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London Walks, Autumn Sunshine and Celebrating New Beginnings

2nd February 2024

Photo of a shop window with text: 'live gently upon this earth. Be kind.'

Live gently upon this earth. Be kind.

London is the place for me

2023 was a year of romance and books. I read 52 books, and at the beginning of October, I married my partner and best friend of 12 years. It was a good year!

A couple of days after our wedding ceremony, we travelled to London to continue our celebrations. We enjoy the simple things in life, which means our favourite trips often involve walking, exploring, drinking good tea/coffee, and eating great food. So, with this in mind, we couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate this new beginning in our lives.

Long walks and autumn sunshine

We stayed at The Prince Akatoki, a Japanese hotel on the edge of Marylebone. The hotel was tucked away on a quiet street near Hyde Park – the perfect location for all the areas we wanted to explore.

We enjoyed the spontaneity of heading out each morning with a location in mind, never knowing what hidden gems we might find along the way. There was so much to see and do, and we managed to clock up over 20,000 steps each day. We also sampled a lot of cinnamon buns!

I hadn’t planned to share our trip here, but I recently looked back through my photographs and couldn’t resist putting this post together – old habits die hard! I hope you enjoy browsing the photo diary of our week.

Photo of The Prince Akatoki, London

Golden hour from our London hotel window

Photo of tea and cakes at The Prince Akatoki, London

A delicious gift from the hotel

Day 1: Paddington, Marylebone and Fitzrovia

On day one, we explored the local area, discovering all sorts of things, from a thought-provoking contemporary art exhibition in a chapel, to a Swedish shop stocking everything from food to kitchenware. We also walked along Marylebone High Street, popping into agnes b., where I was the store manager in the late 90s and early 2000s. I was extremely grateful to the kind staff who let this retail alumna reminisce! We also spent far too long in Daunt Books, followed by a simple picnic in Paddington Street Gardens.

Paddington, London

Paddington looking glorious in the October sunshine

Photo of Totally Swedish, London

Totally Swedish on Crawford Street

Photo of bikes at Warren Mews, London

Warren Mews looking as pretty as a postcard

Photo of John Lennon plaque, Montagu Square London

Blue plaque spotting

Photo of a Classic Volvo in London

I loved this classic Volvo on Montagu Square

Photo of Daunt books, London

It’s always a joy to wander around Daunt Books

Photo of agnes b. Marylebone High Street, London

My old shop – I have so many happy memories of working here

Photo of the Living Memory exhibition sign, London

We stumbled upon an exhibition, so we went in

Photo of Louise Bourgeois, Arch of Hysteria

‘Arch of Hysteria’ by Louise Bourgeois, the venue, art and music came together beautifully

Day 2: Islington via Miel Bakery

On the second day, we popped into Miel Bakery for cinnamon buns and headed east to Islington. It was a Sunday, and Camden Passage was bustling with activity and fancy brunches. It was a joy to explore the neighbourhood in the sunshine.

Photo of Miel Bakery, London

Beautiful Miel Bakery

Photo of Camden Passage, London

Vintage window shopping on Camden Passage

Photo of Camden Passage, London

Camden Passage on a sunny Sunday

Photo of Aria, Islington, London

Aria, Islington

Photo of Aria, Islington, London

Moomins at Aria

Photo of Aria, Islington, London

Marimekko at Aria

Photo of The Screen on the Green, Islington, London

Shorts and t-shirt weather in Islington

Photo of a Miel Bakery cinnamon bun

Enjoying a Miel Bakery cinnamon bun in the sunshine

Photo of twentytwentyone, London

Twentytwentyone, Islington

Photo of twentytwentyone, London

Twentytwentyone, Islington

Day 3: Kings Cross and Coal Drops Yard

On day three, we walked to Kings Cross, where we wandered along the canal, had a snoop around Coal Drops Yard and enjoyed a delicious lunch at BAO while sitting in the sunshine. It’s such an interesting and vibrant area to explore. We had planned to walk along the canal to Camden, but instead we grabbed a cuppa and enjoyed a slower-paced afternoon.

Photo of Kings Cross Canal, London

The canal at Kings Cross

Photo of the canal area at Kings Cross

Enjoying the October sunshine at Kings Cross

Photo of the canal at Kings Cross London

The canal at Kings Cross

Photo of Coal Drops Yard, London

Coal Drops Yard

Photo of MHL, Coal Drops Yard

MHL. at Coal Drops Yard

Photo of a row of lights

The lion!

