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With a myriad of new hotels, gastro pubs, restaurants, markets, and shops popping up on every cobble-stoned street and cozy corner, it's no wonder why London remains such a favored travel destination. With so much going on around town we've decided to take a look at the city's most beautiful spots—both old and new.
While most first-timers to London focus on the more quintessential spots like exploring Portobello Road, peaking through the gates of Buckingham Palace, and snapping a bird’s eye view from the London Eye, we've got the intel on where to go to avoid the crowds.
King’s Cross has long been visited by both architecture lovers who come to gaze at the 1860s Gothic structure and Harry Potter fans who wish to try their luck at boarding Platform 9 ¾, but beyond the station, the area has recently developed a reputation for its incredible food and iconic hotels.
Tucked away in the western wing of the building lies the Renaissance hotel, which features a fantastical stairwell that’s bound you make you feel like you’ve walked into an Elizabethan painting. Take a moment to climb the endless stairs until you reach the top for some gorgeous views of the area, then immediately head straight to the adjacent George’s Bar for a delicious gin cocktail.
A wild juxtaposition between old and new exists between the recently-opened The Standard London and King's Cross. The modern Shawn Hausman-designed hotel provides a different perspective of old King’s Cross and St. Pancras. Walk through the lobby and into their retro lounge and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Vintage books adorn the repurposed library shelves, creating intimate enclaves to grab a cup of coffee and catch up with your friends.
Some of the suites have sweeping views of the London Skyline and, if you’re lucky, the massive St. Pancras clock tower. Want an even better view of the city? Grab dinner at the new, Mexican-inspired restaurant and bar, Decimo. You won’t be disappointed by the food or the scenery.
For years, the derelict area behind the two train stations was unused and uninspiring, but today, you'd have no idea. After a major transformation in 2018, the massive shopping complex opened as Coal Drops Yard with a number of boutiques, restaurants, and the offices of a number of tech companies.
A quick walk past the station lies old coal factory facades overlooking Regent’s Canal that house influential restaurants like Dishoom and tons of local London shops. Culinary outlets seem endless there, but the most striking one is The Lighterman—a new take on the old gastropub. The modern restaurant offers seasonal dishes like Lambton & Jackson smoked salmon, fried eggs with beer-treacle bacon bap, and classic fare such as a traditional English Sunday roast.
From one side of the Thames to the next—with a stop near Buckingham Palace in between—the Borough Market neighborhood beckons. Exploring the market is an all-day affair, so make sure to bring your wallet and loose-fitting pants.
There are so many stalls worth checking out but the first stop should always be a not-so-light bite at Padella. The pint-sized restaurant has been lauded as one of the best pasta spots in all of London. Located on the edge of the market’s entrance, it’s essential to get to Padella at least a half-hour before it opens to avoid the wait. Bring friends so you can fight over the cacio e pepe and twirl forks around the tender beef shin ragu.
From pasta to paella, Borough Market has something for every palette. Some of the best stalls to linger at are the olive oil stands where you can try different fragrant oils and balsamic vinegar as thick as molasses. Travel further into the culinary maze and you’ll find scotch eggs, grilled cheese, and more. Another favorite area is the fresh produce stall which is always stocked with unique finds like blood oranges, hispy cabbage, and Bramley apples. Pints of cold lager at a classic English pub are necessary to wash down your market feast at the end of the trip.
The Tate Modern is always a must when visiting London. This spring, the museum will unveil and exhibition featuring 14 works by filmmaker Steven McQueen spanning the last 25 years of his award-winning career.
After an afternoon wandering the new Steve McQueen exhibit at the Tate Modern, recharge at the sleek and trendy Hoxton, Southwark. The 192 rooms are divided into five room types—a fit for every type of traveler. The hotel’s cocktail bar and restaurant, Seabird, rivals the Shard for 360-degree panoramic views of London.
The English Capital still remains a beautiful medley of art, food, and culture. There’s always someplace new to explore in London and walking around the city is the best way to experience all the metropolis has to offer. As the great Virginia Woolf once said, “to walk alone in London is the greatest rest”.