A late update of my autumnal photoshoot in various locations in London.
I gotta say my choice of clothes that day was rather a smart one.
The first spot was the road down Ladbroke Grove. I loved the trees along the way, which really reminded me of the famous Phan Đình Phùng St. in my home city, Hanoi.
As we were wandering around Notting Hill, we bumped into a lovely spot with colorful autumnal vines on a white wall, which looked super picture-perfect.
When we got to Holland Park, it felt like the bright colors of autumn were about to lose it all. Fortunately, the bike way that leads to the park’s entrance on the Kensington High Street side was extremely romantic and photogenic. Could never miss such a perfect chance like so!
As you can probably tell, “modeling” for me equals having a good time. LOL.
Traveling to London has become how I enjoy the quality “me” time every weekend. The more I explore London, the more I realize the charming capital of England is full of hidden gems, and wish London were not known for only Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge or Oxford Street… the must-visits on every traditional tourist itinerary.
Do you know London has so much more to offer? Have you ever wondered: “Where in London can I go to enjoy the peace without thousands of tourists around me?” Would you like to visit places that can’t get any more British in London? If you’ve been nodding your heads at all those 3 questions, the next time you go to London, you must:
Go on a boat cruise or walk along Little Venice
London’s Little Venice, located to the West of the city, is part of the Regent’s Canal, where it meets Grand Union. Little Venice is famous for its peaceful, romantic atmosphere with many restaurants and pubs nearby.
Walking along the riverside of Little Venice, you’ll be able to admire the charming view to Regent’s Canal. The journey starts from Little Venice itself and ends at Docklands, which allows you to get off at ZSL London Zoo and Camden Lock Market – a very popular destination for the youth, which has many vintage clothing stores, street food booths and cafés with fun concepts…
Another option is to go on a cruise. This saves you time and is more flexible for those who have plans to visit the zoo or Camden Lock. At the point of departure, Little Venice, there are 3 boat cruises: London Waterbus, Jason’s Trip and Jenny Wren Canal Cruises, on which you’ll travel from Little Venice to Camden Lock in 45 minutes.
Visit Shoreditch – “the land of graffiti and vintage shops”
If you love graffiti, don’t miss out on Shoreditch. Shoreditch’s streets with creative graffiti walls are very “artsy”. One of the most notable graffiti masterpieces is the “Graffiti Area” by the worldwide graffiti artist Banksy, on Rivington Street.
You can’t leave Shoreditch without having been to Brick Lane, probably the coolest street in this area. Brick Lane is an ideal choice if you’d like to experience the street culture of East Londoners, where street art lovers can admire the many walls full of graffiti on the main street, or in the small lanes and alleys along the way.
Wandering around Notting Hill
Leaving Shoreditch for Notting Hill, you can clearly see the contrast between East and West London. While Shoreditch represents the urban style, Notting Hill is quintessential of wealth, luxury and “poshness” of the British upper classes.
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Notting Hill is Portobello market on the road with the same name. Open from early Friday mornings until late Saturday afternoons, Portobello market often gets packed with tourists. If you’re on the same page as me, and feel daunted at having to crowd without other thousands of people on the streets, one useful tip for you is to make your way to other streets along Portobello Road, you’ll find these streets a lot more breathable. Elgin Crescent, Lancaster Road, Westbourne Grove… are my “little corners of peace”, with their quiet and elegance that truly belong to West London.
In order to enjoy such corners of peace in the best way possible, you should be generous about time and give yourself a whole afternoon. The more you wander, the more gorgeous mansions of the late-Victorian architecture from the 19th century there are, and you’ll be surrounded by a very peaceful atmosphere.
Admire the sunset from Primrose Hill
Where in London can we have the best sunset view? For me, it’s Primrose Hill. If you’re planning a one-day trip in London on a summer day (from April to August), Primrose Hill should be one of your last spots of the day. During this time, in most parts of Europe, days are longer than nights, and the sun often goes down at 8-9:00pm, sometimes even later. It’s best to spend the whole day wandering around London, then when the sky starts to get darker, get to the top of Primrose Hill, and you’ll be able to see London under the sunset, when the sky creates a shade of gorgeous pastel pink.
