Life in London

Visitor Guide to Canary wharf in London

Visitor Guide to Canary wharf in London

Canary Wharf is built on the Isle of Dogs in London (not to be confused with the movie!) and it’s the concrete jungle of London, where a lot of the banks, law firms and the skyscrapers are located. It is very protected with security personal and CCTV everywhere and it always feels odd going there, but since it’s a comfortable commute for me, I go there to dine sometimes. It has really changed from when I first moved to London and now it is becoming a little more family friendly and it was even busy on a Sunday, which was very unlikely a couple years ago. In this post, I want to give you a quick guide into navigating Canary Wharf and what you would expect from that part of town.

How to get to Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf is connected by the underground’s Jubilee Line and the Dockland Light Railway, DLR, which makes it easy to access if you are coming from South and East London. To get the best travel route you can check Google Maps, City Mapper or the official Transports for London website.

Things to do in Canary Wharf

Enjoy all the sculptures

If sculptures are you thing, then you would love walking around Canary Wharf with a lot of the sculptures are on display around the squares and the buildings. You can follow the official art map and see them. I spotted a few that I liked, which I thought was cool, but I am one of the people who went all the way to the Sculpture park in Norway. My favourites are #21 and #23 in case you are wondering.

Can you spot the sculptures in this photo?

Can you spot the sculptures in this photo?

The Dockland Museum

Canary Wharf is the home of the West India Docks, which was an important port from 1802 till the late 1980s when it started declining. It was later taken by the government and sold to various companies and redeveloped to what it is now. If you want the detailed history of all of this, you can go see it and read about it in the Dockland museum. The building itself dates to 200 years ago as well! It’s one of the warehouses in the image below.

The Dockland Museum in Canary Wharf

Roof Garden

I really like the small roof garden in the Cross rail Place. It’s usually quiet and good place to walk to after lunch. It will take you 15 minutes max to go around it by the way. There are two bar restaurants there on either side, but you don’t usually hear any noise. They have a few nice plants and even some fern from New Zealand if you are into that!

roof garden in the Cross rail Place
Roof garden in the Cross Rail Place | Canary Wharf, London

Shopping

Canary Wharf has a few shopping areas and plenty of shops to choose from. You can find the usual high street brands and the upper scales ones. They also have one of the most expensive malls there with a lot of the luxury brands. Here’s their official directory if you want to look up a specific brand.

Christmas Activities

I would advice going to Canary Wharf during the day to be able to see the buildings and the riverside. It is too quiet and dark at night to enjoy unless you are just going for dinner and leaving straight away. My favourite time of the year to visit the area is Christmas because they have a nice Christmas market and a skiing rink that is quieter than most in London.

Canary+Wharf+in+Christmas

Billingsgate’s Fish Market

I know the fish market is random and I actually never wake up early enough to go because it’s only open from 4am to 8am. I heard amazing things about the freshness and the choices of the fish there. This is where restaurants go get their fish selection and one of those days, I will try to get there and do my fish shop!


Canary Wharf Restaurants

There are many restaurants dotted around Canary Wharf, but the three main areas I go to are: The Jubilee Park Mall, the Cross Rail Place and sometimes the river facing restaurants. I have not tried all of them, but there are a few that I like and go to often and are mentioned below.

Ps. Not all restaurants are open late or on weekends. The ones mentioned here usually are, but always check opening times if you are making the trip from a long distance.

Breakfast or Brunch in Canary Wharf

The Breakfast Club

If you are going on the weekend, be prepared to wait up to 40 minutes especially if it’s brunch time. It gets packed so quickly! But it’s a big space with upstairs area and they sometimes have evening events there too. The breakfast club is loved by tourists and locals, but it’s slightly hyped and they don’t always have great service there. It’s a safe option for food though with a lot of options for meat eaters (not halal) and vegetarians (that’s what I get!).

Chai Kai

It’s just next door to the breakfast club and is usually my second stop when I do not get a table at the breakfast club. The prices for mains are very similar to the one above, but they charge for everything! I even extra syrup for pancakes. It is a nice place still and their service is very good. Their chicken and lamb is halal so that’s a plus.

Chai Kai Breakfast in Canary Wharf

Lunch or Dinner in Canary Wharf

Sticks n Sushi

This is one of my favourite Sushi restaurants in London and this branch is much easier to find a table than the rest of the branches in London and their service is always fantastic. I usually get their sea food or vegetarian/vegan options, but if you don’t drink alcohol double check their ingredients because even their regular soya sauce contains it.

