It was just before Christmas that we had our last visit into London. We woke up super early, grabbed our suitcases and made our way to the train station. It takes just over 2 hours by train to get to St.Pancras International, so it only made sense to get the train at 6am.
It’d been a while since we’d been to London together so we were really looking forward to it. Visiting London is always fun, but this time was rather exciting. We’d been invited to stay at the Mercure London Bridge hotel and experience London based on a few top tips from a local. As part of the trip Milly from Mini Adventures challenged us visit Kerb Camden, go ice skating at Somerset House and visit God’s Own Junkyard. We managed to tick the first 2 off the list but unfortunately we didn’t get to Walthamstow where God’s Own Junkyard is based.
We arrived at St.Pancras around 8:40 and jumped straight on the tube to Borough which was a 10 minute walk to the hotel. Looking back, we could have gone to Southwark which might have been a little closer to the hotel but we still got there pretty quickly.
There are 12 Mercure hotels in London and for this trip we were staying at the London Bridge branch. This is one of my favourite areas of London and it worked out to be a top location for our base. Both the area and hotel felt safe to me which is something I always think is important.
There were 3 different sections to the hotel lobby. It had a very relaxed atmosphere and if we were there for a couple of days I’d have liked to stop for a coffee and sat in one of the cosy chairs. It would be an ideal meeting spot if you’re in London for a work trip or a perfect place to plan out your London adventures. We had a lot to fit into the day so we didn’t have time to stop.
As we’d arrived early our room wasn’t quite ready for us to check into but the lovely staff were more than happy for us to leave our cases. We grabbed a couple of things from our bags, had a nosey around the hotel lobby and made our way out for a day of exploring in London.
We kicked off our morning in London off with a swift coffee from Leon and then we were onto the Tate Modern. The gallery was just a 5 minute walk from our hotel so there was no way we could just walk straight by without going in.
We headed straight to the top of the building to enjoy the view. We looked out over the city which was being engulfed by a thick fog, it was very eerie. We thought it made for some really interesting photos, the big tall buildings were disappearing into the fog and it was all very atmospheric.
We were on a tight schedule so we browsed the gallery and then made our way out for a walk down Bankside. I love walking down by the river, there’s always something interesting going on. As we were in the run-up to Christmas there were lots of festive markets dotted around.
After a long walk we jumped on the tube to make our way to Camden. We couldn’t believe that it was well past lunch time already. I’m pretty sure time moves quicker in London.
Camden was very busy when we arrived. We powered through the crowds ’til we stumbled upon Kerb Camden. I kept thinking we’d walked past it but of course, there’s no way you can miss this place.
The market was pretty big but if you’re looking for good street food in London this place has you sorted. I’d recommend getting there as early as possible (opening times – Monday – Sunday 12 ’til 5) because we arrived aft 2 and it was quite busy.
This place has you spoilt for choice. I’m pretty sure we did 2 laps of the market before coming close to making any decisions. As always, we picked out a couple of things to share. We had a delicious veggie filled naan from Roti House and a fantastic crispy chicken tikka burger from Baba G’s.
Even though it was a cold and misty day the market was bustling with lots of happy faces. After we’d spent some time exploring and eating our way around Kerb Camden we decided it was time to make our way back to our lovely hotel. We’d been on the go since 6am and were ready to have a change of clothes and freshen up for the evening fun.
On our way back we couldn’t help stopping by Borough Market, one of the oldest food markets in London. This is also a good place to grab lunch or to just stock up on your favourite cheese, fruit, olives and much more. We were delighted to stumble across Taste Croatia, we’ve tried quite a few things from this place before but have only ever ordered online. We did a little Christmas shopping for our family and friends and then stopped off at The Turkish Deli.
If you find yourself in Borough Market then please make a point of visiting the lovely guys at The Turkish Deli. We ordered a traditional and a cardamom Turkish coffee, a couple of pieces of baklava and some Turkish delight. We relaxed and watched people strolling around the busy market while enjoying our coffee and baklava. Once again, time passed by quickly and before we knew it we were squirrelling away the rest of our Turkish treats to enjoy later that the evening.
It was a just a 10 minute walk back to our hotel. We were very glad to be back after a day of walking (and eating) around London.
Our hotel room was lovely. There was a huge snuggly bed, a 60s style desk, a Nespresso machine and a very nice bathroom. Everything was clean and shiny and we immediately wished we were staying longer. We took some time to relaxed and did some work while we watched something silly on the TV.
I know some of you might think that we were wasting time by snuggling away to do work in our hotel room but after such an early start we needed a rest. As I work for myself I also need to have really sharp time management and although I don’t always succeed I do try to make the most of any free time I have. The desk in the hotel was very comfortable and I felt content getting a few things out of the way. There were also lots of plug sockets and USB ports around the room which I think is essential.
We had our evening meal in the hotel which was Marco’s New York Italian. We’ve had a few good meals at various Marco’s restaurants around the UK so we were keen to try this one. I have to mention that the staff were so friendly and helpful throughout the evening. I wish I’d got their names.
We were treated to a 3 course meal and a bottle of wine. We shared these big chunks of warm focaccia with lots of olive oil and balsamic to dip them into, what better way to kick off a meal?
I then went for the salmon steak which was delicious and we both opted for the limenchello sorbet to finish (our all-time favourite dessert at Marco’s).
After our meal we dashed up to our room to grab our coats and made out way to Somerset House. We decided to walk as it was a dry and crisp evening and quite frankly, we needed a good walk after all that delicious food. I think it took us around 25 minutes to get there. Whenever I can I like to opt for walking in London, or any city actually. It’s one of the best ways to really get to know a city.
I was so happy to finally see the ice skating at Somerset House, it’s something I’ve been wanting to go to for a couple of years now. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get tickets to skate. We spent a while watching everyone else skate. There was even a wedding taking place and all the guests were in their smart suits and dresses on the ice skating rink.
I really like that they control how many people can go on the skating rink at any time so that it doesn’t get over-crowded. Next year we’ve decided we’ll be back for the ice skating and we’ll be booking our tickets in advance.
It was still super misty as we walked back to the hotel. All the bright city lights were fading into the sky and it looked very spooky.
It was a lovely walk back to the hotel so we took our time. Everyone was in high spirits and we were both so happy to be in London. I really liked seeing lots of cafes open around the city late into the evening.
As soon as we got back to the hotel we quickly changed into our pjs and dived into the cosy bed. I honestly had the best nights sleep that I’d had in months. Actually, I don’t think I’ve slept as well since. The beds in Mercure hotels are very comfortable. Maybe I need to book myself into my local Mercure to really get a good nights sleep. That’s a good enough excuse, right?
When morning rolled ’round we didn’t have time to relax in bed, I really wish we had. It was another early start with P catching a train to Norwich and me making my way to Cambridge. Despite our early start there was no way we were missing breakfast. We had a quick shot of coffee in our room before popping down for breakfast.
The breakfast buffet was fantastic. There were a wide range of hot and cold dishes, lots of cheese options and I was very impressed that they had a designated section of gluten free options. They even had almond milk which I was particularly pleased about.
After a swift but hearty breakfast it was time for us to leave. We both had a truly fantastic time at the Mercure London Bridge hotel and I want to say a huge thank you to them for inviting us to visit. We hope we get the chance to visit again soon and we can’t wait for our next trip to London.