Captivatingly cosmopolitan and wondrously worldwide London is the most linguistically diverse city in the world with over 250 languages represented and a population of nearly 9 million people. Standing in a land of royalty and centuries of history, red buses drive on the left side of the road. Big Ben chimes over the city, and the palace shines. This fashion scene is totally my cup of tea. Traveling for dance and fashion, I’m finding that there is excitement around every corner, strutting around town in the capital of England. My phone is ringing…London is calling.
Contemporary British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood says, “There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere.” Yes, to this! I think London is majestic and electric, fashionable and thriving, regal and full of exciting energy. As Paddington Bear (a British icon, of course) says, “In London, everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in.” Eight timezones away from home in California, come along with me for a day in London!
Touchdown in London Town, and I’m already in love. Drinking tea is an art, and you can’t visit this city without taking time for tea. England has been loving tea for hundreds of years, and there are many charming tea houses to choose from in London. My day begins with teatime at Sketch Parlour in Mayfair.
With more than five themed rooms (created in collaboration with amazing artists) to dine in, this was the perfect place to have that first sip of pink London tea—pink rosebud tea with the Parlour Acai Bowl to be exact. Talk about taking my taste buds to a happy place! But a good cup of tea is really about who you enjoy it with. Across the table is my adventure buddy (my lovely mama!). We say “Cheers to London!” Tea party? Yes, please!
A Visit to the Palace
Would it be a trip to London without a visit to the palace? Driving up the road and seeing the golden palace gates shining in the sun behind the London fog is a moment I will never forget! Buckingham Palace is an awe-inspiring beauty, a place of grandeur with over 700 rooms, blooming gardens, and those iconic guards in full uniform. Also known as the “Queen’s House,” this historic landmark in Westminster is pure majesty. (Pun intended, of course.) After all, a princess must visit the palace. Treat yourself like royalty!
Fun fact: If you see the Royal Standard flying over the palace, the Queen is in, but if it’s the Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, flying instead, her majesty isn’t home!
Shopping in London
It’s not a fashion trip if you don’t explore the shopping options, right? Like New York, Paris, and Milan, London is a fashion hub, and London Fashion Week is one of the top four fashion weeks around the globe each season. Top designers like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney call London home!
Off the runway, there is next-level street style. It’s as if the London sidewalks are the runway for everyday epic fashion shows here. I am beyond inspired by this UK-style dreamland.
Some London Shopping Spots I Adore:
Basically a mega fashion museum. Harrods department store is a gallery of glamour stretching over a million square feet, featuring all the top name fashion labels in the industry with clothes from around the world. My favorite part was taking the famous bronze escalators up to the Evening Dresses department: designer ball gown collections! It’s like walking into fashion heaven. Elegance galore, with dresses perfect for a soiree and endless skirts made to twirl in ready to dance the night away Cinderella-style at a royal ball.
Thrifting in Oxford Circus is a great time, especially if you’re looking for unique fashion and fun pieces.
When you walk into this Regent Street department store, you are sure to get inspired. Dating back to 1875, Liberty is truly a London gem. With six floors of shopping, staircases, chandeliers, portraits, British heritage, and a major fashion establishment, this store is beautiful in many ways!
You can’t leave without shopping in Soho! Another one of my London favs is Carnaby Street. Clothing, footwear, beauty, lifestyle, and collectables, this vibrant street is an exciting place to score great fashion. Plus, verifiably on-trend, row after row of recognizable brands and local shops unique to the UK, walking down the radiant streets here in Soho is awesome.
After shopping til we drop in London, yummy cuisine is a must. I admire all of the splendidly creative eateries around London. One of my new favs is a lovely café called EL&N London. EL&N stands for Eat, Live, and Nourish, and stumbling upon this cute all-pink eatery was pure luck! EL&N is self-described as “a fashion-led food and drink destination with a focus on delicacies…not only stunning but delicious too.” Everything is pink here and photo-ready! Pose with candy heart wall art while enjoying red velvet lattes, pistachio frappes, honey cakes, avocado toast, falafel wraps, and all-day brunch. This place is imaginative, culinary, and rosy sweet.
I spy…Big Ben! As Anna Quindlen puts it, “London opens to you like a novel itself…It is divided into chapters, the chapters into scenes, the scenes into sentences…Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand.” There is so much to discover. I loved seeing the breathtaking Tower Bridge, parks, and Westminster Abbey (home of generations of royal weddings!). Red telephone booths are waiting on the street corners, and Piccadilly Circus has its own energy. West End, Covent Garden, riding the Tube, and catching the London Eye defining the skyline at night, there’s so much to spot. Starry eyes, friends. Live, love, lively, London!
Night Out at the Royal Opera House
Getting all dressed up and glam for a night out at the ballet with my ballerina mama is always a perfect night. A visit to the theatre is at the top of my itinerary every place I am lucky enough to visit. As a dancer, live performance always gives me a source of inspiration, and it is an honor seeing art being created in the moment.
The Royal Opera House Theatre is a beautiful 164-year-old work of art rebuilt in 1858, but the Royal Theatre’s history began in London in 1732. Is it fate that The Royal Ballet is performing my favorite ballet? Created by choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, a classic tale of two dancing star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. I know the steps to the balcony Pas de Deux scene of this ballet by heart, like a daydream on repeat. When the music, composed by Sergei Prokofiev, plays, I get butterflies, and tonight, the orchestra is led by the amazing female conductor Alondra de la Parra (girl boss inspiration!). Hearing it echo through the Royal Theatre was unreal. The artists sparkled on stage until the audience gave its standing ovation. I don’t think I need to say that this is an unforgettable experience for any dancer.
Historic and modern, a dynamic combination that constantly creates the beauty you can find all around town. Virginia Woolf said of London, “The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn the corner?” I love this quote because I found it to be so true of my own London adventure!
There is a special energy and so many exciting wonders to see, things to do, fashions to discover, and neighborhoods to explore in London. My heart is grateful, and I already can’t wait for my next visit back. What is your favorite thing about this magical city?
From London with Love!