Monday, May 4

London Calling!

Pip, pip...cheerio and all that! Later this week, I'm off to London town! The airfares to the U.K. are quite affordable these days, so this Friday I'm off for a very special week-long birthday trip to London. In that spirit, I thought I'd share a bit of the brilliant and stylish Brits with you today. I've scoured the design*sponge London Design Guide and made lots of notes - a great resource if you're planning your own trip! And if you've got any must-sees for me, by all means, please share them with us here. And, if you're craving a bit of Britain, but can't make a trip...take a trip to London online with homewares and accessories from some of the wonderful shops below.

We're staying in the pink flat!

If you want to plan a trip yourself and don't want to stay in a pricey and impersonal hotel, try out Home Away Vacations. We were able to find this charming pink two-bedroom flat on Portobello Road at a much more reasonable price than a nightly hotel rate, and it has a kitchen, so not every meal need be eaten in a restaurant. Quite so, a home away from home! Does anyone else think it might be severely dangerous to have planted myself smack in the middle of one of London's largest flea markets?!

Our Cath Kidston decorated flat.

British designer Cath Kidston brings that girlie high tea home!

I can see getting into trouble at Paul Smith's vintage furnishings shop!

I'm quite excited to visit Caravan, the lovely shop of designer
Emily Chalmers, and author of one of my favorite books Flea Market Style.
You can check out more from Caravan news on their blog.


I'm looking forward to some Union Jack accessories from Graham and Green.

Chic, stylish neutrals from Mint.

Cute cushions at Lisa Stickley.


I really look forward to exploring Spitalfields Market.

Beautiful, vintage bazaar items from Few and Far.

Scouring Convent Garden Market.


*Top image courtesy of shuma.rani.

56 comments:

Jordan said...

I am so jealous! Thank you for all your tips though! I might look into going for my birthday at the end of the month. Girls Aloud is playing in London, you should try to see them while you're there! Have fun and happy birthday!!!

Amanda said...

Lucky you! I would love to visit London!

I'm normally a color girl, but I love the Mint neutrals for some reason. They are calling me :)

~Amanda

The Van Goat Ranch said...

Your blog is great. I love San Francisco and reading your blog is such an adventure with all your great pictures and art. I'll continue to live vicariously through your blog. Thanks!
Leigh

The Van Goat Ranch said...

p.s. I would love to know where the cute little animals, deer? are from. They are adorable. My email address is vangoatranch@gmail.com
If you have time to let me know i would really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Ana said...

I hope you have a great time and you have good weather! There is so much to see in London! Have you heard of Rob Ryan? He's got a shop in London, http://ryantownshop.blogspot.com/
which I haven't seen yet, it's on the outskirst of the city but it must be worth visiting. Enjoy your stay!

LenkaLovee said...

that is so exciting!
wish i were going to london.
maybe someday. :]
have fun! and keep us posted! :]

Margarita said...

How funny that your post is called London Calling - I just posted one called London IS Calling!! I am moving to London this year sometime, and I just wrote about it. Your pictures are beautiful and just more proof of how much I will love living there. Thanks for posting and I hope you have fun! Can't wait to see the pictures from the trip!
http://fab.typepad.com/brunette

Amy said...

Dennis Sever's house (http://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/#) is an amazing experience--a total must.

Have a wonderful time--I adore London!

from the right bank said...

Have a great trip! Can't wait to see what you bring back.

Dean Morris said...

Just as your leaving for London I'm leaving for San Francisco. Well next week for Bay to Breakers.

Make sure you get to visit Camden Passage (Angel Tube) on a Saturday for some great vintage and homeware places (and a nice chocolate shop too :-))

Alisa said...

Lucky! Have a fantastic time!

seesaw designs said...

jealous.

our little love nest said...

Trying to contain my envy enough to wish you the best trip ever, lucky you!!

Joanna said...

I am beyond jealous. That Notting Hill flat looks amazing. I recommend dining at Giraffe (there are several locations in both west and east london). They have a very affordable and yummy happy hour.

Bon voyage!

moodboard said...

I'm so jealous! If you have time, it is worth it to take a trip to Bath, about an hour from London via the train.

http://visitbath.co.uk/site/things-to-do/roman-baths-p25681

If you do go you have to eat at Sally Lunn's restaurant, which is located in Bath's oldest house(c.1483)

http://visitbath.co.uk/site/things-to-do/sally-lunns-refreshment-house-and-museum-p25741

sammy and glenn: pachadesign said...

hope you have a great time in London ... we are going there too at the weekend.
If you get time you should head to Brick Lane near Spitalfields market - there's some great shops, cafes, Indian food and markets around that area and a beautiful shop called Story (4, Wilkes Street). It's one of our favourite shops and we always try to visit when we are in London. Also, Islington High Street is great for design shops, Atelier Abigail Ahern is one shop you should visit there.

enjoy,

sammy

Penny said...

