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Wandering the Streets: Off the Beaten Path in London

When I visit a city I like to explore it in two ways. My first visit is always a "tourist" visit. I want to get to know the city by hitting all the popular touristy spots. After my initial visit and I've figured out the lay of the land and feel of a city, then I like to wander on my own off the beaten path and make my own discoveries. I usually focus on finding smaller neighborhoods, cafes or bookstores and that always lands me in a great place to start my wanderings. In my recent visit to London, it was my second time around so it was time to wander. I narrowed down my home base to the neighborhood of Marylebone.

We stayed at the Langham Hotel. The hotel is in a beautiful building and has been in service since 1865.

Our first stop was breakfast! If you ever find yourself in Marylebone, go to The Ivy Cafe! The food was amazing and the ambiance was all about the art deco.

After breakfast we headed to the local farmer's market which just happens to be open every Sunday from 10-2.

From there we wandered just around the corner to Daunt Books. What a beautiful bookstore! I loved how their travel section had tables of fiction books set in that location. Brilliant! I bought two set in France.

From there, we decided to just wander the streets.......

By this time our feet were tired, so we decided to grab a cab and go to Word on the Water. It's a bookstore on a boat! What?! I know! I had to check it out. It was so charming and had a great selection of used books. Paddy Screech is the owner and if that's not a captain's name, I don't know what is.

We wandered around a bit in Granary Square where the barge is docked. There are a few cafes and other barges.

To end our day, we jumped into another cab and headed to Notting Hill for dinner.

Portobello Road was a little disappointing. It was full of souvenir shops, not the antique shops I was hoping for and by this time, we needed dinner. We found Cocotte, a chicken rotisserie restaurant, that had pure comfort food. I had a delicious bowl of their homemade chicken soup. It was perfect! By this time, we were exhausted since we had been up for around 36 hours, and being weak with hunger, I forgot to get a picture of the restaurant or my yummy soup. It was time to call it a day!

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