"One of the most amazing things about London is that, no matter how long you’ve lived here, there is no way you will ever know this city fully. Regardless of how long you explore one particular area, you can always unexpectedly pop onto something new, like a recently opened coffee shop or bakery, pretty hidden alleyways and mews you haven’t noticed before or a new gallery that was just opened in a place you’ve walked past thousands of times and didn’t even had a clue that any art event might be happening around there. And that’s the magic of it: In London, you never get bored."
Today we take a walk through the wonderful and charismatic London together with Olga @liolaliola, which has agreed to be a guest on our blog and will gladly tell us about the most favorite places in the city during this season. Is it possible not to fall in love with London streets at first sight?
It’s been eight years since I’ve moved to London and this city still manages to amaze me with its beauty and diversity. My preferences for districts to live and spend time in have changed over the years, but there are few areas that never cease to captivate me with their unique charm and will always stay dear to my heart.
Notting Hill is probably the most romantic area in London. And though its world popularity came after a big screenplay, it is definitely more than just the setting of a famous movie.
From fashionable restaurants, vintage shops, quirky backstreets, pretty gardens and one of the city’s top markets: Portobello Road Market, this area has a lot to offer during any time of the year. Whether you are into shopping, eating, film or just walking and enjoying the city, there’s something for everyone.
I prefer visiting Notting Hill on an early weekend morning to avoid crowds. I can spend hours wandering around and getting lost amongst colourful, doll-like houses. One of my absolute favourite places in Notting Hill is St Luke’s Mews, a little hidden gem just off Portobello Road.
The combination of gorgeous pastel-coloured houses with climbing plants and cobbled roads create an enchanting, fairytale atmosphere. No wonder the pink house at 27 St Luke’s Mews happens to be the place where the movie ‘Love, actually’ was filmed.
Columbia Road Flower Market is another one of my favourite places, just off close to busy Hackney Road in the east part of the city. One of London’s most visually appealing markets, Columbia Road overflows with stalls selling the most beautiful varieties of flowers from all over the world. Alongside the market you can also find plenty of shops selling vintage clothes and furniture, pottery and perfumes.
It can get very busy on Sundays, so to avoid getting caught in the crowd, it’s better to visit early in the morning. That is unless you want to get the best flower bargains, in which case it’s better to arrive at around 2pm, just before the market starts closing.
And if you get tired of bustling Columbia Road and fancy a good cup of coffee and freshly prepared brunch, ‘Campania’ -an Italian cafe just a few steps away from the market - is the perfect place. The tiny, rustic cafe boasts some lovely folk decor, old wooden tables and brick walls that create a cosy vibe - perfect for lazy winter Sundays with friends and family.
Richmond Park is another wonderful place that I always love to return to. The park is a national nature reserve and home to over 600 Red and Fallow deer. Who would have imagined you can encounter deer roaming freely in the park in one of the busiest cities in the world? Before my first ever visit to Richmond Park I had never seen a deer from such a close distance. I just couldn’t believe that it would just walk past and not even be startled about the presence of humans.
The list of wonderful areas with charming hidden streets and cafes definitely doesn’t stop here. If you ever have a chance to visit London during the winter season, I would definitely recommend seeing these three districts. I’m convinced you will find as much beauty in these places as I do. As the proverb says, ‘London is a roost for every bird’, everyone will find something for themselves in this city, regardless of age or preferences.