Have a wonderful time, I am SO envious. I recommend Da Mario's, which is on the corner of Queen's Gate Terrance and Gloucester. It's the best pizza I had while living in London, and you'll be within walking distance!Gloucester

Nelly said...

Hi firstly I would like to say how much I enjoy your blog I live near London and you must go to Camden. I would strongly recommend getting the train to Brighton and go down the lanes you will love it there especially if you love vintage. It is only about an hour away and I promise you you will not regret it. My family and I are coming to your home town the end of May too.
I hope you have a fab time here and the weather is kind to you. Let me know how you get on ....Tracy

honestchitchat said...

Girl you better be adding some serious bloggin' time to your itinerary, your stalkers will be waiting! xoxo

Cheryl said...

This is a fantastic list! I am off to Brighton and London at the end of the month. I will be sure to check out some of your suggestions! Thanks.

sfgirlbybay said...

This is so amazing!! Thank you everyone for the wonderful tips! I really appreciate it!

my favorite and my best said...

ahhh london. it love it there. favorite city i have visited. wish i had some tips for you but i travelled there with a 9 month old and my tips are not your tips. but i did bookmark the flat's site for future use!! thank YOU!! and have fun.
j

k-in-sf said...

'London is my favourite and is my best!' I'm overjoyed on your behalf. Will email you some ideas. K x

Kristy said...

You really must go to Columbia Road market.I think it's on a sunday.Although it's generally known as a flower market there are some great little vintage and arty shops.Plus some fantastic tea shops. Camden is good but nothing extraodrdinary like Portabello. Oh I got completely lost in myself there!

angeltreats said...

You're going to love London! If you're going to Spitalfields, you might like to walk for ten minutes or so to Leadenhall Market too - nice little food stalls and sometimes craft stalls and some great photo opportunities as it's so pretty :) Also go to Borough market for fresh lovely food, and Brick Lane, and make sure you don't miss the V&A Museum. Oh, I could go on all day!

Char said...

what fun!!! I want to go too (one of these days).

Anonymous said...

If you are into packaging, particularly vintage packaging, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is SO fun. It's really close to where you are staying, too. It was my favorite of all the museums in London. http://www.museumofbrands.com/

Danielle said...

Im so envious! This looks like it's going to be a great trip!!!

London Tierney said...

these are super gorgeous! LOVE IT!

steven mcvay said...

hello,i live here and definately think you will faint if you go to columbia rd flower market early on a sunday, its something to be seen...your camera might possibly explode with excitement at the sights it will capture and i cant wait to see them, also have a wander around the carnaby street area, and of course thats where an entrance to liberty can be found, you might possibly wet your pants, it is that amazing inside, my number 1 tip for liberty, get the lift to the top floor and work down.. the top floor furniture is,well,,just dreamy. and after that walk down carnaby st into kingly court for a cofee in the open courtyard before wandering around the 2 floors of independant shops, come and say hi in carry me home if you do, i work there a few days a week.. im the big bald one..... have fun fun fun... i know you will... any help i can give you, just ask.

Amy said...

You are so lucky! To stay in a flat in the pretty pink building! And right in the middle of flea markets? I hope you have an ocean container booked to bring all your treasures back to the US! Please share lots of pics!

colleen said...

Wow! I'm bookmarking this post for a future trip to London. Thanks to twitter.com/MartaR for the heads up on this great resource. :)

Callie Grayson said...

have a wonderful time!!!
Oh, how I wish I was there right now. I usually go every year at this time..... *sigh* have some tea and biscuits for me:)

{lovely little things} said...

That sounds amazing, have a fantastic time! That flat looks so cute too!

jan said...

well aren't you the lucky girl! have an awesome time!

Courtney said...

Don't miss Jasper's store--a converted townhome: http://www.jasperconran.com/

fric and frac said...

Oh my gosh, what a great gift to yourself! I would love to go to London for a week! Enjoy the indian food and fish and chips! If you go to Liberty take lots of pictures!

Becky said...

Great brunch @ Electric Brasserie on Portobello Road! http://www.electricbrasserie.com/contactus.php. Enjoy!

cowgirl in wellies said...

Don't forget Alfie's Antique Market and check Salvo.co.uk for area reclamation yards. And, like lots have already said, don't forget to check out Camden Market. Have fun!

emiliahaf said...

be sure to have tea at liberty because it is just heaven and the shop is stunning.Also try and visit Bloomsbury -lovely squares and where the fab artists and writers met.Have a gorgeous time x

Jennifer White said...

