If you follow me on Instagram (@laura_peruchi), you probably saw that me and Thiago were in London and Paris in early June. This trip had a history before it even started. We got a super great deal with Wow Airlines – an airline from Iceland – and bought tickets for travel in March. Our departure would be, more precisely, on March 14th. But for those who do not know, there was a terrible blizzard that day and obviously, our flight was canceled. The airline gave us the option to rebook without cost and then we played the trip for June. In the end, it was great, because in March we would stay only for 5 days and then, in June, we stayed for 8 days, between London and Paris.
I recorded some vlogs that will be soon on my channel (in Portuguese) and I will also share some tips with you here on the blog. It was not our first time in either city – we were in both cities in 2012 and I was in Paris again in 2015. We have a friend living in London and my sister living in Paris, which ended up giving us great support (and free stay, hehe). We were very relaxed on the script: we wanted to enjoy everything in a good, unhurried way.
Before starting the tips itself, I wanted to talk briefly about Wow. It is a super new airline, which is only 5 years old and has a low cost concept, making flights between the US and Europe – with stopovers in Iceland. Our experience was very good, but I think it is important to point out how everything works. Wow charges for everything from the food and drink to the choice of seats. It is important to keep this in mind. There is no onboard entertainment. Only one personal item per person is allowed without charge – carry on and checked bags require payment.
Well, leaving for what matters, let’s start with the first destination: London! We did some classic things – such as walking through the Big Ben and the London Eye area and also walking on Oxford Street. I’ll tell you about the tours that were news to us: some are even known but others are not so obvious. Oh, I’ll write a separate post about the restaurants, okay?
Let’s start with Tower Bridge! This bridge is one of the most iconic symbols of the city and, of course, we had seen it the first time in London, but it was only during the day and by far. On Friday night, the first day in the city, we went to drink and eat in a nearby pub – wait for the restaurants’ post – and took the opportunity to walk along the banks of Thames River and enjoy the beauty of this bridge. It is all lit up and a lot of people walk around. I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I have a bridge lover, and I loved checking out Tower Bridge at night. For those interested, you can take a tour at the top of the bridge and you can check the details on this link.
Carnaby Street is located n the heart of London’s West End, two minutes away from Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus. Besides the area being super charming – with some colorful cute buildings – there are a lot of nice stores (150 on average). There are some very known brands and also different stores like Irregular Choice, with very different and creative shoes. They were used by Louisa Clark in “Me before you” and the store is very very cute! 34 Carnaby Street. At Carnaby Street you will also find Urban Decay store (w1 9pp, 44-45 Carnaby St) and Estée Lauder, The Estée Edit (46 Carnaby Street). You should also check out Kingly Court, with more than 60 places offering weekend brunches, quick lunches, fine dining and late night cocktails.
Notting Hill Is always stamped on the script of anyone who visits London, but in our first time in the city we didn’t check the neighborhood. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched the movie either! Hehehe. It is very charming, with the colorful houses – my friend Jaqueline explained to me that colors change from time to time. When I posted that I was coming to London, a lot of people said that I could not miss visiting the neighborhood on Saturday, when Portobello Market, a street fair, happens. It has everything: clothes, vintage items, food, decor items. Absolutely everything. It is very nice to walk there!
Camden Town, the neighborhood where Amy Winehouse lived, is also very cool! Full of young and alternative people, the neighborhood was quite busy on the Saturday we were there. In addition to a basic stop in a pub, which will enter the restaurant post, we took advantage of the fact that we were in the neighborhood and went to check out the Camden Town Brewery, a neighborhood brewery. For beer lovers, it’s a sure stop. The tasting with 5 types of beers – which you can choose from – costs £ 7. Address: 55-59 Wilkin Street Mews.
We also enjoyed this trip to London to visit the Tower of London! It’s not the kind of thing I would go on my own, but Thiago was crazy to check out the place and I really enjoyed it! The place is a historic castle, which sits on the banks of the River Thames (from the side of the Tower Bridge). The site was founded around the year 1066 and was used as a prison and also as a royal residence. Tickets cost £ 21.50 (online) and the tip is to rent an audio guide for £ 4 to have a complete experience. The highlights are the Line of Kings, with the display of the armor used and also The Crown Jewels, a display with the royal jewels – including the crowns. No photography is allowed inside – but it’s incredible!
Finally, as a cosmetics lover, I could not forget to recommend a visit to the Lush store at Oxford Street! Lush is an English brand with natural and handmade cosmetics. The range of products is extensive and includes body, face and hair care. This store is the largest of the brand in the world and beyond the variety of products, there are some services free and you can try everything. The big highlight is the make-up line, which has not yet arrived here in the USA. Address: 175-179 Oxford St.
About London transportation: London is a super well-served city in the subject of public transport, with bus, train and subway. We bought the Oystercard for £ 5 each (you get this money back on a machine when you leave) and it works for everything! We always check out our card and leave it loaded with £ 7.75 for unlimited use – it’s a smart system and it calculates how much you’ve already used to apply the unlimited or not. We use public transport, including getting out of the airport – and needless to say, Google Maps was our best friend when it came to tracing the routes and knowing which lines to pick, right?
I hope you enjoyed the post! I take this opportunity to thank my friend Jaqueline and her husband Reinaldo for their hospitality and hospitality during our stay at their house. =)
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.