7 things you have to do when visiting London – 48 hour guide

I have been lucky enough to have a few of my friends come visit all the way from the USA in the past few months. Seriously, how amazing are they?!

Some of them were in London for the first time, while others know their way around town. Regardless, everyone needs to make the most of their time in this fabulous city! I want my friends to leave LOVING London… so they come back of course 😀

Whether you’re hosting or visiting for a few days, hopefully this top line list will make your London itinerary (depending on how go-with-the-flow you are) a little bit easier.

*Note: There’s WAY TOO MUCH to see in London in 48 hours, so these are just a few mandatory pitstops. I’ve lived here for three years and I still haven’t even seen a fraction of it! 

Indulge in afternoon tea 

I mean, obviously! What’s more English than afternoon tea, am I right? Whether you’re looking for a traditional setting or trendy hot spot, tea gives you a little dose of elegant English culture.

Growing up with an English father, my sisters and I never left the house without a cup of tea in the morning. While in London, I want everyone to get the experience.

For a traditional tea, I turn to The Orangery, which has an elegant and simplistic ambiance setting amid the stunning Kensington Palace Gardens. You’ll find an array of teas, scones, sandwiches and cakes. Top it off with some bubbles if you’re feeling crazy!

The Orangery | Photo by McKenna
The Orangery | Photo by McKenna

If I’m feeling more of a quirky and upbeat tea setting, I opt for Sketch – think Alice in Wonderland meets Zenon Girl of the 21st Century meets a man in a pink tux serving caviar. The man really is there in pink serving caviar though. Yes, really.

Sketch | Photo by McKenna

This tea is a bit pricier, but hey, it sure is an experience! Plus, it’s absolutely dreamy.

Sketch | Photo by McKenna

Stroll through wonderful parks  

Fresh air, foliage, pretty blooms and sunshine (if you’re lucky!) – what more could you want?

Every park has its own vibe so check out as many as you can!

My personal favourites are Green Park, St James’s Park, Kensington Palace Gardens, Hyde Park and Primrose Hill. From Primrose, you’ll be able to see the entire London skyline…

It’s dreamy.

The view from Primrose Hill | Photo by McKenna
St James’s Park | Photo by McKenna
St James’s Park | Photo by McKenna
Kensington Palace Gardens | Photo by McKenna
Hyde Park | Photo by McKenna

Peruse the markets  

Foodies, this is for you. London’s markets are the go-to place for anything and everything delicious.

Camden Market has a special place in my heart. You’ll find amazing street food – everything from steamed buns to quesadillas to smoothies. The market is in a fab setting as well – just along the canal.

Camden Market | Photo by McKenna
Steamed buns at Camden Market | Photo by McKenna
Camden Town | Photo by McKenna

Beyond the nomz, the market has quirky clothing, collectibles and antiques. Honestly, you can find anything there! It’s a must on the to do list!

Camden Market | Photo by McKenna

Columbia Road Flower Market is also a must. Only open on Sunday mornings, the market features florists and farmers from the area to showcase their gorgeous blossoms.

Also, mix and match? Yes, please! You’ll get more bang for your buck.

Flower Power | Photo by McKenna
Columbia Road Flower Market | Photo by McKenna

Borough Market is another one of my favorites. Located near London Bridge, the food market will blow your mind.

I mean, just look at all that cheese?!

Life is gouda at Borough Market | Photo by McKenna

Portobello Road Market is great for antiques – and also looks super pretty in pastels!

Portobello Road Market | Photo by McKenna

Take in the sights + how to do it 

London’s beautiful attractions make it one of a kind.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important! Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral…they’re all gorgeous. So, here’s how to do it.

Buckingham Palace | Photo by McKenna

When I go sightseeing with my friends, I usually start at Buckingham Palace, walk through St James’s Park (where you can see the London Eye in the distance), where we then end up at Parliament Square.

Oh, hello Big Ben | Photo by McKenna

From the base of Big Ben, you can cross Westminster Bridge to go south of the river.

