The Beatnik Brit
While many would say they have already seen and done this city twice over, we’re not referring to a weekend about your usual Londontown. An offbeat London is full of possibilities with the city being home to a myriad of all things unconventional and bloody brilliant.
Before we started our journey of travelling with purpose and seeking out the extraordinary, we arrived at our home away from home, Batty Langley’s. A time capsule of sorts that thwarts you back into the Georgian era with 18th century antiques, furniture and a splendour of elegance that stands the test of time. A beatnik boutique hotel that refuses to wither away with the past nor conform to the ever changing tide of the future. Batty’s beats to its own drum and has a service and dining experience that is nothing short of exceptional. It’s always one of our favourite spots to rest and relax on our frequent staycations.
Another hotel hotspot worth mentioning, (especially for the astounding atypical) is the very unique art deco inspired, nestled in a quiet residential street in the heart of Knightsbridge, The Franklin Hotel. Unlike all the other endless options of places to lay your head in this city, The Franklin features moody art deco inspired interiors, opulent amenities and sumptuously curated rooms that are all individually designed to reflect the refinery and grandeur of an era past. The multitude of cute little hideaways spread throughout the hotel, means you can grab a book and sneak into one of their nooks and let the day seamlessly pass by. Their cool gin bar is a perfect hangout, an intimate space for those in the know to enjoy some of the most delicious artisanal cocktails. Their relaxed restaurant, brings forth incredible gastronomy that is hard to rival with a chef that has worked for some of the top restaurants in London The Franklin to us is like family, we have thrown many a fabulous dinner party there and every-time we return to our home away from home, we are treated like we never left.
What could be a more unorthodox and equally noteworthy take on the art of brunch than combining it with the ancient wisdom of yoga. Bet you didn’t expect us to think of London as a spiritual travel destination huh? Every yin needs a yang after all. And the best types of brunches are the ones that don’t make you feel guilty after. Here they say namaste and dig in! We started our Saturday at the Ady Centre with a vigorous vinyasa morning flow followed by even more flows of bottomless mimosas and a three course meal from chef Surender Mohan at Bombay Bustle. Now that’s what I called getting some bang for your buck.
We do try to keep as culturally immersed in our destinations as possible. And as much as we’d love to deny it, there’s a force that has seeped into the deep corners of (most) our minds and rooted itself in our society, perhaps even symbolizing a social commentary of sorts. It is after all the most widely dispersed show ever to be streamed, which makes sense since there are so many characters and storylines that could on some level resonate with all of us. In a way it’s a beautiful thing we can all be connected to, something that can bring us together and we can all relate to.
First up on our list is an evening spent in wait for it, Easteros. Witty huh? The Vault is hosting the Game of Thrones dinner party parody and if you’re like us and in the mood for a recreation of the Red Wedding (with less death more laughs of course), check out the dining experience with food from chefs Chavdar Todorov and Steven Estevez. A night we surely will remember, maybe even enough to carry us to the premiere? (Yeah doubt it).
Not a fan of Thrones? Or maybe dinner and a murder party isn’t your thing. It’s understandable. What we also understand is the appreciation for the classic finds that bring back a wave of nostalgia like an evening at Annabel’s. Only some of the greatest figures in our history have sat in the elegant and electrically vibrant restaurant. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t imagine Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe walking down that fabulous stone staircase, which has since been restored along with intricately elaborate ceilings and Rocco style fireplaces. The club is accessible only to members unless of course you know the right people and it’s exclusive access only gives us more reason to love this offbeat classic.
Brits have such a dry sense of humor, which makes sense I guess since something has to keep them from all that wet rain... (crickets). You go to one comedy club and already start with the uncomfortable line openers. There’s a lot better talent in South London at the Bradford believe me. Rather than see the although great, over-stimulating shows like Catherine Tate at the O2, this beatnik brit’s guide takes you to an intimately amusing evening at the Balham’s gem for their Banana Cabaret comedy club that runs every weekend.
After an evening of laughs we wandered through the damp streets of Tower Hill and stumbled upon Savage Garden, the incredibly hip and happening hotspot that offers a killer skyline and an even more fuego drink list, which by the way has an unbeatable selection of non-alcoholic creations that are just as sure to give your tastebuds a buzz to rave about. The moment you step onto the rooftop bar you feel an electricity in the air running down your spine as you take in this hideaway.
