A few months ago, my family made the plan to visit me in Europe. Not only we went to Paris, but they also spent a month in London. After being in the UK by myself for two years, I finally feel comfortable enough to show them around.
Personally, when I travel, I like to experience the local flavours of the country, but I know family trips can be quite different. For instance, my mum had a list of world-famous places in mind that she didn't want to miss. It was hard to adjust at first, because there are so many cafes and independent galleries I'd love my family to see...but after the first few days I found a way to balance between the high & lows.
So, here's a guide of 10 things to do in London as both a tourist and a venturer.
1. Visit the Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is perhaps the most popular place to visit in London, especially for the guard changing that happens at 11am. The palace itself is located in a pretty convenient place with the Big Ben and Westminster being just 15 mins away. Though I'm not usually the type of person who stands in a crowd and wait for a ceremony to happen, do give it a try if it's your first time in London (it kind of reminds of me of Princess Diary, some how).
2. Local Tastes at the Markets
When my family told me they'd like to see the markets in London, I instantly thought of Camden & Borough. The former for vintage discovery, and the later for food. Both of them are pretty easy to get to, but beware the crowd can get quite overwhelming, especially during weekends.
I love Camden market because there are tuns of cool second hand stuffs that you can't find anywhere else, well, at least not as easy. It's perhaps my favourite place when I feel like finding some new props for my photos. Of course, if you're not into used goods, there are stores & stalls like Designer Studio where they sell loads of accessories and goods from independent European designers. As for food, the grilled mushroom & hummus was really delicious, and don't miss Miss Poppy's ice chocolate.
Borough market is so much smaller than Camden, but it is the best food market in London, as far as I know. Back then when I still eat meat, I always order the Chorizo Paella, and of course that's what I made my mum & sister try. The vegetable Pad Thai is a great vegetarian. And I always get the chocolate chunks Chocolicous.
由於這趟他們時間充裕，特意選了兩個市集走走逛逛；極其適合挖寶的 CAMDEN MARKET 肯頓市集以及美食天堂 BOROUGH MARKET 波羅市集 。兩者在交通上都十分方便。
肯頓市集並非一般常見的傳統二手市集，在這裡復古與流行並存，再往裡頭走還會發現其實有許多文創與極富個性的設計師在這兒落腳。最裡面的復古與二手區是最容易讓人迷失的地方。從打字機、老相機、望遠鏡到古董指南羅盤等等都有，我也找到了好多下一場拍攝時可以利用的道具。餐飲攤販的種類也是繁多迥異，印度餅搭配鷹嘴豆泥醬與蘑菇是我們一家人的最愛；另外 MISS POPPY 的冰巧力也十分推薦。
Camden Market: Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AF, UK
Borough Market: 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, U
3. Walk Along the London Bridge
As much as I love exploring alternative and local culture, a place like the London Bridge is just something you cannot miss. First, it's the perfect place for a good shot of the Tower Bridge (as seen above), and it's super near Borough Market, aka Food Heaven.
My mum and sister landed just a few days after the London Bridge attack. But as frightening as the Londoners are, the city is also laced with strength to unite and chant for the lives lost. The bridge itself had flowers all over, it was a emotionally overwhelming scene. British or not, almost every single person stopped to appreciate the notes, candles, and beautiful flowers left for those who were tragically affected.
All in all, love is borderless, and so is human spirit...as they should always be.
4.Shopping around Regent Street
You NEED to go to Regent Street, I know its such a cliché, but it's famous for a reason. First, it is super easy to go to (Oxford Circus Station or Piccadilly Circus Station), and you can basically find every high & low brand here. The Burberry flagship store is something I recommend to not miss, even if you're not planning to have anything. I had the best make-up tutorial experience the other day, and now I'm hooked to there products. Plus, Liberty is just around the corner, it is hand down the best and most well-decorated department store I've came across!). Another perk of Regent Street is that its right next to Carnaby Street, where you can find the best cupcake in London — Crumbs & Dollies!
