A hipster’s guide to London
So I’ll admit it. Most people of the non-hipster variety would probably term me as one. And they’re probably right. I instagram my breakfast on a regular basis. I drink cider. I dance to indie music. I like beards. I blog for a living. Yes, I’m a living cliché.
So as you can imagine, being the self-admitted hipster that I am, on my recent trip to Europe I was in my element in London - the home of the hipster. With hip and happenin hotspots like Shoreditch, Hoxton Square, Dalston and Brick Lane among my must-visit areas, these's were just some of my favourite finds.
Rough Trade at Brick Lane
When it comes to music knowledge, I run a little low on cool cred. In fact, compared to the crowd at Brick Lane record store Rough Trade, I’m a total novice. The indie label’s flagship store is practically a library for great music through the ages, from British classics like Bowie through to the latest hot new thing whose name you probably can’t even pronounce. Their record collection alone will keep you occupied for hours, not to mention the artsy books, black and white photobooth, trendy in-store café and free wifi on offer. If they had a bed, there’d never be a reason to leave. The flagship store also acts as a makeshift live music venue with bands playing regularly and a dj spinning tracks in between.
Bar hopping at Dalston
Located in the north east of London, Dalston has long been known as an entertainment district. In previous years the area had a large number of major cinemas, though only one, the Rio Cinema, has managed to remain. Today Dalston has earned a reputation for eclectic night life. There’s the Dalston Roof Park where you can watch movies in summer or dance in the dark at Visions Video Bar. My favourite spot in Dalston was Ruby's, a cosy, candlelit basement bar decked out in nanna’s finest furniture and serving cheeky blackberry mojitos.
The Breakfast Club at Hoxton Square
After a night of debauchery in Dalston my friend took us to her favourite breakfast spot The Breakfast Club at Hoxton Square. After a starving 20 minute wait we sat down at the kitchy miss-matched vintage table and chairs to order at 1pm (it had been a big night). We were met with no judgement though. The Breakfast Club not only offers breakfast all day but even serves a breakfast Bloody Mary – my kind of place. To satisfy my munchies I went for the Full Monty breakfast which included all the goodness an English breakfast can offer; sausage, bacon, baked beans, eggs – the lot. By the way hash browns in the UK are not the crispy American variety, but chopped up bits of cooked potato. Slightly devastating. To wash it all down I had a peanut butter milkshake, making it all in all one of the best breakfasts I’ve had, in one of the coolest looking venues. Following the advise of my friend I went and visited the bathrooms where I was surpriseed to find the world’s ‘Smallest Disco’ complete with lights and fantastic music, as well as some super nostalgic wall paper. Breakfast party anyone?
The Design Museum
Graphic designers and font freaks will go nuts over London’s Design Museum, located along the Thames River. On some Friday nights they open the museum up at night for drinks and some design scouting. On the night I attended they had just launched a retrospective on shoe designer Christian Louboutin. Champagne, design and shoes – what more could you ask for! The gallery also boasts a spectacular view of Tower Bridge, perfect for taking some touristy shots.
London’s beautiful Hampstead Heath is the ultimate afternoon chill out area. It’s not just for hipsters either. Everyone loves Hampstead Health. From large ponds, swimming lakes, woodland and rambling hills, the park has something for everyone. The day we went to Hamstead Health we were incredibly lucky to see the inconspicuous London sun. It was such a joy to just sit along the bank of one of the lakes and we even found a tree to climb. The green park spans 320 hectares so it’s quite easy to get lost. Luckily we found our way back through some woodland and along the way we even found a makeshift cave someone had built out of sticks!