Half a day in London

Half a day in London
By Natalie Lefevre
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The British capital won't disappoint, with its famous landmarks living up to their international reputations.


Even though the British capital is one of the world's megacities, it is packed with beautiful gardens, and has a small town vibe in many of its idiosyncratic neighbourhoods; such as Kensington, Soho, Chelsea or Mayfair.

I recommend spring or summer as the best season, as you can rent a bike, take the renowned bus tour to hop on and off, see Big Ben, enjoy a stroll in Hyde park to see a festival, feed the swans or enjoy a lovely picnic. If you enjoy art or history, you will barely have time to see all in your bucket list. A must see is the Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square, followed by a picturesque stroll along the river.

A Hotel

Blake’s Hotel is a cosy boutique hotel that has a feeling of home. Each of the rooms is one of a kind, with creative English colonial style curtains, vintage décor mixed in with modern touches and spacious bathrooms. It’s a hip spot to dine for locals (as well as tourists) and boasts a fun vibrant bar with old-fashioned cocktails and attentive, mostly Italian, staff.

You won’t feel like you’re in a big capital city. There’s more of a tropical vibe, yet the audience is young to middle-aged and up. Try the restaurant for lunch or dinner. It features delicious international cuisine with a twist, like the grilled octopus with bean puree or the tasting menu during the holidays.

A Restaurant

I love the French cuisine and style of Le Colbert at Sloane Square for brunch, dinner or yummy coffee at the bar. Their lovely terrace is inviting all year round with a heater and blankets for guests during cold months. Enjoy your champagne in a big round flute glass reminiscent of the 60’s, this “time warp” spot is a local fave.

You’ll find any cuisine you’re in the mood for here. Check out Zuma for sushi, Bulgari bar for tasty snacks and amazing soups or Bar Boulud grill at the Mandarin Oriental. For phenomenal indian food try Zaika or Gymkhana. Visit Novikov for fresh seafood or Asian specialities. At Maroush, the Arabic choices are abundant and the atmosphere is welcoming and casual.

The Ivy, which originated in London, has moved to La Petite Maison and is truly delicious. From the grilled baby zest chicken, Nicoise salad and crudité to cut at your table while you wait, it’s a fun way to lunch and if you’re lucky a celebrity sighting may be on the horizon.

A Sight

I adore Hyde park but there is so much more to discover than meets the eye. Kensington Palace is a stunning site to see. Enter to visit the museum and find souvenirs and many gift options like tea or plate sets.

If you’re lucky you may pass some horse riders, geese taking a stroll in search of a resting spot, or one of the man green parrots that swoop in between the squirrels in search of a bite.

Did you know you can play tennis and book a court inside the park grounds? Ride a horse, rent a bike to tour along the river of this peaceful historical metropole and in the summer you can even swim in the Serpentine.

A Purchase

Walk into Harrods for a large selection of gifts to bring home. You can find anything from tote bags and teddy bears with the logo of the famous department store, or chocolates and teas from around the world.

Their array of gifts vary in price, from a Láuduree gift bag of rose petal and fruit infused flavoured macaroons to first flush tea from Sri Lanka, hand painted tea cups or chocolate covered dried fruits. You can even buy house baked custom bread personalized with your initials and enjoy a hot tea at the new coffee bar on the ground floor while you wait.

Please follow me on Instagram @island_natalie

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