My Favourite Places To Eat in London

Trying to pick restaurants in London to recommend is a big and challenging task, and not something I can claim to be an expert on. I’m so lucky I get to live in this gorgeous city, and going out for dinner here is one of my favourite things to do here, and it’s a great way to explore. It’s fair to say I’ve tried my share of restaurants in the past couple of years of living here, but the below selection is a round up of some places I’ve enjoyed a lot recently.

This selection and round up of restaurants to go in London is a tiny drop in the large ocean of choice you have in the city, so I’ve separated them by occasion. On a budget? Need somewhere that also does good drinks? Fancy a blow-out fancy meal? Need somewhere to take your mum for a impressive meal? Well.. follow me…

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Pizza on a Budget

Voodoo Ray’s

If you’re after absolutely giant slices of pizza for a tiny price then look no further than Voodoo Ray’s. I genuinely haven’t seen slices of pizza this large outside of the USA. They can be purchased by the slice, and usually only one slice does it for me, but the various flavours and humorous names means you’ll be spoilt for you choice – and you can mix and match your slices if you wish!

Not only is the pizza pretty special, but their frozen margaritas are an absolute treat. If you an grab a seat outside (at the Boxpark location at least) it’s a great spot to watch the rest of London rush past.

If Voodoo Ray’s is too far out of your way then Pizza East is a great shout for cheap pizza either by the slice or in it’s entirety. There’s a spot in Kingley Court right in the middle of Soho, and it comes highly recommended to me, especially in the comments on my latest insta post

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Tapas

Hands down my favourite type of food to go out for dinner for, although I would say make sure you’re going with someone who shares your food tastes or it could end up getting pricey. There are two spots in Broadway Market I really enjoy going to for tapas, either The One for a good and reasonable tapas range with gorgeous Aperol Spritz’s or the El Ganso Cafe which has beautiful interiors and serves up delicious Sangria by the glass or jug!

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Jamon Jamon

Some culinary snobs may gasp at this suggestion, but Jamon Jamon is a personally favourite for my fiance and I. Not only do they do a mean selection of tapas at really reasonably prices, they’re never stingy with their servings. They also serve paella dishes to share for up to 4 people which is forever on our to do list to try. Give Jamon Jamon a visit if you fancy a good deal on no-frills but delicious tapas.

A Blow-Out Meal – The Tandoor Chophouse

If you’re going to give this a go, be warned – bring extra stretchy trousers. The Tandoor Chophouse Sunday Mighty Thali is truly a menu to behold. The amount of food you get – and it starts at minimum for 2 people as pictured below – is enormous. Better yet, it all tastes incredible.

Granted, I couldn’t actually finish half of my section, but I enjoyed it all the same. I love the no frills attitude, and guaranteed enjoyment as the amount of dishes you get is incredible for only £25pp. I also love how they include dessert as well, which is laughable to even think about having space after you’ve polished off the main….

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On a Diet but Still want to Go Out? Granger & Co.

This is the restaurant chain from Bill Granger – who also owns Bill’s in Australia which I’ve also had the pleasure to visit. Granger & Co is a chain with several options across London, where a delicious menu which leans towards the healthier side. It can certainly be pricey, but I’ve heard great things about their brunch menu too. Which leads me to…

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Brunch

I mean, how could I write a post about where to eat in London if I didn’t include brunch..? I’ve certainly visited my fair share of brunch spots, bottomless and otherwise.

If you’re after somewhere with a good location I would recommend Clutch Chicken on the edge of Columbia Road Flower Market, which makes for a perfect spot to watch the flower shoppers walk by before you peruse the market yourself.  Alternatively, Aussie cafe Lantana in Shoreditch has some scrumptious options, or if a huge American style blow-out breakfast is more your style then The Blues Kitchen is always a good shout.

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If you fancy a tipple with your brunch – or maybe you’re celebrating a big occasion – a bottomless brunch is a great shout, and there’s plenty of options in London! Personally I’ve tried two spots around Kings Cross and can recommend Bon Vivant and Bar + Block as good, cost effective options. Although if you fancy a bit of novelty, at Bar + Blok they take a Polaroid of your group to mark the time of your 2 hour drinking slot, and boy do they go heavy on the refills…

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A Sunday Roast

What a perfect way to finish this post… A Sunday roast always conjures up a cosy feeling for me, and even though nothing quite beats a homemade roast, every pub I’ve visited in London has always left me happy, and struggling to even roll myself home.

