Michelle Gage’s Curated Guide To London

Hello, friends! We just got back from a fun-filled 10 days in London and I am absolutely BURSTING at the seams to share everything we did – and what I’d recommend for your next trip abroad.

It’s been over two years since Alex and I had a proper vacation. In that time, Alex quit his job to come work with me and two months later there was a global pandemic. Needless to say, some time to chill out was in order. We had originally planned to take this trip last September, but obviously that got pushed out. We used that extra time to create the ultimate itinerary for this stay. So, grab your favorite floral frock, pack your carry-on and let’s go to London!

One of my favorite things to do when visiting other countries is to go to museums. We went to 8 during our 10 day stay! The great thing about London is that most of the museums are free to enter, although you do have to pay for the special exhibits (which we did a lot of).

We went to The British Museum, The Wallace Collection, The National History Museum, The Royal Academy of Arts, The Design Museum, The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Tate Modern and Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A had just reopened their Alice In Wonderland Exhibit, which was a delight. In another stroke of luck, Yinka Shonibare’s curated exhibit opened during our stay. They were certainly highlights of the trip!

Of course, we hit up a handful of antique shops and markets. I would highly recommend heading over to Fulham to visit the darling shops – there are dozens! You may have heard others speak highly of The Portobello Road Market, but the golden spot is actually up the way on Goldborne Road. Another market worth visiting is Camden Passage in Islington.

When we travel, Alex and I like to find adorable Air BnB’s, especially for long-term stays. In this case, we found ours in Paddington. While we need a little more space than boutique hotels typically offer, we do delight in visiting their on-site restaurants. It’s a lovely experience and one simply cannot visit London without eating at one of Kit Kemp’s Firmdale Hotels. There are a few scattered throughout the city, each one beautifully designed. I highly recommend the homemade ice cream!

Food is always a major focus of our travels. There’s something so magical about experiencing delicious dishes in beautifully designed settings – and London does not disappoint! If I had to share a slimmed down version of our favorite food spots, I’d recommend visiting The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Sketch, Farm Girl, Megan’s, Artist Residence, The Monocle Café and Mr. Fogg’s for drinks. For food markets, you cannot miss the Borough or Maltby Street Markets. If your day doesn’t lead you to any of these locations, fear not, there is a floral-outfitted pub on nearly every corner of London that will surely serve up some tasty fish and chips.

This trip wasn’t purely pleasure. We went with the intention of not only exploring, but also sourcing for our interior design studio. We did plan our stay around London’s Design Week after all! We made a trek to the Design Centre, where we met Kit Kemp (a designer favorite of mine)! We were able to see new collections from our favorite UK wallpaper, fabric and lighting vendors. I shared more about my favorite design spots and shopping designations over on Instagram, so be sure to check that out too.

We had a lovely time and were thrilled to be able to make it work. We were able to see some amazing sights (oh yeah, did I mention that the Chelsea Flower Show was moved from the Spring so we were able to attend?!) – and family that we have missed seeing during these last two years. It’s no secret that international travel is a bit tricky right now – and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t without its challenges; however, it is possible to do it safely. There are pretty strict protocols in place and even though we’re both vaccinated, we had to get tested every few days during our stay. Through all the hurdles, it feels great to be back, rested and inspired.

Feel free to forward this onto your travel-bug family and friends. Here’s to many more adventures in the future! Hope you have plans to go somewhere smashing soon!

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