After writing about some of my favourite spots in Berlin, I wanted to ask my friends to share their love for the cities they live in. London just had to be first because… I love it already. I went to university there, met James there, basically became an adult there (well, sort of). But all of that was roughly 150 years ago, so every time I go back now, I end up visiting the same old places. I really needed an update of where to go, what to do and who to see. I was delighted when Franzi said she’d be my – and your – London guide. Cheers, love! This is her city:
| Where do you live in London?
I’m staying in a gorgeous, cozy and bright little house with a garden in Brixton. Practically unheard of in London! But I love Islington and I hope I’ll move back there one day.
| East or West – it’s almost a statement of faith in London. Which side do you stand on?
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I enjoy East London’s wild party nights, Broadway Market and the canal, but I also love West London’s quaintness.
| What do you love about the whole city?
London feels like a huge playground to me. I discover something new every day and am constantly surprised. I love the anonymity of the city but that you can still meet new people any time you leave the house. Anything’s possible in London and whatever you dream of doing, you can make it happen here.
| What about London gets on your nerves?
The daily journeys. It’s impossible to get anywhere in under 30 minutes and since my friends live all over town, travelling can be a little tedious.
| Where do you get your coffee to go on your journey to work?
Either at Shoreditch Grind or Look Mum No Hands, which are both on Old Street on my way to the office. When I’m in Marylebone, I go to Monocle Café – friendliest baristas in town!
| You’ve only got an hour to shop – which street do you hit?
Marylebone High Street. Shops like Maje, Sandro and J.Crew are all there as well as great cafés and restaurants for a pit stop. Other than that, my favourites are Redchurch Street in Shoreditch and Westbourne Grove.
| Where do you book a table for a night out with friends?
Tramshed for great steaks, The Pig & Butcher for English food or Le Mercury on Upper Street for fine and affordable dining. Or we go to one of the many burger restaurants.
| And for a date?
For an evening with your love, you should go to one of the many amazing London pubs.
| By the way: pub or club?
Both! First one, then the other. Some of my favourite pubs are The Spurstowe Arms (the. best. Bloody Marys!), The Royal Oak, The Westbourse, Princess of Shoreditch, Commercial Tavern and, and, and… and then we go dancing wherever there’s a good DJ.
| Fish & Chips or curry?
Curry! You can get one on every corner in East London and no matter where I’ve tried it, I’ve never been disappointed.
| Tube or bus?
If I’ve got time I’ll take the bus. I love sitting, watching and opening Google every time we pass some place interesting that I want to know more about. When I’m rushed, I take the Tube.
| Marmite – yes or no?
Sometimes and then very little with a lot of butter. Basically how foreigners eat Marmite.
| Where do you take your afternoon tea?
Balthazar in Covent Garden. They collaborate with designers like Matthew Williamson on limited edition Afternoon Tea creations – so sweet.
| Best Sunday Lunch spot?
Bistrotheque near Victoria Park. Delicious food, great atmosphere, pretty people!
| A good café when you’ve got a few hours for breakfast on the weekend?
I’d go to Brixton Village, to Trade on Commercial Street or Allpress on Redchurch Street, or to L’eau à la Bouche. Or I stay home with my friends and we make breakfast ourselves.
| Which gallery or museum do you visit after breakfast?
National Gallery, Somerset House, Saatchi Gallery, Serpentine Gallery – depending on what’s on. My absolute favourite is the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Incredible!
| Where do you get your high street fix?
J.Crew or Zara.
| Best unique shop?
Labour & Wait on Redchurch Street. Any nice knick-knacks you might need for your home and garden, you’ll find them here.
| Prettiest department store?
By far, BY FAR, Liberty London. Their selection is just so considered and exquisite. Whether you need a perfume, a great pair of jeans or a little gift, this is the place to look for it.
| Your tip for vintage shopping?
Go to the shops in Camden Passage.
| Where do you go for a manicure?
Hula on Whitecross Street.
| Which tourist attractions are really worth visiting?
The Thamse and all of the bridges. Depending on where you take a walk, you’ll discover the city in a new light and see landmarks like the London Eye, Tower Bridge or Big Ben along the way.
| Nicest scenery to go for a walk?
Go from Little Venice along Regent’s Park to Primrose Hill, wander through the amazingly pretty neighborhood, then head towards the canal and on and on and on…
| What does your perfect Sunday look like?
I get up early, don’t have a hangover, meet friends and enjoy a sunny day outside.
| Where do you take a day trip outside the city?
Richmond Park or Hampstead Heath, which are, strictly speaking, still part of London. Or I go to the coast. England is so wonderfully diverse.
| A hotel you’d recommend to visitors?
The ACE Hotel in Shoreditch. However, Hotel Franzi has also received glowing reviews!
Foto: Fiona Jane Johansen