Do you remember when I visited London at the end of May in celebration of my book? It’s been so long, but the trip has stayed with me. While I was there to celebrate the publication of Woman Of Color, I also got a few extra days to actually take-in everything London has to offer.
When I asked many of you how should I feel in London, your responses were so heart warming and completely spot on. My body felt free and at home, though so very far away. Here are a few photos of that trip (so late, time moves fast) and things I did…
I didn’t pack much for the trip. Before the tour I purchased a small Away suitcase, and that was a lifesaver for packing minimally with a carry-on. On one-side I would pack shoes, belts, extra bags and scarves. On the other was all of my clothes. I folded my new trench coat on top of my stack of clothes, too. It would feel utterly silly to travel to London without it!
I ate my weight in fish and chips. I also kept my rounds at several cafes. The food and coffee in London wasn’t cheap. But it sure was delicious and all relatively simple .
Like almost every person who visitis London, I couldn’t wait to really visit Notting Hill. The colors and textures, the scenic views, tiny shops and small flower stands. I moseyed Portobello Road, and bought fancy plates for my cousin (who was watching the kids in New York) and little dishes for River’s collection, as well. I tried on apple jack hats and hid from the rain. When taking a break for lunch, I even went on to check the rent prices (as every New Yorker does), and pointed out several tiny flats the kids and I could take up in another life sometime.
I learned how to use the Tube (after many mistakes) and realized the true function of an Oyster Card. Months later, New York has taken up something similar in a quest (hopefully) to reduce the use of paper Metro Cards.
I spent another afternoon finding my way around the Design Museum and Tate Modern. I kept texting my friend Sarah, and imagining she was taking it all with me. I got to see the entire city from the Tate and it was magnificent.
I spent a morning at The Columbia Road Flower Market pretending to fill that London flat with flowers and plants I found on my walk.
And them was so tired I used the trench for a grassy nap.
When nightfall hit, I would pick up a bottle of wine, walk around and take photos of all the buzzing. My last evening in the city was spent in a sweet corner of The Black Pigs With White Pearls, like a real city woman.
All in all, my trip was wonderful. The apartment I stayed in was located in the Stoke Newington area of London. It was colorful, tall, narrow, and full of plants. To be honest, every neighborhood I encountered was incredibly diverse and bursting with young people, families, people of color, and older generations selling fruits, wine and sweet treats.
Have you visited London? And if you live there, what’s your favorite part?
Thank you for this lovely portrait of the city of my heart. I’ve lived there but moved away and it’s bittersweet to see it ♥️ My favourite thing to do is walk along the Thames on the South Bank and just watch the city unfurl.
Oh Anna, that sounds so beautiful. I walked along the Thames in the day and it was soul moving. I couldn’t imagine the evening.
Thank you for reading
How are you?! We actually just got back from a quick long wknd trip to London (my partner had to go for work so I got some cheap tkts and my son and I flew to meet him there). We stayed in Islington with an old family friend who went out of town, so we had her apt to ourselves; highly gentrified but beautiful and def recommend (and not just because Ottolenghi’s cafe is on the corner!). One of my oldest girlfriends lives in East Dulwich (southeast London), which is AWESOME. A bit out of the center, but an adorable high st. and lots of families, diversity, and cute tiny houses. I could totally see myself living there! I hadn’t been to the UK in many years, and was reminded how accessible (under 6 hrs flying there!) and lovely it is, and totally doable for a 4 day wknd. Even my 17 yr old hypebeast was happy! xo
I’m good! I was actually JUST thinking about you a few days ago. Hope you’re doing well. I love that you got to go and for a good deal too, wow! I thought the same actually, when leaving. Like it’s easier than the West Coast from the city! So so easy. It’s comforting hearing another New. Yorker say they too could see themselves living there. Felt the dame (if it didn’t feel more expensive than New York at times with food etc).
So happy your son had fun too! Sending you love,
I studied abroad in North London when I was 20. Quickly realized I’d need a job as well! Your recount is making me crave a solo trip back!!! Fortunately, classes were only 3 days a week. I lived in gritty, fascinating Tottenham and worked in a tea shop near the British Museum. Spent so much of my free time in East London, with the local friends I made, and this area felt the most like home to me. Always love seeing your travels!
Thank you for sharing Jess! That sounds amazing. My friend Sarah was there for school I believe, and I think that’s also how she found herself and her way around the city. Lucky you!
We need to plan a reader’s London trip!
Thank you for this beautiful portrait of London. I have been living here for 7 years and even if I miss home, I’m from Milan Italy, it is difficult to imagine my life in a different place. London is truly a special place. I know tourists find it expensive and it is but offers so many cool things for free, like the Tate modern for example, and it is a diverse city you can still find amazing places where to spend few pounds for a great meal.
Come back 🙂
I haven’t been to London since I was a child and now I think I need to go back! I love your photos.
I live in London and its always nice to see the city through someone else’s eyes. Your photos are great, you even make the tube look beautiful. Also, you are so impossibly chic! I never look that good while travelling, ha!