Though London may be known for its grey skies and unpredictable weather, when the sun isn’t shining (which we all know can be often), you can always find a colourful building in this city to brighten your day. I’d just stepped off a plane from winter in Australia ready for some European sunshine, only to be wondering if I should be carrying sunglasses, an umbrella or both. It turned out I needed both as the changing weather meant we easily experienced four seasons in the one day. Luckily the following places are bright and cheerful no matter the weather.
Peggy Porschen Cakes
This insta famous cupcake place often has a line of people waiting to take their photo and you can see why. Even if you don’t like cake you should definitely come here if you like pretty pink things. If you happen to snag a table outside, you can be guaranteed hours of watching Instagram husbands in their natural habitat.
There are lots of colourful residential streets in London, but this pastel paradise has got to be my favourite. It also became a filming location in the movie Paddington, with the family and Paddington Bear living in the blue house. While you’re there you should also walk up Primrose Hill in Regents Park for a great view over the city.
Trevor Square, Knightsbridge
This adorably cute house is very popular amongst the local fashion bloggers in London. Just search Google images and you’ll know what I mean! It’s also around the corner from Harrods, so you may as well check that out while you’re in the swanky neighbourhood of Knightsbridge.
Another area dotted with colourful houses and plenty of shopping at the Portobello Markets. The best day to visit is Saturday for the full street market, but come prepared for crowds and many many tourists.
I really can’t think of a better way to promote an art gallery and its artists than creating the most over the top floral spectacle. With different floral installations depending on the season, there’s always reason to go back.
9 Must See Attractions in London
While not as colourful as the list above, London has an endless list of iconic buildings and landmarks that you really must see to say you’ve truly seen London. I mean, would you come to London and not see the London Eye or Big Ben? No! All these attractions are of course very crowded, given that every tourist in town comes to see them. So I recommend you either visit in the early morning, or simply get in, take your photo and then get out back to the slightly less chaotic areas of London (preferably the pastel lined residential streets with cute cafes and boutiques).
- Tower of London: This historic castle has served as a royal palace, fortress and infamous prison. Perfect for history buffs or anyone wanting to view the Crown Jewels.
- Tower Bridge: Located right next door to the Tower of London, it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in London. Check their website for scheduled lift times, so you can plan your visit when the bridge lifts allowing tall ships to pass.
- Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Bridge: Big Ben is currently undergoing a £29 million restoration for the next 4 years, so I don’t know how much you’ll be able to see. Parliament is also partially covered as it gets restored…but Westminster Bridge is at least still open. The best place to view Big Ben and Parliament is walking across the bridge to the opposite side of the River Thames.
- Take a photo inside a red telephone box: They’re on every corner, but the most popular seems to be on Great Gorge St opposite Parliament Square Garden. These telephone boxes will give you gorgeous views of Big Ben and Parliament in the background.
- London Eye: You can either hop in one of their capsules and go for a ride on the London Eye or simply just view it from either side of the River Thames.
- Sky Garden: Three levels of landscaped gardens, observation decks, open air terraces and 360-degree views of London. People often choose a visit to the Sky Garden over the London Eye as it’s free of charge. Tickets must be pre-booked online as there are a limited number of tickets available each day (though they are free).
- St Paul’s Cathedral: No photography is allowed inside the cathedral, but you can snap a great angle of the exterior as you walk across Millennium Bridge.
- The Natural History Museum: It’s free entry and even if you’re not particularly interested in Natural History, the buildings interior and exterior architecture are well worth a visit.
- Buckingham Palace: The London residence of the Queen is always a must see for visitors. The Changing of the guards (which is basically just watching the old guard finish his shift and the new one take over, except with your quintessential display of British pageantry), takes place daily during the summer months. The Palace also opens its doors to the public during summer, allowing you to explore their lavish State Rooms.
Where to Stay in London: St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
I only had two things in mind when I was looking for a hotel in London 1. I wanted to stay somewhere that resembled a palace, (because I’m not picky but hey this is the land of palaces and castles) and 2. I wanted somewhere with a fascinating history, (because once again this is the land of really really old buildings with cool pasts). Needless to say The St. Pancras Renaissance met all my criteria! The building was originally home to the Midland Grand Hotel since its opening in 1873. After its closure in 1935, the building not only managed to survive multiple threats of demolition but also three bombings within the space of a month during World War II. After almost a decade and a £1 billion restoration, the hotel reopened in 2011 as the St. Pancras Renaissance. Easily the most stunning and photographed feature of the hotel is the Grand Staircase. Its patterned carpet, Victorian gothic wallpaper and soaring painted ceiling will have you thinking you’re walking through a museum. It’s still crazy to me that people actually wanted to demolish this amazing architecture, thankfully that never happened! You might also recognise the staircase from the Spice Girls music video Wannabe (Youtube that now) or the film Batman Begins.
We were lucky enough to stay in one of the Chambers Suites, which came with a host of perks including a hotel room big enough to do cartwheels through (yes I tested out that theory) and access to the Chambers Club, a private lounge providing complimentary breakfast, high tea and evening canapés. The hotel is also conveniently connected to the Kings Cross tube station and International Eurostar terminal, which is perfect if you’re arriving or departing on a train to or from Europe. Paris is essentially on the doorstep of your hotel.
With thanks to St. Pancras Renaissance London for welcoming me to their hotel. As always, all opinions expressed remain my own.