Travel to London: Visiting Borough Market, drinking the best coffee of my life, and filming a CNN special
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
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
- Covent Gardens
- Thames River and the London Eye
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.
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.