Taking a stroll through Barbican Conservatory - interior

Take a moment to relax in Barbican Conservatory, London

Discover Barbican Conservatory, the second biggest conservatory in London. It’s time to take a moment to unwind in the big city.

Within the Barbican Centre’s cultural and creative hub, you will discover Barbican Conservatory. Sitting atop the dedicated arts space on its third floor, the conservatory is brimming with natural wonder, all nestled within the buildings structure.

Taking a stroll through Barbican Conservatory - cacti

This beautiful indoor rainforest offers its visitors a moment to disconnect in central London.

Inside, you will discover a hidden oasis which is home to over 1,500 species of tropical plants and trees. There’s even Koi fish and terrapin ponds.

Taking a stroll through Barbican Conservatory - Koi Pond

Take your time when winding around the lower and upper garden. It is a beautifully tranquil and colourful space housed within glass walls. Plus, there’s plenty of photo opportunities to boot.

Enjoy leafy and verdant surroundings as you casually meander along stone walkways and across a picturesque wooden bridge delicately placed in the conservatory’s centre.

Don’t worry, there’s benches dotted around to allow you to take a moment to soak up the atmosphere within this impressive space.

Taking a stroll through Barbican Conservatory - Floral terracotta pots

If you head upstairs, you can fully appreciate the view of the conservatory from its balcony. So, take a left and you will discover a vast selection of bright and bold cacti. They come in all shapes and sizes, adorning the space from floor to ceiling.

If you are looking for free things to do in London, you’re in luck! Although opening times are limited, admission is free! There is even a pop-up bar onsite to allow visitors to truly soak up the atmosphere.

Learn more about visiting visiting the Barbican Conservatory in the Barbican Centre.

What else is there to see and do in the Barbican Centre?

The Barbican Centre is a grade II listed building within Barbican Estate. This fascinating residential area was entirely rebuilt from rubble. Bombing and fire had obliterated it during World War Two.

Today, it demonstrates the best of Brutalist architecture. This Utopian vision and architectural style was brought to life by British architectural firm, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. The development was completed in the 80s. It’s simple, you will either love or hate it.

Taking a stroll through Barbican Centre

Once inside the vibrant Barbican Centre, you will discover so much to do and see, including:

  • Barbican Art Gallery and The Curve gallery
  • Barbican Conservatory
  • Barbican Film (three cinema screens)
  • Barbican Hall (home of London Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra)
  • Barbican Kitchen (serving bites to eats and hot meals)
  • Barbican Library (offers public lending and special arts and music collections)
  • The Pit (theatre venue) alongside other informal performance spaces
  • Barbican Shop (selling a selection of artsy and design-led gifts)
  • Barbican Theatre (designed by and for the Royal Shakespeare Company)
  • A selection of bars, cafes and restaurants
  • Conference and trade exhibition halls

There are plenty of free events and performances within. You can take a tour of Barbican Centre, participate in a talk or workshop or catch a film in Barbican Cinema!

Overall, Barbican Estate offers its visitors lots of open space and thus many places to simply unwind within its urban landscape.

You can access the Barbican Centre from nearby Barbican, Moorgate and St Paul’s Underground stations.

Have you been to Barbarian Conservatory? Where is your favourite place to unwind in the Barbican Centre?

Stephanie xox

Step back in time at Cahoots Underground cocktail bar in London menu and cocktails

Discover Cahoots Underground: a post-war cocktail bar in Soho, London

Nestled in the heart of Soho, you will find Cahoots Underground. A cocktail bar which offers a unique, fresh and fun experience in Central London.

On arrival, ask for the ‘Captain’ and you will be led down a tiled wall staircase into a post-war underground station.

Once inside, you will be greeted by period costumed hosts. With their characters nailed and wide smiles in tow. They will lead you to your table within the disused underground station. You may even be lucky enough to be seated within one of the train carriages!

The themed menus are presented as styled newspapers. Take your time and discover lots of sumptuous cocktail specials with an English twist.

Nibble on popcorn from wartime tins and listen to swing, jazz and Lindy Hop aplenty as you await your drinks. Be sure to take the time to soak up the experience in this moody lit playground.

So, what did I think of Cahoots Underground?

This 1940s-themed bar is certainly enchanting, albeit slightly pricy. Saying this, it is worth the ‘step back in time’ experience and sticks to its theme with finesse.

Cahoots Underground makes an excellent date night with your significant other, family or closest friends.

On select nights, there is even live entertainment at Cahoots Underground. Expect piano singalongs, live music and post-war enthusiast DJs.

It can get busy, so if you plan to head there on the weekend, do book ahead.

You can also discover their sister bars in London, Cahoots Ticket Hall and Cahoots Control room.

Have you been to Cahoots Underground before? What’s your favourite cocktail bar in central London?

Stephanie xox

The best things to do in London Bridge

London Bridge is an area bursting with history and landmarks. It’s the perfect destination to see London’s famed skyline with friends in tow.

