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Got a day in London, with sunshine? Want to do what the locals do?
Leave the tourists traps behind and come see my favourite neighborhood in London. London is a big place, but really, it's just a string of lovely villages. Come explore Little Venice and Maida Vale, and you'll see how lovely a day in London can be.
They describe this place as an "urban oasis" and it couldn't be any less! If England is famous for its gardens and flowers, then you can see, smell and learn how that happens at Clifton Nurseries. The entrance, sandwiched between two buildings of flats, is like a magical experience. Enjoy the cafe and stop and smell the roses!
5A Clifton Villas, W9... two minute walk from Warwick Avenue Station.
What do Londoners do on a sunny day? They get out and walk!
Skip the Tube and use your feet... This walk will take you from the beautiful Little Venice basin (a 2-minute walk from Warwick Avenue Tube) to Camden markets and beyond. Along the way, you will pass through Regent's Park and the London Zoo. Stop here, if you like and explore the park, and St. John's Wood High Street. Carry on to Camden (about 40 minutes walk from Maida Vale) and you can shop and people watch until you drop.
Hitch a ride back on the canal boats (see link) or just grab a bus back. The number 31 meanders through Primose Hill, Belsize Park and Kilburn, dropping you at the Prince of Wales pub near the Harrow Road. Feeling like expanding your expedition? Stay on the 31 and it takes you into lovely Westbourne Park and Notting Hill. More opportunity to get out and walk!
Save a pound or two and pack your knapsack from the DELICIOUS delis in Maida Vale. From Boomerang on Elgin (right out of Maida Vale Tube) to Gustoso and Bon Apetit at Lauderdale Parade (left down Elgin from Maida Vale Tube, about 5 minute walk), you can dine gourmet without the big bill.
Umm... yum! This, friends, is where the locals eat. Right outside (practically INSIDE) the Maida Vale tube station is this cute, hip and delish spot. TIP: do this for lunch. Reason 1: the Express menu is a good deal. Five pounds for lots of food... You may be able to swing a late lunch and drink your dinner, like the English do!
Be sure to ask for Spring Rolls as the appetizer of the day. You don't want to miss them.
Reason 2: It can get packed in the evening, without much room to hang around.
Oh, and if you are with a friend, be sure to share the duck wraps as a starter or as one meal for one of you. If you like spicy, ask for chili oil!
This place is packed on a sunny day with young and old, canine and human, all sorts walking, running, chatting, tossing, hitting and kicking balls. It's "Pay as you play" so if you feel the need for a round of tennis, why not? Or just bring a book and laze in the tranquil flower gardens.
Hackey sack anyone?
Entrances on Randolph Avenue and Morsehead Road.
This is the place to cool your heels in the afternoon or evening and toss back a pint with the locals. Listed as one of Britain's top 50 pubs, it is gorgeous and on a sunny day, everyone comes around to spill out onto the sidewallks, benches and tables.
Drink beer in the sunshine the way Londoners do: on the pavement!
Warrington Crescent, W9 1EH
Curry! The English couldn't live without it. After they took over India, they claimed curry as a "traditional" English dish. I don't blame them.
There are tons of curryhouses in London, so how do you choose? Recommendation, of course! I recommend Maida Vale Tandoori. These guys are cheap and good! A great dinner, really excellent for sharing, be sure you don't forget to order the garlic naan!
49 Chippenham Road, W9 2AH
Want to know something of the history of the area? Check this website out, or just browse the Maida Vale branch of the Westminster library, at the corner of Shirland Road and Sutherland Avenues.
Allright, this place is a splurge, but it is classic English olde world hotel. Gorgeous decor, fabulous service and the location, across from Warwick Avenue tube and around the corner from the Formosa street shops, can't be beat. Treat yourself!