I don’t think you can actually find a pub in London that doesn’t do a Sunday Roast, but I have tried and tested The Spread Eagle in Camden, The Grafton in Kentish Town and The Bull in Islington and would recommend them all wholeheartedly. What’s better on a cold Sunday than a warm and comforting Sunday lunch? Nothing at all…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and perhaps even I’ve inspired a meal, a brunch or a Sunday Roast somewhere in London. It’s certainly made me hungry writing it (and heavier researching it…)

More London to come to the blog soon, but in the meantime, you can find my other Insta snaps on my Instagram @GrundyTravels.

Thanks for reading x

 

 

Copenhagen On A Budget

I’ve been lucky enough to visit quite a few places over the past couple of years, and some of them have carried hefty price tags – London, New York, Sydney and now – Copenhagen. It’s true they’ve all be on the pricier side, but in each stop there’s always been opportunity to budget. However, with Copenhagen, it seemed like the challenge was slightly harder.

I think they key ultimately is to make sure you’re prepared for how much it will cost when you’re there. Copenhagen is an absolutely gorgeous city, and one that I loved visiting and am already trying to plan another visit in sometime soon. But it certainly wasn’t the cheapest. Luckily I had planned quite a few ways around spending too much money when there, and I want to share my tips….

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Do Your Research

As our trip to Copenhagen was a surprise birthday gift for my fiancé, I had planned already a few stops to go that weren’t on the pricey side. Just as I didn’t want to gift him a trip to a really expensive city with no contingency plan – that might be a bit mean.

I had ready plenty of articles on the most reasonable places to eat – and was recommended Høst, Faetter Faetter and to visit the food market opposite Nyhavn as cost effective places to eat. In regards to drink, most places were quite pricey, pretty much starting at £30 for a bottle of wine… But if you look around and check where’s cheap-er beforehand, you won’t get stuck looking for places when you’re there.

Bike It

Copenhagen is the cycling capital, where cyclists are giving priority on the roads and so you don’t have to worry about swerving around cars and buses. It’s also the cheapest option (apart from walking everywhere of course) but it’s quicker to get around via bike and in Copenhagen it’s so so easy!

I’ve mentioned this in my specific Copenhagen cycling post, but we used Donkey Republic app which we found to be super cost-effective, especially as you could pick up a bike and drop it off all over the city and hire it from 30 minutes up to two weeks at a time… so it worked for any price or time frame you needed.

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BYO-Gin

Copenhagen is certainly not cheap for alcoholic drinks. A bottle of wine on a restaurant menu sits at around £30 a bottle, which is a lot more than we’re used to here in the UK.

On our first evening in Copenhagen we spotted a lot of the locals sitting by the river with drinks and decided to join in. Why not after all. There was a local outdoor food market nearby where you could pick up drinks – both alcoholic and not. For an Aperol spritz and a beer it came to around £14 between us, which is quite pricey for a usual round.

That evening when we looked around further we realised the majority of our fellow river drinkers were actually doing a BYOB (bring your own bottle) job, and drinking from their own bottles. So we did as the locals do, and the next evening we grabbed our own booze and drank that by the river instead and it was just as enjoyable and not as expensive! I would definitely recommend sitting by the river with a drink if the weather is good, and as far as we could tell there were no rules against bringing your own – so go ahead!

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Cheap Views

In pretty much any city you visit you can find a view point. Most of them end up costing you an arm or a leg, but I’m happy to report that the Rundetaarn is not the case. For roughly around £2.50 you can climb the Rundetaarn, which is a circling tower with sloping insides, which means no steps!

Not only do You get a great view of Copenhagen from the top, but the inside looks pretty fabulous as well, with plenty of photo ops. There’s also a little map challenge you can pick up if you’re with children – or just immature like us – which makes it quite enjoyable on the walk up!

Lobster? Why Not!

One thing we noticed is that in most restaurants most meals sat around the £25-35 price range, which also applied to your usual pricier options like steak and lobster, bringing them down to normal price compared to the rest of the menu. So if everything on the menu is expensive, why not go for what would usually be too expensive back home?

We went to a really lovely restaurant on the canal called California Fusion, and the menu included a lot of options that sat around that price, with the option for a whole lobster at £50 we decided to order it to share and I’m so glad we did. It was my first time ever having Lobster, and my fiancé taught me how to use the crusher to get it all out. It ended up being one of my favourite memories from the trip.

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So, if you’re going to Copenhagen anytime soon, or even thinking of booking a trip I hope this post has helped. Copenhagen may be one of the most expensive cities to visit, but if done right it doesn’t have to be too costly! This is my final Copenhagen post, but there’ll always be more photos on my Instagram @GrundyTravels!