Take pictures at the little mews
For anyone tired of having people in their shots all the time while taking pictures, the mews are for you! London is full of quaint lanes and alleys, with a block of cute little houses on each side. I call these places forgotten mews, because of the quiet feels they give. These forgotten mews are also very photogenic, always looking picture-perfect from no matter what angle.
Ice-skate at the Natural History Museum in winter
If you travel to London in winter season, don’t forget to visit the ice rink at the Natural History Museum, open from October to January every year. This is probably the dopest ice rink in London, with an incredible view to the stunning Hintze Hall and a giant Christmas tree with beautiful decorations in the middle of the rink. Go with your loved ones to truly feel the festive atmosphere of the most wonderful time of the year.
Get on a random bus and stay there till the end of the line
There are times that I just want to be chilled and “go with the flow” in London. It’s when I often get on a random double-decker, stay on the second storey and admire the scenery along the way until the bus gets to the last stop of the route, and explore that area. If your wanderlust is accompanied with a passion for photography like me, London full of surprises will amaze you with what you can find on such random trips.
The experience of going on the 211 bus is definitely one of the most unforgettable memories for me in London, because it brought me to explore the many pretty streets of Chelsea.
Don’t miss out on the best kept secrets in London, the city of wonders!
Text and photography by ᴊᴜʟɪᴇʏᴛʜᴇ1sᴛ unless stated otherwise
The first flower photo I took and uploaded on Instagram was of purple wisterias in Notting Hill around late May last year.
From that picture, I discovered that the wisteria season in the UK is from April to June every year (it might be different in other countries), when everyone goes nuts about these gorgeous purple vines and that there is this trend called #wisteriahysteria on Instagram. At that time, I only started to look at Instagram more seriously, focusing on travel photography than just selfie posts, so I missed the chance to take part in the wisteria game as it was already the end of the season, but I did make a promise to myself that in the following wisteria season, I would make my pay-back (LOL).
The wisteria season this year seems to be more beautiful than previous years, that’s what people say. I’ve been hunting for these purple walls anywhere I could in London. It is fun being a wisteria hunter. Sometimes wisterias are on the main road, which tend to quickly become Instafamous, but often enough, they really like to play hide and seek, and if you happen to discover them in “untouched” or less popular areas, you’re definitely the wisteria hero!
Today I will give you a little guide on where to find wisterias around London from my personal experience. This tour will take you from the South to the North of London, through some of the best areas to admire wisterias.
Transport tips: I’d recommend using public transport i.e. underground and buses to travel between different districts. This tour also involves walking and maybe wandering – you can be flexible with the routes and do not have to stick to my entire plan here. Have fun!
Our starting point is Clapham Common Northside in Clapham, South West London. Once you get to the intersection between this road, Macaulay Road and Rookery Road, you’ll see a block of houses whose walls have some blooming wisterias on them. These wisteria walls are not really stand-out (probably because the flowers were just blooming when I was there, so if you get here when they have fully blossomed, do send me your photos 🤗), so you may need to get real close to see them clearly. I myself had to put my camera through the gates of these mansions to get the best shots!
Next, we’re heading to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and going to spend some time in one of the most affluent areas in London and the whole Great Britain. Let’s see what wisterias look like on the most luxurious facades there.
Our first stop in Chelsea is St. Leonard’s Terrace. One of the first spots you’ll notice is the Instafamous wisteria house with a blue vintage car parked at the front. What a picture-perfect scene!
From the entrance of this house, turn right and keep going along the road and as we can see, the wisteria competition is going strong in the neighborhood.
From St. Leonard’s Terrace, it’s a 3-minute walk to Smith Terrace, which is a very pretty street with colored houses on both sides. Walk till end of the street and you should be able to see wisteria vines leaning against a white wall.
Cheyne Place is only 5 minutes away by foot from here. This house is on the main road and right opposite to a Tesco Express store. Once I got there, I thought I might have been lost in a fairytale because of how dreamy this “cottage” looked.
This is probably the area with the most wisterias I’ve found myself. Kensington’s wisteria game is seriously no jokes (watch out, Chelsea!).