Sometimes we travel to escape. Especially when we’re alone. It’s almost a liberation from the restraints of our identity and the responsibilities that are lifted like a veil, it’s when we can feel most like ourselves. Everyone needs a little break every once in a while, a chance to be something they’re not or something they’ve always been and feel they must hide. Well for my fellow geminis, (and anyone else wanting to don a different ego for the evening), all I have to say to you is tonight we wear pink. Tonight Josephine is perhaps one of the most happening places right now and one walk inside will have you thinking ‘no wonder why’. If I was to imagine Mean Girls and Inherent Vice birthing a bar covered in all things neon, pink, oh and did we mention freakin fabulous? I assure you, there’s no better way to spend an eccentric evening with your inner goddess.
Since London is a mecca for the marvelous, it’s no wonder their museums fall nothing short of a spectacle of sorts. At least if you take a visit to the innovative and ever transformative Zandra Rhodes Fashion and Textile Museum, with vibrant designs and opulent jewellery displays this is an experience both for the senses and the creative soul.
Speaking of indulging both our creativity and splurging our senses, one of them being our taste buds; we went off the grid and back to our roots to a place that’s trying to change the conventional narrative about food sourcing. We’re always trying to promote socially conscious travel because sometimes we as travellers we don’t always think about the environmental impacts of tourism so we’re always on the lookout for an opportunity to make a positive change. Like this all-star Michelin restaurant. The Clerkenwell Kitchen, is run by dynamic duo Laura and Emma who took their personal journeys in the gastronomy world and made their dream of a sustainable and ethically produced restaurant a reality. They only use the highest quality ingredients sourced from local farmers and artisans to give back to their community and ensure that their products are made with the most fair trade ethically sound practices. In a city that is the pinnacle of modernisation and must keep up with the demand of both high quality and quantity, the Clerkenwell is making phenomenal strides towards being a change-maker and showing that there is another way we can coexist and be sustainable.
After our food investigation was over we decided to take a whirl into the whimsical world of wellness Much like everywhere else in the world, there are more and more people leaving the usual gym memberships and finding boutique studios in the local neighbourhoods. It is no longer just about the physical aspect of going to a gym and working out. People want the connection and the support of a trainer to guide them on their wellness journey. They want to utilise different tools to help them achieve their goals in their body as well as their mind and spirit. Since this is the offbeat brit’s guide it only makes sense to talk about what innovative madness will be coming to the Old Spitalfields Market.
The brainchild of Cambridge science and Ayurvedic healing is ETHOS sports alchemy. A chain of boutique Yoga & Fitness hybrid studios, ETHOS has combined both the genius of western bio science and engineering with the ancient wisdoms of eastern holistic practices to bring the individual a wellness experience unparalleled to anything like it. The studio has workouts of every kind for the body, workshops of all concentrations for the mind, and additional services to assist in the healing and growing of the spirit. In a fast paced city like London where the hustle of people speeding past and the symphony of cars honking by can sometimes be overwhelmingly debilitating, it is essential and paramount to be able to escape from the noise and come back to your center.
If you’re like us and on the go a lot when you travel, it’s sometimes a little more of a challenge to make it to that boutique gym. The Travelist has nothing to fear, which brings us to our final and most unconventional of enterprises (but also extremely useful and madly genius), the My:Method yoga that comes right to you. I do have to say I feel like that’s commonly the number one excuse of people not making it to their mat, (at least for those who have any wish to but are simply too preoccupied with life’s daily tolls). “I wish I could but I just don’t have time.”
Well My:method is taking that line and throwing it out the window because even if you work for the most high intensity high demanding job in the city, everyone gets a lunch break. Now how you spend it is completely up to you, but I’m just saying instead of taking that hour to sit in your cubicle dreaming of how you’re gonna get through the rest of the day you can hit the recharge button with an hour flow in your workspace by yourself or in the company of your coworkers, totally up to you. My:method is built on the foundation that everyone needs to take the time out of their day to commit to themselves by letting the worries wash over them, even if it’s only for an hour.
Like we said, not the norm but where did that ever get anyone? In order to be our most remarkable we must push past the boundaries of convention and conformity, we should set the stones in the foundation of the future to prove that we are always pushing to improve ourselves, each other, and our part on this planet.
Our perception of our lives in the greatest lie we continue to wake up and tell ourselves every day, that this is our reality and all that is out there. If we want more we have to go out and find it, we must be proactive with our life and not waste it on wishing and what ifs. We are in control of how we spend our time, where we spend it, and who we spend it with. If we feel that the regularity is no longer fueling our creativity, that the inspiration light inside us is flickering then it is up to us to go out and find what reignites that spark. A city like London is full of the eccentric and exciting, we just have to know where to look for it. Luckily for you, we do.