I will live vicariously through you and your fabulous trip... safe travels!

smallinthecity said...

Hi ya,
One of London's most expensive flea markets ;-) Hey whilst your on that rd, make sure you go to the Hummingbird Bakery and have THE BEST red velvet cake ever, trust me...... you won't regret it at all! Enjoy London!
x

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to go to Borough Market on a Sat morning for the best and most eclectic and interesting food market in the whole of London.

franki durbin said...

To which I reply...isn't London always calling? :) I just love London. What is it with the brits and their natural style that makes me so positively happy? Quite the collection of photos, here!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, while I remember - Covent Garden Market is not all people seem to think it will be. Pretty to look at, but mostly big chain stores have taken over what once were fab little boutique shops. Also small area of stalls is v. expensive, but with some nice hand-made stuff.

Greenwich Market ( http://www.greenwichmarket.net/ ) on the other hand is TOTALLY worth a visit, I could spend hours there!

Jenn said...

OOO...you must check out Borough Market, keep an eye out for the giant pyramid of brownies, they are the best. Greenwich markets are cool, look for a shop called Lush ( they used to have a stall but now have a shop)
Portobello Road tends to be quite pricey. You could maybe do a day trip to Brighton, they have some pretty good antique shops. Or just hire a car and explore some of the little towns more to the south. Maybe even try the Chiswick boot fair for interesting bargins.
Other than that I'd definitely try and get in at the Ritz for afternoon tea, or the Berkeley Hotel does a fab fashionista afternoon tea with cookies shaped like shoes and little custard filled handbags!
And dont forget to pop into Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly - its beautiful.
Have fun!

Parusha said...

I'm sorry I didn't see this in time! There are so many great shops and markets – Broadway market on Saturdays and Columbia Road on Sundays and lots of carboot sales that are brilliant too! There's a great market in islington and lots of beautiful interiors shops dotted around east London (and everywhere else too)

Hope you had fun!

Makeup Theory said...

Okay, this is my first visit to your blog and already I don't like you. I wish I was going to LONDON on Friday. But, at least you were kind enough to share your resources, so maybe you're not all bad. LOL

Have an awesome time and post pictures when you get back so those of us with less adventurous lives can live vicariously through you.

Alicia said...

So fun! Your apartment looks wonderful. Have a wonderful trip and a fabulous birthday!

Anonymous said...

To add my two pence - Borough Market on a Saturday is great (pay The Rake a visit, I love them). Re the Sunday markets, Spitalfields has had its soul ripped out by a horrible corporate developer. Try Sunday UpMarket on Brick Lane instead (and check out the shops on Cheshire St). Also, Columbia Rd is amazing, and there are a bunch of adorable shops tucked off the main strip. They're all within walking distance of each other, so you can hit all of them in a day.

katemog said...

If you go to Spitalfields this week you might want to check out the Orla kiely sample sale a few minutes away. More details here: http://www.orlakiely.com/uk/?Newsletter

I'm hoping to pick up some bargains. Last time I got a beautiful dress for £20 and bags are about £50.

Laurie Kozan said...

Welcome - almost - to London! Check out the Melt chocolate shop on Ledbury Road not far from where you are staying...a few other great shops are near there as well. Try to have a Sunday roast lunch while you are here...Bumpkin on Westbourne Park Road is a great spot. A few great blogs: http://www.londonelicious.com/dining/ + http://teaforjoy.blogspot.com/ + http://www.weebirdy.com/ Enjoy!!!

erin said...

The dog in the eighth photo looks JUST like my english setter, Lola. I've never seen a dog that looks so much like her, but if there's one out there, England would be the place to find it.

jennifer in sf said...

Oh man. I'm so jealous. I love London. Oh! I just got an email taunting me with an Orla Kiely sample sale in London THIS very weekend. So, you know, enjoy that.

Have a great time, I can't wait to see the pics from your trip.

tiffany said...

Oh my! I used to live just down the road from your rental and absolutely loved it! Get out to Portobello EARLY Sat before the crowds converge. You have so many great tips already, but in your neighborhood, pop into Vessel on Kensington Park Road, and hit all the streets between Portobello & Kens Park Rd from Westbourne grove to westbourne park grove. from there the walk to Holland Park via Clarendon Cross (Cath Kidston) is lovely & the park itself is a hidden gem. Also don't miss the shops in and around the Old Truman Brewery by Spitalfields on Sunday. Enjoy!

jen jafarzadeh said...

what a sweet flat you secured for the trip.. pink exterior and Cath Kidston interior. I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time!!