This summer I’m making my move to the big city! I cannot begin to put into words how incredibly excited I am to live, and work, in London. Up until 2 years ago, I had only ever been to London once before and I was only at little girl at the time. I remember my mother taking me to Hamleys to buy a teddy bear for my birthday. The toy store was like something from santa’s workshop and what made it even more special, was that the trip was in December so the whole city felt festive and almost magical. I fell in love with the city and couldn’t wait to come back.
As an adult, my trips to London have all been work-based where most of my time is spent in meetings, gyms, or at photoshoots. So unfortunately, I haven’t managed to explore much of the city. Also, despite the numerous methods of public transport in London, I still manage to get lost or end up late by hopping on the wrong tube or getting stuck in London traffic on the bus! Now that i’m actually going to be living there, I’ve made a promise to myself to actually explore the city, and not just the underground.
In light of my big move I’ve been exploring London with Santander cycles, the public bike hire scheme, and discovering new parts of London which I never knew existed. I’ve been on the search for the best parks, coffee shops, and quirky bars and restaurants. I thought it would be really cool to share with you some of my favourite spots in the city for anyone who is visiting, or, like me, just moved here!
Just across the river from the Houses of Parliament, the South Bank area is one of my favourite places to hang out in London.
This area stretches between Westminster and London Bridges on the south side of the river, and is a perfect location for a sunny day’s cycle.
The atmosphere is always buzzing, and there’s always some kind of special event going on from music, theatre, exhibitions and film. As a self-confessed foodie, I love their weekend food market which is full of amazing street food from every type of cuisine that you can imagine.
The Westminster area of London comprises some of the world’s most spectacular landmarks and tourist attractions. There’s literally so much to see that you almost need an entire weekend to visit all the best spots. However, Whizzing around on my rented Santander bike make it a whole lot easier. Make sure to check out the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster abbey, and of course you can’t miss Buckingham place.
Top tip – If you time your visit well, you can see the Changing of the Guard, which takes place at 11.30am every day or every other day.
Not far from Buckingham palace is Hyde park, which has loads of cycle routes and docking stations. On a sunny day, this is my favourite place to bring a picnic and people watch! There’s also lots of different attractions in the park including a victorian pet cemetery on the North side of the park (which is a little creepy, but also a little cute too.)
Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Gardens
To get to Chelsea Physic Gardens from Hyde park cycle through Belgravia and then continue on to Chelsea. This is one of my favourite residential parts of London because of the rows of beautiful white houses.
The Chelsea Physic Gardens are tucked beside the river Thames. This botanical garden is literally so beautiful, and so peaceful! Park your bike up outside and have a stroll around the hundreds of plants, herbs and flowers. Finish your day off with afternoon tea in the gardens cafe!
Hiring a Santander Bike
Hiring a Santander cycle was so much more easier than I expected. They have 700 docking stations and all you need is a credit or debit card to borrow a bike. I downloaded their App which shows you where to find your nearest docking station, and whether there are any bikes available at that station. You can also use the app to unlock a bike straight from your phone – really quick and easy to do!
It costs £2 to access the bikes for 24 hours, and the first 30 minutes of each journey are free. Then anything after that costs £2 for each for 30 minutes. You can also register for your own key or become a Pay As You Pedal member with 24-hour bike access for £2.
Money can’t buy experiences
Have you ever fancied taking a spin class at the top of The Shard at sunrise? How about spinning over the River Thames at Tower Bridge? Well now is your chance – courtesy of Santander Cycles. Santander cycles are teaming up with London’s hottest spin studio, Boom cycle, to host some awesome events in some incredible locations.
Transported By Design Festival – 3rd July (no influencers at this)
Tower Bridge – 20th July.
Kensington Roof Gardens – 4th August.
London Bridge Festival – 17th – 20th August
All these events are free, but it’s first come first serve so if you’re interested then register here.
Hopefully I will see you there for a sweaty spin session!
Clothing: Sweat Betty
Reebok Trainers: Footlocker Eu
Hair by: The Braid Bar
Photo by: Jon Payne
This post contains sponsored content. All opinions are my own.