If you know me, you certainly know that I can be a walking disaster in many different ways. So obviously, there was only me to disembark on a guided tour of London in the rain (again, everything is fine so far), late and running, without an umbrella, a big Quechua backpack on my back and with a broken camera. Add to that that the theme of the London guided tour was luxury and desserts through the Soho and Mayfair districts and it started off rather badly…
(Fortunately, London was not in a state of emergency like Paris, otherwise I would not have been able to enter the shops and boutiques).
A guided tour of London: discover the city in a different way
In three years of living in London, I have never taken a single guided tour of the city. It is often said that living in a city and being a tourist there is very different and I can only agree. I explored South London, my secret and unusual little corners, I walked around the city and the city centre in all directions and I think I know the city well. But how can we really know a city of this size, which is constantly evolving? It’s impossible and it’s a lifetime’s work. And that’s why I finally decided to take a guided tour, to discover districts that I know very little about and from a different angle for me: a guided tour of London through Soho and Mayfair, and especially through luxury, desserts and chocolate. This is a far cry from my usual articles on museums, unusual neighbourhoods, views and pubs in London and that’s good! Because yes, you can eat well in London, I had already told you about it, but I hadn’t yet told you about London in the form of a candy paradise! And yet!
This visit was a real treat, for the taste buds, but also in general. The guide is a true London enthusiast and knows the city and is full of anecdotes and secret little corners at his fingertips. I learned many nice anecdotes about places I used to walk past without paying attention, some interesting anecdotes about the royal family and other celebrities and I went to streets and places I had never been to before! You have to do it anyway.
I am thinking of the elegant Burlington Arcade (to be discovered absolutely) and the surrounding streets, for example, as well as London’s only two original K2 telephone booths, which date from 1920. We went through Fortnum and Mason of course, the beautiful Hacthards bookstore, Carnaby Street and much more. A pleasant and informative two-and-a-half hour walk in the rain to burn the calories from everything we have eaten.
Discover London through food
I have always said that you can eat well in London, that it is not necessarily like the rest of the United Kingdom and that you have to forget the clichés. Salty or sweet, the city’s trademark is obviously its international cuisine and yes, it seems that Indian food is even better and more authentic in London than in India. I wouldn’t say anything, I’m not an expert. But then, what about the sweetness for a French woman and her delicate and accustomed puck?
At Fortnum and Mason, we don’t taste anything and enjoy it with our eyes, but it clearly makes us want to come back and try all these flavours. Then, a little stop at Ladurée’s in Burlington Arcade. Believe it or not, I had never tasted a Ladurée macaroon before and I had to go to London to do it. It’s an outrage, a scandal! It was delicious and I took a few more.
Then go to the Belgian chocolate maker Godiva. Once again, it’s a first and it’s divine. I am happy to refill again and yes, I will come back!
The tour usually ends with an English tea, a perfect end to enjoy London. We are taken to a secret shop in Carnaby, Choccywoccydoodah, where we discover a top secret and kitsch private lounge, decorated in a completely delirious and delicious way, with a view of Carnaby and passers-by in the rain. It’s time to taste everything: chocolates, brownies of all flavours, cakes, hot chocolates… and to clearly overdose on sugar! But it was good, surprising and original and it would be the perfect place for a bachelorette party or to celebrate your 30th birthday!
For a French woman, the food might perhaps be a little disappointing and I was expecting to eat a delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding, my favourite dessert in the UK, but just for the last place and all the chocolate, it was worth it!