Listen While Reading: Jamz // Sales.
Perfectly structured bright white and pastel buildings line the street that I am currently staying on, as well as the streets parallel to it. An architects dream, Notting Hill is home to posh places to brunch, modern coffee shops, beautiful gardens, and Portobello Road— one of the best vintage shopping locations in the city. While I have yet to spot Hugh Grant (what a shame!), I spent today exploring the criss-cross of independently owned shops and restaurants. I had been thinking hard about what I was going to write about this week, but as I strolled under the opaque clouds, I was inspired. My idea was so obvious in front of me— I needed to share my thoughts about one of my favorite places in the world.
Every time I come back to visit London (my hometown), I seem to uncover more and more of the city’s secrets. For the past few visits I have stayed in Chelsea, another beautifully built, pristine area, excellent for more high-end shopping and eating. Camden Town and Shoreditch— the “hipper” areas— were also places I knew I wanted to get a deeper look into the last couple of times I have been here. Camden is home to the locks, food trucks, and a massive vintage market featuring independent makers. In Shoreditch, you can find amazing street art covering the sides of every building, as well as unique little shops that will have you stopping about every few feet you walk. If you need a break from the rush, there are several seriously gorgeous parks and gardens to visit as well as countless museums for every interest— whether it’s art, science, or natural history. If you want a traditional taste of London, visit the South Bank to ride The Eye, get an ice cream, and view the city across the River Thames.
London is like no other place I have ever been to. Its great expanse is home to such a diverse mixture of cultures, ethnicities, and languages. As someone who revels in new cultural experiences, I have never gotten bored of this city, despite being born here and visiting several times a year. Walking down the street, you’ll hear a different language or accent with almost everyone you pass, and see almost every kind of ethnic food restaurant there is. You will meet people you have little in common with, which is actually a brilliant way to discover different existing views and practices.
Despite the seemingly permanently grey skies, this city couldn’t be more colorful. I guarantee if you visit, you will fall in love and never want to leave (or at least want to keep coming back). Save and spend the money on a plane ticket, just being in London will inspire you and expand your worldview in a way that you can only get through experience, not by scrolling through Instagram (although London is seriously Instagrammable!) Whether you study, work, or just visit London, try to spend time in as many different areas as you can, just to get a taste of how special and diverse the city is.
Words & Photography by Martha Beaven.
© 2015 Reef Magazine.