The best – although I’ll admit, sometimes worst – thing about London (depending on how you look at it and what mood you’re in) is how many things there are to do. On any given day/evening/weekend there are quite literally hundreds of options to try, things to do and places to explore and it can be a little bit overwhelming when you don’t know what to choose (not to mention give you a mean case of fomo). So that’s why I’ve decided to start a new lifestyle series on my blog based around things to do in London. I like to spend my time wandering around different areas of the city, finding hidden places, sampling cafes and taking in the sights so it seemed like a good idea to start photographing my findings and sharing them on here to try and help fellow London-lovers decide what to do next!
For this first post, I was asked by luxury 5-star residence, The Rosewood Hotel, to explore things to do in their neighbourhood of Holborn. Nestled in-between the high-rises of the City and the sprawling streets of Covent Garden and Soho, the hotel is perfectly placed for exploring the city no matter what you’re interested in. I sampled just a taster of what was on offer this weekend and have put together some of the best bits to recommend to you. Enjoy!
1. Licoln’s Inn Fields
One of London’s best qualities is the pretty parks scattered in all corners of the city. Despite the crowded streets, noisy traffic and general pollution, you’re never too far away from a green haven waiting around the corner to give you a moment of zen, a breath of fresh air and some much-needed peace and quiet! I discovered Lincoln’s Inn Fields just behind the hotel, a small but very pretty spot nestled between some of the old buildings of Holborn and a perfect spot for relaxing with a book or a takeout coffee on one of the many benches and indulging in some people (or more importantly) dog-watching!
2. Sir John Soane’s Museum
Just a stone’s throw from the park lies the John Soanes Museum, the easily over-looked and under-estimated house-turned-museum of Sir John Soanes, a 19th century architect. The house was left (on his request) untouched since his death 180 years ago and is quite literally a treasure trove of his collections – from furniture and antiques to art, architectural drawings and curiosities from across the world. It’s such an unusual and fascinating space and – like many of London’s best sights – is absolutely free, so there’s really no excuse not to give it a try. As long as you have the patience for the queue outside which I was surprised to discover….maybe it’s not quite such a hidden gem as I thought!
3. Holborn Grind
For me, no weekend in London is complete without scouting out a new coffee shop to try so I’m always on the lookout for cute cafes and hipster hangouts where I can get my next caffeine hit! Part of the Grind chain, the Holborn branch definitely didn’t disappoint. Lighter and brighter than the other branches I’ve been in, Holborn Grind is a relaxing place to sit and sip for a moment before heading back out into the bustle. The coffee is great (and trust me, I’ve tried a lot of London coffees), plus they have great food options, tasty cakes and treats and also a mean coffee-inspired cocktail menu if you’re in the mood for something stronger (Flat White Russian, anybody?)
4. The British Museum
Holborn is a bit of a mecca for museum-lovers, and what better place than to spend an afternoon back in time (whilst losing track of it) than in the endless galleries of the British Museum? With all manner of curiosities from across the world and throughout history, you would honestly need to spend days here before you saw everything! The building that houses it all is a sight in itself and the domed entrance courtyard with its beautiful glass roof is one of my favourite parts of the whole museum (and the famous Ancient Egyptian displays of course)! It’s free, but they also have rotating exhibitions to explore throughout the year which require an entrance fee.
5. Seven Dials
If you’re bored of the sights and in need of shops, you can’t go wrong heading towards Covent Garden. The marketplace business can be a bit too much if you don’t like crowds so I prefer to explore the side streets of Seven Dials slightly away from the hustle and bustle. The seven streets are full of boutiques, unusual eateries and bars with European-style outdoor tables decorating the pavements. My top picks are Pop Boutique for vintage clothing finds, Magma bookstore for arty gifts and books and Earlham Street Clubhouse once the sun goes down for gigantic pizzas and cocktails named after 90s movie characters. All in all it’s a great area for window shopping and bar-hopping on a sunny afternoon.
So there you have it – I hope you liked my Holborn picks! Let me know in the comments if you have any favourite places or suggestions for where in London I should go and explore next!