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Where We Are: London, England

Hello, mates! We’re writing to you today from cheery old England! We’ve been to London a few times before actually, but this city keeps calling us back. And every time we come back, it reminds us again and again why it’s one of our favorite cities in the world.

This time around we decided to stay at an Airbnb in a new neighborhood: Shoreditch. Our past trips to London never even brought us to Shoreditch, but now that we’re here, we can’t imagine ever wanting to stay anywhere else. Though admittedly hipster and touristy, it’s without a doubt one of our favorite neighborhoods.

Only in Shoreditch do they convert a black taxi cab into a coffee shop.

There is is no better time to be in Shoreditch than on a beautiful Sunday morning. The markets are open, the shop windows are filled with beautiful cakes and trendy outfits, and the restaurants are bustling with brunch-ers.

If you’ve seen The Lego Movie and know the “Everything is Awesome“, it was literally the soundtrack of my morning. Everywhere we went was even better than the place before. The streets were alive with  Brits and tourists alike, buying flowers, drinking coffee and eating street food.

All smiles with my daisies from the flower market as we make our way down Brick Lane.

We’ll be spending two full weeks here in Shoreditch, and in that time, I’ll be working on preparing a neighborhood guide for anyone who’s interested. We’re really excited to spend a lengthy amount of time here in London to explore the city even deeper than we’ve previously been able to.

First Impressions on London:

  • Weather matters. This is not our first time in London, but it is our first time in London without rain. In fact, until this time in town, I was convinced that it was just always raining in London. That sunshine makes a world of difference and somehow makes this beautiful city even more beautiful.
  • The markets here are second to none. We’ve been to our fair share of markets, but London Markets are something special. Borough Market, Columbia Road Flower Market, Brick Lane Market, not to mention all of the side street markets and vintage markets and food halls, they’re all incredible. You could eat and shop and drink and wander through different markets all Sunday long.

    The Columbia Road Flower Market is wild. Here you can find just about any type of flower, plant or herb at an incredible price. It’s so beautiful and so fun.

  • It has so many layers. London is a city that will continue to give you more as long as you’re willing to look for it. It reminds us of New York in that regard. You can come and knock out the essential landmarks on your first visit, but there is so much more to it than that. You can continue to explore neighborhoods, museums and cafes long after you’ve seen the “must dos”.

One thing we love about Shoreditch is the vegetarian food options. Like this vegan döner kebab chip box and vegan cookies & cream ice cream from What the Pitta in Boxpark. I also got this adorable owl dress from the Brick Lane Market earlier in the day.

What you need to know — London:

  • Population: 8.1 Million
  • Altitude: 35 meters
  • Temperature: June average highs are in the 70s, lows in the 50s
  • Exchange Rate: 0.75 Great Britain Pounds to $1 USD
  • Primary Language: English
  • Walking Tour: Yes, there are several. I think we might do the Strawberry Tours Free Landmark Tour – West.
  • Time Zone: British Summer Time, UTC +1 (6 hours ahead of US Central Time)
  • Taxi: Yes (and they’re adorable)
  • Uber: Yes
  • Public Transit: Lots of it! Underground and overground trains, double-decker buses and even water taxis.
  • Emergency Number: 112
  • Running: We’re looking forward to running in London, actually. We might sign up for a 10k through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the sign of the 2012 Olympic Games, or we might just take on some of these running routes through London.
  • American Football: No longer in season.
  • Starbucks: Oh, you know it.
  • Local Starbucks Specialty: Turmeric Latte (I believe is local)
  • McDonald’s Veggie Burger: Yes!
  • Coffee Price: About 3-4 pounds (~$4 – 5 USD) for a latte or flat white  
  • Beer Price: About 5 pounds a pint (~$6.70 USD)

Columbia Road Flower Market sells the most beautiful flowers for next to nothing!