Thanks for reading x

Cycling in Copenhagen

It’s funny. When I was 11 I took the cycling proficiency course, which here in the UK is a course and a test that kids can take to teach them road safety when cycling. And I failed.

It was pretty devastating and embarrassing to fail, because I was the only one in a group to fail and I had a shiny new baby blue bike at home that I wanted to ride. Luckily failing your cycling proficiency course means absolutely nothing, and heck I’ve seen plenty of cyclists on London’s roads who definitely haven’t taken that course…

This rambly introduction is my way of telling you that I’m quite a nervous cyclist. The reason I failed the test way back when was because I kept pulling ‘nervous faces’, and whereas I didn’t witness it myself I am 100% that was the case because that’s definitely how I was feeling, and how I still feel when I ride a bike nowadays…

Whereas I’ve cycled in London and that was hair raising at times, Copenhagen turned out to be a completely different experience – I’ve never felt safer cycling anywhere before. All across the city there were bikes on every corner, on every street parked outside every house. Apparently in the city there are more bikes than inhabitants in Copenhagen, with 375 kilometres of cycle tracks available to cycle across. and so when we visited the city a couple of weekends ago, travelling by bike was the obvious option.

And luckily, no nervous expressions needed from me. As cycling is the primary way of travel in Copenhagen, the bikes definitely get priority on the road. Our canal tour guide told us in Denmark the incentives to cycle way out-weigh those to drive. To buy a car you’re subjected to a lot more tax, in addition to that fact cars are more-than-normal-expensive and so is petrol. So overall, what’s the point?

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Each road had designated cycle lanes and traffic lights especially or the bike routes, which mean there were rare instances where you actually had to cycle among the cars – perfect for nervous cyclists like myself.

If you’re a tourist to Copenhagen there are endless places to rent bikes, and I would definitely recommend the Donkey Republic app. Similar to the concept of Lime and Ofo, you can download the app and find bikes nearby. You can rent them from as little as 30 minutes to as long as 7 days, and it’s so easy to keep a track of your bike, add more time to your rental and to lock it up whenever you wish.

There are several models to hire – my favourite being the City bike with rounded handles, so you’re not bent over the handlebars, Tour De France style. They also have nifty phone holders at the front if you’re in need of directions. It’s actually illegal to be on your phone or under the influence whilst cycling in Copenhagen, so beware! They take it very seriously, and in my opinion that extra layer of safety makes the whole cycling experience a lot more enjoyable for the rest of us on the road…

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If you’re in Copenhagen it’s best to grab a bike and cycle around the city centre, but there are plenty of routes you can look up online that take you further out of the city and into the greener outskirts of Copenhagen. We didn’t go far, but we did cycle out to visit The Little Mermaid, which was a lovely journey mainly across cycle paths away from the road, which is something I would 100% recommend if you’re visiting yourself.

Who knew I’d be a city cycling convert? Guaranteed, you won’t find me hopping on my bike in Central London, but the cycling experience in Copenhagen has changed my cycling attitude a lot. Not only is it a cost effective way of travelling around the city, but it’s also a great way to be more environmentally friendly, and also get in some extra exercise (which in Copenhagen is even better to burn off all the Danish pastries…).

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So, I hope I’ve inspired you to grab a bike if you’re visiting Copenhagen anytime soon, as it’s something I would definitely do if (When!) I return to the city. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has helped in any way. If I’ve missed anything important feel free to let me know in the comments!

More posts on Copenhagen will be coming to the blog, but in the meantime check out my Instagram @GrundyTravels for the latest updates!

Thanks for reading x

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Need To Know Before Visiting Australia

A trip to Australia is a pretty big deal. Not only is it on the other side of the world but it takes an entire day to get there, and everything is upside down. Madness.

Just kidding, whereas everything isn’t actually upside down, there’s a lot of actual things to consider when travelling to Australia, and all the wonderful and weird things that come with it. Whereas planning the fun parts is the best bit, the ‘boring’ and important parts also need to be considered – which is where this post comes into place.

Before I begin I have to apologies as this post is mainly aimed at Brits regarding travel time and visas, so sorry if you’re from outside the UK but I hope the below can help regardless. I wanted to pull together all the tips I’ve been giving to friends who are planning a holiday to Oz, as there’s a lot involved that might not seem to necessary at the beginning.

So without further-ado, let’s get cracking….

Plan How You Want To Get There

This may seem pretty obvious, but there are actually a lot of ways you can get to Australia. I’m mainly referring about air travel here, but if you fancy a cruise then you do you. 

