London Calling...I Always Come Back to You

London, no matter how many cities or countries I go, something always draws me back to London. This city enthralls me and pulls me in deeper; I always find something new and exciting going on, something I didn't quite see or hear about last time. Here's some of my latest discoveries and a recap of what I experienced in my favorite city. 

Where to Stay-My home base, Astor Hostels

As always, Astor is the perfect place to make my home base in London. I stayed at their newest location, Hyde Park in the luxurious South Kensington neighborhood. This hostel felt so glamorous, very fitting in this prestigious area. The inside is gorgeous and has a massive kitchen. The Friday night I was there, there was a big indoor karaoke party in the kitchen with guests and staff from all the other hostels coming together! It was such a blast and a great way for other travelers to mix and interact.  This hostel is also a short walk to the museums in South Kensington which make it a must to stop at any of those(they're free!). My favorite is the V&A. 

Feelin' fancy in South Kensington

Feelin' fancy in South Kensington

The latter part of my stay in London, I stayed at the familiar Astor Museum location(you may recall from my previous London post I stayed with them before). Again, the staff here really make the experience. Every single one of them are like a family and they really go above and beyond to make your stay in London fun and exciting. I did many events with them at the hostel, they always have something going on during the day or night, just check the board near reception and in the kitchen! Everyone is so welcoming and it's been the most social hostel I've been to! Some of my favorite outings were the free comedy night(see below) and the Camden photo walk. Again, I wish I could live here permanently as it is so central to everything in London, including walking distance to Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, and even Camden. 

 

Free Comedy Night

Astor Hostels had an outing Tuesday night to a free improv comedy show at Top Secret Comedy Club. Just a short walk away from the Museum hostel location. I was sold on the words "free" and "improv". It was a great night out and we had a group of 15+ people from the hostel! I have never laughed so hard in my life! The show is an hour and a half to two hours, with a small intermission in the middle. I would highly recommend going!

Drinki

A friend of mine recommended a new app in London. The app, Drinki, allows you one free cocktail in selected bars, each with their own cocktail pre selected for the app users. You also get one cocktail for every friend you invite to the app! For our night out, we chose a bar close to Astor Museum-Holborn Grind. A espresso bar and cafe by day, and coffee infused cocktail bar by night, this place was intriguing. We sampled the espresso martini and I was amazed by how delicious and effortless it was, even though I'm not much of a coffee drinker. The atmosphere was calm, dim, but sultry, with a neon sign in the back. Perfect for a Monday night aperatif. The app itself is simple to work-make your way to the bar of your choice(there's plenty all over the city), select the bar, select the drink, then it will prompt you to show the bartender the next screen and they will confirm, then, wait for your drink! This is a great way to get out to explore new bars and neighborhoods in London. 

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Lights of Soho

This gallery in Soho is the sister gallery to Gods Own Junkyard(will have to go next time!) and features a bar/cafe, neon signs, artworks, and overall the perfect place to snap some instagram photos. It's incredibly photogenic and just nearby the oxford circus high street!

Winter Lights Festival at Canary Wharf

This was a temporary exhibit at Canary Wharf in east London, it ran from January 16th to the 27th. I believe this event re-occurs every year. Many artists had created stunning light displays, or LED sculptures and they were all over. Canary Wharf during the day is very much a business center, but at night, with this exhibit, was fun to explore, and almost desolate. 

Shoreditch

A fun neighborhood to explore during the day, but even better at night. I wish I had more time for bar hopping here but I did enjoy seeing the street artwork and tasting the street food during the day. You will catch me spending more time here on my next trip!

"Like Nothing Else"

"Like Nothing Else"

Street Food

Let's talk street food! Probably my favorite thing about London dining as its so affordable and tasty and endless options. My two places for go to food trucks/stalls are Camden Market(especially Kerb market near the canal) and Shoreditch(Boxpark). I ate most of my meals at these places. 

Voodoo Ray's in Shoreditch Box Park

Voodoo Ray's in Shoreditch Box Park

Club Mexicana vegan nachos in Camden Market

Club Mexicana vegan nachos in Camden Market

Maize Blaize Columbian Steet food in Camden Market

Maize Blaize Columbian Steet food in Camden Market

Vegan doner kebab at What The Pitta, Shoreditch

Vegan doner kebab at What The Pitta, Shoreditch

And that wraps up another fabulous week in London. I'll be back, always!

 

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