Street Food Diaries: London

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Street Food, Camden Lock, London

Being vegetarian should not stop you from enjoying street food in London. Read on the entire post at Mouthfuls from Jhakal to know more 🙂

Did you know you can enjoy amazing street food in London even if you are vegetarian? You can, For real! I was amazed at the variety we discovered and it’s about time I share it here. The two primary locations where you can eat to your heart’s content are Borough Market and Camden Lock. Borough […]

via Street Food Diaries: London — Mouthfuls from Jhakal

London from a Different Lens

Change of Guard ceremony

Change of Guard ceremony

Hello fellow bloggers, I’m back to share the last post from my trip to UK earlier this year.

After Central England, Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh, London was our final stop! Our trip to UK would have been incomplete if we didn’t visit this city. We just had to spend a few days here and we squeezed in a few things “off the beaten track”.

London, for sure needs no introduction and has its world famous landmarks that we did visit – The Buckingham Palace (and the change of guard ceremony), The Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden and Hyde Park.

However, instead of spending too much time at the above, we explored the not so touristy side. These are still touristy I guess but less so. This list includes – Street Art in East London, Old Spitalfields Market, Borough Market and Camden Lock.

Let me tell you a bit about each of these to give you a better idea.

Street Art in East Londonthe east end of London is quite the hipster area with plenty of artwork to explore. Artwork is mainly in the form of murals and graffiti and best way to understand more about it is to go for a free walking tour. We took one and the guide walked us around pointing out different styles and naming some of the popular and upcoming street artists. There is more to street art than meets the eye. I would recommend a guided tour for a more well directed tour. You can of course explore on your own, on foot or bicycles. The neighborhoods covered include Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Brick Lane. A stop at the Nomadic Communities in Shoreditch was a nice touch.

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London Street Art

Mural

Mural

Reptile made from old tyres at Nomadic Communities garden

Reptile made from old tyres at Nomadic Communities garden

Old Spitalfields Market was a chance find for us. We came across it just as we finished the street art tour. Its in this huge Victorian market hall that was constructed in 1876. Its great for purchasing antique odds and ends. I’m talking about everything from cutlery from the 60s to old photographs, candle stands and vinyl records. It was intriguing just to look at the stuff and if you are a collector, this place is for you! Remember to bargain 😉

Old Spitalfields

Old Spitalfields

Old Spitalfields

Old Spitalfields

Borough Market – this place is great for food lovers! Its a huge market built under a railway station and has food stalls of all kinds. Cheeses, breads, fruits and vegetables, meat, tea, spices and so on. There are live food stalls as well and you can easily have a great lunch here sampling things from the numerous vendors. If you do plan to visit, check the timings and events roster.

Borough Market

Borough Market

Fresh olives at Borough Market

Fresh olives at Borough Market

Camden Lock – there are two sides to Camden – a market selling stuff like souvenirs, t-shirts, caps, postcards and the like. And the other side that we absolutely loved was the street food market! This place is heaven for foodies with a mind boggling array of food and drink choices. Be sure to include this in the itinerary if you are a food lover. Explore all the stalls before you decide to dig into something. We were too hasty in ordering stuff and regreted later. As always make sure to check the opening hours when you plan.

Camden Lock Food Market

Camden Lock Food Market

Camden Lock Food Market

Camden Lock Food Market

Camden Lock Food Market

Camden Lock Food Market

So this was our slightly off-beat approach to exploring London. Hopefully, it gives you a few ideas on what you can plan!

Cheers and bon voyage people!

 

Day Trips to York and Liverpool

As we walk towards York Minster

As we walk towards York Minster

As I mentioned in the previous post, we were staying in Leeds for the first few days and not wanting to waste time before we embarked on our road trip to Scotland, we did a couple of great day trips to York and Liverpool. I’d like to share some of the best things from these places in case you are looking for some things to do in these cities.

For York, we drove down till we arrived at a park and ride and took a bus for the rest of the way. I didn’t know what to expect but York turned out to be an enchanting little town. It used to be a walled city and that’s the first thing we noticed about the place. These days you can walk on it and take in the sights.

The most distinguishing feature of the town is York Minster. It’s quite a grand structure now but has seen its fair share of destructions, constructions and restorations. Currently, its an active cathedral with daily services. You can even time your visit to coincide with a service. A museum inside the building will give you further history of the site.