If you walk along the water, you’ll pass the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern and Tower Bridge (among others). It takes about 45-60 minutes to walk from one end to the other – depending on if you’re a power walker.

St Paul’s Cathedral | Photo by McKenna

Not only will you be able to take in the sights, you’ll enjoy street performers and riverside restaurants.

Tower Bridge | Photo by McKenna

Embrace the street art 

It’s… everywhere. And fantastic. From Camden to Shoreditch, this is one way to view London’s creativity.

Shoreditch | Photo by McKenna
Camden Road | Photo by McKenna
Amy Winehouse tribute in Camden | Photo by McKenna
Kentish Town | Photo by McKenna

Also, makes for a colourful Insta (come on, you know you’re looking out for a great snapshot!)

Embark on a day trip if you can swing it 

You can get to the lovely Brighton on the coast of England in less than two hours by train – from St Pancras or Victoria stations.

It’s a completely different feel from the hustle and bustle of London – and so reachable!

Brighton Pier | Photo by McKenna

Not only do you get the beach, pier and seaside, you can weave in and out of vintage shops and delicious restaurants in the North Laine area. Honestly, it is so quaint and picturesque.

Brighton | Photo by McKenna

If you’re visiting the UK anyway, why not venture out and see what outside the capital has to offer as well.

Brighton | Photo by McKenna

Go for a wander (yes!!!)

So this is the part where I encourage you to drop the guide book for a second – and just wander!

There are hidden gems around every corner. Central London is a relatively safe place – so there’s no need to worry about running into rough areas.

I seem to find my favorite places when I don’t have a plan – here are a few of the many!

Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden | Photo by McKenna
Hampstead in North London | Photo by McKenna
Comedy at the Rose and Crown pub in Kentish Town | Photo by McKenna
Sunny skies at the market | Photo by McKenna

There really is something for everyone 🙂  And this is just the icing on the cake – there is so much more! But you might just need more than 48 hours 😀

Need more ideas? I post some on my favorite spots on Instagram

Happy travelling!

McK x

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All aboard! Immersive dining at its finest on Bombay Sapphire’s The Grand Journey

Happy FriYAY!

Hope everyone is ready for the weekend! Whether you’ve planned a chill movie night in or cocktails in town, it’s going to be a good day 🙂

I’ve always been intrigued by ‘immersive dining experiences’ where dinner and drinks are taken to the next level. I was recently invited to my very first one – Bombay Sapphire’s The Grand Journey! Guests are taken on an excursion (whilst staying put in London!) – from Java to Ghana to Tuscany – to experience the stories of 10 botanicals that fuse together Bombay Sapphire’s gin! Pairing deliciousness with fun facts – I’m in!

Upon arrival, guests are ushered to a platform where you await your carriage for the evening. I really did feel as if I was standing in the most luxurious train station on earth – complete with a fabulous conductor, train sound effects, luggage props and more!

Once we boarded, with each destination came a new cocktail and innovative dish created by Michelin-Star chef, Tom Sellers. Equipped with eye-catching and engaging special effects to match each location, this was the ultimate multi-sensory drinking and dining experience. My first realization: venturing outside my go-to G&T with cucumber is a must from here on out.

Here’s a glimpse of the evening!

Add in some gold glitter and mint, and this decadent cocktail was a hit. Paired with scallops and radishes… YUM.

Flower power! | Photo by McKenna
Photo by McKenna
Heaven in a glittery glass whilst in Morocco | Photo by McKenna
Photo by McKenna

Bring on my next dinner party because I’m taking inspiration from the fabulous Grand Journey. Who would have thought gin was so versatile?!

Photo by McKenna

Now, cheers to that!

Aloe there! Succulents have become my go-to obsession

A little bit of greenery can make all the difference, am I right?

Perusing my local garden centre and nearby florists has become somewhat of my weekly routine.

Photo by McKenna

From cacti to succulents, ferns to flowers, I cannot have enough plants. They have truly changed the vibe in our flat for the better.

