written: July 2022

Today I’m bringing Helen Reinhold to the blog to give us allll her London recs! Helen is the BFF that I can comfortably quote all of Annie James’ Parent Trap lines to in my crappy British accent, so naturally I wouldn’t trust anyone else to give me the best of London. Read on for her experience & her recs! 

Thanks for being on the blog & telling us all there is to know about London! First and foremost, can you tell me what it is that you love about the city? 

I’ve been infatuated with London ever since my childhood obsessions with The Parent Trap and Spice World – iconic films. A lot of the things I like to do in New York can be done in London – activities to try, people watching, great restaurants, and sites to see – but in a new and exciting environment. I love a city where you can set out with a direction in mind and a few recommendations in your back pocket and see where the day takes you! I’m not a huge planner but I like to wander and London is definitely suited to that sort of adventure. It also helps that they speak English (as that’s all I’m capable of) – but their English is different enough to keep things interesting!

What type of trip is London good for?

I’ve only ever visited London when I had taken time off work and I loved getting to unplug and be around the busyness of the city but not be busy myself. It’s fun to get up and be in the fray but not having to work felt like playing hooky in a fun way! I definitely think you’d be able to work from London though – there are tons of cute coffee shops and cafes to duck into and get some work done!

What neighborhood would you recommend staying in?

I loved staying in Marlyebone near Oxford Circus because it was centrally located and so easy to catch the Tube or bus to other parts of the city. Lots of good restaurants and shopping nearby made it easy to step out and do anything we wanted! I appreciated the convenience of staying off Regent Street but next time I go, I’d like to stay somewhere a bit more residential like Richmond (so I can experience the quaintness of Ted Lasso in person).

What are your top recs for things to do in London?

Harrods → Browse around at all the fancy things to buy! My favorite thing to do is mooch around the food hall and check out all the treats. Pretend you’re Elizabeth and (Hallie pretending to be) Annie James and when you’re done, make sure you head nearby to 23 Egerton Terrace where you can see the actual townhouse that served as the exterior for the James Residence. 

Liberty → Amazing store for clothes, makeup, home bits and much, much more in a gorgeous Tudor building. You’ll want to move in! Famous for their flowery fabrics, there’s a whole section to explore and purchase for your own crafty endeavors.

Kensington Palace → Open for tours; they have a cool exhibition about the royals and photographers who have documented them going on right now. I went on the tour the first time I visited and really enjoyed it! It felt a bit unreal to be allowed inside. I also loved walking around Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Your ticket gets you into all the public areas of the palace and the current exhibition.

V&A Museum → Similar to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in that there’s all different kinds of things to see and fun to browse around with no commitment because it’s free! Make sure to see the courtyard.

Daunt Books → Dreamiest bookstore on the Marlyebone High Street! I love to browse around a book shop in a new city especially when there’s a gorgeous setting and books we might not have at home! 

South Bank → Stroll along the Thames! Lots of fun food trucks, restaurants, museums, and sites to see including The Globe Theater! I recommend taking the Tube to Westminster, cross the bridge and head east towards Borough Market!

Borough Market → Come hungry! Tons of fun stalls with all different produce and food vendors. Grab a Pimms and wander!

West End → I thought seeing a show on the West End would be just like seeing one in NYC but it was even more exciting! I think the theaters are generally smaller so I felt closer to the action and I had a blast! We saw SIX and it was loads of fun, had great music, and is so British!

Favorite food & drink recs?

Circolo Popolare → A really fun vibe and great food with a cheeky menu – my sister Grace and I shared the carbonara for and it came in a wheel of pecorino! Great desserts, cocktails, and wine too. Try to get a res because they fill up and it’s quite popular.

Pizzeria Mozza → The best food we had thank you Nancy Silverton! Fresh mozz was amazing, the chopped salad was to die for, the meatballs, pane bianco, and pizzas were incredible!!

GAIL’s Bakery → There are tons all around – great place to work if you want to pop in with amazing pastries and coffees! Top hits: the sausage roll and scones!

Chiltern Firehouse → I think they recommend that you have a res for inside and on their terrace but Grace and I sat outside at their chilled out sidewalk cafe with a smaller menu and had great cocktails and pizza! Incredible vibes on a sunny day.

Petersham Nurseries → Plant and flower shop with a gorgeous deli. Hit up aperitivo hour!

Monmouth Coffee → Great coffee and a place to get some work done. Check out the one in Covent Garden!

Wahaca → Quick easy Mexican food with locations all over! Lots of options and great margs.

The Ned Sunday Feast → I’ve learned about this extravaganza since I visited London so I was not able to partake but it looks amazing for a special occasion or if you’re looking to have a Sunday Funday. Get dressed up and enjoy the feast! More info here!

Any safety precautions we should keep in mind? 

I felt really safe getting around London but like any big city, it’s good to remember to be aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you!

Any travel logistics we should keep in mind? 

My recent trip to London fully converted me to a contactless payment gal. Make sure your Apple Pay is set up before you go! Super convenient for cafes, shops, and restaurants but essential for the Tube and the bus! Easy to use, very efficient to get around, and much cleaner than their New York counterparts! I especially loved taking the bus because of the novelty (hello double decker buses) but also it’s a great way to see loads of the city in one journey! Sit at the front of the top if you’re going a long way for great views.

Also, pack layers!! The weather in London is mild in an amazing way but there’s always a chance the sky could open up. Throw a trench in your suitcase and you’ll be set!

Anything else we should know? 

Have so much fun!!! Save a bunch of places you want to hit on your Google Maps so you can pull it up as you wander around. Drink all the cider and say hi to Lizzie for me!

next up:

(or click here to go back to blog home)