New Highs and Lows
Something rare occurred the other day. It was a Saturday (nothing unusual about that) but London was engulfed in a heatwave, I had the day off work, I had absolutely no plans and my cousin from Scotland was staying with me, so naturally was keen to get out and about in the UK capital. Quelle chance!! We decided to hit up two hip, hop and happening areas that I haven't been to for absolutely ages - Camden and Notting Hill. Not particularly far apart from one another, these areas are both known for their bustling markets, good vibes and being pretty popular with tourists. We knew there would be a lot of people out and about so we prepared ourselves for that! Londoners are known to become sociable and nature-loving people whenever the sun is out (probably because the week of summer is pretty short so you gotta make the most of it while you can.) We left the house fairly late so by the time we got to Camden it was lunchtime. We decided to prioritise food and walked about fifteen minutes to Primrose Hill, which sits just north of Regent's Park. It's a small park and boasts incredible views over the whole of London from the top of the hill. We trudged up it in the blistering heat of the day and found a spot to sit and have our lunch (a picnic was a must!)
It was so pleasant sitting at the top of the hill; there were lots of people sunbathing and having picnics and playing football and in general there were great vibes all around. You gotta love summer. We walked along the canal in Regent's Park back to Camden, which was absolutely heaving (so we didn't stay for long.) Camden is great and the food market is awesome but as we had already eaten and were sweating like pigs in a butcher's shop, we decided not to hang around for too long and make our way over to Notting Hill.
There was also a good amount of people down at Portobello Road Market! I have never been there before but apparently it is the world's largest antiques market (not sure if I believe that??) It's a fantastic place to go shopping or even just browse as there are hundreds upon hundreds of nick-nacks around and lots of potential things to buy as gifts. As well as antiques there's art, clothes, souvenirs and FOOD. You gotta love a good food market. Cuisine from all over the world is available to try at Portobello Road market.
What a beautiful area, too! The houses are absolutely adorable and I saw the house in which George Orwell used to live. Neat.
I find the Notting Hill area one of the strangest areas I've come across in London. It's known for being glamorous and expensive but you walk barely ten minutes and you come face-to-face with council estates. Some people are living the high life in areas like this and many others are living the low - the divide in the UK is pictured perfectly on the streets in London. In my own area we are dealing with mass gentrification, which although sounds a lot more scary than it is, is still a process that is, in a way, affecting certain people negatively. Many of us will complain about it but at the end of the day, we tend to endorse it, too. I was also astonishingly close to where the Grenfell Tower burned down not long ago and that really made me feel some type of way as when it happened I was in Scotland and it didn't feel particularly real at the time. Here, a stone's throw from Ladbroke Grove, I saw posters of missing friends and relatives stuck to shop window after shop window. Cannot believe how much of a tragedy it has been.
As it was so hot, naturally we had to stop for a drink, which proved quite difficult as we wanted somewhere to sit down and it was either the market or walking round aimlessly because we didn't know of any good places! Finally, off one of the side streets we came across Pedlars General Store, which is not just a café but sells homeware, stationary and lots of cute bits and bobs. We sat outside but had a browse instore and it looked like such a cute place to come with a friend or to do work; in comparison to Portobello Road it was very peaceful. They have several brunch and lunch options but we settled for the freshly squeezed orange juice which sold for £2.75, not bad for London and our location. The products were a little pricey but overall it was just what we needed at the time. A beautiful day exploring beautiful London. Where to next, I wonder?