Stick n Sushi Canary Wharf
Sticks n Sushi Canary Wharf

Franco Manca

I always forget it is there! But if you want a nice, reliable Italian pizza, then that is where you need to go! Their prices are reasonable and the pizzas are always delicious.


Is Canary Wharf a good location to stay while visiting London?

Well it depends. If you are there on business and your time is limited it’s better to stay there, but if you have flexibility and you want to see a more authentic part of London then no. I personally would not stay there if I am in London for a short time because it is a very modern and built up part and I like the other quirky side of London that has more culture and heritage.

Canary Wharf Hotels

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Camping near London - First Timers Camping Guide

FIRST TIMERS CAMPING GUIDE #Camping #CampinginEngland #BritishCamping #CampingintheUK

City Girl Going Camping

I am a city girl through and through. I was born in the city and kept travelling from one city to another. My outdoor adventures are a recent interest that I am doing more of lately to stay fit while travelling. I am not against the outdoors, I just never had a chance to go. My Saudi family didn't do much in terms of the outdoors and my other friends were all city kids until the past couple years, when I started making more connections with outdoorsy people. So when the idea to go camping was brought up, I agreed right away. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew it was something I should finally try.

Since it was my first camping experience, I didn't want to venture too far from London just in case I could not survive it and wanted to go back home. So we looked for a camping site on Pitch Up until we found Evergreen Farms, which seemed like a nice option. It was an hour train from Victoria Station. We gave them a call and discussed what they had on the site and other relevant information. They seemed nice and it was such a lovely place to go camping in near London.  

Reality of Camping

The campsite had lots of pitches in various fields and woods to space campers out. Our pitch was around the Oak Trees, which we loved. The site also had two eco/compost toilets that were 5-8 minutes walk from the tent. They were looked after well. The site allows lighting a fire and wood can be bought from them. They also provide 25L of water, which was great. I felt like everything was organised well upon arrival.

First task was to put the tent up, which took about 10-15 minutes. It really helps when you have an expert camper with you. It is not too hard to figure out, but it will take you slightly longer if you had no clue how to set it up.

Second task was getting the air mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags all in order.

After all of that was set, we put the rest of our stuff in the tent and closed the zips. It was a very safe campsite, but if you are worried about safety, you can always lock the tent zips together. 

Camping is not only about staying in the campsite, it is also about the nature walks around the area. Being in East Grinstead gave us a chance to do a few woodlands walks that were quiet and pretty. There was a few historic sights around that were cool to visit as well. 

In the evening, we started the fire. By "we" I mean I was watching the process happen rather than doing much related to lightning the fire. It was satisfying to watch. When the fire slowed down, we cooked dinner on the grill! We tried to be very aware of what we wanted to eat and we packed exactly what we needed and nothing more.        

Fire in Campsite in England

Watch my camping weekend in this video: 

Packing for your first camping trip - Camping Essentials

Packing for your first camping trip - Camping Essentials

Buying the camping gear and equipments was the most confusing part to me! There are so many details I kept googling and asking about! Even something as a simple sleeping bag! It might be a good idea to go in person to Go Outdoors, Decathlon or Sports Direct to buy everything, but if you are like me and think shopping online is the way to go, you can use the links below. 

  • Tent (sleeps 2-3 people)
  • Camping chairs (stools are fine)
  • Sleeping bag: the recommended shape is a mummy so you are snug and not cold. If you want to use it in the summer, it’s better to buy a 1-3 seasons. The more seasons the sleeping bag is prepared for, the hotter it gets and the bigger it becomes. The one I got was three seasons one. 

If you are buying all the camping accessories it might be a little much, but if you plan to go campaigning few times a year they will be really worth it. n this video, I share all the things I packed with the prices: 

Camping equipments for a comfortable camp

Camping Cooking Equipment 

For some reason, when I was looking up checklists online, a lot of them failed to mention the cooking aspect of the camping experience. Campsites differ in terms with what's allowed in cooking. Luckily, the place we went to had a prepared pit on the ground to make a fire and that's where most of the cooking took place. It was really handy to have the little camping stove though for a tea and eggs in the morning before getting the fire ready.

