The last time I had a weekend in London I ate at some of the most boring restaurants imaginable. On the Friday night, I had a veggie burger from McDonalds (classy). Breakfast was eaten at my hotel (all the blandness) and for lunch I ate some pathetic pancakes at some random restaurant on the outside of Leicester Square. With the sheer amount of awesome places to be wined and dined in London, it’s like I went out of my way to have the worst meals ever.
This is my home country and my capital city. I speak the language and I’ve been to London heaps of times. It should be no problem finding much better places to eat and visit and I was supremely disappointed in my efforts and vowed to ‘do better next time.’ Next time happened to be Easter bank holiday weekend at the BFI Flare film festival on London’s Southbank and do better I did!
My Weekend in London…
Clink 78 Hostel
I still wanted to keep my overnight trip as cheap as possible. So, I decided to stay in a hostel. But not just any hostel… A hostel that I’ve heard travel bloggers go on and on about for months. This is including my friend Mel from Footsteps on the Globe and Amy from Bambi Jane Travel. Note that down guys, your posts convinced me to choose this hostel! Clink 78 is a renovated courthouse in North London and has a few claim to fames. Charles Dickens used to work here and The Clash were found guilty of… public disorder? Vandalism? Something Clash-like in this very courtroom.
A lot of the original features have been kept. For example, the above courtroom is now a computer/work space room, and you can even book to stay in one of the seven original prison cells that are now private rooms. I opted for something cheaper and stayed in one of the dorms but the whole place is very insta-worthy.
The View from The Shard
Experiencing The View from The Shard was one of the items on my UK Travel Bucket list which I drew up earlier in the year. So I knew I had to tag it on the end of this trip! I was quite worried that my irrational fear of heights would creep up on me. And, since I was visiting alone it would be highly embarrassing to have a freak out, but I was very pleased that wasn’t the case at all. There’s nothing like seeing kids do what you’re doing to quash any fears. It was quite an overcast day and if I could I would have planned my visit for sunset. But nevertheless, I’m still pleased I did it and didn’t freak out.
Would I recommend it? Ehhh, it’s expensive and if you don’t go on a nice day it’s really not that great. Although, it is the tallest building in Europe and that’s kinda cool. I have never been, but I hear The Sky Garden is free so that might be a good option. Though I would book tickets as far in advance as possible as they notoriously sell out. Being free and all. It may not be as high, but at least if the weather isn’t the best you’ve not wasted money.
The Breakfast Club
Even though I saw some aaaaawesome films at the Film Festival on my weekend in London, finding The Breakfast Club is a very very close to being my favourite discovery of the weekend. I flipped out over finding this place. It was like the stars aligned. I woke up on the Saturday craving American pancakes. Googled my query, and google recommended The Breakfast Club. Even with six locations around the city, chances are there still wouldn’t be a branch anywhere near me. But I was sooo happy when google said the nearest was 18 minutes away. I was the first one there when the place opened at 8am but it was full by 9am. Like I said, the stars aligned.
I’ve heard a lot of bloggers rave about the Duck and Waffle as a top breakfast place in London due to it being the highest restaurant in the UK + open 24/7 = having amazing sunrise views over the city… But for me, a restaurant named after a film with a bit of a hipster vibe and those mixed berry and vanilla ice cream pancakes trumps all… Like The Terminator, I’ll be back.
London is probably one of the only other places in the UK that I consistently go back to every few months aside from the Lake District. So I do aim to hit up at least one tourist trap and one local favourite. Therefore, I think I was very successful this time. Next, I want to fiiiiinally watch some Shakespeare at The Globe Theatre. I’m a thespian and I’ve never been to the Globe?! Sacrilege!
Where are some of your favourite places to go in London? Any recommendations for a film/theatre and craft beer loving vegetarian?