Photo of Kinfolk magazine

Magazines and stationery

Photo of Coal Drops Yard canal

Spot the green monster

Photo of Coal Drops Yard canal

Loving the boat and curtain combo

Photo of a frog outside a restaurant at Kings Cross

Hello, cutie!

Photo of BAO, Kings Cross, London

BAO, Kings Cross

Day 4: Little Venice, Regents Park and Primrose Hill

Day four took us to Little Venice, where we walked along the canal to Regents Park, then stopped for a coffee in the sunshine overlooking the boating lake. Following our pit stop, we walked to Primrose Hill to take in the London skyline and neighbourhood. It was an extremely hot day for October, so I was grateful for my umbrella, which doubled up as a parasol. Not quite the chilly autumnal vibes I had anticipated when we booked our trip. I wasn’t surprised to read that 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded globally!

Photo of Little Venice, London

Hello, Matilda!

Photo of Little Venice, London

Lovely Little Venice

Photo of Little Venice, London

Autumn colour in Little Venice

Photo of Regents Park Boating Lake

Coffee overlooking Regents Park boating lake

Phptp of Sweet Things, Primrose Hill

We enjoyed tea and bagels at Sweet Things, Primrose Hill

Photo of a Primrose Hill bookshop

Browsing the vintage bookshops

Photo of Chalcot Crescent, London

On the set of Paddington

Photo of the Sylvia Plath blue plaque, Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill

Sylvia Plath’s former home where she wrote The Bell Jar

Photo of the London Skyline from Primrose Hill

The London skyline from the top of Primrose Hill

Day 5: Soho etc.

On our final day, we stayed near(ish) to our hotel, walking around Piccadilly, Leicester Square and Soho. We enjoyed sampling the buns at Soderberg Bakery and a trip to the Liberty Christmas department, which is always good fun! I loved the Miffy and Hello Kitty baubles, which I missed out on a few years ago. I didn’t make the same mistake twice!

Photo of the Japan Centre Shop London

Cute sweets at the Japan Centre

Photo of Soderberg, Soho, London

Soderberg cafe and bakery, Soho

Photo of Soderberg, Soho, London

I’ll take one of each, please

Photo of Soderberg, Soho, London

Tea time

Photo of Earl of East, London

Hay and Ferm Living homeware at Earl of East

Photo of Earl of East, London

Exploring the new Earl of East shop off Regent Street

Photo of the flowers at Liberty, London

A mandatory Liberty photo

Photo of a Miffy glass bauble in Liberty, London

Adorable Miffy baubles

Thank you for being here

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you’re planning a trip to London, here’s another post you might enjoy: seven of the most colourful London streets. If you’d like to keep in touch, please subscribe to my blog, Substack and YouTube channel. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Photo of Warren Mews, London

Pretty city London, thank you for the memories

Simple ways to support my creative work: share this post; buy me a coffee.

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10 Comments

  1. Susan Earlam 2nd February 2024 at 9:07 am - Reply

    So many buns, so many steps! I bet you needed new trainers after this trip

    • Natasha Denness 2nd February 2024 at 9:16 am - Reply

      Haha – absolutely!

  2. Cristina 2nd February 2024 at 10:41 am - Reply

    I love seeing London through your eyes, so many wonderful places…And you’ve made me hungry, with all those buns :) Thank you for sharing!

    • Natasha Denness 2nd February 2024 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Cristina. Creating this photo diary has made me want to visit London again soon!

  3. Jeanette williamson 2nd February 2024 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    I so enjoyed your pics & comments, Natasha! You are a natural writer❤️

    • Natasha Denness 2nd February 2024 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much, Jeanette! I hope you have a gorgeous weekend.

  4. Pam 3rd February 2024 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Beautifully written Natasha and you’ve opened my eyes to the sights of London. It’s not as I remember it when my mum took us as children.

    • Natasha Denness 3rd February 2024 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Thanks so much, Pam. I was surprised how many things had popped up when I returned after the pandemic – there is always something new to see and do. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  5. Mel 3rd February 2024 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Agnes g still got the old perfume bottle. You see the beauty in such a large City! Amazing x

    • Natasha Denness 3rd February 2024 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Mel. I wish I still had my agnes b. perfume bottle!

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