Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to the beautiful city of London three times…and each time I visit, I fall even more in love!
While London is a city that is rich with history and notable sites (think Big Ben, Parliament, and of course, the London Eye), after visiting several times, I’ve also found that it is a very Instagrammable city! Sure, you can line up with the masses to snap a shot of the changing of the guards or find the best angle to photograph the Tower Bridge, but beyond those landmark photo opportunities, London has an extraordinary amount of picture-perfect restaurants, streets, and pubs, to make your likes + comments go crazy!
If you’re heading to London and are looking to take the perfect snapshot to capture the essence of your trip, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite Instagram-worthy places in Londontown!
The A-Lyst for London’s Most Instagrammable Places and Spaces
Elizabeth Street, Belgravia
This might just be my favorite street in London. On a quest to find The Peggy Porschen Parlour, the most poshly decorated sweet shop in the city, I stumbled upon the lovely Elizabeth Street. Lined with quaint shops and restaurants, this street is home to some of the prettiest storefronts. During the springtime, shop owners decorate the exterior of their boutiques with gorgeous floral displays! On our recent visit, I couldn’t help myself from taking photos of all the lovely shops! Don’t miss Les Senteurs, Jo Loves, and of course, Peggy Porschen, which sits on the corner of Ebury and Elizabeth Streets!
Beyond the hustle and bustle of Portobello Road, Notting Hill is home to countless colorful homes, quaint streets, and antique shops housing unusual treasures! I love wandering off the main roads of this West London neighborhood and exploring the side streets, as this is where the Instagram magic happens! From sweet-smelling wisteria draping pastel doors to a random mixture of bright blue, pink, and coral homes lining the streets, you can’t help but fall in love with the photo opportunities that abound. A few of my favorite streets are St. Luke’s Mews, Lancaster Road, and Denbigh Terrace. If you love exploring antique shops, meandering down Portobello Road and popping into the various shops will be a treat. However, if you prefer more brand name stores, Westbourne Grove might be more to your liking. I especially love Wild at Heart, a picture perfect flower shop!
Restaurants with a View
If you aren’t afraid of heights and are on the quest to capture the ultimate skyline photos, there are a few restaurants that I would highly suggest. Be forewarned, you must book ahead, as the reservations for these venues are a hot commodity! The Shard is one of the most famous skyscrapers in the London skyline and it’s also home to several fantastic dining options. For afternoon tea with a view or a sunset cocktail overlooking the city, head to Aqua Shard and request a seat by the window. You’ll be delighted to spy the Tower bridge amongst other notable London sites! On the other side of the river, I highly suggest Duck + Waffle or SUSHISAMBA, both located at 110 Bishopsgate in the Heron Tower, for excellent views of the The Gherkin and River Thames. To date, Duck + Waffle has been one of my favorite meals in the city and if you can’t get a booking, don’t stress! They are open 24 hours, so I highly suggest going at an off time and trying your luck. SUSHISAMBA has a sexy al fresco lounge, which is actually the highest outdoor dining terrace in Europe. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a London night! If you’re just interested in beautiful views, I’d recommend booking a ticket at the Sky Garden, which features lush greenery set intermixed with skyline views! Tickets are complimentary, but due to space, reservations are required.
Restaurants with Picture-Perfect Decor
As you may have noticed, London’s dining scene really excels when it comes to decor. While there are so many beautiful restaurants across the city, I wanted to highlight three Instagram-worthy top picks. Sketch is probably the most well-known to folks in the United States and that’s for good reason. Guests can choose to enjoy the restaurant’s unparalleled ambiance in one of the restaurant’s five different spaces. The widely photographed “The Gallery” a.k.a the pink room boasting plush booths, “The Lecture Room,” “The East Bar,” “The Parlour,” or “The Glade.” On a recent visit, we chose to have a cocktail in “The Glade” and were not disappointed. My drink came out smoking with dry ice and made quite the spectacle! While at Sketch, don’t miss a trip to the bathroom – and bring your phone! Dalloway Terrace in Fitzrovia is another top spot for photo takers, as its year-round terrace is always perfectly decorated for the season. Think winter wonderland during the holiday season and lush flower garden in the summer. Last, and not as widely known, is private garden at The Orangery in the Number Sixteen Hotel. Boasting the most serene outdoor garden, complete with a pagoda than you can request to dine in, this is my favorite place for afternoon tea. While it has less pomp and circumstance than some of the more well known tea services in the city, it is by far the best one for a gorgeous London day! If pubs are more your speed, you will also find plenty of photo opportunities while drinking a pint. Many of London’s pubs are are adorned with flowers; a great example is The Churchill Arms in Kensington, my top pick for the most photogenic!
If the weather permits, there’s nothing better than a little fresh London air paired with unbeatable views. If you’re after an amazing photo of St. Paul’s Cathedral (cue “Mary Poppins”), head to the Madison, which offers a gorgeous rooftop view of the dome (first photo in blog). Another option, prepared for chilly temperatures, is the Coppa Club – Tower Bridge, which boasts heated igloos (yes, just like The Envoy’s Outlook, which you can read about here!) on its roof deck in the winter. A new favorite roof deck that I discovered on my recent trip is on the top of the The Trafalgar St. James, which as you may have guessed, overlooks historical Trafalgar Square. Complete with blankets and plush pillows, it’s a perfect spot for sunset drinks.
Only steps away from Covent Gardens, but slightly hard to find, is the oh-so-colorful Neal’s Yard. Home to only a few shops and eateries, the real draw to this hidden courtyard is it’s brightly painted buildings and playful ambiance. Whether you are just passing through or sitting at one of the little cafes for a bite to eat, you can’t help but smile at the delight this little area brings to all those who stumble upon it…especially the Instagrammers!
The A-Lyst is a Boston-based lifestyle blog curating the very best of style, beauty, food, and travel.