Friday, June 7, 2019

London: Food, Parks, Markets & Street Art

I recently spent three full days in London and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the city's markets, parks, street art and much more!  

touring london
The talented street artists in Spitalfields, London paint beautiful portraits and fun animals, only to have them covered in graffiti a few weeks later.  Many of the artists have accounts on Instagram.

Street Art Walking Tour

The side streets and alleyways of East London showcase the work of talented street artists.  I toured the area of Spitalfields with a guide and saw some amazing art!  The artists oftentimes use their work to make statements about class and politics.

The tour ended at a great market with wonderful artisans and delicious food carts.  It was really the best part of my trip. 

London Cuisine
A sign posted outside Brewdog Tower Hill Craft Brewery in London.  Feel like I could have seen this exact sign in a little place I like to call Portland, Oregon.

Hipster London

London surprised me with its progressive and hipster culture.  It has a vibrant artisan community, and much of the food and products sold in London boast of being "consciously created" and "ethically sourced".  

I also noticed trends—such as a hipster coffee shop inside a bike store—that I'd figured were exclusive to the PNW.  But no.  These are alive and well in London, too. 

Clearly cultures are taking cues from one another from across the ocean.  It's hard to pinpoint where these trends start.   

Regents Park
Can you believe this beautiful field is located right in the heart of London?  I can see why people make London their home; taking a walk through Regents Park is a lovely way to start the day and find respite from the grind.  

Amazing Parks

London is a great city for walking.  I stayed just north of Regents Park and walked through Primrose Hill and Regents Park in the mornings. 

The park had a track for running, paved trails, well-maintained gardens and beautifully mowed lawns. 

And the architecture in the city was splendid.  London is an ancient city--it actually started in 50 AD--so full of buildings dating back centuries.  

Covent Garden
London has the best markets.  I visited Covent Garden and Camden Market and a few more as well!  

London's Rubbed off on Hong Kong

I recently spent four months living in Hong Kong and have to say that even though Hong Kong is no longer a Commonwealth, many traces of the UK remain in the city. 

Both cities have many of the same businesses, including Pizza Express, Marks & Spencer (I love their cookies and fresh fruit juices!), and Hardys Sweet Candy.  The distinctive double decker red busses are ubiquitous in both cities as well.  And both cities have "look left” and “look right” written onto the street as a caution to pedestrians (they drive on the left-hand side of the street).  

I even saw some of the same crafts for sale at the markets!  


Unfortunate Lodgings

I stayed at the Palmer Hostel just north of Regents Park and it really, really sucked.  Maybe I should say “my bad” in that I stayed at a two-star place in order to save money.  

But it was the most expensive and least welcoming hostel that I've stayed in, and by now I've stayed in a lot.  I had to pull teeth to get the light by the bed fixed (without a light the bed felt like a tomb) and they acted put-out that I'd even made the request.  And the music in the bar was so loud I had to wear earplugs!  

The Palmer Hostel marred my otherwise totally enjoyable London experience.  I caught a cold during my stay, which I attribute to the total lack of respite the hostel provided me after long days of touring. 


The Queen's English?

I was surprised by all the non-native English speakers in London.  After spending over a year traveling in Spain, Portugal, the Middle East, and Hong Kong, I was looking forward to interacting with native English speakers.  Yet nearly everyone I met spoke English as a second language.

Touring London
My niece and me in front of the Palace.

I Needed a Fortnight

London's wonderful combination of ancient and progressive gives it a distinctive flavor.  It's so cool to walk past pubs that opened in the 1600s alongside ultra-hipster craft breweries.  

I would love to return and see everything else the city has to offer and may just do that.  

Have you been to London?  What are your favorite sights in the city?

4 comments

  1. It is so cool that you got to spend some time in London. Oooh, a lot of different cities are going through the hipster culture shift as well. Los Angeles has a big hipster culture scene as well. I know I would appreciate the delicious food out there. It is a bummer that the place you stayed at wasn't the best. Hope this won't happen again! I like that there were some historical vibes mixed with modern ones in London. Glad you enjoyed your time overall!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nancy! Yeah, looks like hipster culture is sweeping the globe :) . There's even craft breweries in Myanmar.

      Delete
  2. Wow! I really love your pictures and this makes me wanna visit London. Maybe in the near future <3

    https://sarahrizaga.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get a chance to, Sarah! It's great.

      Delete

I love your comments.

Julie Anderton © - DESIGNED BY HERPARK