攝政街，是所有外來觀光客必訪之地。不單單只是購物，美麗的建築風貌也是其深受歡迎的主因。不過，往返幾次後，發現與其說是精品街，我倒覺得他像個極度完整的綜合商圈。除了高價精品，一旁的小街也集合了許多個性品牌入駐，從流行時尚、文創小舖到設計家具都有。很推薦到座落於 1802 年古蹟建築的 BURBERRY 旗艦店看看，不一定要買東西，體驗體驗獨到的英倫風味也挺好的。同時倫敦的百年老牌百貨 LIBERTY 就在不遠處；不管是展示商品的方式、內部裝潢或是選物都十分有特色，每每進到這裡都會忍不住多看幾眼，彷彿這樣就能多修幾個品位學分。另外，有時間的話，就到附近的 CRUMBS & DOLLIES 甜點店（步行約五分），嚐嚐我心目中最好吃的杯子蛋糕吧！
5. Spend a Day in Notting Hill
I was drawn to Notting Hill because the colourful houses looked super cute online, and I'm the biggest fan of William and Anna's love story. I still remember how I didn't want to leave when I first visited the neighbourhood two years ago. I loved everything about it, the houses, the creativity, the vibe, and the perfect balance between tourist and locals. I almost wanted to live here, but my friend told me this isn't the safest place to relocate, especially for someone who's just only arrived Europe. So I ended up keeping this place as my weekend go-to...I am indeed just a 5ft Asian girl after all.
6. Lunch at BAO
"Guá Bao" is a famous street food from Taiwan, which normally contains pork belly and peanuts. However this little restaurant (BAO) in Soho provides a variety of option for those who don't eat pork, for example, the fried mushroom version is a great alternative choice if you're a vegetarian like me. I love their sweet potatoes fries and green foam tea, the perfect homesick cure.
This place is quite internationally known, so there might be a long queue during popular hours.
旅遊也好，或是出國留學工作也罷，總有那一時半刻想念家鄉的種種；而熟悉的食物所帶給我們的情懷更是無法抹滅。不過，在西方國家，道地的台灣菜真的非常難找，更別說是夜市小吃了。在蘇活區著名的 BAO 是罕見的成功例子，用刈包在倫敦一戰成名，不管是華人或是當地人都十分喜愛。吃素的人，可以選他們特製的辣味蘑菇刈包。或是像我一樣，來份地瓜薯條與冰涼的奶蓋茶，重回一下高中生活的味覺記憶。
53 Lexington St, Carnaby, London W1F 9AS, UK
7. Big Ben
It's a pity that Big Ben is currently under refurbishment. The photos might not look as nice, but it still pretty amazing in person!
One thing I love about London is that, even though the city itself can be so developed, they never fail to keep buildings like this in good condition.
8. Syrup of Soot Cafe
I found this coffee place right after I took my family to the British Museum, its only 5 minutes walk away, and we desperately needed a place to drink & rest. Syrup of Soot is very Victorian-inspired and the staffs are extremely friendly. Definitely a must try if you're around the area.
在走訪大英博物館後，發現了 SYRUP OF SOOT 這家小巧的咖啡館。維多莉亞式的風格非常討人喜歡，店員也都十分熱情。經歷過幾小時的歷史人文洗禮，的確是個適合小憩的好地方。
38 Museum St, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 1LP, UK
9. St Paul Cathedral
St Paul Cathedral is one of the best places for views over London. You can walk along the staircase to the different galleries, which also offers a peek through the interior of the beautiful dome.
The Golden gallery runs around the highest point of the outer zone, it's 528 steps above, giving you the view of River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. And the Whisper Gallery is my personal favourite, because it is the perfect place to admire the charm of the dome's construction.
教堂最上層的拱頂，是俯瞰市貌的貴賓區。在戰勝了 528 階的樓梯後來到制高點，一覽泰晤士河、泰特現代美術館、莎士比亞劇院等著名地標，將倫敦的個性與姿態一覽無遺，很值得。
St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK
10. Brunch at The Riding House Cafe
Last but not least...you have to get brunch at the Riding House Cafe! This is my favourite place for Avocado on Toast, and they have the fluffiest pancake in town. However, the portion of their dish can be quite big so I reckon order a few to share rather than each having one. I recommend shopping at Regent Street after since it only 5 mins walk away from the area.
Do book in advance because they are extremely busy, even on weekdays. Crazy!
最後，我想把我在市中心最愛的早午餐餐館 THE RIDING HOUSE CAFE 介紹給大家。我很喜歡在週末與朋友來場早午餐約會，畢竟這兩天的時間不用受工作或學業所限制，可以安安心心地享受一頓飯。來杯熱茶、一份飽足的酪梨吐司，最後五六個女生再一塊兒分享鬆軟的莓果煎餅，果真是完美的時光呀！