Go along Launceston Place in Kensington to admire the gorgeous white facades and their front gardens with all sorts of flowers, including vines of wisterias, of course.
As you’re already here, you won’t want to miss Kynance Mews cutting across the road (make sure you visit the whole mews, besides the purple wisterias, as the mews itself is already very picturesque!).
After taking thousands of photos of the mews (I know you will 😉), walk back to Launceston Place and head North towards Canning Place, where you’ll be able to admire one of the most popular wisteria houses on Instagram this season.
Now, may I introduce you to a hidden corner of Kensington that is full of wisterias yet not really discovered – Gordon Place (at least on Instagram). It’s only a 15-minute walk from Canning Place; there are multiple bus lines too but walking means you can take time to discover the area 😏
The wisteria-ish corner of Gordon Place is just opposite the Elephant and Castle pub. First thing you’ll notice before stepping into that little corner is a cute grey door to your right, which will probably have hyped you up by now.
Gordon Place is truly the King of beautiful flower mixtures.
Those cute doors and relaxing spaces at the front kept making me go “wow”.
From the Elephant and Castle pub, if you go to the main road, which is Holland Street, turn left then walk straight ahead for about 500ft until you see a small lane on your left called Carmel Court, there’s your reward:
Return to Holland Street and walk back into Gordon Place, here’s your chance to take the photos of the pretty hidden gems before turning around and walking till the end of Gordon Place (the other direction). Once you’re there, turn right to Campden Grove to see this:
This house is just near the main road, Kensington Church Street. Turn left to this street then walk for about 1 minute until you see Vicarage Gardens on your right (on the other side of the road). Have a little walk along this street and just enjoy the view there.
Walk back to Kensington Church Street via Berkeley Gardens and go across the road to Bedford Gardens. You probably have heard about and/or visited this place before, since it’s been Instagrammed a lot lately.
Our next destination is Holland Park Mews in Holland Park. The wisterias here are quite humble yet more than enough for pretty captures.
Every house in the mews has one thing common: a stairway that leads to the balcony on the first floor, and there’s been a trend amongst residents in this mews to grow wisterias on the handrails, which make the mews look even prettier.
And we’re back to Notting Hill, which cannot be off any wisteria guides. It should take you about 5 minutes to walk from Holland Park Mews to Portland Road. House No. 44 is a beautiful facade with striking wisterias climbing on its main gate and white wall.
Finally! The very last stop of our wisteria tour: Kentish Town.
Kentish Town is famous for the colored houses on Leverton Street and Falkland Street, which are exactly where wisterias are found. What’s better than colored houses? Colored houses with wisterias at the front!
There you have it! That was such a long tour, so if you’re not able to finish it in one day, do split time, read this guide again, have some rest and continue the next day. Although I call it “a wisteria hunt”, you have no competition really, just take your time and visit these spots one by one, or simply choose the ones you find most appealing and get on the road.
I hope you found this guide helpful and inspiring. There’re of course a lot more wisterias in other areas around London that I didn’t mention, so if you know where else wisterias are hiding, feel free to share!
I never imagined having a fever would be this much fun.
Being a 2nd year university student means so much more is expected from you compared to the chilled fresher year. For me this includes: to do all the essential homework, and ironically, the word “recommended” in “recommended readings” or “recommended pre-class tasks” supposedly means “compulsory”; to attend lectures more regularly (I always did this in my first year anyways 😏); to succeed in at least one extra-curricular activity and/or a voluntary/paid role to put in your CV ’cause that’s what employers look for in graduate or student applicants – work experience. Basically to work much harder as everything now counts. On top of all, you must still be able to ensure a good work-life balance by going to the gym every week, partying and socializing to make sure people won’t forget your existence, and having enough 8 hours of sleep.
I have this funny thought that it is feasible to fulfill all of those things, just that I haven’t got to that point yet and am still figuring how… Bless me.
And for the past weeks, I have been working my butt off to try to make it happen. One of the most challenging tasks I had to face was the multiple-deadline curse every week. So for exactly one month, I didn’t do any London wander trips like I would do every weekend before. Personally, I find wandering around London a very effective way of releasing stress, and thereby not being able to do so but stuck in the library pretty much everyday for 4 weeks was not ideal. Surely I could still survive, thanks to the lovely Guildford town center that I sometimes went to within my study breaks; plus the pretty University of Surrey campus with quite a few cherry blossom trees blooming beautifully that really helped me out with my hunger for photography.