York Minster

York Minster

The town itself is very rustic with a heightened old world charm. There are several alleys to be explored with cafes, restaurants and all kinds of stores. There are even “haunted” pubs and we visited a 16th century pub called the Golden Fleece.

At York

At York


See the Golden Fleece?

See the Golden Fleece?

As it was a weekend and the sun was out, there was an open market running as well. Stalls selling everything from woollen caps to burgers. It was the perfect day trip with a lovely weather and the music from a street musician complementing the vibe of the place.

At York

At York

Liverpool was a different story. We visited on a very gloomy day and had to put up with rain till noon. Visited Albert Dock to soak in some views and had a nice lunch at one of many options at the dock itself.

At the Albert Dock

At the Albert Dock


Liverpool official buildings at the dock

Liverpool official buildings at the dock

We aren’t big Beatles fans but we ended up taking the Magical Mystery Tour. A tour dedicated to The Beatles with anecdotes about the band, how the four lads met, how the group was formed and so on. The tour turned out to be a great city tour as well as we went around visiting the family homes of all four Beatles and also places that have inspired some of their songs such as Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.

McCartney Family Home, Liverpool

McCartney Family Home, Liverpool


Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry Fields Forever!

The tour ended at Matthew Street and we enjoyed some music and drinks at The Cavern Club. This is where The Beatles used to play before they became popular. The Cavern has become extremely popular over the years with several great artists and bands visiting and performing here.

The Cavern Club, Liverpool

The Cavern Club, Liverpool

As it turned out, we ended up enjoying both places. Now, I can even say that I like The Beatles music and even have a few favorites on my Spotify list!

More on the UK trip in upcoming posts. Till then, Cheers!

Happy Surprises in Central England

Leeds city center

Leeds city center

Once more, one thing led to another and we embarked on Euro Trip 3.0 this March. The best thing this time though was that my cousin was there to help plan our itinerary and so we encountered several happy surprises. We visited places that we wouldn’t have, had we been on our own. So let me first share some experiences from Leeds and Harrogate where we spent the first few days. It might give you some ideas if you plan a trip to England.

Right from the day we landed, we were on the go. As we were spending sometime with my cousin in Leeds, we got an opportunity to visit a few places around. I was actually quite surprised by the charm in central Leeds. The area almost seems like a movie set with several old buildings beautifully preserved alongside more modern structures. It’s so well done that things don’t seem out of place at all. I loved the Leeds Kirkgate Market, construction of which had started in 1875.  This is still a market primarily selling food products with a few eateries, a florist and some other stalls.

Leeds Kirkgate Market

Leeds Kirkgate Market

Inside for the Kirkgate Market

Inside for the Kirkgate Market

Lovely flowers at Kirkgate

Lovely flowers at Kirkgate

The next best thing was the Corn Exchange where grains were traded in the mid 1800s. The building has now been converted into a shopping center with boutique stores and a cafe.

The dome shaped corn exchange at the end of the road

The dome shaped corn exchange at the end of the road

Beautiful interiors at Leeds Corn Exchange

Beautiful interiors at Leeds Corn Exchange

One of the days, we ventured to the outskirts and visited the Harewood House. This is a country home with acres of landscaped gardens, constructed by a wealthy plantation owner in the 1700s. It’s still home to the same family and is open to public.

At the Harewood estate

At the Harewood estate

From Harewood House, we made our way to a nearby small town called Harrogate popular for its spas. For our first time in England all these towns and neighborhoods were simply amazing and an altogether different world. For the most part in UK, it felt like stepping back into medieval times really.

Harrogate!

Harrogate!

We enjoyed an extremely satiating English afternoon tea experience at this place called Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms (scones and clotted cream … woot!) and then took a stroll in one of their beautiful public gardens, I think this was in Harlow.

Betty's Tea Room , Harrogate

Betty’s Tea Room , Harrogate

High Tea :-D

High Tea 😀

We were surprised to discover the several museums in Leeds most notably the Royal Armories Museum amongst others, a few shopping malls and decent food and drinks options.

If you are around Manchester or York and looking for something to do, a half to one day trip to Leeds won’t be such a bad idea.

More on the UK trip in upcoming posts. I have a lot to share!