You may have read of my great distress over vacation denial here and like me, you were probably overcome with joy when you heard that my four days had been approved at the end of August. Happy days!
Four days of vacation, plus a bank holiday, handsomely sandwiched between two weekends and a day of “external training” means that my out of office will be on for ten glorious days.
I hardly know what to do with myself…
that’s a lie.
I have a long, long list of fun things to do around London all by myself and I cannot wait. Here’s a little preview of my current top ten:
1. The Rooftop Pool at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge
mere £45 for four hours or £65 for the day, I can lounge pool-side in central London sipping on fresh-squeezed fruit juice a cucumber mojito. This activity is, of course, weather permitting. With just a little luck, I may get some sunshine on my little staycation!
2. Wood Wharf in Canary Wharf
Wood Wharf is turned into a giant beach during the summer months, hosting volleyball tournaments, live music and pop up bars. Fingers crossed this is still up and running at the end of August (mostly because it is only five minutes away from my flat)!
3. Thermal Spa at Ironmonger Row Baths
This looks to be a promising find and a fantastic alternative to paying for a super expensive spa day. For £25, you get three hour access to the hammam, three hot rooms, sauna, aromatic steam rooms, ice fountains, plunge pools, monsoon showers and the lounge room. If that isn’t enough, there is also complimentary fruit, infused waters and teas plus snuggly robe and slippers making this a MUST for my staycation!
Luna Cinema is putting on open air cinema events all over the UK this summer in a variety of fab locations. While there no shortage of open air cinema this summer in London, I particularly liked the idea of visiting a beautiful country house on the weekend and making a day out of it! Only a short 25 minutes from King’s Cross station in London, the stunning Hatfield House dates back to 1611 and is running two open air cinema events this summer: The Wolf of Wall Street on August 29th and The Great Gatsby on August 30th. I have already booked tickets for a romantic day in the countryside for the 30th, complete with a picnic hamper full of goodies for my main man.
5. Nom Nom Nom All Night Long
With my better half having to work during the day (haha), I wanted an evening activity or two to share! Enter night food markets. I have three that I want to try (and I may not be able to wait until the end of August – patience is not my greatest asset):
- Red Market (3 Rivington Street – Tube: Old Street): Wednesdays to Saturdays from 5pm to late. Through the end of this summer, this Shoreditch car park turns into a fairground of food trucks and pop-up bars, all set to the sounds of whichever resident DJ or musician is scheduled for that evening.
- Street Feast (Hartwell Street – Tube: Dalston Junction): Fridays and Saturdays 5pm to midnight. This street food extravaganza includes a 20 cover New England style clam shack AND The Gin Store (which serves over 30 types of gin). From “Poptails” (cocktail popsicles – oh my!) to lobster mac and cheese, Street Feast looks to.die.for. We may have to go tomorrow.
- Model Market (196 Lewisham High Street – Tube: Lewisham DLR): Firdays and Saturdays 6pm to midnight. By the geniuses who started Street Feast comes Model Market which is the South-East offshoot of the original. Malaysian sliders, naan sliders and chilaquiles make this market hard to miss.
6. Read a book, in a park
This is the most simple of pleasures yet I never have the time. There are quite a few parks I want to check out in and around London, for example:
St Dunstan in the East (Tube: Monument)
The Roof Gardens (Tube: Kensington High Street)
Three beautiful gardens on the rooftop in London, open to the public! Major plus: free roaming flamingos.
7. Coq d’Argent for an afternoon cocktail in the sun
The terrace at the Coq d’Argent (Tube: Bank) has been transformed into a French Riviera themed bar and terrace for the summer. I may have to take my book along for an afternoon of lounging with a Hibiscus and Peach Fizz.
8. Hit up a lovely lido or two
For less than £5 for a day’s entry, there are a fantastic handful of outdoor pools in London. I plan on checking out the London Fields Lido (Tube: London Fields) and the Brockwell Lido (Tube: Herne Hill).
9. Get my fit on
I am currently working my way through an 8 class fitness pass at Frame in Shoreditch (Tube: Old Street or Shoreditch High Street) – trying classes like ‘Bend it Like Barbie’, Cardio Kettlebells, Rebounding and ‘Get Leggy!’ (review post coming soon). Starting beginning of August, I will have a discounted (£45) 30 day unlimited pass for yoga and pilates at the Light Centre (Tube: Moorgate) to enjoy for the whole month. So during my staycation I plan on finishing up August with a few more fitty fit fit activities that are a bit out of the way of my daily commute (hello, gorgeous West London), like BOGO classes at BarreCore (Chelsea or Mayfair) and at Barretoned (Notting Hill) or signing up for the £40 21-day pass at Slice (Parsons Green).
10. The Notting Hill Carnival
This annual extravaganza takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend (Sunday August 24 to Monday August 25) and it is apparently, Europe’s largest street festival! I have been promised fantastic food, amazing music and a great atmosphere, so I may have to check it out.