Weekends in London

Having spent most of my youth living in South East London, but now residing in South Manchester, I have made several trips back down south over the last few years.

Many of these trips were made so that I could visit my Nan and Grandad who resided in my home town of Croydon, but who have both sadly passed away in the last year.

Rather than staying Croydon itself, more recently I have opted to stay in a more central location, in the hip suburb of Shoreditch.

My most recent visit was booked up prior to the passing of my Nan, so we used this last occasion to take in more of the tourist sites (plus still plenty of food)

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Shoreditch Street Art

Shoreditch is a very hip and trendy suburb, with some beautiful hotels, previously I have stayed in ACE Hotel, with its trendy bar and hotel vibe, but for the last three trips we found a much cheaper and amazingly located hotel, which has been perfect for exploring.

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Premier Inn Hub – Brick Lane

The Premier Inn Hub hotel is situated right on the famous Brick Lane. The ‘Hub’ brand by Premier Inn is designed to give you a small ‘hub’ like room, with modern technology.

The rooms are tiny and are really somewhere just to rest, however if you upgrade to the slightly larger rooms, as we always do, there is plenty of room for two people.

Right opposite the hotel is Fournier Street – home to some beautiful Georgian Town houses, which every time I walk past, I cant help but look in through the windows at the gorgeous basement kitchens and ornate furniture. I noticed online that one is up for sale – only 2.75 Million – If only!!! Plus where would I park my car!!!

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Breakfast Bougatsa at Spitalfields Market

At the top of this street, and just a few mins walk from the hotel is Spitalfields Market, home to some restaurants, coffee shops and we always pop by the market stalls to see what is being sold.

Getting around London is the easiest thing – although I was bought up jumping on and off of tube lines, even the newest of visitors can quickly learn which lines they need and where they go and its even easier when you don’t need a ticket.

I’ve read reviews of London Visits recently where people have advised to grab an Oyster Card. Well I have had one of these for many years, but stopped using it many many years ago.

London Transport uses contactless and uses the same method of payment for contactless cards/Apple Pay etc, as it does for its Oyster Cards. A single trip on the Tube for example is £2.40 – but a daily limit is capped at £6.80, so after you reach that (3 trips in a day) – all other trips are no extra.

Dining options are in abundance in close proximity of Brick Lane, although as yet I’ve not been too impressed with the curry houses on Brick Lane itself, mainly due to them catering for the tourists.

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Feast the beautiful Dishoom

If Indian food is your thing however, then a branch of Dishoom is just a 5 min walk away. One trip to this restaurant explains why you usually have to queue, even breakfast options having wait times, but its well worth it and I for one can’t wait for the Manchester Branch to open later this year.

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Breakfast Naan at Dishoom Shoreditch

Boxpark is also a short distance away, offering varied ‘Street Food’ units, a bar and music.

Poppies Fish and Chips is a traditional Fish and Chip Restaurant, Ottolenghi, Hawksmoor, The Breakfast Club and Duck and Waffle are also right on your doorstep, so there is no shortage of dining here.

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Espresso Martini from Duck and Waffle

Whilst my entire trip to Shoreditch could involve eating, we also wanted to see some other sites.

Taking the Tube to Knightsbridge took us straight to Harrods and a look around the ‘Christmas Offerings’, Followed by a walk down the road to the Natural History Museum.

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The Natural History Museum is a true wonder and one that I frequented as a child. Free to enter (With a £5 Suggested Donation), you can spend an entire day wondering around and marvelling at the displays.

Next was a Tube to Oxford Circus – A visit to Liberty’s, a Stroll along Regent Street, Carnaby Street and drink in Soho.

Piccadilly Circus allows you to walk around Lillywhites or Fortnum and Masons.

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Rather then catching the tube back, you can take a leisurely stroll along the Thames Embankment, taking in the London Skyline including The Shard, Tower Bridge and the Walkie Talkie.

Trips to London from Manchester take 2 hours with Virgin Trains. Look out for Advance First tickets, that if booked early can get you a first class seat (Including a snack and drinks) for between £40-50.

The first class seat also gets you access to the first lounge at both Manchester and Euston, meaning you can relax a little more at the station.

We din’t manage to catch a show, but again, these can be great value at times, with tickets a fraction of what you pay to watch them in Manchester itself.

So what you waiting for? Check your dates? Book your seats and get travelling – and eating around London Town!!

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