If you follow GWS on Instagram and/or Instagram Stories, you know we (Jen + Jason along with our 2 daughers, Sienna (4) and Dakota (1.5)) were in London this past October. We only spent about 48 hours here, but we had such a great time and I thought the post could be helpful for those planning a short trip in London. If you are planning your honeymoon in Europe – or your next trip abroad – chances are you mind spend some time in London. We originally had a layover there and decided to break up the trip and spend 3 nights there (with 2 full days) so here is what we did. :)
To be totally honest, London has never really been on my list of places I wanted to go…just wasn’t really into the typical things I saw photos of from London (the Palace, the changing of the guard, Parliament, Big Ben, etc)….but there is SO MUCH more to London. Duh, I guess, right?! Well, after some research on the different areas of London, I stumbled across Shoreditch (the hip, artsy area) and knew that sounded right up our alley! And major bonus? They had an Ace Hotel there! I love the Ace brand so thought that sounded perfect for our 3 nights in London.
Where to Stay
We LOVED LOVED our stay at the Ace Hotel London in Shoreditch. If you’ve been to an Ace Hotel before, it’s the same fun, funky vibe. There is a lobby that was always busy with lots of action and the cutest coffee bar, juice bar and flower shop on the first level – as well as their restaurant, Hoi Polloi! We had breakfast here each morning and it was the PERFECT way to start our days. They played great music (always so important), had great food (think chia seed muesli, avocado toast, moroccan eggs, granola with fruit – yum!) as well as a fun modern diner vibe.
Each room has a record player (which I always love!), free wi-fi and cool artwork. They also have a gym that is open 24 hours – which you might not care about on a short trip but if you are traveling from the West Coast like us, we were up at 2am with nothing to do (and 2 little girls who were sleeping or we would have got bar hopping!), so Jason took advantage of that gym – ha! Yeah, I staying in the room and worked :)
Also, plants EVERYWHERE. Which I love. Plant lady for life here! :)
So, the first day we did have some major jet lag but we managed to get down to breakfast at the Ace by 11am (and they serve till noon – yes!) After breakfast we decided to just walk around and explore Shoreditch. We had a meeting in the area as well, so stopped for our meeting than just walked around looking for rad street art – which there is LOTS. Love that. Also, popped in and out of coffee places. If you love street art, I’d recommend Brick Lane, Rivington Street (where there is Banksy!) and Shoreditch High Street. Keep in mind, the art is always changing, but those streets seemed to have the best in my opinion when we were there.
If you are traveling with kids, there is a great park and playground nearby as well called Allen Gardens.
For dinner, I knew I really wanted to go to Dishoom – it was supposed to be amazing Indian food with cool decor. Since we just had a late breakfast and not really lunch, we were hungry around 5 when they opened, which worked out great. We were able to walk right in and get a table (when we left at 7, there was a CRAZY long line and this was a Thursday night!). I would reccomend a reservation if possible. Anyways, the food was amazing! Loved it. We had the Dishoom Chicken Tikka, House Black Daal and to drink – the East India Gimlet. Major Yum!
We walked around the area a bit more (checked out Boxpark – a cool shopping spot in shipping containers!) and then found a bunch of galleries that were open and explored those. Super fun. Then ended up stopping at Block – an outdoor food market across from the Ace Hotel – to get a bit more food for our toddler. This place seems like it is probably crazy busy after bar hour.
One thing that was on my bucket list for a few years was that if I did ever go to London, to have afternoon tea at Sketch. You’ve probably seen photos of this amazing pink dream room on Pinterest or Instagram and it did. not. disappoint!!! It’s was like sitting in a dream. It was also my 4 year old daughters first time for tea and she LOVED it. I will say the price is a bit high for the food (not super impressed by the food), but the whole experience just made it worth it to me. I would recommend to make reservations as it’s quite popular.
The dreamiest….can I please move in?!?!
And they have the funnest illustrations on the walls! I loved checking them all out…
Sketch also has probably the coolest bathrooms I’ve seen for a restaurant! You go upstairs and each stall is a pod. So crazy and definitely an experience!!
They also have an Alice in Wonderland inspired lounge! Hope to have a drink here next time (photos of lounge and first Sketch photo courtesy of Sketch)
After tea, we hopped on the train to go to Abbey Road. There isn’t much to see there expect that famous street crossing (which is very popular!!!) We waited a bit to cross (which is actually a pretty popular street!) but was fun to get to see this spot. A must do for any music fan….
After that we decided to head over to Notting Hill. I really wanted to see all the colorful homes and heard the shopping here was good. The colorful homes did not disappint, but if you are looking for shopping, I think there is much better shopping in the Shoreditch area.
We walked around a bit and enjoyed the homes (as well as a smoothie from Joe & the Juice) and then decided that we really loved the Shoreditch area so headed back there for dinner. There are so many great restaurants in Shoreditch. Since we had our two daughters with us, we wanted to find a place that was fun and not too small and we ended up at the The Bike Shed. The Bike Shed is a cool spot. It’s spread across four Victorian railway arches in the heart of Shoreditch and it offers a restaurant, barbershop, and bike shop all in one. A fun place for a burger and beer.
It was a short trip for us, but SO FUN! We can’t wait to go back and explore more of London. Hope this helps for those of you thinking of a visit to London.