London was in full bloom this week with the annual Chelsea Flower Show and the Queen’s official birthday celebrations evident with Union Jack flags decorating Regent Street and Carnaby Street, marking a proud week to be British.
A sunny bank holiday weekend and numerous pictures adorning Instagram of the wisteria in Notting Hill was enough to entice me out of the house, though in my head thinking I should be packing for my upcoming trip to San Francisco.
It seemed everyone else had the same idea, a packed train to London with taken seats all forgotten once I stepped off the train and hit the buzz of the capital. First stop was Green Park as it wouldn’t be right to get pictures of all the Union Jack flags to commemorate the Queen’s official birthday without stopping by Buckingham Palace.
It truly was a lovely day to be exploring London with many tourists speaking in their native tongues and the glorious sunshine making it easy to imagine yourself in a foreign land if it wasn’t for the fact we were all looking at Buckingham Palace. Despite the bustle of tourists, there was an air of peacefulness at The Queen Victoria Memorial with many including Adam and I choosing to take a few minutes to soak up the sunshine and listen to the quiet jets of the fountain.
With the Union Jack flags festooning The Mall and The Queen’s guards gracing Buckingham Palace it is easy to get caught up in the moment, taking me back to a memory of visiting Windsor Castle with my mum and grandparents as a child, amazed by the castle and seeing it with fresh eyes. Looking around, I could see young children and tourists admiring the surrounding area in wonder as I had on my first visit.
Whilst being the main tourist attraction for visiting London, Buckingham Palace has many areas surrounding it to catch a few minutes of solitude in nearby green areas such as St James’s Park, offering a quiet retreat away from bustle of the city as well as opportunities to feed the wildlife. My only regret being I had forgotten to bring a few nuts along to feed the squirrels.
We left The Mall and veered off to St James/Regent Street where the commemorations continued, with garlands of flags leading us the whole way up to Carnaby Street.
We stopped for a drink outside at The White Horse pub off Carnaby Street and decided to head over to Notting Hill, though had left it too late to browse the trinkets of Portobello Market. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable walking the streets of Notting Hill, particularly Portobello Road, a place I am unable to say without singing the tune from Bedknobs & Broomsticks much to Adam’s annoyance.
Our intention for our trip to London was to visit the Alexandra Palace Street Food & Craft Beer Festival as being a lover of Greek food I was keen to try the souvlaki from The Athenian. We attended the festival and despite the vibrant atmosphere were unable to locate The Athenian and were reluctant to wait in line for the other stalls, which had quite long queues so we decided to go to The Real Greek instead.
The Real Greek is located Bankside of the River Thames, overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, a picturesque outlook on a sunny day and a captivating view at night.
To pursue our holiday feel of the day we decided to sit outside; it was a bit chilly but on an evening like this in Britain sometimes it worth taking a chance to dine al fresco. Saganaki cheese and feta in the oven are Greek favourites of ours (not cheese lovers too much), though we were unable to locate these dishes on the menu, therefore we took the opportunity to taste mezze dishes including Tiropitakia; filo pastry parcels filled with spinach and feta.
The mezze dishes are served on a tiered plate stand ideal for sharing, accompanying this we shared a Greek salad and a bottle of rosé. The food was great with us both enjoying the dishes we had never tried previously and this topped off our day in the city. Why did you not eat a British dish I can hear you ask…?! Well the truth is Adam and I love great British favourites such as Fish n Chips, Roast Dinners and Bangers n Mash, though as London is a city celebrating many cultures and minus a Greek restaurant in our city of Milton Keynes – why not?! What could be better than dining al fresco next to the river on a night like this…
Yamas and a happy 90th birthday to our noble Queen Elizabeth I ♕ 🍷