What to do in London when it rains

? It’s raining, it’s pouring… ?

But it’s no reason to stay in! Even in the rain, London’s quite an exciting city !

(and it’s just as well as it’s not exactly famous for its gorgeous weather anyway…)

So put your (rain) boots on and take a look below for a few ideas of what to do in London when it rains!

1. Invest in a new umbrella

Not only is it a matter of survival (no way this £1 Primark one is not going to survive the wind gusts!), but it’s also the perfect excuse to step back in time and visit London (and the world)’s only store specialising in umbrella retail.

What to do in London when it rains | Buy an umbrella at James Smith & Sons

Founded in 1830, James Smith & Sons offers a wide range of outstanding umbrellas, as well as repair service for them.

What to do in London when it rains: buy an umbrella at James Smith & Sons

A rain-themed Aladdin’s cave of sorts!

2. Go to the pub

The ultimate British fix when something goes wrong.

Radicals & Victuallers London | Restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Your government just made a terribly stupid decision? Go to the pub, that’ll cheer you up!

Your football team got out of a major tournament? Go to the pub.

The weather’s so awful you can’t even…? Go. To. The. Pub.

Radicals & Victuallers London | Restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

There’s pints and comfort food, and comfy chairs and you can just hide away from the world for as long as you’d like.

God save the pubs!

Radicals & Victuallers London | Restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

There are many great pubs to choose from, but if it’s not too much of a trek, give Radicals & Victuallers a go. They have live sports & board games & mac’n’cheese and are a perfect rain-escape plan!

3. Have afternoon tea

You know what makes everything better? Cake.

And tea, and a couple of hours in a plush chair catching up with your favourite people.

Little Nan's Cocktail Afternoon Tea at Sutton House | Cake + Whisky

Which is exactly why afternoon tea is perfect for rainy days.

Little Nan's Cocktail Afternoon Tea at Sutton House | Cake + Whisky

Go to Little Nan’s vintage & funky tea at Sutton House or treat yourself to Cake Boy extraordinaire Eric Lanlard’s version at Palmcourt at the Parklane Hotel, sit down aaaaand relax!

4. Visit the Kew Gardens

Grim weather is one of the most depressing things there is.

But nothing loads of flowers can’t fix.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

And there’s only one rain-prooved place for that: the Kew Gardens.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

A rainy day is the perfect time to visit, because you’ll have the place almost to yourself and can truly take your time to discover Mother Nature’s most incredible creations!

Flower power!

5. Play the time away at Draughts

Draughts is London’s first board game café and a haven for game lovers.

What to do in London when it rains: play board games at Draughts

With a huge library of games – 600 and counting! – as well as food and snacks, a range of local craft beers, ales, ciders, and wines, it’s a brilliant spot to stay dry and have fun!

What to do in London when it rains: play board games at Draughts

Check & mate, weather man!

6. Close your eyes and pretend like you’re actually on the French Riviera

This Summer, Le Méridien Piccadilly is bringing Nice to London!

Le Méridien Piccadilly Summer Soirée | Cake + Whisky

Their Terrace Bar & Grill, has been transformed into an idyllic coastal resort, complete with sun loungers, sun umbrellas, blossoming climbing plants, espadrilles, apéritif and even a pétanque field!

Le Méridien Piccadilly Summer Soirée | Cake + Whisky

Summer vibes regardless of the weather? Count me in! Read more

What’s your favourite thing to do in London when it rains? Any top tips? 

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What to do in London when it rains

10 more things to do in London with your parents

Being a good host is such a tough job! You have to thing of everything, plan everything, double-check everything, all while keeping everyone’s interests and preferences in mind.

Luckily sometimes, somebody else (me!) does all the hard work for you and makes the whole thinking-and-planning bit far easier!

I already wrote about some ideas of things to do in London with your parents before, but in my experience, more ideas are always welcome when it comes to organising the best London trip ever for the best parents ever (obvs.).

Since my parents re-visited recently, I thought I’d share what they’ve enjoyed doing this time around!

1. Visit the Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Plants, flowers, trees & carrot cake = perfect ingredients for a blooming lovely day in London!

If your family is anything like mine (a.k.a. 100% obsessed with all tings plants & flowers), a visit to the Kew Gardens will easily be the highlight of their trip!

