In England, Europe, London

London off the beaten track

If you go to London City you can enjoy yourself easily for a week but what to do if you only have a weekend? London is great for this as well, both during summer and the Christmas period. Did you visit London before and have you seen all touristic places? Plan an off the beaten track weekend. We did the same during summer and in December and are sure you will love it!

Both times we did catch a flight on Friday evening and arrived back in Amsterdam Sunday evening. Two days do sound short but it felt much longer. If you book your flight on Friday evening around 19.30 hrs (Dutch time) you don’t have to take a day off from work and you can be in London City around 20.30 hrs. (UK time) which means you can enjoy dinner that evening already!

Unfortunately our flight got delayed and we arrived a bit later.

Our hotel was situated in Shoreditch, our favourite neighbourhood in the city! Alternative and trendy, London East End is one of the most vibrant and exciting areas in town.

Friday night we arrived late in the hotel. It was very busy on the streets, people were waiting in queues to get into the clubs and bars. BallieBallerson is awesome. It’s a ball pit cocktail bar with one million balls, the ultimate adult playground to get loose. After a walk, we decided to get something to drink and chips and enjoyed it in our room (yes we were a bit sleepy).

East London Food tour

Fish and chips

On Saturday morning we started with the East London Food tour with Free Tours By Foot. Nice to do but with our tips, you can most probably visit the shops we visited during the tour as well. First we started with some Indian restaurants in Brick Lane. Here you can find the best Indian restaurants and buy lovely curries and samosa’s. If you are lucky they serve you the samosa’s fresh out of the oven. Our second stop was at Poppie’s Fish & Chips, Spitafields Market. Poppie’s is renowned for their authentic fish and chips. If you just want to taste it, share a portion of fish bites with your friend. The portions are enormous but delicious and affordable.

 

 

Sweets

Chocolate, Dark SugarAfter this it was time for us to taste something sweet so we went to Dark Sugars Cocao House. Dark Sugar Cocao House brings the culture of West African cocoa production to Brick Lane. You can buy high quality chocolates. You should taste hot chocolate as well. Please be careful with chili chocolate, it will set you in fire!

Still hungry? At the end of Brick Lane you can find Beigel Bake. The bakery produces 7000 traditional Jewish style bagels every day. The favourite is the Bagels filled with hot salt beef and mustard but you can also buy a bagel with chopped herring or cream cheese and salmon. Very tasty and delicious.

We closed our food tour in Boxpark. Nowadays you have two Boxpark malls in London but the one in Shoreditch opened in 2011 as the world’s first pop-up mall. It is entirely constructed out of refitted shipping containers and offers lifestyle brands, cafes, restaurants and galleries. We visited Dum Dums Donutterie. They offer a selection of fredhly baked doughnuts and cronuts (combi of doughnuts and croissants). And you know what… everything is baked instead of fried which means it’s lower in fat!

Boxpark is nice to walk around, visit the lifestyle brand shops and have a drink upstairs. When we visited London it was quite cold so we tasted the Nutella hot chocolate. Heerlijk!

Musicals and shopping

After visiting Boxpark we took the bus to Leicester Square to visit the Christmas market and buy last minute and discounted musical tickets at the TKTS booth. We decided to book tickets for Annie the musical for the same day at 15.00 hrs. If you want to go to the theatre in London, you should go to TKTS to buy tickets for performances on the same day, the day after or the next day. You can save 50% and it makes your city trip complete.

Before the musical started, we still had some time to go to Regent Street and Carnaby Street. In Regent Street you can find luxurious shops and Carnaby Street is a bit more affordable with a really nice atmosphere. The Christmas decorations in Carnaby Street were special as well. With Carnaby Christmas Carnival as theme you could see neon coconut trees, feathery parrots and tropical flowers everywhere.

After the musical we walked to Hyde Park to visit Winter Wonderland with 200 charming wooden chalets, an ice rink, live music and much more. The perfect spot for mulled wine and bites. Before having dinner we visited Harrods, the world’s most famous department store.

 

 

Just some more food tips

We had dinner in Zizzi, an Italian restaurant. We can recommend if you are in a hurry but are not really into fastfood. Otherwise we recommend you to have dinner in Carnaby Street! Before taking the bus back to Shoreditch we decided to have a walk through the city centre so besides the of the beaten track tour, we still saw the Big Ben and the London Eye.

Sunday we started with a delicious breakfast at The Breakfast Club. A must do when you are in London! We ordered the Elvis Waffle, Banana Bircher, a chocolate shake and tea and shared everything. And you know what, they have secret bars as well. We were told that you need to go to The Breakfast Club at Spitalfields and ask for the Lord Mayor.

Artist: Carleen de Sozer

Graffiti & Streetart tour

1.5 years ago Anouk already joined the Graffiti & Streetart tour with Free Tours By Foot. The tour was amazing at that time, so we decided to do this tour once more. It was worth it, it’s a must do when visiting London! Gregory is amazing, he shows graffiti and street art and gives a lot of background information.

 

 

Shoreditch

We did spend the rest of the day in Shoreditch. Sunday is the best day to visit Shoreditch as most markets are open on this day. We went to the Sunday Upmarket, Brick Lane market, Backyard market and Old Spitalfields market. It’s a melting pot of cultures, people, food, art and shopping. For lunch you need to go to the Boiler House Food Hall. Here you will find over thirty stalls of international culinary delights. We shared a falafel and halloumi wrap.

After two great days it was time to go back home. London is an amazing city to walk around and has really cool off the beaten track spots. A real must do!!

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