On the first night, we set up fire and the grill to make the steak we brought with us in the cool bag, which kept cold and fresh for a good few hours before we cooked it. 

Inside your Camping Bag

Since it was my first time camping and I was not sure if I would do it again, I did not want to invest in an expensive bag, so I settled for a basic Quechua camping bag and it worked really well I thought. It wasn't this exact one, but it was very similar to these two! I put all my clothes and other extras inside it then put the bigger items like the mat, sleeping bag and chair on the outside of it. 

Camping Extras: 

I saw a few good suggestions when I was looking at the Camping for Women lists such as packing earplugs for noisy nature and snack bars. I had to pack two types of tea on top of that too! They were small things and are not hugely important, but they are great to have. I packed some makeup essentials too (oops!

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Budget for camping in England: 

  • Camp site: £75 for three nights for two people = £37.50 each 
  • Train from London Bridge to East Grinstead (if you have a student rail card, the train fair will be cheaper) = £26 return with the railcard. 
  • All the equipment and tools I got because I haven't camping before were £140, but they will last for a few future trips. 
  • Food: This really depends on what you would like to eat. I went fancy for my camping food so it was £40 you can do it much cheaper than that if you plan to eat noodles. 

Over to you: Where are you planning on going for your first camping trip? 


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The unspoken etiquette of the London transports

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I am writing this post because of sheer frustration with some of the commuters I meet on a daily basis hence the angry tone of this post. I actually wrote most of this on a number of frustrating train journeys. After getting annoyed with others on the tube, I express it all by noting how courteous people need to be. Mastering the art of London transports needs time, practice and care for your fellow Londoners. 

The London transport system can be very confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it then your understanding of the city gets much better. This little guide will give you few pointers that you should be reading before you even get to London. I am hoping this guide will make you a pro London commuter. 


Nine Unspoken Etiquette of the London Transports

1- Know your route

Before you set off to use the public transports, make sure to actually know the route you will be travelling through as in check Google Maps or City Mapper and TFL. Get a clear idea and go. It might help taking a screen shot of the route or right down the stop names if you get easily confused and you probably will be if it’s your first few times. I think it took me a month to understand the system. I still make mistakes and get lost, but it’s only the odd time every few months when I am distracted. 

2- Scan & get a green light

Make sure you have money on your Oyster card and have it in a separate sleeve away from any other magnetic cards so you get a green light when you scan it and Wizz through the barriers. If you get a red light, the army of people behind you won’t be happy. Sometimes even when you get it all right, you still get a red light but these errors are beyond our control. 

3- Stand on the right, walk on the left

I don’t know how many times do people need to hear the poor automated message getting replayed over and over before they fully understand this. To be fair most people adhere to this, but you still get the odd people who do it anyway. I don’t mean the  tourists who might not get it yet, but I am talking about some locals who like to challenge the little rules that ease life. 

4- Don’t cause traffic

Using your phone while you walk isn’t a reason to slow down, but if that happens please stand on the side. Finish your text or whatever then carry on walking. The path is for serious walkers and if you want to stroll and have a chat the underground is not the place for you. Being slow because you are on your phone is super annoying to the people behind you who might miss their next train. Thoese little seconds here and there add up!

5- People can’t pass through you

Ok. I am sure you all learnt about body mass in physics class back in school, so if you stand in the middle of the door, people won’t be able to go pass through your body. You aren’t a gosht so stop acting like one. If you want to get in, stand on either side of the door to let people out of the tube FIRST then you can get in. It won’t leave without you. Pushing everyone to get on first before people get off is just bad manners. 

6- Just sit down or get out of the way

This is not a fun bus ride from school days. It’s a transportation system and everyone getting on it is probably tired and grumpy. Under no circumstances would anyone wait for you to reserve a seat for your bestie who is riding with you. Just grow up and let everyone sit in the available place and if your friend is quick enough she will get her seat too. I got the death stair for sitting when another girl was trying to hold the seat for her friend. The tube isn’t the place to bond & as girls they should understand that I might have been on my period and not able to entrain their behaviour physically or emotionally. 

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7- Move along the carriage

This is another message that every train driver has to announce about 50 times a minute. Just do it. When it’s busy people want to pack themselves in like sardines & you just standing in the middle and not moving along the carriage is inconsiderate. I sometimes have to jump over people who aren’t willing to move so I get some space. 