2. Have a Sunday roast

The Smokehouse, Islington | Cake + Whisky

The Smokehouse, Islington | Cake + Whisky

The Smokehouse, Islington | Cake + Whisky

Sunday Roast is one of England’s most glorious culinary traditions and one that is very family-friendly indeed.

The best roasts are to be found in London’s top gastropubs, my personal favourite being The Smokehouse (just look at these roasties!!)

3. Revisit history at the Tower of London

Tower of London | Cake + Whisky

Tower of London | Cake + Whisky

Tower of London | Cake + Whisky

Tower of London | Cake + Whisky

Castle, fortress, prison, military GQ… The Tower of London has always played a predominant role in the history of London and the UK. With just a few steps, you’ll go from long forgotten past to present, and everything inbetween.

4. See the Changing of the Guards

Changing of the Guard | Cake + Whisky

Changing of the Guard | Cake + Whisky

Changing of the Guard | Cake + Whisky

A well-loved classic and one everyone should see once in their life, so if your family hasn’t witnessed the Changing of the Guards at Buckinham Palace, make sure you put it on the list for their next visit!

5. Have Afternoon or Cream Tea

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Tea, cake and good company…  Is there any better way to spend some quality time with the ones you love? (pictures from a lovely afternoon tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly)

6. Go to a Farmer’s Market

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

10 things to do in London with your brother | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Cake + Whisky | Borough Market

No matter how impressive you want your parents’ trip to London to be, don’t forget to incorporate some of your own favourites things into your plans so they get a chance to take a peak into your actual, everyday life.

… and since I spend most of my free time at farmers’ markets anyway…

7. See a West End show

The Mousetrap, London | Cake + Whisky

The Mousetrap, London | Cake + Whisky

The Mousetrap, London | Cake + Whisky

London’s theatre scene is second only to New York’s and tickets to a West End show are definitely amongst the best ways to spend the evening (especially since tickets are often not as expensive as one would expect!).

8. Go to a surprising restaurant

Things to do in London with your parents | Cake + Whisky

Be it because of the views, the settings or the food itself (traditional Japanese udon, spicy Sri Lankan curries, vegetarian delights… your call!), London always has a trick up its sleeves when it comes to food!

9. Take a Thames Boat Tour

Best things to do in London: a walk along the Thames | Cake + Whisky

Best things to do in London: a walk along the Thames | Cake + Whisky

Sure, that’s a bit of a tourist-y cliché. But then again, boats are the coolest form of public transports EVER!

10. Show them around your workplace

I know it sounds like a strange idea, but the truth is, your parents just want to know everything they can about you and your life and what you do every day and where you go and who you see. So, well, maybe showing them where you work is a nice, easy lil’ step forward, don’t you think?

What’s your favourite thing to do in London with your parents? Anything I need to add to my list for next time?

10 more things to do in London with your parents

Kew Gardens

There’s only one way to do Spring in England.

The minute the sun comes out, you have to rush out and make the most of the weather while it lasts.

Tough life, but eh, I’m not the one making the rules!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

One of the very best place to enjoy a spot of Spring sunshine is the Kew Gardens.

Founded in 1840 (!!), its living collections include over 30,000 different kinds of plants.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Including tulip fields as far as the eyes can see…

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

…and a stunning tropical glasshouse.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Complete with palm leaves big enough to double as umbrellas!

Take that, unexpected April showers!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Go up the stairways and you’ll find yourself at the top of the floral world.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

A view from above is always a good idea before going back down & explore every tiny detail of Kew’s fantastic collections.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Delicate flower bunches…

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

…leaves in every shade of green…

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

… some truly bizarre plants…

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

… and some just plain beautiful!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Take advantage of a ray of sunshine to hop to the Waterlily house.

A small but perfectly formed glasshouse, home to some of Kew Gardens most beautiful specimens.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Including these beauties, and many, many more!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

If the weather forecast is fine, take a stroll around the park to see Kew’s gardeners’ incredible flower arrangements.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

… or just let your inner dog run wild after the park’s wildlife!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

The Princess of Wales Conservatory is another must do on a visit to the Kew Gardens.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Recreating ten climatic zones under one roof, it’s home to some of Kew’s most vibrant specimens.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

There are flowers every colour of the rainbow.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Delicate tiny blossoms live side by side with gigantic ones (such as this impressive Amorphophallus titanum, who only bloom once every couple of years and is said to smell rather horrible).

