After my holiday in the United Kingdom and Ireland, I got the chance to return to London to film a CNN International series called “Inspirations.” The particular episode on which I was featured was entitled “Breaking Boundaries,” and it included a panel of guests who achieved great things in spite of living with disabilities—watch above.

The hubs and I arrived a few days early to enjoy London and, of course, eat.

Day 1 in London


  • Hopper’s

London’s known for amazing south Asian food, so naturally, our first meal upon arrival was Sri Lankan. Then it was all we could do not to fall asleep before 6 PM local time. (No, heavy Sri Lankan food did not help.)

Day 2 in London


  • Hakasan
  • Covent Gardens
  • Thames River and the London Eye
  • Barrafina

More eating ensued on our second day in London. Lunch was at world-renowned Hakasan, whose menu and experience I found disappointingly lackluster. Watch the video above to find out why.

But dinner redeemed itself at Barrafina with it’s superbly executed Spanish small plates.

In between, the hubs and I explored Covent Gardens and the Thames boardwalk. The hubs even bought me a golden ring made from a miniature spoon from a street vendor, and I wear it at almost every speaking event.

Day 3 in London

Our best gastronomical day yet. A western breakfast with a south Asian twist, the most perfect madeleines for a midday snack, cocktails at a dingy dive bar, and back to the breakfast restaurant to eat Indian food for dinner.

Day 4 in London

The year before when we’d vacationed in London, we made the mistake of coming to Borough Market on a weekday when most food stalls were closed. This time, we made sure to come on a day when most vendors were in business. Lesson learned: check the website for operating information.

Something to try at Borough Market is the raclette sandwich at Kappacasein. While the food market choices were enticing, what really blew my mind was the coffee I had across the way at Monmouth. Now I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means, but Monmouth had the best coffee I’d ever had in my life. It wasn’t too bitter nor acidic, just a perfect cup of brew. Of course, I had to urge the hubs to buy a bag of beans to bring home.

Day 5 in Woking


  • McLaren Technology Center

Finally, the day came when I had to work. Prior to filming, the hubs and I got a private tour of the McLaren factory where those famous race cars are built by hand. We got to see some F1 cars (which apparently cost in the millions), but because we were around some hypersensitive intellectual property, we weren’t allowed to use our cameras.

Watch the “Inspirations: Breaking Boundaries” episode I’d filmed with CNN International.

Day 6 in London


  • Heathrow Airport

And the London trip ends with us eating airport lounge food. Hey, no complaints here. We even got liquored up on gin at the duty-free shop. Now I know the secret to selling lots of duty-free alcohol: get your customer tipsy, and they’ll say yes to everything. We should know; we boarded that plane with two bottles of expensive duty-free gin.

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3 Discussion to this post

  1. We came to stay in London for a few days and used the tube daily, it's great that you can either use a contactless card or purchase an Oyster card, it saves times trying to find the correct money. There are members of staff who are happy to advise you on any routes and even to help with the purchase of the Oyster card. There is a map to assist you with working out your journey. It probably takes about a day to get used to what you are doing, but then it becomes normal. We had no delays, they were clean and not too busy, we always managed a seat and we travelled the first week in august and thought it might be very busy as during school holidays, but it was not too bad. This is a very effective way of travelling round London, would definitely recommend. They are doing some work at present until 29 august in order to extend some platforms which will be very disruptive but as they aim to finish prior to the schools returning hopefully it will not have a detrimental effect too much.

  2. HereCoffe1 says:

    You definitely know how to find the best food in any city. Btw, which coffee do you like the most?

    • Christine Ha says:

      I can’t remember which coffee from London I liked best. I know I prefer less acidic tasting beans. I’m no coffee connoisseur.

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