We decided to spend the weekend in Twickenham for a change of scenery. The area has plenty of local restaurants, particularly around Church Street, and there are lots of green spaces by the Thames. We were lucky with the weather, so we enjoyed plenty of time in the sunshine by the river.
The beautiful garden around York House is a popular option. You can grab a coffee at The Stables Café to drink by the river at Marble Hill Park, or take a walk on the Thames path and cross the river to reach Richmond.
We took advantage of the recent changes to local restrictions to visit local food places:
Sidra: a Lebanese café serving a great selection of mezze. Very generous portions. Lunch for two for £21.
Ruben’s Bakehouse: a local bakery and pizza place. The long queue in the morning was a great sign, and I was not disappointed. Great selection of pastries and bread.
Avocado & Lemon: a nice place for brunch with plenty of delicious vegan options. Brunch for two for £24.
Thakers: a veggie South Indian street food place with a great selection. Takeaway meal for two (with plenty of leftovers) for £39.
It was great having a little holiday, even without going far. I can’t wait for more of this in the near future!
We took advantage of the bank holiday and hopped on a train from London to Cardiff. Our flat was near Cardiff Bay, so after making ourselves at home, we decided to explore the area.
We started at the impressive Millenium Centre, a landmark building perfect for taking photos. Then we headed to the bay, an area with lots of cool bars and restaurants. If the weather is nice you can also take a quick boat trip for £3.
In the evening we decided to try and find a restaurant in the centre for dinner, but this was a mistake a that area was way too rowdy in the evening.
On our second day we explored some more, stopping at the little shops in the many arcades in the city centre.
As the weather wasn’t great, we spent some time at Cardiff Castle (tickets for £12), a nice place to learn more about the history of the city. Bute Park is just behind the castle, and it looked quite nice too.
We had a late lunch at Bill’s, followed by a couple of nice cocktails at 10 Feet Tall, then headed back to the flat for a lazy night in.
HOW TO DO IT:
Stay: We stayed in this nice flat, which was well located between the bay and the city centre.
When to go: The weather in Wales is not the best, so rain is always expected. We went in May and it was still quite cold.
Go: Trains from Paddington take a little over 2h. Book in advance as it can get quite expensive (we paid £74 return each).
I’ve lived in London for long enough to know that the area around Oxford Street-Piccadilly Circus-Trafalgar Square is best avoided if you’re not a tourist. But I was wrong!
I found myself at 9am on Oxford Street on a Wednesday – and it was great! It was a cold January morning, and the crowds were nowhere to be seen: so I wandered around for a while just taking it all in.
I noticed the impressive architecture around Piccadilly Circus; took photos of the statues in Trafalgar Square; looked at the cool store fronts in Carnaby Street. Then I hopped on the tube to get to the Tate Modern just as it was opening, when art students sit on the floor with their sketchbooks.
Having my breakfast and looking at St Paul’s across the river, I felt so lucky to have had a moment of peace in this amazing city.
With locations in Clapham and Balham, this is a great place to sample a wide range of local beers. The staff can help you find the perfect ale, which you can drink on the spot or take home with you.
Take a leisurely walk in Richmond:
Richmond is the perfect place for a quiet break. You can walk by the river, spot deer at Richmond Park, or spend a whole day wandering around Kew Gardens. It’s easily accessible through the District Line, but it feels so different from London!
Most tourists will visit the National Gallery and the British Museum, but further afield there are lots of less popular (and less crowded) galleries and museums. The Dulwich Picture Gallery is a short train ride from London Bridge, and always has something amazing on.
I’ve started reading A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, many times before. Somehow I never finished it!
This time around I was committed to sticking with it, and it is (as any Dickens novels) really great. The book is set partly in London and partly in Paris – so it’s an ideal read to take with you on a trip across the channel!
This pub is located about 15 minutes from the city centre, and although it’s still very close, it’s much less busy than pubs in central Edinburgh. A good option if you want to avoid the tourist crowds.