The City Un-Guide to London

on February 22, 2017

I wanted to tell you all about my trip to London this past weekend – but I didn’t know how. After all, it’s not like it was my first trip to London (see here, here, here, hereΒ etc…) so how do I put a spin on it? (That’s what you’re supposed to do on a blog, right?). ButΒ here’s what I do have… My city UN-GUIDE to London.Β 

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!
When I sat down to write this post, I thought about making an anecdote about my experience on the sleeper train to London… On which I accidentally didn’t book a bed so spent the entire night slumped over a table. #classy

I also thought about writing about how I walked about 12 miles in 24 hours…6 of those before 9am on my first day (Oof). I’ve been dragging out the same Oyster card for months and didn’t want this to be the trip I used it up.

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!
The walking led to exploring some diverse neighborhoods… Some of which I hadn’t been to for ages (as I usually congregate to my beloved Southbank). So I played with doing a neighborhood guide, or maybe contrasting edgy Shoreditch with posh Kensington.

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!
I also played with the idea of a “how to be a basic bitch in London” post (pardon my language). I felt myself rocket to basic level 9,000 as I instagrammed the pastel houses in Notting Hill and drank my rose lattΓ© at Farm Girl. Whilst I waited in line for a table, a lady asked a couple girls in front of me (who were clearly regulars) if the food was good, to which they replied “it’s okay but we come here for the #aesthetic” (# added by yours truly).

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!
On that note (and AS PER) I could offer you a play by play of my eating exploits in London, including but not limited to aforementioned Instagram paradise Farm Girl (gluten free pancakes!), Indian buffet, and sushi with the ex-housemate turned Londoner.

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!
Or, of course, there’s the whole reason I went to London in the first place, the Refugee Week Conference at Amnesty International. As a not super network-y person this was a bit intimidating but nevertheless inspiring. It deserves (and probs will get) its very own post.

Why (and How) Travelers Should Support Refugees

 

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!
Ultimately, though, my trip boiled down to this: I forced myself to do a cool thing and I have 0 regrets. When it comes to visiting a city, there is no better guidance I could possibly give. I am not the expert on London neighborhoods or eateries or fashion or transport or what have you. All I have to offer is my own experience, which is that in the midst of essays, dissertation, research, work, and a cold, I went to London because I felt like it. And it was great.

In the end, I’ll remember sushi with George in Soho, meeting up for drinks in the pub with a tree in its basement, sunny Hyde park, bumpy bus rides, and the colorful street art in shoreditch as I made my way to a conference on a topic I am so so passionate about. I won’t remember the days spent grueling over my desk or hunched up in the library.

Here’s to more of doing what you want. When you want. Facing your fears.

Sarah xx

Pin it for later…

The city un-guide to London: for anyone who gets overwhelmed planning travel to a big city, the un-guide to London is my story of freedom in a big city!

  • Young And Undecided

    What a lovely post! Sometimes the best destination guide is “Just go and have fun” (Also I really liked your struggle for a topic to write about as I go through that everytime I sit down to write! haa) #WanderfulWednesday

    • Glad I’m not alone!! I’ve defo been having writer’s block lately! Probably because I’ve switched a bit to the “just go” attitude so there’s less to “guide” about haha

  • I think the best way to experience a city sometimes is just to go with the flow and enjoy the things you like. The 5000 sights will always be there but in the end, you’ve got to enjoy the moment, right?! πŸ™‚

    • The moment is what matters!! (And I think if I tried to see all 5000 London sights in one weekend I’d implode???)

  • Really love your pictures of London, its so nice to see an unguide haha!

  • Haha I loved reading this. It’s always hard to write about places you’ve been to more than once. It was refreshing to read πŸ™‚

    • The more I go to London the more I think of “how should I spin it this time??” when actually it’s most fun to just let the blog go and have a good time!

  • Very interesting post! Sometimes you just need an un-guide! Definitely excited about learning of rose lattΓ© at Farm Girl…pinned that! #WanderfulWednesday

    • Yesss it was definitely swarming with instagrammers and some would say a bit too hyped up, but I loved the Rose Latte. They also have charcoal and “gold” lattes which are apparently very good too!

  • great post!:)

  • So refreshing, I love this! And I love doing whatever I want in a city, not the ‘top ten’ things to do. That way you see the real city πŸ™‚

  • Tracy McConnachie Collins

    sometimes you just have to go! and wander and enjoy and soak it all in without ticking things off a list πŸ™‚

  • As an ex-Londoner, I think your guide sounds pretty much perfect. It’s all about keeping it real!

  • This sounds pretty cool! Sometimes it is all about acting the opposite of how others would act. In those cases, you find things you were not even looking for. Loved reading your post. #wanderfulwednesday

  • Please please please write about refugee week. I had to laugh at both being slumped over a table (#oops) and walking so many miles so early. It sounds like quite the adventure… gluten free pancakes and all!

    • Oh I will for sure.. I’m considering just making a whole category devoted to it haha. Just have to get it all written!!

  • Couldn’t love this post more! I actually just started drafting a post the other day .. “Why you should just do what you want” haha .. So looks like we’re on the same page! But for real, sometimes the best way to do a city is to just do it. And not worry about the top 10’s or should-dos. Looks like you did it just right πŸ˜€

  • Rebecca

    Haha, ‘we come here for the aesthetic’, how London!! I totally agree about chucking the guide book out the window, the most memorable things are spontaneous!

  • Oh my gosh ‘we come here for the #aesthetic’ just killed me!

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