Although I was only in London for a week-long business trip and despite feeling exhausted from jet lag, I still wanted to make the most of the time I had spare. Here’s what I packed into those spare moments!
After over 24 hours of travelling, I was relieved to be off the plane and into the comfort of my room at the Doubletree Hilton in Islington. No time for play at this hour – it was straight into a hot shower and into bed as a day at the office awaited me the following morning.
While the majority of my week was spent working from the office, I still managed to do a little exploring in the mornings, get outside for a walk during lunches and spend some evenings discovering the city with local friends before eating at some great restaurants.
The first bout of exploration began early one morning at 6am. My friend Kristie and I had arranged to meet in the morning to visit St. James Park to locate and feed the squirrels before having breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in St. Pancras International (they had a very vegan-friendly menu!). It was a successful mission to say the least, as we were once surrounded by 4-5 squirrels who were hungry for some nuts! If only we had squirrels in Sydney!
On one of my free nights, I met up with Kristie again along with another friend Ash. Our plan was to walk a bit of the city around Trafalgar Square and the House of Parliament then to catch up over curry at Dishoom in Covent Garden. I had heard so much about how good the curry is in London from multiple people, so was beyond excited to finally try it for myself. There were a few vegan-friendly options at Dishoom and they were pretty damn good too. It was well worth queueing for for almost an hour, and I’m not a queuer!
The following evening, Kristie and I had met up again to walk to and across the Tower Bridge to check out the Tower of London. While it was getting dark and we couldn’t see much of the Tower of London, it was still a lovely evening to go for a city stroll and soak in the London city buzz. We ended the night with another curry, this time at a place called Indian Veg Bhelpoori House at Chapel Market in Islington. Nowhere near as classy as Dishoom the previous night, but the food was still seriously good.
The following morning was my final day in town before flying out later that evening. Kristie had suggested we catch an early train down to Brighton to check out the seaside town, its pebble beaches and the famous Brighton Pier. We honestly couldn’t have asked for better weather on the day – blessed with warm sunshine and blue skies!
After working up an appetite after walking along the beach and pier, we were on the hunt for pizza and gelato. Not just pizza, but vegan pizza at a place called Purezza. I couldn’t recommend this place any more. It was by far the best vegan pizza I’ve had in my life and trust me, that’s a big statement.
Now that we’d polished off a couple of pizzas and smoothies, and were soon to also have gelato, we thought it’d probably be a good idea to do a little more walking so we’d feel a tiny bit less guilty about the volume of consumption that day! The next stop was to the Royal Pavilion which is the former royal residence that was built for George, Royal Prince of Wales in 1787. It was a little culturally confusing seeing this piece of Indian inspired architecture in a seaside town of the UK, but still a pretty cool sight nonetheless.
With sunshine, blue skies, the oceanside, vegan pizza and gelato – I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my final day in the UK! Totally unintentional rhyming there by the way.