8- it’s probably safe not to smile

Ok, I am joking. You can smile if you want, but everyone just looks awkward if you even catch their eye. I like to always have a book with me and just read it to avoid awkward moments. I do politely smile sometimes because I think my London commuting face is a bit scary lol. 

9- Everyone wants to get somewhere

No one rides the tube just for the sake of it and everyone one is in a hurry to get home for dinner or whatever commitments that people have, so, please be nice to your fellow commuters. There is no reason to be rude. You can make the journey pleasant for yourself and others by being considerate and polite. 

Happy tube-ing everyone and God help us during rush hour in this heat. 

Over to you: Do you have any more advice to make the London commute more pleasant? 

Interesting Books about the London underground: 


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How can students live a cheap life in London?

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Although London is a very expensive city, being a student in London gives you a lot of perks that can make your time in this city really pleasant and even more affordable. Any full time student can take advantage of all the ideas listed below including mature students who are over 25. This applies for international students too. Most of these tips and ideas have changed the way I live in London for the better. It’s actually tempting to be a student as long as possible! 

 


Get London transports for cheaper in London

Before we mention anything, let’s talk about transportation and how you can actually get to places for cheaper while living in London. As soon as you enrol for your full time course in London, fill your student oyster form, have a personal photo ready and get it verified with your university or institution. Having your ID oyster will give you a third off of weekly, monthly & annual travel cards, which makes getting around so much more affordable. 

Travel by rail for a third less than everyone else

The transport discount isn’t only limited to London, you can also apply for a rail card if you are 16 to 25 years of age or if you are a full time student even if you are over 25. This process can be done online and you will have to pay £30 per year. This gives you great national train discounts so you can explore so much of the UK for reasonable prices. For example, my open return ticket to Manchester is £54 unlike the regular £84 ticket that adults have to pay. My Cambridge ticket with a same day return is £16.50 instead of the £30 adults pay. I really love this discount. I usually use this card for the train mostly, but having this card also gives you other offers on popular attractions such as: 

Shop until you drop with student discounts

When you enrol in your full time course, make sure you get a confirmation letter from your university because you will need it as prof to apply for the NUS card, which gives you lots of discounts on selected stores in person and online. You have to pay an annual fee of £28. This card is also handy as a proof if your student ID doesn’t have an end date. Another account you need in your life as a student is Uni Days and it’s similar, but completely free and only requires a university email to get started and approved. It’s really handy.

Pay less for food as a student in London 

A lot of the main stream restaurant chains like pizza express, Zizzi, GBK offer student discounts either through via uni days and the NUS card or via their own apps. You can also get 10% off your groceries at the co ops with the NUS card. 

Restaurant Discount Card for Students
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Always ask about student discounts! 

I went to get my hair cut in Rush and randomly asked about student discounts and they had one!! This actually happened a few times. Sometimes places don't advertise or have a clear sign. Doesn't hurt to ask! 

Enjoy London museums and galleries as a student

Yes most London museum and art galleries are free in London, but even the free ones have changing temporary exhibitions and those always require a ticket. As a student you get it cheaper than adult tickets. So unleash your inner art critique because there is so much you can see and enjoy! 

Victoria and Albert Museum 

Victoria and Albert Museum 

London Reads:

Over to you: What other advice do you have for students to live cheaply in London?


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How to survive the heat in London?

How to survive the heat in London?

I don’t think people realise how hot London gets in the summer when we have a heatwave without rain. The first few days are glorious. Everyone is happy, all the summer outfits are out and ice creams are everywhere. Fast forward three weeks, people get grumpy, their skin is mostly red and burnt with very random tan lines and the moral gets a little low. All the misery happen because this city isn’t equipped to deal with a hot summer so it's a constant feeling of heat. Being Saudi, people are surprised that I even mention the heat because the Saudi summers reach to 55 C -131 F-, but in Saudi 98% of places are completely air conditioned and we don't feel the heat, but in London you feel it everywhere. I still enjoy the London sunshine though and I follow the tips included in this post to stay cool. 

How hot does London get in the summer? 

