Little London List
We visited England and Wales back in May, and stumbled upon a few gems in London that I thought you guys might love as much as we did. I’d recommend hitting up all the well-known tourist attractions that the travel guides tell you about, but when we travel, we have a way of coming across sweet little hidden neighborhoods and those usually end up being my favorite part of our trips. Sometimes after a day of crowds and history, it’s nice to sit down in a little hole in the wall and chat with a local. Here’s a few of our favorites.
I’ll start off this list with the sweet hotel we stayed at and loved. It was on the South side of the River Thames, but still a close walk to the city center and right near Tower Bridge, which was such a beauty to walk over every morning as the city was waking up. The building itself is beautifully converted but still full of history. It dates back to 1906 when it was the Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, housing a courtroom (which is now a beautiful lounge/bar), jail cells and the police offices. It has a modern, eclectic, boutique vibe, but is still plenty large. Much of the decor was inspired from its history: original handcuffs hidden in the main lobby chandelier, the wall etchings of prisoners cut out and hung up, the same layout from when the bar was a courtroom. We loved it and highly recommend it.
This quirky coffee shop was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel in a neighborhood that we fell in love with. We found ourselves heading here just about every night for dinner, craving a bit of a quieter vibe than the tourist locations offer. We grabbed coffees and pastries here on our last morning and instantly wished we had a few more days to spend just to have a few more breakfast experiences here.
I actually read about Flour & Grape in the travel guide on our flight from NYC to London. We took Norwegian Air for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised with their travel reading! Anyway, we were also told by a local shop owner how great this place was, so we knew we had to give it a go. We tried one night and they were completely booked, so we went back a few nights later and only had to wait a few minutes for a table. If you want some of the best pasta in London, go here. It’s a cozy little Italian spot with '“fresh pasta and great wine”. I don’t need much more convincing than that. We shared a carafe of Italian red wine and ate way too much pasta, which is all made in-house. It was a dream of a meal. Just take one look at their Instagram and I dare you not to drool. I have no photos of my own because we were indulging a little too much. Above are credited to their Facebook page.
We happened upon Pizarro the night that we couldn’t get into Flour & Grape, and they made us feel like we didn’t miss a thing. It’s on the same street, Bermondsey (which we highly recommend checking out for its little shops, great restaurants and bars). We grabbed two spots at the bar and watched the staff in action. If given the opportunity while traveling, sit at the bar to eat. It allows for a conversation to take place with the bartenders or your fellow diners, and usually leads to great stories, recommendations and a wealth of local knowledge. We love it and do it every chance we get. Pizarro is a Spanish restaurant with a wonderful menu and beautiful modern Mediterranean decor. We indulged in some Spanish wine and ordered nearly every tapa on the menu.
As you can tell, we ended up not eating much traditional British food on this trip. Hobson never once had fish & chips! We were on our way to the train station to head to Wales and we almost stopped at a little pub so he could get fish & chips, but we just didn’t have the time and didn’t want to be rushed. We did spend a few afternoons and evenings hanging at traditional pubs and drinking some local beers, but as far as food, we just happened to run into these other cuisines, and we were very happy we did. Mark my words, we will go back to every single one of these places the next time we’re in London. They’re that good.
It’s a short list, but quality over quantity. I don’t think much can beat these spots.