The air trip from England usually takes between 22-33 hours, depending on where about in Australia you’re travelling to, and where you stop on the way. Also that travel time takes into account is how long the ‘layover’ is when you stop off, and if it involves having to get off the plane you’re already on or going to get on another one – which can even be with another airline.

My first experience flying to Sydney was via British Airways and included a stop-over in Singapore on the way there, and via Hong Kong on the way back.

What I will say from my experiences are this:

1.Singapore airport is incredible. I already had seen from Girl Tweets World all the fun you could have at Singapore airport, but I didn’t get to experience it all when I was there (thanks to not having enough time and there being a tropical storm outside…). If you get to layover in Singapore then definitely try and explore – I mean, it has a Butterfly Garden!

2.Your overall journey time will depend on how long your layover is. Whereas you might not want to be travelling for too long, a short layover time could screw you over if your first flight is delayed. My first flight home leaving from Sydney was delayed by half an hour due to thunder and lightening, which means the 1.5 hour layover in Hong Kong was pretty tight.

3.Further to point 2, luckily I managed to catch my second flight leaving Hong Kong for London as they were two connecting flights by the same airline that I had booked together in one transaction. If you book your flights separately – so two different airlines that require two separate bookings, or booking through third party websites – you might be required to collect your luggage and check it back in again for the next flight.

If you’re doing it this way it might be better to leave a longer layover time in case of delays. It’s also worth noting that if you do this in America you could be required to go through immigration before you check back in again which will also hold you up. So please bear this in mind before you book – third party sites may offer incredible deals, but you have to consider what this might involve…

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Visas!

One memory both my fiance and I always recall for jokes is roughly 12 hours before he headed off on a holiday to Mexico. I casually asked “Do you need a Visa to go to Mexico?”. He didn’t know and he didn’t have one. What ensued was 10 minutes of ‘OH MY GOD, SH*T, BLOODY HELL’ as we scrambled to the UK Foreign office website to find out that you didn’t need one after all.

The message of that anecdote? Check if you need a visa!! The Foreign Office website is updated all the time regarding security threat levels, vaccination recommendations and visa requirements. Check as soon as you know you’re going to see if you need one.

If you’re a Brit then you will require a visa – but a free one at least! Contrary to the top 20 results on Google you can actually do it yourself through the Australian visa their Government website. It doesn’t take too long to do it just requires a bit of brain power to work out which visa you need depending on why you’re going to Australia and for how long.

Have you checked your passport?

Whereas a standard British passport lasts 10 years, travelling on the last 6 months of your passport can be sketchy for certain countries. For Australia it’s advised that you travel with more than 6 months until expiry on your passport.

For me this has turned out to be a bit of a pain for my next trip, as our travel date fell exactly 6 months before my passport expiry. But the two silver linings is I could renew my passport I’ve had with a God-awful picture since i was 17, and also I applied at such a lull in the passport office’s time my passport was renewed, confirmed and sent back to me within a week.

So, if your passport needs renewing soon, get it out the way as soon as you can and with enough time before travelling – just in case you get caught in a busy period!

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Which Part Do You Want To Go to?

This may win ‘most obvious statement of the year’ but Australia is big, very very big. Not only is there a lot of ground to cover, but you have to consider what you wan to see. Do you want to travel along the Great Ocean Road? Or do you want to visit The Great Barrier Reef? Do you want to spend your time in Australia’s cities, or chilling and surfing at the beach?

Before you go tot up the amount of time you actually have when you’re there, travel days excluded. Then work out how you want to travel around – can you fit it all in a car journey? Or would it be easier to fly? Each time I’ve been it’s been for shorted periods of time, so flying in between cities has been the most time and cost effective way, but if you have more time then it’s worth checking if you can do a road trip!

On my first trip I went for two weeks and visited Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Cairns. Looking back I think that was slightly too much to fit in to a two week holiday, as you already have the jet lag and the heat to battle through let alone trying to do that whilst trying to see as much of the spot you’re in before you leave.

If you’re lucky enough to spend 6 months to a year in Australia then I really envy you, when I visit in February 2019 I will be there for 3 weeks and that’s just enough time to scratch the surface.

No matter how long you’re planning to visit Australia, or even if you’re not and you’re just here for fun, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has helped in any way. If I’ve missed anything important feel free to let me know in the comments!

More posts on Australia will be coming to the blog, but in the meantime check out my Instagram @GrundyTravels for the latest updates!

Thanks for reading x