5 November 2015

London Life Weeks 011-016

This is a hefty post. Luckily it's full to the brim with things you might like to do in London, including, food, food and more food. Snuggle down and have a scroll.

Pimlico Fresh

This little cafe makes for the perfect brunch, which as far as I can tell is served all day along with fresh salads, pastries, quiches and the odd hot dish. With seemly endless options of delicious egg and toast combinations, I've not yet felt the need to veer away from the breakfast options scrawled on the chalk wall which come in around £7-9 for a filling portion.
The fresh salads look delicious and the coffee is reasonably priced, which makes up for the extortionately priced though admittedly delicious smoothies and juices (£4.50 a pop).

Top Tip: Get there early and be prepared to loiter for a table! The staff are happy to 'hold' your food until you have a place to sit.

Tate Britain

This gallery is right down the road from me and we just happened to get there in time for a little tour about the gallery and its past. The talk told us about how and why the gallery started (because the existing National Gallery didn't want to take Mr Tate's art collection) and all that it's been through to become the gallery it is today. The guide was so friendly and it was a lovely surprise to just turn up and join an event. Highly recommended!

Our guide told us that these two paintings were worth seeing, as quite often they're on tour. Do you recognise them?
Although Tate Modern is arguably the more well known gallery this little gem is absolutely beautiful and a more manageable size in comparison to the National Portrait Gallery.
My Favourite
Annoyingly I can't find a link with the details of the tours running, so best to ask at the information point when you arrive. For more info on the gallery and planning your trip go here.

Borough Market

It's almost criminal to visit London and not come to this gem. Although it is a market it's actually undercover in a beautiful old building, so it's still a great choice for drizzly days.
All the vendors are happy and willing to chat to you and most offer samples. Just use the "I'm going to do a lap first before I buy anything" excuse and don't feel obliged to buy if you just want to soak up the atmosphere... Come to think of it, it's actually a very good idea to do a lap first before buying as if you bought everything before looking around you would definitely see something you wanted more or spend an absolute fortune.
As well fruit, cheese, meats and other ingredients there are also plenty of stalls selling full meals. If you head outside there is a whole row of hot food vendors. These stalls sell delicious meals from around the world and at very budget-friendly prices. Down near Whisky Ginger I enjoyed a delicious Catalan Stew with mashed potato for £6 which was filling and absolutely delicious.
... And to finish it all choose from pastries, artisan chocolate or flaxseed flapjacks (the berry ones are vegan and absolutely to die for).

Borough Market is open for lunch on Monday & Tuesdays and the full market is on from Wednesday-Sunday. All the details for visiting the market can be found here.

Natural History Museum

This is by far my favourite building in London (which you may know already from my Instagram). It's fantastically grand, like a Harry Potter castle, yet the exposed brickwork is in all different tones which somehow seems to make the building less dowdy.

Aside from the building itself, the museum has so much to offer and I'm actually now a member. Becoming a member is £60 for a year or £46 for a student. Although this seems pricey you get 10 free guest passes so if you half the price of the membership this makes each trip £2.30 per person per trip... that's if you utilise the membership, which I fully intend to do!
We were there for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year which didn't fail to disappoint. What I was most shocked by was how young some of the photographers were - there was even an under 10s category! There was no photography allowed in the exhibition, but if you scroll through the people's choice photos you'll get a good idea of how incredible some all of these photographs were. Here's my favourite one of my favourites (I can't decide).
A swinging time
Save time by booking the exhibition ahead - all details about the exhibit here. You can also view 50 images shortlisted for the People's Choice Award and vote for your favourite here.

Fortnum & Mason

When you think of the classic British Afternoon Tea your mind perhaps wanders to The Savoy or The Ritz, two admittedly beautiful elegant London hotels. But what if I told you my favourite Afternoon Tea is in a shop?
Well, if you've been to Fortnum & Mason you'll understand that this isn't just a shop, it's probably the most beautiful shop you'll ever go to. The ground floor looks like something on Diagon Alley and the staff are friendly, warm and not at all pushy - they're interesting in showing you things without making you feel awkward that you're there just to look!
Right, on to the tea itself: one thing that people don't realise, is that you can ask for as many refills of your plates as possible. We knew this and certainly utilised it by ordering refills of the sandwiches and two refills of scones! 
If you're new to the whole afternoon tea thing, then hopefully this pin will help you out...

At near enough £50 it's very expensive, but it's the most wonderful experience and I highly recommend it. 
Book afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason. Aim for a few hours either side of 3pm, as is traditionally done. 

Phew!... Told you it was a long one. Don't forget to join me on my Facebook page or subscribe to blog posts in the right tool bar.
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