Visiting London: Day 7 – Notting Hill, Brick Lane, and Endless Walking
My time is London was winding down. I only had a couple more days until I had to leave to go back to the states. I was done with my day trips and I had one more tour to do, but that wasn’t until Saturday. What else could I do? I decided that Friday the 25th of March would consist of walking and exploring new places, yet again. That day, I decided to walk to Notting Hill, Brick Lane, and everywhere in between. Endless walking about the streets of London was how I was going to spend my Friday!
The walk to Notting Hill
Notting Hill is such an iconic place in London. The beautiful, pastel colored homes which line the back streets are what gives such charm and beauty to this area. Can you believe I never had the chance to visit when I lived in London for 4 months? Neither can I. But when you study abroad, you still have to go to class, do homework/projects, and tend to academic life. So, I explored London but didn’t really fully explore enough of it years ago, if you get what I mean.
Needless to say, this time around, I made it a point to visit Notting Hill. And I was going to do it by walking from Chalk Farm Rd. in Camden, all the way to Notting Hill. Am I crazy for walking almost 2 hours to get there? I guess I am, slightly. But I love seeing little streets and neighborhoods in new areas, so the length of the walk was fine to me. Plus, I love walking, so I was very pleased to walk to Notting Hill.
The walk was tiring but worth it. I walked down many little streets in Notting Hill. I took a lot of pictures (naturally) of the pastel colored homes. Colorful homes in cute little neighborhoods make for a great day. If I could do it over again, I’d take a free walking tour of Notting Hill to get more information on it’s history and relevance in London. Plus, I’d get to see a bit more of Notting Hill than what I was able to see on my own. Next time, that’s what I’ll do.
Failed afternoon tea attempt
My day of walking didn’t stop there. From Notting Hill, I decided to walk to Mayfair to have afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason. I was just glutton for punishment that day, with all the walking I had done and was about to do. Similar to my walk to Notting Hill, I just wanted to walk through new or different areas and took in the views.
After walking for a couple of hours, I finally made it to the Mayfair section of London. This is an area of London that is very elegant, upscale, and premium. I’ve never been to Mayfair before but I have heard about the area from my cousins. Honestly, seeing all the sophisticated, elegant people all nicely dressed, intimidated me to a certain degree. I don’t know why I felt intimidated. Maybe it was because, although I was wearing business casual that day, it just didn’t come close to the attire standards of Mayfair.
This is why, when I was literally 2 minutes away from Fortnum & Mason, I got scared and decided not to have afternoon tea. The website states that afternoon tea is typically more formal but at their locations, business casual is acceptable. I don’t think I would’ve had any issues entering the location. But it was a lack of confidence on my part which led me to turn away at the last minute, literally. Even now, months later, I still feel angry at myself for allowing my lack of confidence get the best of me.
In reality, I’m sure no one really cared about the way I looked. In my mind, I thought people cared. Coupled with the fact that I had my foldable backpack and other things on me that made me look like a tourist, it just fueled the anxiety in me. Being very defeated and sad, I went to a place called Everbean to get something to eat and to rest my feet. I had a margarita pizza with olives and orange juice. Next time I visit London, I will actually go someplace to have afternoon tea.
The train to Brick Lane
After my failed attempt to have afternoon tea, I took the train to Liverpool St. to get to Brick Lane. If my feet weren’t sore from multiple days of walking, I would’ve been crazy enough to walk to Brick Lane. But my feet were very sore at this point, so I just walked to nearest train station to catch the tube.
It doesn’t take long to walk from Liverpool St. to Brick Lane. It takes about 10 to 12 minutes, if you have tiny legs like me. You can’t mistake where you are once you arrive on Brick Lane. The whole look and vibe of Brick Lane, in London’s East End, Tower Hamlets borough, is like nothing else. Street art, graffiti, trendy shops, restaurants, and clubs, it’s one of the coolest places in London.
I roamed around the Whitechapel area of London back in 2015 on a Jack the Ripper tour coordinated by my school. But we didn’t visit Brick Lane and that’s where I wanted to go this time around. That’s part of the fun with London. No matter how much you’ve explored, you can always return and find new or different areas to visit. I look at it as another reason why I had to return to London in 2022.
I spent quite a long time on Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Whitechapel, and the side streets near the Tower Hamlets buildings. There’s a lovely little park and a side street next to it which is filled with street art and graffiti. I even saw an artists creating a new piece! It was so much fun to look at all the wonderful pieces and experience the vibe of the area.
Splitfield Market is a little market I passed while on my way to Brick Lane from the tube station. I was focused on getting to Brick Lane and figured I’d go back to explore if I had enough time. Well, luckily I did and I made my way from Shoreditch to Splitfield Market.
Markets are just a fun place to walk around and explore. I enjoyed looking at not only the food selection they had but the clothing, accessories, shoes, and art selections as well. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the market, a lot of the venders had closed their stations. The ones who were still open, I enjoyed seeing what they had to offer. Roaming around was fun!
Back to Emilia’s Crafted Pasta
You’d think by about 5pm, I’d be tired of walking. But nope, I was back at it again with walking! I walked from Splitfield Market to Emilia’s Crafted Pasta by Tower Bridge. I really enjoyed the food I had there from the previous day, so I wanted to return to get some more.
The only picture I got on my walk from the market to the restaurant is a view of the Gherkin and the other financial buildings from afar. I was really tired and hungry, so I didn’t have the energy to capture a whole lot of pictures. But trust me, it was still a good time walking through the streets London.
Related Post: Visiting London: Day 4 – Day Trip to The Cotswolds
Walking to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Aldgate
To end my long day of walking around London, I decided to burn off the calories I consumed at dinner with some more walking! I decided to walk not on the Thames Path but the back streets, we shall call them, to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I’ve visited the cathedral before. The reason why I walked there was simply to kill some time. I was meeting up with my cousin again later that night but didn’t want to wait around in a restaurant or public place. I knew I had one more full day left to explore, so I pushed through the pain of my aching feet to walk around some more.
The walk in the evening time was lovely, as always. I just love this city at night. New York City is the city that never sleeps but there’s this charm to London at night that makes me swoon. Once it was time to meet up with my cousin, I walked from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Aldgate. From there, I was picked up by my cousin and we hung out again until it was about 10pm. I was driven back to my hostel again, where I just crashed and my feet lowkey passed away from the 15+miles of walking that day.