On the southern bank of the River Thames, London Bridge offers an eclectic mix of cultural hotspots, celebrated attractions, global cuisine to suit every budget, markets and independent treasures aplenty.

Here’s the best things to see and do in London Bridge:

The best food and drink at Borough Market 

Feeling peckish? For cheap independent eats head to Borough Market, London’s oldest and most famous market.

Weave in and out the numerous stalls and sample whatever takes your fancy. Discover international street food alongside fresh produce galore. Pick up fruit and vegetables, sweet treats and pastries, homemade bread and artisanal cheese.

Once you are done meandering this foodie heaven, enjoy a drink or two in the area and soak up the atmosphere.

Cocktails with a panoramic view at Aqua Shard, London

Take to the sky in The Shard, the UK’s tallest building at 310 metres. If you are looking for breathtaking views with a more affordable price tag, head up to Aqua Shard on the 32nd floor in 15 seconds.

Try to get a seat before sunset for incredible cityscape views with a cocktail in hand. The restaurant and bar is more than a third of the way up the skyscraper and doesn’t require a reservation.

If you’d like to pay a visit to the 72nd floor, you can see up to 40 miles from The View from The Shard.

Step back in time with The London Bridge Experience and Tombs

Looking for a unique history lesson and some scares? Head to The London Bridge Experience and Tombs. This interactive and immersive guided tour is for the brave among us. You will discover over 2,000 years of (often gruesome) London and London Bridge history on route.

Once you head into the London Tombs, expect to confuse the senses with a live-action maze. These historic tombs and vaults have been voted the scariest attraction in London.

Play explorer on The Golden Hinde

Step on board The Golden Hinde, a full scale replica of Sir Francis Drake’s 16th century global exploration vessel. This celebrated ship is brought to life alongside costumed actors detailing its history.

The Golden Hinde entry – ÂŁ5

Feel on trend at the Fashion and Textile Museum

The Fashion and Textile Museum is one for creative types. Just up from London Bridge station on Bermondsey Street, step inside to discover their latest fashion and textile exhibition.

The Zandra Rhodes exhibition is currently on till January 2020, detailing the fashion designers extensive portfolio. Expect high fashion, textiles, theatrical costumes and original artwork. Explore 50 years of work at the museum she founded.

The colourful museum only hosts one exhibition space at a time. Once done, be sure to swing by the shop when exiting for beautiful and unique gifts.

Fashion and Textile Museum entry – ÂŁ9.90

Enjoy the beauty of Southwark Cathedral

A stone’s throw away from London Bridge station you will find Southwark Cathedral. The oldest cathedral in London, this stunning place of worship is a must visit.

Enjoy a guided tour or service inside the Gothic cathedral and take a moment to soak up it’s beautiful architecture from its gardens outside.

See where the elite used to party at the Winchester Palace Ruins

Admire the 12th century ruins of Winchester Palace. These tucked away Medieval ruins once housed one of the most grand and opulent buildings in Britain.

It was a place of comfort and celebration for the religious officials, royalty and the elite of London for over 500 years.

Unwind at Potters Field Park

Take a moment to pause with a coffee or lunch at Potters Field Park. This open green space allows for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with some wonderful views of Tower Bridge.

See how London moves at the Tower Bridge and Engine Room Tour

Often mistaken for London Bridge, Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic and photographed landmarks. However, most people do not know that you can in fact go up the bridge, built between 1886 and 1894.

You will start with a short history lesson before making your way along the first of two partially covered glass walkways. The second walkway has a partially mirrored ceiling offering the perfect snap of the River Thames and oncoming traffic below. It also allows you incredible views of the Shard and Gherkin.

Once down, it’s a short walk to the engine rooms which continue to lift the bridge to this day. Learn about how these engines work and their maintenance.

Tower Bridge and Engine Room Tour entry – ÂŁ9.80

Enjoy British naval history on board HMS Belfast

To experience a monumental part of Britain’s naval past, step aboard HMS Belfast. The World War 1 ship is one of London’s most unique historical attractions. Moored near London Bridge Pier, this monumental wartime ship is sensational.

Once aboard, make your way up and down ladders as you explore the interior and exterior of each deck, discovering the museum ships vast history. Expect waxwork figures ‘in action’, access to the gun turrets and hear many stories of life on board at each level.

On deck, you can take a moment to appreciate the London skyline from the River Thames.

HMS Belfast entry – ÂŁ16.20 online and ÂŁ18 on the day

See how medicine has progressed at The Old Operating Theatre

Make your way up a spiral 52-step staircase and enjoy a glimpse of how far modern medicine has come. The Old Operating Theatre brings you back to the 19th century where medicinal technique was still in its infancy.

The procedures were often gruesome and herbal remedies took precedence. The highlight of the museum? The opportunity to stand inside Europe’s oldest operating theatre.

The Old Operating Theatre entry – ÂŁ6.50

Hunt for quirky fashion and other finds at Vinegar Yard

For vintage and retro finds, head to Vinegar Yard. This bustling flea market is brimming with antique treasures, arts and crafts and global cuisine to suit all tastes and preferences.

