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.
Related Post: Visiting London: Day 6 – The Shard, Tower Bridge, and Leaden Hall Market
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.
Related Post: Visiting London: Day 5 – Day Trip to The Seven Sisters and South Downs
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.
16 thoughts on “Visiting London: Day 7 – Notting Hill, Brick Lane, and Endless Walking”
I’ll be honest: I love the energy of Notting Hill, but Shoredich has a unique vibe! They are almost the antithesis of the urban scene, on one hand we have a very tidy neighborhood with pastel colors. On the other hand we have the chaos of urban art expression that gives color to the walls. Now you just have to go to the afternoon tea, without fear 😉
Shoreditch is a whole vibe in and of itself! I love it as well. I definitely have to do my afternoon tea!
Gimme a ring next time you’re in London, I’ll take you out for Afternoon Tea. Don’t worry, even tho it is a fancy way of spending a Sunday, the dress code is actually not that strict. Lots of cool places about such as Sketch or The Corinthia. Emilia’s crafted pasta looks super nice and I’ve added it to my Google pins so I can check it out next time.
Carolin | Solo Travel Story
Thank you, I appreciate it! I would love that. And Emilia’s is lovely, especially the location by tower bridge ❤️
It sounds like a wonderful day just wandering around. I’d love to visit Notting Hill. It’s a shame you didn’t get high tea. I’m sure you were dressed fine and it would have been a great experience….next time!
It’s a lovely little area and I hope you get to explore it some day!! I’ll have to go back for afternoon tea lol
Oh noooo, so sorry you decided not to go to F&M for afternoon tea. It was such a lovely place to go. When you are travelling, sometimes we are dressed for comfort and many places understand that. Please go next time you’re in London. Or, closer to Notting Hill, which I adored too, is afternoon tea at Kennsington Place – it was equally as good as F&M.
Definitely have to go back and have afternoon tea and not be so intimidated!
Hats off to you for walking all the way from Camden to Notiing Hill and I’m glad you rewarded yourself with that beautiful Italian meal at Emilia’s! I love Spitalfields market and its quirkiness. I hope you get the chance to come back and go for that afternoon tea at F&M.
It was quite the walk but it was enjoyable nonetheless! Next time, I will definitely have some afternoon tea
I know it’s pretty and (famous) but was the effort to go to Notting Hill really worth it if you have a short time? I always feel odd walking around primarily residential neighborhoods. I don’t blame you for feeling a little worried about your dress, I would to if I was going to afternoon tea – feels a bit more fancy than my normal “long-walking-day” clothes haha
Good question. To me, it was worth it. While walking to notting hill, I walked through some beautiful neighborhoods and got to see more of London than I would have if I just took the tube to the area. Even if I didn’t spend much time there, the little time I did have was awesome and worth it.
Sounds like a fun day! I love the colours of Notting Hill and Brick Lane–both very cool in their own ways. Looking forward to reading a future post where you tell us all about afternoon tea 🙂
Those areas are just lovely! And I will for sure report back once I finally have afternoon tea!
Notting Hill is so pretty, just love the houses there. That is a lot of walking, but I would totally do the same. Especially in London where there’s so much to see, you just don’t feel like you’re walking so far all the time. Sorry to hear about F&M. The UK, London especially, can sometimes be intimidating around the fancier places so I completely understand. I sometimes get in my own head when traveling solo about things like that. Hoping you get to have afternoon tea on your next visit – and you can always visit the F&M bar in Heathrow T5 which is what I sometimes do if I have time
My feet were killing me after that but I wouldn’t change the amount of walking I did for anything! I will have the courage next time, and a better attire, to do afternoon tea next time! I hate when anxiety gets in the way of something but it is what it is, and I can only try to do better next time. I will keep that location in mind for next!