I couldn’t wait until last Tuesday, when I submitted the last assignment before more than a week free of any deadlines. Yes – It was time that I visited the city, or “#1 mistress”, the cheeky nickname that I use when talking about London.
What made me extra excited about this particular London trip was the fact that Spring has finally come! You know what they say, “Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s party!'” – the sunshine, the clear blue sky, the chilling wind, the bright and positive spring spirit, and most of all, the gorgeous spring flowering trees got me super duper hyped whilst planning this trip. For weeks, I had been lurking at various London Instagrammers’ feeds that are full of many pretty shots of the white and pastel pink magnolias and cherry blossoms – probably two most popular spring flowers in London at the moment, which ultimately motivated me to have some Spring captures of my own. I thought this Spring trip could be both my reward for being hardworking those past couple of weeks and an inspiration for me to keep moving forward and working even harder – London is always my inspiring destination. Also, this would be my only London trip in 2 weeks as this upcoming weekend, I’m going to Birmingham for the National Student Television Association Conference and Awards 2017, about which I will be blogging 😉
My original destinations for watching these wonderful spring flowering trees were Notting Hill and Kentish Town. Notting Hill has been my go-to place since forever, and Kentish Town was on the list because I haven’t been there for soooo long, and I was sure those cute little pastel houses would look a billion times dreamier with a cherry blossom tree in the front yard.
However, it turned out that Notting Hill was treating me so nicely that I just could not leave before it got dark… (Kentish Town, I promise to see ya real soon tho xx). I stayed in the Notting Hill area for almost 7 hours and got myself many spring-y captures that I’m quite proud of. It was definitely one of the most productive trips I had ever done. I genuinely had a spring fever before, during and after the trip (it’s still not gone yet!) and felt far more energetic than usual. Everywhere I went brought me so many fascinating surprises, which you shall soon see below, and again, the myth that I’m a lucky traveler, was strengthened even more.
I’ve already started to post some of these pictures on Instagram, but I still want to share them on here. I promised myself to try to blog more frequently, plus, this new site that I’ve recently changed to has been stimulating me so much.
So here you are, my London Spring Fever: Part 1 collection. There’s going to be Part 2, probably when the purple wisterias begin to appear in a couple of months from now, or perhaps with even more magnolia and blossom trees. Well, whatever it will be, please look forward to it!
Clarendon Road is just full of blooming blossoms ❤
Pastel pink magnolias
Lansdowne Road is the paradise of magnolias 😍
And some magnolias on Clarendon Road again!
Roses, magnolia stellata, etc. are also found in many pretty house gardens around Notting Hill.
I visit London every weekend. While most of my friends either go back home or party until dawn, exploring and taking pictures of London is an ideal way for me to release stress after a long week of lectures and work.
So yeah, at about 8 o’clock every Saturday or Sunday, while folks are still in bed, there’s this girl excitedly hopping on a 30-minute-long train, departing from Guildford to London Waterloo. With her earphones on, the smile on the girl’s face can’t seem to disappear as she dreams about all the places she’d go to on that day while looking out the window, feeling thrilled as ever.
Perhaps for a lot of people, London is Oxford Street or King’s Road – the busiest shopping streets with many internationally recognized fashion brands; Big Ben, London Eye and Tower Bridge – some of the must-visit attractions in London; the popular red telephone booths and double-deckers that have become the symbols of Great Britain’s capital city. However, for me, someone who has the traveling/exploring gene in the veins, London is beyond all that.
For me, London is…
The endless underground trains.
I remember the first time coming to London, what attracted me the most was the underground/Tube, which is one of the most common public transports in this city. London’s underground system is pretty complicated with more than 10 lines, so people may get lost if they’re not yet used to it. But there was no way that it stopped me from exploring London by Tube. Ever since the first time traveling by underground, I became so excited that it became my guilty pleasure; it’s such a fascinating experience and not so challenging for me. From Guildford, I always get a Super Off-peak Ticket plus a Travelcard (£13.40 with a 16-25 Adult Railcard). This gives me same day return off-peak travel including unlimited bus and tube journeys around London – definitely a perfect choice for anyone who would like to travel like there’s no tomorrow in London in the smartest and cheapest way.
