I loves me a quick escape from London, so when a curious pixie (or should I say THE Curious Pixie) hit me up for a cheeky weekday wander-filled daytrip to Rochester I was absolutely up for shaking off the shackles of my desk and hitting the road.
Well, technically we hit the train tracks, hopping on a quick locomotive from London Victoria to Rochester (it’s 40 minutes or so, the perfect length of time for a natter and a breakfast croissant.)
It’s always intriguing to revisit places that you haven’t been for a while – memories are rather ephemeral (*cough* when not blogged *cough*) and in the case of the Royal Lancaster Hotel, a multi-million pound refurbishment has transformed the hotel to my remembrances. This time we gathered in the Island Grill Restaurant on a grey old London day for a taste of their fresh lunchtime menu, overlooking Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park. Disclaimer: We were invited to lunch, but as ever, all thoughts, images and fork twirlings are very much my own.
It’s funny, once I met up in Lancaster Gate (it couldn’t be more handy to the Underground Station) with my ladies who lunch, the thoughts of drizzly, cold skies fair left my head. We settled in at our table (after a quick tour through the hotel and peek into the Park Suite – keep reading for that) and perused the extensive menu.
Did you know that London is the greenest major city in Europe and the third greenest city of its size in the world (officially)? Well, it is, and it has so many beautiful spaces where the city gives way from cold architectural structures to thriving green lungs that give us city-dwellers respite. Selecting the best London parks and gardens for this post was a job I adored taking on.
Oh, and they are wonderful places to party, to picnic and to just get away from it all.
I’m slightly obsessed with picnics. The tiny sausage rolls, dappled sunshine, bubbled beverages, a blatant disregard for tables, communal pots of hummus, relaxed laughter and did I mention miniature scotch eggs? As the seasons turn, I’m already planning a little dining en plein air – so thought it was only fair to share 9 of the best secret picnic spots in London that I’ve found so far!
I’m someone who used to keep a picnic blanket under her office desk (for sunshine emergency situations you understand), when I went freelance I bought my phone plan specifically so I can use it as a laptop hot spot in blossoming gardens and I may or may not have a bottle opener on my key ring. Case in point: my autumnal picnic above – I’ll take literally any excuse to unroll one of my many picnic blankets.
To chase away the impending January blues, Sima (The Curious Pixie), Binny (Food and Travel Diarist), Shikha (always asking Why People Waste Annual Leave) and I plotted a cheeky respite from the winter blues, a ladies staycation in our favourite city, London. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend our London staycation in the Chronicle Aparthotel by Supercity but all views, PJs and meal choices are very much our own.
Did you ever read The Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin as a teenager? In one of them (Baby-Sitters’ European Vacation – The Baby-sitters Club Super Special #15 to be exact) some of the group take a trip to London & Paris from their American home of Stoneybrook. They have adventures, dance in professional performances, explore London, meet the Queen – you know, the usual things that teenagers get up to on holiday.