There’s a whole heap of guides out there on the hidden gems of London, and I love to explore my city to find the weird and wonderful. Recently though, rather than one shop or cafe that I happened to stumble upon, I found the quirky charms of an entire area and one which I’ve visited numerous times in the years I’ve lived here.
Victoria to me usually just means a train station surrounded by a couple of substandard pubs, and that’s pretty much it. In actual fact, going beyond the surrounding area of the tube station is a revelation. Here’s how to spend the perfect day in Victoria:
Grab some food
I started off my day celebrating Jasmin‘s birthday at Cambridge Street Kitchen, a compact but beautifully decked out cafe serving as the perfect location for a Sunday brunch. Although not everything was ideal (the coffee was too bitter and the fruit bowl was very disappointing), my banana pancakes with bacon and maple syrup hit just the spot. And who doesn’t love your fresh orange juice being served up in a mini bottle with a straw?
Just down the road though is Dominique Ansel, the New York bakery famous for inventing the cronut. The sweet treats on offer are not your usual bakery basics, and they are absolutely beautifully crafted. I went for the signature item, but if I hadn’t just wolfed down brunch, I would’ve gone for a selection of deliciousness.
Wander the back streets
The townhouses in Victoria line quiet, leafy streets, standing tall and proud and bloody expensive. Elizabeth Street hides bakeries and boutiques, but wind around and eventually you’ll get to Buckingham Palace and all of a sudden, you’re in Green Park. You can miss out the majority of the horrid road noise and tourist hubbub by skipping from street to street and ending up in one of London’s most gorgeous nature spots.
It’s not just Covent Garden that offers top-notch theatre in London. I recently went to see Wicked in Victoria with Katy, and to my delight I stumbled across the Palace Theatre with a holding facade for Broadway hit, Hamilton.
Just down the road from here too, is one of my favourite cinemas in London: the Curzon Victoria. So far from a multiplex in aesthetic and feel, you can sit on plush leather sofas with a china mug of hot chocolate before heading in to watch your film. The screens don’t hold anymore than about 50 people and some of them even have love seats to get snuggly in.
I keep saying I need to explore more of London by foot, and this unintentional exploration has reaffirmed it even further. Watch this space for more wanderings soon.