway, London W2 4QJ (with other locations throughout the city)
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road, Greater London, W10 5TA
119 Kensington Church Street, London W8 7LN
Tann & Rokka
123 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 8BE
Regent’s Park Rd, London NW1 8XP
90 Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8HX
67 Regent’s Park Rd, London NW1 8XD
65 Gloucester Ave, London NW1 8JH
Al Hamra – Shepherd Market
31-33 Shepherd Market, London W1J 7PT
2-5 Hertford Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7RB