Be entertained at The Scoop 

Next to City Hall, the Scoop offers free theatrical performances, sporting and movie screenings at select times in the year.

800 people can enjoy events including Christmas by the River and Summer by the River within this impressive outdoor amphitheatre.

London Bridge will keep you busy for the entire weekend. To make the most of your time in the area, enjoy a London Bridge hotel stay.

Have you explored the London Bridge area? What would be your go to attraction? 

Stephanie xox

Please follow me on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook for more updates from The LDN Gal

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own

Matcha cheescake - Looking for the best matcha cheesecake in London - The LDN Gal

Looking for the best matcha cheesecake in London?

If you are looking for the best matcha cheesecake in London, you’re in luck.

In three locations across the capital, you will find the Japanese cafe, Tombo. Discover these matcha havens in South Kensington, Fitzrovia and Soho.

Once inside, sample matcha treats within a traditional Japanese styled interior.

An instant draw for matcha lovers is the cheesecake. Above all, the vegan matcha cheesecake and marble cheesecake. Thankfully, the vegan version is also gluten free!

The marble cheesecake is presented in the New York style with a twist. This rich cheesecake offers a sesame base and aromatic matcha marble top.

On the other hand, the vegan matcha cheesecake is a combination of coconut cream, tofu and oat milk. Surprisingly, it’s texture stays true and although a little denser, it isn’t any less delicious.

Tombo Soho London - Looking for the best matcha cheesecake in London - The LDN Gal

Tombo – the home of matcha desserts and drinks in London

As well as a killer matcha cheesecake, Tombo also offers other matcha inspired desserts and ice creams.

Sample a matcha tart or matcha soft serve ice cream, all in the heart of London. You can also enjoy your matcha hot or chilled, with delicious lattes to boot!

In contrast to sweet treats, Tombo also offers savoury items. These include Poke bowls, sushi, noodles and donburi.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the best matcha cheesecake in London, look no further than Tombo! I will certainly be back to enjoy their savoury dishes soon.

Have you ever been to Tombo? What is your go-to cheesecake flavour?

Stephanie xox

Please follow me on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook for more updates from The LDN Gal

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Discover kawaii heaven at ARTBOX Covent Garden, London

Have you ever felt like you have died and gone to kawaii heaven? As you enter ARTBOX Covent Garden in London, those feelings will come to life. 

The ARTBOX Covent Garden shop is home to the cutest animated characters. Most importantly, it hosts a wall-to-wall Pusheen the Cat area. Now, if you a Pusheen and super adorable merchandise fan, you’re going to be pretty psyched. 

Upon entering this specialist kawaii retailer, you will meet animated characters and goods galore. Luckily, there’s plenty of plush grey cats!

ARTBOX Covent Garden specialises in kawaii Japanese items. Inside, there are unique wall-to-wall displays.  Expect to find plushies, stationary, clothing and sweet treats. 

ARTBOX Covent Garden is a specialist Japanese kawaii retailer 

As you explore, discover Pusheen’s friends and lots of familiar Sanrio faces. These include Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Rillakuma, Moomin, Sumikko Gurashi, Tokidoki and My Melody.  

Basically, when it comes to Pusheen, you will find plushies, stationary, pin badges and homeware galore! 

In addition, you’ll find the beloved Tofu Cute with their own concession stand within. Not to mention their selection of Amuse plushies, Japanese sweets and drinks! 

Therefore, if you are into all things cute, ARTBOX Covent Garden is the place to be. Surprisingly, the Pusheen craving doesn’t have to end there. Thankfully, it will next be fulfilled at the ARTBOX Cafe in Brighton! 

Which is your favourite kawaii character?

Stephanie xox

Please follow me on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook for more updates from The LDN Gal

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room, London - table

Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room

It’s always exciting when a new brunch hotspot in London appears. A fortnight ago, I headed out for brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room during its launch weekend.

The new rooftop restaurant and bar is located in the heart of the West End. Situated atop the Assembly Hotel, it offers panoramic views across London and a stunning interior.

The interior is wonderful, with floor-to-ceiling windows, delicate wicker weaved furnishings and citrus dotted flora aplenty.

Their brunch menu is wholesome and delicious, with a selection of vegetarian and vegan items to boot. Fear not meat eaters, there truly is something for everyone!

Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room, London - panoramic viewBrunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room, London - brunch menuBrunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room, London - baked green eggs, all mixed up

So, what did I think of Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room?

Opting for savoury over sweet, I ordered the ‘Baked green eggs, all mixed up’. This dish was bursting with flavour, embellished with fresh pesto, crunchy vegetables and baked eggs in an earthy terracotta dish.

As expected, there are options for a bottomless brunch, as well as a selection sumptuous sides, cocktails and fresh juices to suit all.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room offers its visitors breakfast, dinner, cocktails and of course, weekend brunch, open daily from 7am.

Have you been to Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room yet? Which item would try from their brunch menu?

Stephanie xox

Please follow me on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook for more updates from The LDN Gal

Follow my blog with Bloglovin