I spent last weekend in London during the LFW (London Fashion week). The main reason I went to London was to meet some of the new designers I hosted on my blog like Claire Andrew, Eva Cammarata, Cristina Adami and LunaskyModa. Needless to say that the experience was great: not only the designers are very talented but they are also nice ladies.
Somerset House where most of the fashion shows took place
During Claire’s event I met Robyn Coles who is a millinery (hat designer) and I had the chance to try on one of her hat – my first time wearing a real English hat.
Since I was London, and my last visit was back in 2000, I took the chance to visit the city on the sightseeing buses which are very convenient when you want to visit a city and do not have much time to walk around. I chose the Original London Sightseeing tour – yellow route with English Live Guided – since it was leaving from Trafalgar Square, where my hotel was. The tickets can be bought in various locations and/or on the bus or saving 3 pounds on line: the cost is GBP 26 per person. The tour lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes and gave me the chance to have an almost complete overview of London. I saw the new buildings like the Gherkin and the Heron Tower aka the Shark, of course Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The City etc etc.
On Saturday morning I wanted to spoil myself so I had breakfast at The Wolseley cafe/restaurant. This cafe is located next to the Ritz and is one of the most elegant cafe in London. I ordered the Viennoiserie breakfast which consists of a mixed basket of sweet like pain of chocolate, croissant, cannele’ bordelais and a cup of tea. The teapot and the cutlery are made of silver. Most of the people there ordered the English breakfast which did not look bad at all. The service is very accurate and the clients are “selected”. This was not the cheapest breakfast I ever had but for sure one of the most sophisticated.
As you might know in London there are cuisines from all over the world and for me this is very important since when I travel I like eating and trying new tastes. The first night I had fish and chips (what else): the Italian waitress recommended the cod fish and she was right. This fish and chip pub was along Haymarket road. While the second night I had a delicious Thai dinner at the Thai Square restaurant : the price is about GBP. 25/each for a starter and a main course and their portions are big. During the day I had a sandwich at Pret-a-Manger – great chocolate chips cookies .
Besides eating and sightseeing I also went shopping even if I did not buy a lot of things: London is quite expensive for the Europeans. I went to Harrods which disappointed me a lot – terrible layout. Once you walk in there you feel like you are entrapped, you never know where exactly you are (probably it is made on purpose) and the signs on the walls are not helping much. In any case it is worth visiting once just to see the food hall, the Christmas and the toys ares. All the other things can be found at Selfridges too: this department store is very very nice, very luminous and better organised. On top of Selfridge’s roof there was Yayoi Kusama‘s statue : all the LV flagship stores and departments stores selling LV have images of the Japanese designer .
I tried to walk around London as much as possible in order to have a better idea of the city even if the tube and the buses take you everywhere. It is convenient to buy a day-travel tube ticket which cost GBP 7 instead of single tickets.
I walked from Shaftesbury Avenue to Oxford Street just to see all the new stores like : Topshop which was crawling with people, Hobbs, Next, New Look (all these stores are not available in Italy for the moment), not to mention several Zara and H&M stores.
The overall impression I had of London after many years is still of a big and busy city, very international but able to keep some part of the city still very British (like Savile Row).
I flew into Gatwich airport which is 30 minutes by train far from the city. From the airport you can catch the Gatwich Express; the round ticket cost GBP 27,50 if bought on line (saving GBP 5) and has a validity of one month. The train takes you to Victoria Station.
Bye Bye London till next LFW…