The average so far has been 26 C -78 F- and the hottest it got was 32 C -90 F-


Six Tips to Survive the Heat in London: 

1- Avoid the tube

Honestly getting the tube in the summer during rush hour (17:00-19:30) is disgusting. Just try to rearrange your routes to involve more walking and overground trains. If you have complete control over your schedule I would avoid any mode of transport at rush hour. It’s hot during freezing winter days let alone in the summer. The Central Line and Bank station are the absolute worst! There is no such thing as air conditioned underground *yet*. 

2- Stay Hydrated

Have your bottle water with you at all times. Get at least the one Litre bottle because you will drink it all without even realising. You can cool your water in the fridge then pour it in a thermostat to keep it cold! 

Another great thing that will keep you hydrated is fruits or vegetable with high water content like cucumbers and melons. They will keep you hydrated for longer as well. 

3- Plan Cooling Stops

Some big grocery stores or luxury stores are air conditioned, so if gets too hot, plan a mini cooling stop to the big Sainsbury’s near you and get cool again! I know this might sound silly but it works for me when I am walking long distance from one place to another! 

Some Londoners were even trying to compile a list of air conditioned spots on Reddit! Their list didn't go very far, but it might be entertaining to read.  

4- Cool yourself from the inside

This is the best time of the year to drink all the iced teas and to eat all the ice creams in this city. I love making my own iced teas since the cafe bought ones are usually very sweet. If you want to make your own, these recipes from Eating Well might help you. 

When it comes to ice cream there are so many yummy places to choose from. My usual ice creams stops are Chin Chin LabsSnowflake gelatoGelupo and Amorino. If I am not around those spots, I go to any local corner shop for ice cream. I am also developing a love for vegan ice creams! The Alpro vegan ice creams are so good! Especially the coconut *DROOL*

5- Shade is what you need

Seriously, being in the shade makes all the difference. So, when it gets too hot, go to the very shaded part of the park or better yet take a woods or forest country walk. I know most people want to hit the beach when it's hot (including me), but going to places like Epping Forest or Ashridge Estate is actually a good idea to stay cool. It might help to wear a sun hat or carry an umbrella to create your own little shade. 

6- Get a fan

I know summer is short and it’s not worth investing a lot in it, but you need to get a basic fan or the heat will keep you up all night. I only use my fan two months a year, but it’s so worth it!! Having a hand carried paper or electrical one might also be good at times. 

Although, there were moments where I completely melted in London and it’s only the beginning of July, I am very grateful for all the sunshine! I am able to wear all my summer clothes now and enjoy the many beautiful parks around. I hope you found these tips useful and please comment below if you have any more tips to stay cool this summer! :) 

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Travel Inspiration for your Instagram

10 Islamic Art Activities in London 

10 Islamic Art Activities in London 

You might not associate London with Islamic art, but surprisingly there is a booming Islamic art scene in London. I love the art community in this city and there is always an event happening related to this art (and other types of art). If you are new in London you might not know some of these. I only knew about these places and activities a year after I moved London! That is why I am sharing

10 Islamic Art Related Activities in London that you might enjoy! 

Ps. This post is NOT sponsored! I just love these places, organisations and people! :D 

1- Visit the Jameel Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum

This is one of the most remarkable collections in London and no visit to London is complete without going into the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Islamic collection in the Jameel gallery space is my highlight. Additionally, it's free to go in, so don't miss the chance! 

2- Immerse yourself in patterns in Leighton House Museum

The Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) had a huge interest in Islamic art, very much so that he made an Arabian hall decorated with Islamic ceramics and calligraphy in his house that is now a museum that is open to the Public for an £8 entry fee. It's a small museum and will take you an hour maximum, but it's worth visiting. I would advice to go there during on of their free tour times or late Jazz nights just to make the most of your visit. 

Jameel Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum

3- Illuminate your trip with an Islamic Illumination Workshop

Islamic illumination is a specific type of Islamic art and usually means the use of gold in painting a traditional patterns. Illumination was used for Qurans and Islamic manuscripts. There are a few people around London that teaches this skill, but you can attend some of the regular Islamic Illumination workshops or organise a private session with Islamic Illumination that fits in with your London trip. 

4- Learn the secretes of Islamic Geometry

Just like the suggestion of the Islamic illumination workshop, you can learn more about the art and get close and personal with Islamic geometry that is the basis of most Islamic arts. You can do that by attending one of Samira Mian's regular and short geometry workshops or by booking a longer session with the Art of Islamic Pattern.    

