SUNNY WEEKEND IN LONDON!
Back in July, I went to my first ever blogging event, which took place near Kings Cross. With London being a 3 hour train journey away, I always try and make the most of any visits! This time, the event was on a Thursday, so I decided to make it a long weekend. I stayed with my friend in Richmond for the first two nights, before meeting up with another friend on the Saturday for my first ever hostel experience in London!
FRIDAY – RICHMOND
I’ve been to Richmond quite a few times now to see my friend, but I never tend to venture out much as we usually spend the time chilling with her kids indoors, getting messy with arts and crafts that drip and splodge all over the house – ooops! However, this was a particularly sunny weekend so we decided to head outside for a walk along the river and an al fresco lunch.
A short 10 minute walk through Richmond Green brought us to the Thames. I’d never walked along the river before and was kicking myself for not making the most of such a beautiful spot on previous visits. As you walk along, there are numerous opportunities to stop for a coffee or ice cream in cafes and shops. You can also opt to hire a boat, or take part in an organised boat trip if you’d rather sit back and relax! We came armed with food for the ducks and 4 year old Sofia was soon lost in a field of hungry birds, vying for her attention!
We continued walking along the river and it wasn’t long before we reached our lunch stop – Stein’s. My friend loves to eat out and always knows the best places, and with this being a firm favourite, I was excited to see what was on offer. The Bavarian restaurant consists of a small hut (a completely refurbished ice cream stand!) located on the river’s edge, with a clean and contemporary feel. Most people come for the traditional German sausages, but there’s also a selection of other favourites on the menu too. Being veggie, my options were more limited, but more on that in my full review of Stein’s 🙂
After lunch, we walked back towards Richmond Green, grabbing a beer in a nearby pub and an ice cream for Sofia before plonking ourselves down on a patch of grass to enjoy the sunshine. For the best ice cream, head to Gelateria Danieli (tried and tested by Sofia) which has a huuuge selection of ice cream, sorbets and frozen yoghurt!
SATURDAY – LONDON PRIDE
On the Saturday of my long weekend, I left Richmond and took the tube to Oxford Street to meet my friend Emily, her girlfriend and some of their friends. It happened to be London Pride celebrations that weekend, so we squished our way through a sea of people (Pride + Oxford St = ridiculous!!) and luckily ended up being almost front row with a great view of the parade. Once the celebrations had subsided, we grabbed a picnic lunch from a nearby supermarket and headed to Hyde Park to chill out on deck chairs! The British Summer Time festival was happening in Hyde Park that day, and although the area was completely fenced off, we were still able to hear the music loud and clear as we sunk into our deck chairs in the sunshine 🙂
About 7 hours later (!), we decide we should probably move and made our way to Soho to continue the Pride celebrations into the evening. For those who have never been to London Pride, the afterparty at Soho is somewhat insane. There are people EVERYWHERE! Every pub is filled to capacity, and the pavement has even run out of perching space by this point. There are cans and bottles decorating every step and a faint stench of urine wafting down the streets from the nearby portaloos – it’s something special! We bought a couple of pints and found ourselves some steps to sit on further down the road; a classy night in London…
Eventually we called it a night and made our way back to our hostel. We stayed at the Wombat’s Hostel (1 stop away from Liverpool Street) and I can highly recommend it! Great location, quirky decor and super clean – more on that in my review. We were hoping to get some chips on the way back to the hostel, but sadly didn’t pass ONE kebab shop/ chippy which was thoroughly disappointing. Not being ones to give up (and probably more because we were steaming drunk and ravenous) we ventured to the nearest place – a McDonalds (not recommended!). What should have been a simple 15 minute walk, turned into a 2 hour trek when we got hopelessly lost. This was all forgotten once we were back at the hostel, cradling our veggie wraps!!
SUNDAY – VICTORIA PARK & SHOREDITCH
We woke up fairly early on Sunday to make sure we could check out on time. Nursing hangovers, we sloped downstairs into the ‘basement’ hangout where breakfast was available. Neither of us could face eating – although the £4 all you can eat buffet seemed a pretty good deal – so we hung out in the courtyard which had hammocks.. winner!
An hour later, we were feeling much better so set off on a 40 minute walk to Victoria Park with the intention of napping in the sun. We detoured to walk along the canal which was lovely, although the weather was turning and the sky was becoming more grey with each step. Once we reached our destination the skies opened and we ducked for cover under a nearby tree, quickly realised that sunbathing was probably not going to be an option…
Our time in the park was short lived and we were soon on a bus to Shoreditch, so Emily could show me around this ‘hipster paradise’ that I had never visited. First stop – coffee and cake! There are loads of cafes and restaurants lining the streets and we hopped in the first one offering vegan cakes. Sadly I didn’t make note of the shop name* but it had a cute seating area at the back, fit for around 10 people, a huge selection of loose leaf teas and coffees and a fridge full of vegan sandwiches and cakes. We opted to share a slice of the toffee apple cake, which was lovely. *If anyone recognises the cafe, please let me know! 🙂
Whilst sitting in the cafe, listening to the rain beating down outside, we realised we couldn’t just sit and eat cake until it cleared; we’d need to think of a better indoor activity! Emily’s girlfriend Jo had joined us by this point, and suggested the nearby Geffrye Museum. I’m not a fan of museums (or anything that involves utilising my brain) on a hangover, but we had no better suggestions… The museum was actually pretty interesting – it’s called the ‘museum of the home’ and specialises in the history of British interior design. You start at one end, which contains an example room from the 1600s, and you follow the corridor along, passing 10 other rooms up until the present day. There’s also lots of extra bits you can read/ listen to as you go along, but I was happy just to look at the different designs!
Afterwards, the weather had brightened up and it was time for lunch! We’d passed a selection of pop up restaurants on the walk to the museum, so headed back to investigate. We snaked our way through Brick Lane first, which was amazing. I can’t believe I’d never been before! The streets are lined with row after row of stalls selling anything and everything. There’s also a bunch of vintage shops and stalls and more food than you could possibly imagine. It’s hard to think that they make any money with the sheer amount of food stalls there are. You can definitely see why its a hipster’s paradise!
Although tempted by some Vietnamese noodles along the way, we had our eye on a particular pop up stall, run by Essential Vegan. They were offering juicy homemade vegan burgers with vegan cheese – how could we refuse?! They tasted amazing and we even managed to squeeze in a white chocolate and caramel cheesecake between us … *drool*.
This was our last stop on my sunny weekend in London – after filling up on burgers and cheesecake, we went our separate ways as we boarded our trains back to Norwich/ Kent! It was another lovely weekend, eating my way around London once again… I’m heading back again next weekend and am planning to spend some more time in Shoreditch/ Brick Lane, so I’m sure there’ll be another London post very soon!
Happy Travels 🙂