I’m super excited to introduce a new series on the blog today – Front Roe Travel Guides! These have been a long time coming – with how often I’ve traveled over the years (whether for work or play), I always get tons of questions from my followers about recommendations for different cities that I’ve visited around the world. I wanted to start off with a city that is very special to me – my hometown of London! We’re currently here visiting, so what better time to share some of my favorite hidden gems with you? A lot of these are off the beaten path – my favorite non-touristy places if you’re looking to experience the city like a real Londoner.
Claridges Fumoir Bar: You just can’t beat its timeless elegance. Drop in for a glass of champagne as you take in the stunning art deco architecture.
Duke’s Bar: Hidden down a backstreet in Mayfair, head here for the best martini in town, constructed and shaken at your table by a white-glove-wearing barman.
Peggy Porschen: You’ve probably heard of the infamous Sketch (or at least seen it on Instagram), but another adorable, lesser-known cafe with pink overload and delicious treats is Peggy Porschen in Belgravia. They always have an exquisite floral display, even better than a wedding – over the entrance archway. Afternoon tea is a big deal in the UK, so spend it here and indulge in one of their yummy cakes – it makes for an epic Insta story opportunity.
Lowry and Baker: In the famous Notting Hill neighborhood. Try their avo toast, piled high with chunky avocado and poached eggs, yes please! They usually have one on special with different toppings, and I’m a sucker for their pretty plates.
Farm Girl: Also in Notting Hill and perfectly placed for a mid-shopping break along the Portobello Road. Pretty interiors, great brekkie, and a latte sprinkled with dried rose leaves – did somebody say flatlay?!
Maggie Jones’s: If you’re still standing for dinner, this is one of my old favorites. It’s the perfect cozy choice for a cold winter’s night – it feels like a ski lodge with wooden walls, romantic booths, dried lavender hanging from ceiling, and vintage chintzy plates.
Nikki Tibbles: Treat yourself to a fresh bouquet at this beautiful flower shop on the Pimlico Road. She has the most stunning displays that are very popular in London for weddings, or plenty of arrangements to choose from that are perfect for your hotel or Airbnb.
Portobello Antique Market: A world-famous street market in Notting Hill, Portobello Road has an impressive collective of antiques. It’s an entire street lined with vintage shops that are like nothing else. Go on a Friday or the weekend, and be prepared to pack your suitcase full of vintage treasures from trinkets to sketches, books and clothing.
John Sandoe Books: On the King’s Road in Chelsea, another favorite area of mine where I used to live. I dragged Mackenzie in there a few weeks ago and he was bored after two minutes – but if you’re a bookworm like me it is heaven! A charming shop in an old house with creaky floorboards and a spiral staircase lined with books on travel, art and of course, classic novels. I could spend hours getting lost in here…
Old Spitalfields Market: In the East area of London, (the opposite end to Notting Hill), which also has a huge amount of history. Check out this quirky neighborhood for amazing fashion, antiques, crafts and street art. You’ll also find the best Indian food in the city near here too – Brick Road is lined with curry houses.
Methodist Central Hall, Westminster: Check it out for incredible architecture and light. It’s not the obvious choice so it’s less of a tourist trap, which is great for spending a a quiet moment.
Traditional Red Phone Boxes, Covent Garden: For a must-have photo opp, pose with the row of infamous red photo booths In Covent Garden, just outside the Royal Opera House.
Tate Britain: Along with a great collection of works, this impressive art gallery has the most magnificent black and white tiled spiral staircase. Climb to the top and take a snap facing down for a beautiful photo.
St Luke’s Mews: VVisit this cobbled mews just off Portobello Road for one of the best Instagram moments in the city. The pink house is a stunning cottage where funnily enough, I used to visit when I knew the old owner! Also, you might recognize this street from a little rom-com you might’ve heard of: Love Actually.
Natural History Museum: An entertaining museum with the most jaw-dropping entrance hall – it contains the skeleton of a gigantic dinosaur, where I once went to a very decadent wedding and sat right underneath its tale – which was surreal to say the least!
Notting Hill: Many of the places I’ve already mentioned are in this neighborhood, but I have to emphasize the importance of taking at least a full day to explore here. There’s so much to see and do, and in my opinion it’s one of the cutest areas in all of London. See an afternoon movie at the Electric Cinema – enjoy a glass of wine and relax on a sofa at the back. Grab a cake at Biscuiteers, with the sweetest old fashioned store-front ever. And you can’t skip the infamous Notting Hill book shop, which you’ll recognize from the movie.
Insider Tip: To geek out over another famous rom-com moment visit the Royal Courts of Justice, with its ancient, stunning buildings. Think Bridget Jones when she storms in to declare her love to Mr Darcy, soaking wet after being splashed by the taxi outside. It’s a bit off the beaten track and some access is restricted, but it’s worth a visit.
Where are some of your favorite places to visit in London? Tell me below!