Islamic Art Workshops

5- Bid on Islamic treasures in one of the Sotheby's open auctions

An Islamic art auction at Sotheby is not a usual occurrence, but it happened a few time since I moved to London. Usually the auctioned pieces are true treasures and are not really for the everyday user, but looking at them while they are getting auctioned can be a real treat. Sotheby is a famous art auction house, so there is always something going on. If you miss one about Islamic art you can try their other ones. 

6- Get as close as possible to Islamic manuscripts at the British Library

The British Library is the house to a big number of Persian, Turkish, Indian and Arabic manuscripts. If you make an appointment, you are welcome to go see a few and that is basically the closest you can be to such heritage. If you are a university student or doing research in the area, you get a quicker permission, but tweet them or email them for exact details on the process.  

Islamic Art in London

7- Awaken your mind with an Islamic art lecture

Many Islamic traditional artists have learnt their craft at the Prince's School of Traditional Art. It's a great institution. One of the amazing thing they do is their monthly lecture series about various art subjects and a lot of them are about Islamic art. By the way, the lectures are only during term times. SOAS university also has a lecture series related to Islamic art referred to as Islamic Art Circle Lectures

8- Explore Islamic art beyond the visuals

Although a lot of Islamic art is seen and appreciated visually, there are other types of Islamic art that speak to your other senses such the traditional music and theatre performances. They are not referred to as Islamic, but it comes from the same geographical regions, where Islamic art originated. It might be fun to attend some events that organised by Rich Mix Bagri Foundation and the Arab British Centre

contemporary art by Muslims in London

9- Get to know the contemporary art by Muslims

London does not only exhibit Islamic traditional art brilliantly, but it has contemporary art exhibition by Muslim and Arab artists. Stay up to date with Reconnecting Arts, Art Canteen and Shubbak Festival. They all have annual art events full of activities from art exhibitions to discussions and even concerts. 

10- Shop Islamic art in London

Since London is a city booming of all types of art, you can certainly buy Islamic art to take home with you. You can find Islamic items from Turkey and Morocco in the Camden market. Or you can buy from independent Islamic artists who are based in the UK such as Islamic Illumination,  Anita Chowdry, Jeea Mirza, and Islamic Art Gallery plus so many others that you can find on Instagram. 

Explore Islamic art beyond the visuals in London
1- Visit the Jameel Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum 2- Immerse yourself in patterns in Leighton House Museum 3- Illuminate your trip with an Islamic Illumination Workshop 4- Learn the secretes of Islamic Geometry 5- Bid on some Islamic treasures in one of the Sotheby's open auctions 6- Get as close as possible to Islamic manuscripts at the British Library 7- Awaken your mind with an Islamic art lecture 8- Explore Islamic art beyond the visuals 9- Get to know the contemporary art by Muslims 10- Shop Islamic art in London

Related Books: 

Arts & Crafts of the Islamic Lands: Principles Materials Practice
By Khaled Azzam, The Prince's School of Traditional Arts
Lonely Planet Pocket London (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Emilie Filou

Over to you: Which of these activities are you looking forward to the most?

Ps.Feel free to comment more Islamic art activities in London if you know any! 


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Gifts Guide to London (What to buy from London?)

10 unique Gifts From London

If you are going to London for a visit, I am sure you are going to do a little bit of shopping either for yourself or someone you love. There are the trinket and souvenirs shops that have London on them that are probably made in China everywhere especially around touristy areas like Big Ben, Westminster and the British Museum. BUT if you want something different that is very London, but doesn't scream London then this gift guide is for you. If you already visited London and didn't get a chance to get anything for whatever reason most of these brands deliver internationally! 

1- Gifts from London: Umbrellas

The number one thing in London that you should be aware of is rain, so umbrellas are always a good reminder of London. You can find them everywhere, but if you want a very special one. There is not a better place to get it from like James Smith & Sons shop that has been in London since 1830! They have sun umbrellas as well if you want to take one to friends in the Middle East. They are also known for their walking sticks. I din't think you would want that, but maybe your grandpa does? 

Hand crafted umbrellas James and Sons

2- Gifts from London: Tea

Tea in London Tea Gifts

As you know London is big on afternoon teas (aka high tea), so getting tea as a present is PERFECT! They even sell some at the airport, but!!! if you want a special tea then here are my suggestions for you and I do love my tea! 

