gal’s guide: london travel guide, part two: where to eat and shop

Now that you’ve nailed down where to stay and what to do, in our London travel guide part one, it’s time for the foodie and shopaholic in you to indulge. Read below for more insider tips on London travel.

When hopping back across the pond, I had my tried and true places to eat and favorite streets and stores to shop at. With a city and people that are so diverse, London has everything to offer from luxe to local flare. Most “top” restaurants book far in advance so be sure to plan ahead! My guy and I opted for a more relaxed, like-a-local feel. As a tip, these kinds of places also tend to be more budget friendly which is always a plus when traveling to an expensive city. There’s nothing that makes you feel more British (even if just for a second) then grabbing a quick bite at a tucked away cafe then slipping out for endless shopping.

I am total foodie. One of my favorite things about London is its amazing food. Contrary to popular belief – the food is so delicious. Since London is so vast and diverse, you can find foods from all over the world. Have a craving tonight? London can satisfy it. 

Borough Market – Hands down my favorite place in the city of London (which really says a lot about me). Borough is a foodie’s heaven on earth. Located right by the Shard, you’ll find to-order food, local cheeses and wine,  homemade chocolates and blooming flowers. Vendors from around the city set up shop with fresh ingredients. My favorite stands include anything featuring curry (guilty pleasure), veggie burgers, falafel and freshly squeezed fruit juices. My guy and I visited Borough Market at least three times in our one week stay. 

Camden Market – Say hello to foodie heaven number two. While Borough offers a ton of exotic flavors, Camden offers your classic go-tos. Think: the cheesiest Mac n Cheese with pesto, mozzarella and dried tomatoes. They also offer global flavors with Polish Pierogis and crepes. Camden Market doubles as a vintage + souvenir hot spot on top of its amaze food. Stroll through the numerous stalls and find jewels, leather goods, London trinkets and more.

Montparnasse Cafe – This adorable, French cafe is located in the heart of my old neighborhood: Kensington. It’s tucked away down a few side streets which makes it all the more charming. Soak up the calm, quiet (and posh-ness) over a pain au chocolat. 

Bread Ahead – There are donuts then there are Bread Ahead donutsFind their quaint shop in Covent Garden or head to Borough Market. The donuts are seriously so fluffy and flavorful. I’m a personal fan of the chocolate-filled one (obviously). If you’re less of a sweet tooth, opt for their fresh baked breads.

Homeslice – Finding Home Slice is half the fun. You’ll find this restaurant tucked underneath flowers and vines and in between vibrant, colorful buildings. Neal’s Yard feels like a little escape in the heart of London. The relaxed ambiance is perfect for a midday sightseeing break. 

Da Mario – Located in Kensington, Da Mario, has to be one of London’s best kept secrets. Princess Diana used to take Harry and Will to this family-owned Italian restaurant, there are pictures of them inside! Upon entering  you’re immediately transported to sunny Italy. Pair the endless pizza and pasta options with some vino and voila! Who ever said London had bland food clearly never made it here. 

Now, it’s time for the real good stuff (let’s be serious).

Harrods – THE holy grail of shopping in London. Every luxe good you’ve ever lusted over can be found at Harrods. That Chanel you’re crushing on? Or maybe that Stella McCartney? Check and check. Just for fun, visit each floor and be amazed by the selection. You’ll find designer looks and pieces displayed – like works of art. If you’re looking for a few budget-friendly options, their food hall is amazing and truly gourmet. Plus, find the perfect souvenirs at Harrods’ tea + coffee or chocolate (yes a whole room) rooms. 

Regent Street  & Oxford Street – When I think of London and shopping, Regent and Oxford Street pop into my mind. Stand on the edge of the sidewalk and watch a red bus zoom by. Every notable retailer has set up shop on these streets. Finally, you can binge buy all those Topshop items you’ve had your eye on for months. For an authentic, British department store feel visit Liberty London. I could die over just the florals. 

Selfridges – Basically the London version of Nordstrom. I love how modern + updated the store feels versus the classic, polished Harrods. Be sure to visit their food hall for a tasty bite or some British goods to bring back across the pond. 

Portobello Road – For vintage vibes and the perfect photo op, head to Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The street is teaming with pastel houses and thrifty goodies. If you’re looking for original and antique-y home decor, Portobello is your place. 

Covent Garden – I love Covent Garden for casual strolling and shopping. Take in the surroundings and sounds as you stroll through the open air market. Covent Garden offers local vendors and retailers. Find a handmade print or visit Jo Malone for a new scent. Time your visit before dinner so you can grab a bite at the numerous surrounding restaurants

Here’s to hoping you (and I) make it across the pond some time very soon. Happy eating and shopping!