Photo by McKenna

I mean, how could a handmade pot with an aloe mohawk NOT make anyone happy? 🙂

Photo by McKenna

In addition to adopting lonely plants in need of a home, maintaining my herb garden has become somewhat of a hobby. There’s just something so satisfying about topping a caprese salad with home-grown basil. I also love making Spanish or Thai inspired dishes, so coriander is obligated to make a hefty appearance.

Photo by McKenna
Photo by McKenna

Home is where the heart is. Or in my case, home is where my plants thrive.

Which plants are a must in your home decor scheme?

McK xxx

London snapshots: a visual walking tour through photos

Let’s be honest. When you’re in a city as gorgeous as London, every now and then you just have to stop and take a picture (…okay, lots of pictures!).

From edgy street art in Shoreditch to spectacular homes in Chelsea, there’s always something interesting and beautiful around the corner.

Join my recent walk around London – through photos.

Kentish Town | Photo by McKenna
Chelsea | Photo by McKenna
Camden Town | Photo by McKenna
Photo by McKenna
Notting Hill | Photo by McKenna
King’s Cross | Photo by McKenna
Camden Town | Photo by McKenna
Angel | Photo by McKenna
St James Park | Photo by McKenna
Camden Town | Photo by McKenna
Camden Town | Photos by McKenna

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Smile for the camera!

McK xx

Home sweet home: bookshelf styling and cosy throws

Good morning!

I don’t know about you, but I love starting the day in a clean, organised flat. It makes me feel like I’m setting the tone for the rest of the day – 100% necessary when you have a long, stressful to-do list.

I’ve recently moved into a new flat – on a dreamy cobblestone mews in London (how appropriate for the blog?!) – and home decor and styling has been on my mind. The other week I channeled that energy into my bookshelf.

Photo by McKenna

I love a mix between new and old, high street and vintage. Some of my items are decades old – from my wooden elephant from India, a present from my dad, to a handmade vase. I love finding gems in markets and charity shops, like my white Vogue prints and candle holder.

Little hints of gold are my weakness, from my Joy pineapple candle to my fab lantern, gifted from my dear friend Hayley! Flowers and greenery are also a must!

As you’ll see, I have a grand total of 12 books (didn’t bring my collection when I moved from the states!) so I’m completely open to recommendations!

I’ve been in my flat for six months now so I’ve been taking my time finding the perfect additions to our new home.

Photo by McKenna

I love all white everything, with hints of charcoal grey and pastels – mint and light pink are my favourite! I’m also all about FLUFF. The more throws and pillows the better – this tribal pillow was only £5 at Tigre. What a steal! The faux fur throw was a gift that I will be eternally grateful for!

Photo by McKenna
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Photo by McKenna

I’ve discovered that peacock feathers are a cheap and easy way to add a little something extra to any surface – only £2 on Amazon!

What are your favourite go-to home accessories on a budget?

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  

– William Morris 

Cue the food coma at Camden Market

Every now and then, you just CRAVE a certain snack – come on, I know YOU know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes you just won’t stop until you find that cheesy burrito or perfectly curated bento box you’ve been dreaming of.

Well, for all of those foodies who can relate to your girl – cue your one-stop shop for all things delicious and wonderful in London: Camden Market.

Photo by McKenna

Situated along a bustling canal, you’ll find an endless supply of street food vendors – selling everything from savoury snacks to sweet treats. Bring on steamed buns, quesadillas and donuts 🙂

Photo by McKenna
Photo by McKenna
Photo by McKenna

Situated just a short five-minute walk from Camden Town station on the Northern line, the market is a perfect lunch spot for anyone visiting central London.

Foodies, prepare to indulge!

McK xx

But first, tea and pancakes

Hello, weekend!

It’s safe to say it’s been a very long, hard week and we’re all in desperate need of some much-needed “me time” 🙂 For me, I wanted to start the morning off right with a stack of delish strawberry and blueberry pancakes with a nice cup of tea. Nothing better than a hearty breakfast in comfy sweats!

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My adorable personalised Anthroplogie mug is a serious morning essential. It was a perfect gift from one of my closest friends from the states so of course it’s made itself a little home in my cupboard in London.

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How are you spending your weekend? I hope it’s fab!

McK xx