Yumchaa Tea. It's good quality tea with a big range of flavours. You can pop down to one of their cafes to sample the tea yourself or order it online. Since I know which ones I like (read caramel Tea), I just order it online. 

For another selection of yummy teas that are a bit more high end then try Good and Proper Tea. They started in a tea van around London until they opened two cafes in two different locations. The prices of their tea increased a bit with all the demand, so I only get it as a treat for myself. They are simple and not flavoured, but so spot on! 

If you want pretty packaging for tea then you would want some tea from Liberty! They have really pretty, floral packaging and they only have one store in the world and that's in London. There is also Whittards, which you will see in so many corners around London, but I don't actually like their tea. It disappointed me a few times. If you really want to get something from there then try their hot chocolate. 

If you don't care as long as you get some British tea then pop down any grocery store and grab some Yorkshire Gold Tea or Tea Pigs. Reliable teas and the staple of many English households (I sound like a Tesco advert lol) 

3- Gift from London: Biscuits and Jam 

I mean you do need something to have with your tea and London got you covered! When I go back home to visit the family in Saudi, I always get them a box of biscuits from Walkers, M&S or whatever is usually on my way. It's usually nice to get the British shortbread. I added a few options for you on here just to help you get an idea of what they look like. 

4- Gifts from London: Art Supplies

So this might not be an obvious choice for you, but if you are an artist or buying a gift for an artist then you must go to London's gorgeous old art shop: L. Cornelissen & Son that opened its doors in 1861. It's located near the British Museum and it's full of colour and fantastic tools. You or your artist friends would love this! 

Cornelissen-And-Son.jpg
Cornelissen-And-Son

5- Gifts from London: Stationary

I am really into stationary and it's something I usually buy when I am travelling. Paper chase has some great stuff and it's easy to find. Most train stations have a little one. If you want something more unique, head to il Papiro for really stunning handmade Italian marbled paper. You can also try to find stationary with some of the William Morris floral patterns since he is an important figure of the arts and crafts movement that happened back in the day in the UK.  

6- Gifts from London: Products from Neal's Yard

The first time I saw Neal's yard was when I went for some pizza IN (wait for it) NEAL'S YARD (the actual court yard space). I only went there to look and smell the lavender. I didn't use their products till a friend of mine got me their bath oil. I loved it so much and decided to get their face hydrating cream that was created in 1983! I felt like £30 was a bit much, but it lasted me for nearly a year now and I use it every day before my makeup. The brand is found internationally as well, but it all started in the UK. Kind of near London (Oxford..) 

7- Gifts from London: London Watches

I first saw the Olivia Burton brand in the huge TopShop in Oxford Street and I really loved how simple and chic they looked. Then I noticed the word London in there as well. That moment I thought to myself. What a good gift this would be! They are not cheap, but not too expensive either. The one I liked was £80 and I think that is decent for a watch. I still didn't get one, but possibly in the future!   

8- Gifts from London: Harrods Bags

I don't know about you, but in Saudi everyone knows that if you visit London, you have to go to Harrods to pay your respect! The first time I visited London, I had to go and get those cute plastic Harrods bags. After I moved to London I realised that I will never be using this bag ever especially that hardly any Londoners use it! It's a good gift though and the bags and wallets last for about a year. They start deterring afterwards. Plus, the Harrods brand is the only affordable thing in that whole store! 

9- Gifts from London: Perfume from Jo Malone

This might be a little mainstream since Jo Malone is sold in a few airports around the world, but their scents are lovely! AND their candles last for ages. Not the cheapest, but might be a good option. The body oil is the cheapest thing you sell and I sometimes I use it as a perfume and get so many compliments! 

10. Gifts from London: Something Quirky from the market

There a few crafty markets that happen in London around the year. If you are here Christmas time, then the markets are countless. Don't fret if you aren't though because there are lots of crafty markets that happen at different times of the year. There are the daily markets in Greenwich, Old Spitafield and Camden. There are also special craft ones such as the The London Artisan Market,  Crafty Fox Market and the Etsy made local events

Handmade London Market

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I hope you enjoyed this line up of London gifts and I wish you an awesome time in London. 

Over to you: Which gift would you be getting for yourself or your loved ones? :D

Ps. this post is not sponsored, but it does include some affiliate links, that if you use, will give me a little commission with no extra cost to you. 

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