OCCUPATION: Designer and creative director, Allegra Hicks
MY STYLE: Eclectic and timeless. I also have a love of colors.
I LOVE LONDON BECAUSE: London is incredible because even though it is very urban, there is a park, a little green, or a communal garden on almost every corner where you can take your children to play, go for walks, or go for a run.
While the name might not sound appetizing, across the pond, “snog” is equivalent to a kiss, and a particularly sweet one in this case. Snog’s frozen yogurt is a yummy snack that’s actually good for you. Sweetened with agave nectar, it’s free of artificial sugar and fat, though you can add some “naughty” toppings like Oreos or brownies. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some mochi, a delicious Japanese sticky rice cake. “It’s a great place to bring your cool and health-savvy teenager,” says Allegra Hicks.
The Electric Cinema
The Electric Cinema in Notting Hill takes “dinner and a movie” to a whole new level. Not only can you get popcorn for the kids and cocktails for the adults, you can also get anything from organic ice cream to pork belly, all up until five minutes before the movie starts. If you go with younger kids, the cinema also has specific “Kids Club” screenings. You won’t have to squirm uncomfortably in your seat, either, because they have big couches and “red velvet sofa chairs with foot rests that allow you to get cozy in your seat,” says Allegra Hicks.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
With more than 30,000 different plant species to marvel at, Kew Gardens boasts the largest collection of living plants in world. Relax with a picnic while the little ones climb the Treehouse Towers, or on the giant plant-shaped structures in the botanical play zone. They can even experience what it’s like to be a badger at the Kew Badger Sett. In July, teenagers and adults enjoy outdoor concerts, and in September the garden’s pop-up cinema hosts film screenings. There are also the Evolution House and the Butterfly House, perfect for exploring on a rainy day. Unfortunately, because it is not a park, dogs, bicycles, and scooters are not allowed.
Stretching over two miles, this outdoor market has been a favorite destination in London since 1870. Six days a week, you’ll find thousands of vendors selling exotic foods and ingredients, plus secondhand goods, fashions, and other miscellaneous items. On Saturdays, you can get a good history lesson while you browse antiques from around the world.
Over 100 years old, the Claridges Hotel stands for everything traditionally “English,” so it’s no surprise that Tea Guild has given it an “Award of Excellence” four years in a row. In 1920, the hotel was given a makeover and it remains one of the best-preserved art deco architectural sites in the city. Located in the chic Mayfair district, it’s surrounded by designer shops that match the hotel rooms inside, which were designed by fashion guru Diane von Furstenberg. The name-dropping doesn’t end there, though; stop in for a bite at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant.
Pimlico Road Farmer’s Market
Nestled within the lush greenery of Orange a.k.a Mozart Square, Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market has some of the best produce, dairy, seafood, and meats in the city. On a typical Saturday morning, you’ll find a thirty stalls manned by farmers eager to chat about procedures and offerings alike. Stop at the seafood stand for fresh East Anglian oysters, or grab a fresh-pressed juice to sip on while perusing.
Built within the former Bankside Power Station, this former factory is now premier spot for contemporary art in London. With free entry all day every day, you can save up your sterling for lunch in the café, or a poster of one of the gallery’s prized masterpieces (Picassos, Lichtensteins, and Warhols among them) from the gift shop. Be sure to check out Turbine Hall, a five-story space that now houses specially commissioned works by cutting edge artists.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road transforms into a foliage-filled wonderland every Sunday, as independent florists and plant vendors team up with local boutiques and restaurants to create a festive outdoor shopping experience where you can nab a few cupcakes and a 10-foot banana tree. The street features around 60 establishments on its own, including cake shops, vintage clothing stores, English and Italian delis, garden and antique shops, and great pubs, cafés, and restaurants.