My London Favorites
I’m heading off to England in a few weeks for a research trip, so I thought I’d write about my favorite places in London. It’s always a quandary when I go – revisit my favorites or try something new? This time, I’ll be spending a week in London with a good college friend who’s never been there, so I think I’ll be leaning heavily toward the beloved places/experiences. Below are some of my favorites. Post a comment to share some of yours!
Open Air Theater in Regent’s Park
What better place to watch a performance of Shakespeare, a timeless drama, or a classic musical than under the stars in beautiful Regent’s Park? The Open Air Theater in Regent’s Park runs through the summer months. Bring a jacket, because even in summer it can get chilly once the sun goes down. Order your drinks for the interval ahead of time. Early arrivals can bring/order a picnic and enjoy the beauty of the stunning rose gardens.
A Sunday in Hampstead
I was fortunate to do my semester of study abroad in Hampstead, so I’m well acquainted with its charms – and there are many! Lunch at The Flask is always a treat, from classic fish and chips to bangers and mash served with panache.
If you’re looking for a lighter option, try the cream tea at the Louis Patisserie or discover why the line is always so long at the Hampstead Creperie.
If your taste runs more toward a pub crawl, the Flask is a great start. Then head up the hidden walkway on Heath Street to the top of Holly Mount for a pint at The Holly Bush, my favorite London pub. If you’re up for a walk on the Heath, make your way to The Spaniard’s Inn. And if you don’t mind stretching your legs a bit more, make your way to Kenwood House, the ancestral home of the Earl Iveagh. (You may recognize this house from the movie Notting Hill.) The expansive lawn is the perfect place for an ice cream on a lazy Sunday afternoon or for a heartier picnic.
Neal’s Yard Dairy, Covent Garden
Who would want to live in a world without cheese? Not me! Neal’s Yard Dairy, just a street or two away from Covent Garden, carries my absolute favorite – Appleby’s Double Gloucester. You can sample to your heart’s content, stock up on bread, cheese and olives, and you’re ready to picnic anywhere in London.
The Regency Rooms, The National Portrait Gallery
Besides serving as the home to Cassandra Austen’s watercolor portrait of her famous sister, the Regency Rooms present the early nineteenth century English experience in all its glory. Loads of Turners, Gainsboroughs, and Reynolds showcase the great thinkers, politicians, and artists of the day. Well worth a visit, as is dinner at Portrait, the restaurant on the top floor that provides a Peter Pan-in-flight view of London. Go in the evening, if you can.
St. James Park
This park between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace may not be as well known as Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, but it has the most gorgeous beds of flowers and a plethora of birds. ☺ It also affords a breathtaking view of the Horse Guards and the London Eye from the bridge over the water. Sting lives one block over, so maybe you’ll see him out for a jog. Inn the Park offers food and drink. Sit on the terrace and watch the people. Or feed a very friendly squirrel.
So now I’ve shared some of my favorite London places with you. It’s your turn to tell me some of yours!