Notes from Instagrammable London
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Everybody lives in London, the cosmopolitan capital of the world hosts different global accents of instruction in its public transportation announcements that encourage you to drink water and stay safe in the summer heat.
The variety of flavour and cuisine available is a reflection not only of the United Kingdom regionally but that of all its diverse populations. London is loud, bold and present and if you eat at many of its beautiful restaurants or little kebab stands you are tempted to add in the restaurant or food stall to your bill to take it home with you.
Gritty, grimy and dirty. Overwhelming and intimidating. And in summer everything and everyone is hot, sticky and in copious amounts of a good mood! The best time to visit London is always, but if you love to make great decisions and have a good time, then the best time to visit London is in summer.
This was my second time in one of my favorite cities in the world, the first time I spent a lot of time in artsy and musical Shoreditch and Brixton. This time I had only 2 days in the capital and wanted to live my millennial dreams of exploring London’s hottest Instagram spots.
I happened to have landed on a public holiday weekend which was great but even better, the city was about to host its annual Notting Hill Carnival. Is there anything more Instagram vogue than a full-fledged West Indian carnival? This was my plan for all of day one so off I went on a train that was filled to capacity by the world, heaving with people excited and dressed up beautifully to have an amazing day in Notting Hill’s streets.
Before going to the Carnival, I had a gorgeous brunch at Darcie and May Green. A gorgeous restaurant set in a boat on the River Gulu Canal or what is sometimes called River Thames. For 39 pounds you get bottomless mimosas and a bottle of prosecco, one sweet dish and one savoury. A pretty great bargain considering it is one of the city's great spots to hang out in, in summer, but make sure you call and reserve a spot because it gets super busy!
Notting Hill Carnival is London’s biggest street party, with costumed revellers and steel bands bringing the city to life in a colourful celebration of West Indian culture. In sharp contrast to its euphoric atmosphere, the Carnival’s origins lie in race riots that saw the newly arrived West Indian immigrant population attacked by white nationalists in the 1950s.
The Carnival, is a present reminder of the necessity of cultural resistance is an accessible mode of artistic expression that voices -- in a wide range of mediums -- opposition to or criticism of certain political, economic, social, or other concerning circumstances in a community. Cultural resistance focuses on raising awareness of an issue and calls for justice; it does not exist for the sake of pity or sympathy. The Carnival is a space that facilitated for equal participation in the process by affected communities and aims to continue to represent and engage the best interests and sentiments of the community represented by the works of cultural resistance. And while at it, have a bloody good time with anyone and everyone else that wants to join in the fun!
The next day I spent some time in Victoria Street. Filled with gorgeous cafes and stores that have floral decor front doors, an amazing aesthetic to look at and enjoy in the Summer heat and a perfect spot to get beautiful instagram shots in between catching delicious bites at The Thomas Cubitt, a cup of coffee at Coffee Addict London and enjoying Peggy Porshen’s delicious desserts.
If you have 48 hours in London like I did, then I definitely recommend the following:
Brunch at Oblix at the Shard for beautiful city views and great food and cocktails
A walk in Shoreditch’s artsy, graffiti filled streets
Visit the city's beautiful, most Instagram ready cafes and streets (there are a whole lot more than the ones I went to)
Lunch at Canova Hall for amazing food served in LARGE portions, cocktails and a staff that loves to randomly break into song
Have an evening spent at Pop Brixton for its amazing food, music and art. Move to its nightclubs for a fun-filled night!
And if you are lucky enough, make sure you visit during Notting Hill Carnival season!
Both were in central locations close to the trains, I recommend buying all day/week passes for trains and bus transport Zone 1 to 9 to save on some coins as well and to allow you to move through the city for 24 hours safely and without the need of expensive taxis. Another pro-tip, do not pack large suitcases to London. Keep your luggage at a minimum as using the trains to move around from airport to the city and back via trains and buses is cumbersome in train stations that sometimes do not have escalators or lifts.