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A day in London with Alessandra

March 31, 2020

My name is Alessandra (@alezorzinaa), Born and raised in Switzerland, I decided to move to London at the age of 18, which is still the place I call home now. Don’t get me wrong, my home country is the place I like to go back to for a quiet time and relaxed environment, but London has a special place in my heart. The capital is in fact one of the nicest and most special places in the entire world and believe me, when the sun shines, it is even more magical.

London is dynamic, multicultural, diverse and special in each and every single hidden corner. It is a happy city, a place that motivates you to dream, inspires you to do big things by never forgetting to enjoy life.

What is a typical breakfast and where would you go?

Known for its multiculturalism, London does not have a typical breakfast stereotype dish but it definitely has some must tries and Londoners’ favourite places where you can enjoy delicious hearty breakfasts. For the perfect serve at the counter type of breakfast Albion is a top choice serving delicious pastry, muesli, porridges and any type of eggs on toast you’d like. Nonetheless, my favourite spot for a hearty and exceptionally well made porridge is at 26 Grains, Swedish spot in Covent garden and now also in Borough market. If instead you are more of a savoury type of breakfast person the place of choice could be Egg break in Notting hill or a winning Full English breakfast at my favourite spot Hoxton Grill in Shoreditch.

Hoxton Grill | Picture credit: @hoxtongrill

Where is your favourite place to grab lunch?

A top lunch spot for a fast-passed city such as London would have to be Farmer J or a delicious grab and go poke bowl at Island Poke, which you’ll find throughout the entire city. If you would like to opt for a healthy and nutritious type of lunch than Ethos, Daisy Green or Farmacy Kitchen could be great for you. A totally different choice and still one of my favourite go to places for lunch is Joy King Lau in China Town, specialised in dumplings and roast duck; the best and most authentic spot, trust me! When instead your idea of perfect lunch would be a trendy, cool and well known place not only for its food but especially for the interiors, it would have to be Circolo Popolare or its sister restaurant Gloria in Shoreditch; the Italian décor and vibe will win over your heart.

Pharmacy | Picture credit: @farmacyuk

What is the ideal afternoon activity in a city like London?

London is a city to explore; each and every area of this city is a discovery and a surprise, something special. The perfect afternoon would be a stroll around the different neighbourhoods as Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove with its amazing little and cute cafés that often are visited by fashion bloggers, cool kids and artists.

On the opposite side of the city instead there is the vibrant and multi-ethnic East London with its well-known areas such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Hackney. A sunny and perfect afternoon in East London would be to stroll around the vintage shops, visit the flower market in Columbia road or the amazing farmers stalls in Broadway Market every Saturday; end the day up enjoying a nice coffee and cake in any of the little cafes around Brick Lane and why not having a late afternoon and happy hour booze at Netil 360 - a must go rooftop in the hart of edgy Hackney.

Netil360 | Picture credit: @netil360

Where are the best places for dinner?

The London scene at night can get pretty chaotic and crowded. The main areas of the city for a good night out spots would have to be Soho as well as the more elite area of Mayfair. A given is that in a city like London you won’t find yourself with no options or not finding your perfect spot for a lovely dinner. Bombay Bustle is one of the top to go places for a great Indian dinner right of Maddox street. If you're looking for something with a more relaxed vibe instead, I would suggest Breddos Tacos right off Carnaby Street or a little French Bistrot called Cocotte that serves the best farmed chicken and side dishes, which are to die for. A further great location could be Meraki famous for its fresh and exquisite fish and crudités. If your choice is instead vegetarian than I would suggest Mildred’s, a beloved spot by meat lovers also. Lastly, one of my favourite more relaxed places to go would have to be Kingsland Road, home to all the most authentic hearty Vietnamese restaurant in the city. The two top spots would have to be BunBunBun and Song Que. Both places give you the option of bringing drinks from home and being busy most days of the week, trust me, even on Mondays, you should be prepared to queue!

BunBunBun | Picture credit: @bunldn

In the evening, what is the city like and where do you find yourself?

None of the night outs in London can be boring or monotone. In fact, there is a place for any type of person. The bars I end up visiting the most have to be Ace hotel and Golden Bee which in the evening become great places to do some good networking and enjoying some fun chats with artists and quirky people. If you look for something more “high end”, well than Mr. Foggs Residence could be the right choice for you: typical English pub that has been renewed and made more elegant but where the vibe stayed the same. On the other hand, if you desire a great cocktail with experimental shapes and flavours, then the place to go is The Alchemist with some locations around town.

In a busy city like London, is there anywhere to chill?

London although being a super frenetic and fast paced city, does offer many places where you can find peace and quiet. The first place that comes to mind would have to be the amazing parks it offers of which Holland Park, Primrose hill and Greenwich Park are my favourite spots. You will find yourself immersed in the nature, at a door step from the city with dogs and children running around, people laying down and reading; groups of people drinking and playing cards or families doing a nice pic nick under the sun.

For a more rainy day, I would suggest small art galleries such as Saatchi Gallery. If your idea of complete relax and chill time would be a drink with a friend instead, my top choice would definitely have to be The Serpentine Bar by Benugo right in the middle of Hyde Park. One of the nicest bars and sit out areas where you can enjoy a nice beer and hot dog with the magical view of the sun going down and reflecting on the small lake right in front of you.

The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen | Picture credit: @benugouk

What is there to do for something fun and different?

Any quirky or fun thing you would like to do in a city as London you will be able to do. If I would have to tell you one of the places that you have to visit in the warmer season it would have to be Frank’s Café in Peckham. This neighbourhood is right outside London on the southern part of the river populated by a cool and young community of people. Here you will find an iconic rooftop spot right above a huge parking lot, which is now closed since many years ago and is instead used as a perfect panoramic over the entire city. For the colder season, a magical place to visit would have to be Somerset House, which during Winter gets transformed into a magical ice-skating ring in the middle of this ancient building.

Frank's Cafe | Picture credit: @frankspeckham

                                                     

Where is the best place to stay/sleep for young travellers?

Well, in a city like London airbnb’s are the thing many people opt for. But if you are looking for something more adventurous and fun, perhaps being surrounded by different people with different backgrounds could be the right choice for you. Definitely as a must go hotel for young travellers I would say Ace Hotel, home also to many events and great nights in their co-working space and café area that at night gets converted into a lounge bar and DJ area as soon as the light starts to go down.

What season would you recommend visiting?

If the cold season and wind doesn’t scare you I would definitely recommend visiting London during the Christmas period. It is magical and the atmosphere it emanates is something different. Trust me, you would be kept on dreaming of the amazing lights, Christmas markets and decorations all around the city. When your idea is more of a sun and “bright skies” type of trip well then I would suggest from May onwards. The city becomes warmer and people start enjoying their balconies more. Rooftops and parks become crowded likewise any other outdoor area and people start doing BBQs.

Regent's street | Picture credit: @visitlondon

Is London best for a family holiday/friends holiday or couple holiday?

If it is your first time visiting such and amazing city, probably the best way would have to be with your friends. You would definitely get the most out of it and go back home satisfied from the fun nigh outs to the unforgettable memories that will make you laugh for years.

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