I like the feeling as I step into a Tube station in London, lose myself in an endless crowd of people and become one of them; the feeling when you’re so used to traveling by Tube that you know the standing point where each coach’s door would open exactly in front of you; the feeling you get on a shaky train as it goes through a dark tunnel – like you’re on an adventure, and a journey. I love getting on a random train and staying there until it gets to its final destination; there I’d get off and begin my exploration of that particular area. Such random trips always lead to amazing surprises.
For me, London is…
The late-Victorian houses.
On my first true London exploring trip, I was extremely overwhelmed by the gorgeous late-Victorian houses made of red or white bricks. These houses possess a kind of attractiveness like no other: ancient and at the same time luxurious. Many of them are situated in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – the most affluent area of the British upper class.
My number 1 favorite spot to admire late-Victorian houses has got to be Earl’s Court District: from Trabovir Road and Nevern Square with the impressive Kensington Mansions to the private gardens such as Bramham Gardens and Collingham Gardens surrounded by splendid palaces. You could sense the luxury exuding from such mansions as well as from the people residing in them.
For me, London is…
The vintage cars.
I have an endless passion for pretty vintage cars, and London is truly a paradise full of them. A lot of such classic cars are found in The London Borough of Camden and The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, especially Notting Hill – a very wealthy area and also home to many world celebrities. Personally, I find walking around Notting Hill and hunting vintage cars is just as thrilling as bumping into Julia Roberts or Tom Hiddleston at Portobello Market, maybe even more exhilarating.
For me, London is…
The colorful houses.
Along with classic cars, pastel houses attract loads of photographers everywhere. They are super easy to find. These houses are brightly colored; often the walls, doors and windows are beautiful painted in different colors, standing out at the corners of the streets. Besides the pretty paint colors, the British tend to decorate their houses with lovely jardinières outside the doors or windows, making the houses look extra dreamy and appealing.
And of course, if you’re lucky enough to spot the classic cars parking in front of the colorful houses, then no matter where you’re standing, you’ll be able to take hundreds of dope pictures, as the scenery you’re admiring is photogenic in every way…
For me, London is…
The creative walls.
If you find wandering around places as delightful as I do, you’d catch the masterpieces of one-of-a-kind.
These awesome walls are everywhere, on the streets or hiding deep in small mews. You’ll discover them if you keep your eyes wide open. Every time I spot these masterpieces, I’d be screaming on the inside and immediately get my camera out to snap numerous shots. Later, when looking back at the pictures I’ve taken, I can once again live the moments I had that day on my little London adventure, and feel how the beautiful walls, the old classic cars and the dreamy pastel houses made my day.
For me, London is…
The city full of wonders.
Oxford Circus appears to be where I usually end up in at the end of my London trips. Losing myself in the busy streets full of people, holding a cup of hot chocolate or Caramel Frappé in my hand and walking on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street with the music of The 1975 in my ears – what a great ending given to a perfect day! Each time I’m here, I can always feel the typical lively atmosphere of the place, from the air filled with the smell of the yummy pancakes sold on the street, the sparkling street lights, the horns of the vehicles that I would normally find irritating, the sound of the guitar and singing of the street artists as well as the cheers and applause for them… The feels I get then is a kind that is yet to be named.
It was only six out of many, many things that make London so charming in my eyes. London is huge, it may take countless trips to explore everything in this city. I’ve only told you about a small bit of it, and I sure will continue my adventures to discover many more hidden gems in every corner of London. My friends often tease me: “You’re such an amorous girl! Do Oxford/New York/Venice/ Hanoi know you’re cheating on all of them with this London ‘boy’?” LOL. I’d blame London for “his” spell on me. I believe there is not only me but also many others who cannot resist the London charm. London is elegant and luxurious. London is delightful and lively. London is a perfect combination that is so unforgettable to anyone who has been here.