Monday, July 6, 2015

Our UK Trip: London Snaps

It's been 2 weeks since arriving back from our quick trip in London and we're still reeling from such a great time. All of your recommendations for things to do and places to see made for a memorable trip we won't soon forget — we took them to heart and you helped us uncover bits of the city we'd never have stumbled across on our own. Thanks to everyone that sent along tips via comments, Facebook, Instagram and email.

The main purpose of the trip was for work, which we ended up stacking a day on either side of to explore the city. In addition to making our way around town, we were able to celebrate Etsy's 10th Anniversary alongside my UK & US marketing friends — such a special memory for this milestone moment.

Today we've rounded up several of our favorite shots from the trip — a big mix of collective camera and phone snaps we've been looking forward to sharing here on the blog if you care to see...

We stayed at the Hoxton Hotel in the Holborn area of London (we found out there is one already in the works for Brooklyn). This place was definitely our style and reminiscent of the Ace, Ludlow and Wythe hotels we know back home. Here's the view of the hotel lobby first thing in the morning, which was usually crowded with creatives on laptops by day and happy hour-goers by night:

The lobby was split up into several areas — from lounging to restaurants, bars and even a nail salon. Once we checked into the hotel and settled our bags in the room, I indulged by booking an "express pedicure" at the lobby salon, Cheeky. I figured it would be a fun way to unwind from travel and keep me awake from jet-lag, as evidenced by the cold espresso:

Among the nice amenities at the Hoxton was their daily breakfast. We're used to grab and go breakfasts at most hotels, but the Hoxton provided a paper bag you could place outside your door each night with details for what time to bring complimentary service. Breakfast bags consisted of fresh juice, yogurt with granola and a banana. For morning loungers like me, it was so nice to have breakfast and coffee in the room before heading out to work for the day:

Speaking of coffee, the Holborn Grind was a favorite coffee shop to stop into, located right next to the hotel. We ate a slow breakfast of avocado toast with espresso here the last morning in London before heading around the city to explore. I was a fan of the interior design elements — high ceilings, brass fixtures, exposed brick, hex tiles and cursive neon signage:

The Etsy office was just over a 10 minute walk from the hotel, which made for a great way to get to know the neighborhood in the mornings and evenings on the way in and out:

The inside of the office was just as you may imagine — filled with character, creative charm and smiling familiar faces. The neighborhood was just as cool. Because of the time difference, it was a little surreal working almost a full day before our East Coast peers would begin their morning. 

In the afternoons we'd walk over to Leather Lane, a food truck market filled with local eats for lunch. I couldn't help but get a savory pie meal (with a Scotch Egg!) from Pie Minister while there: 

Monday we walked to the Theatre District to see the show based on Ray Davies' life, Sunny Afternoon. As you may know, Tim is a huge Kinks fan, so watching the musical based on the band's story was a memorable evening:

We generally enjoyed sight-seeing during free time as well. We'd make a plan to hit up a historic or iconic area of the city, then enjoy the neighborhood nooks, crannies and secrets we'd run into along the way. In this format we walked the London Bridge, saw the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower of London, and St. James Palace. I figured out the bus line so we could ride above ground for some portions of the day, and we both agreed that London in general was reminiscent of New York, with even richer history and a more manicured overall feeling.

Can we take a moment to talk about amazing floors? Everywhere we went there were ornate floors — some of made of hex tiles: 

...and others from zigzag subway tiles:

A favorite from the entire trip was Borough Market. Located just under the London Bridge, this place was one from our list of recommendations and just bustling with local food, produce and drink vendors:

After walking through the market for a couple of hours, we took a seat to toss back a couple fresh oysters and sip on a pint and "fizzy" — the equivalent of beer and sparkling wine. We both loved Borough Market and Tim was audibly disappointed he hadn't made it by here earlier in the week, as he'd probably have made it a daily stop otherwise:

Other spots on the recommendations list were Covent Garden, Grays Antiques and a good curry spot — all of which we enjoyed meandering around the city on a mission to see and do:

London eats didn't disappoint. We stopped into fancy spots like Holborn Dining Room for an early week brunch and relished in off the beaten path offerings like footlong dogs and pork buns:

One of my favorite moments? When Tim and I walked to the Waterloo bridge from the hotel for what ended up being an overcast "Waterloo Sunset." You could see Big Ben, the London Eye and other iconic sights from the bridge — not to mention the Kink's reference (we exited our wedding ceremony to Waterloo Sunset):

And as with most quick trips, before we knew it and just as we were beginning to settle out of jet lag, it was time to pack up and head back to the states. I couldn't help but snap a blurry pic of the airplane treats — international flights really know how to nail it, ha:

While we didn't get to everything on our bucket list for this trip, we did have a blast and made some incredible new memories. We'd have loved to have made it to Muswell Hill, Portobello Road and Brixton Markets and I'd have loved to have found a local photobooth to pop into. All things to put on the list for a future trip!

Thanks for taking a look through some of our favorite travel photos from our time spent in London. You can see even more collective shots from the trip on Instagram with the hashtag TMLondon15. We'd love to know — have you been to London? What were your favorite things to do, see and eat?

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  1. This is really a wonderful post.

  2. Following your blog for a while now and as a Londoner by choice and a former tour guide I am always intrigued what tourists are interested in when visiting my chosen home. If I had realised earlier, I would have given you heaps of advice but for next time:
    There is a photo booth in record shop Rough Trade East which is on the Old Truman Brewery site off Brick Lane.
    And you would also love Columbia Road Flower Market on Sundays – proper Cockney lads selling orchids and hydrangea!
    Till next time,