For being such a wanderer, I haven’t traveled much. I didn’t quite know what to expect from London other than dark skies, crummy food, and intrusive elbows on the tube. Imagine my surprise when I arrived lonesome at the Dalston Kingsland overground station and felt nothing but sunlight on my face. I’m not sure if it was the warm rays or the Ridley Market smell of fish and ripe mangos, but I was immediately captivated by the authenticity of it all.
I have always been a fan of British culture. The combination of refinement and crudeness just fascinates me (and I am a fan of the dry sense of humor.) Approaching the city with an open mind, I relied on my friends to help cultivate my stay there. It is not inappropriate to say that London has a bit of a gloomy side, but beneath the barefaced bitterness is a spirited wave of energy that invigorates the shadowy alleyways. Around every corner the experiential possibilities are endless; from street art to High Tea, skateparks to underground dance tunnels – boredom will not be tolerated.
1. Share pizza with friends at Voodoo Ray’s
On my first night in town the local homies insisted we hit up Voodoo Ray’s in Dalston, where the atmosphere is grungy and the pizza is delicious.
I stuffed my jet-lagged face with squash and mushroom pizza and left back to the flat with the perfect frozen margarita buzz. Don’t forget to order the mac and cheese and head downstairs to the club to dance it all out!
2. Indulge in afternoon tea at The Savoy
Afternoon tea takes place at The Thaymes Foyer at The Savoy Hotel. It’s a splurge (50 pounds per person) but when will you ever have the chance to enjoy this traditional British treat IN LONDON at one of the most famous hotels in the city? And since you’re splurging, I advise you pay the extra 10 pounds to make it a High Tea and start your delight with a glass of champagne.
Savoy Way is the only street in the whole country where the drivers are required to drive on the right side of the road, so you don’t need to worry about looking both sides once you get a little buzzed.
3. Get drunk at Alibi
Alibi was a bit of a different crowd. It’s the underground party that you can’t remember how to get to. After the MC finished his quirky bit, the DJ played hip-hop and we danced all night long. Oh, also… jager bombs. Then, the after party goes down at Visions. Weird spot, but if you’re faded enough it doesn’t really matter where you are, it’s who you’re with and what you’re drinking. (Don’t forget to shower that wrist stamp off the next morning… get rid of any evidence.)
4. Rent a flat in Dalston
Sleep your hangover off in a quiet neighborhood by renting a flat on airbnb.com in Dalston, close enough to Shoreditch and all the best East London spots, but not directly in the thick of all the commotion. Plus, isn’t it nice to feel at home?
5. Go to the South Bank Skatepark
The iconic skatepark reeks of dedication and spirit. Earlier this year hundreds of skaters rallied to keep the park from being replaced by eateries, by hand delivering 27,286 objections to Lambeth Town Hall. It is the heart of London skateboarding culture; you can feel the sweat and passion in the air.
6. Take a selfie with Big Ben
This iconic UK tower is over one hundred and fifty years old. You cannot visit London and skip the chance to behold this prominent symbol. Take a selfie for the memories.
7. Dance at XOYO
Four words: Be prepared to dance. Be prepared to witness shady characters grind and capture it all with their Go Pro. This place goes off – the music is amazing, and the kids are crazy.
8. Have a cocktail at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch
The lobby level at the Ace Hotel can be used for two things: a focused work session on the comfortable couches or a 4pm cocktail at the bar in the back. Spend a pleasant hour or two here by yourself or with a buddy.
9. See some art
The London art scene is absolutely thrilling. One of my favorite parts of the trip was our stop by Rex Romae Gallery in Shoreditch as they were preparing for their exhibition, “Oceanic.” The gallery schedules pop-ups all over London, so be sure to check out their list of exhibitions when planning your next getaway.
10. Pop by the original Soho House
After a mandatory escapade in Soho, I recommend you hit up the original Soho House for a Moscow Mule on the rooftop Patio. The building has so much character and substance, it’s kind of a must do if you’re in the area and have a friend who can get you in.
11. Indulge in some sustainable shopping
I satisfied the shopaholic within me by making a quick stop by rêve en vert– a London based sustainable fashion company founded by Cora Hilt and Natasha Tucker. The online shop carries an assortment of local, independent and elevated brands that construct contemporary yet classic garments that will last you a lifetime. Peep our studio visit here.
12. Get breaky at Shoreditch House
Our last morning in town we popped by Shoreditch House for a traditional English breakfast before getting a full tour of the grounds. This gorgeous members club house is a renovated factory building from the 1930’s. If you’re there next summer you will probably find us sitting by the pool. Don’t leave east London without saying hello to this spot.