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

And then there are the always fascinating carnivorous plants…

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Newt time you’re nearby, go! I’m sure will find it absolutely succulent!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Just make sure you make a pit stop at The Orangerie on the way.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

With floor to ceiling windows, white wood, loads of evergreens and the moistest of carrot cake, the place is an Instagramers’ dream come true.

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

… but then the blossoming magnolia trees aren’t doing half bad at that either!

Kew Gardens | Cake + Whisky

A truly unbe-leaf-able place!

So many beautiful plants I didn’t want to leaf!

Find more info (and book tickets) here

Kew Gardens

Lumiere London 2016

Last weekend, Londoners and visitors were invited to see the city in a new light with Lumiere London, the biggest-ever light festival to hit the capital.

Produced by Artichoke and supported by the Mayor of London, a host of international artists illuminated four of London’s most iconic areas: King’s Cross, Mayfair, Piccadilly and Westminster, creating opportunities to see iconic architecture transformed with 3D projections, interactive installations and other extraordinary light works.

There was so much to see we didn’t managed to cover it all, but what we did see was so gorgeous I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

IFO (Identified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

This giant, neon-lit birdcage has been a KX feature for a while, to the delight of art enthousiastic and kids-at-heart (there’s a swing in the cage’s centre!).

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Joining the Dots by Cleary Connolly clever video installation inspired by the work of psychophysicist Gunnar Johansson on how the mind can perceive the human body.

Very much in tune with its environment, using the newly-opened German Gym as its backdrop!

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Dresses by Tae Gon Kim

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Beautiful, shimmering dresses frozen in London shop windows. One of my favourite pieces.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Circus of Life by Ocubo

Featuring acrobats, jugglers, dancers and performers, as well as the faces of some of the people who live, work, or play in King’s Cross.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Which, judging by the crowds, seemed to have made it a popular piece.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Or maybe we were just all there for the tea…

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

I Haven’t Changed My Mind in a Thousand Years by Beth J Ross

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Bringing the wisdom of the past to the present.

A welcome bit of a modern clash with the very fancy Piccadilly Arcade (where change of heart over a Rollex or a diamond necklace happen far too often!)

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Les Voyageurs by Cédric Le Borgne

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Sitting on rooftops, frozen mid-air in flight, they invite you to glance up and around, offering the possibility of connection between dream and reality.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

It sure got me dreaming of flying away to Neverland ( and I might also have sung a little bit…)

You can fly, you can fly, you can flyyyyyyyyyy!!

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

195 Piccadilly by NOVAK

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

From the home of the Royal Society of Watercolour Paintings to that of the prestigious BAFTA nowadays, the stunning building at 195 Piccadilly is a fascinating piece of London’s architectural history.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Even more so when arts manages to combine past and present and explore the different genres of cinema and television.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Luminéoles by Porté par le vent

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Brightly coloured “dancing” fish, floating and swooping through the air. Simply beautiful.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Shaida Walking. 2015 by Julian Opie

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Yet one more art piece projecting Carnaby at the front of London’s street art scene.

And last but not least…

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Strung between buildings at Oxford Circus, this enormous net sculpture is named after onf of the astonishing impacts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Such was the strength of the vibrations that the earthquake momentarily sped up the earth’s rotation and shortened that day by 1.8 microseconds.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Using data from NASA, Studio Echelman turned this phenomenon into this wonderful interactive piece of art.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Proof is you ever needed one of how beautiful science is.

And a truly brilliant way to start 2016 indeed!

Lumiere London 2016

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

It’s Proms season!

Actually, it’s been for quite a while, but I hadn’t managed to make my way to the fanciest of all music festivals.

Or so it was until yesterday, when I left work early and Uber-ed my way to South Kensington for an evening of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + Whisky Continue reading “Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms”

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

It’s Proms season!

Actually, it’s been for quite a while, but I hadn’t managed to make my way to the fanciest of all music festivals.

Or so it was until yesterday, when I left work early and Uber-ed my way to South Kensington for an evening of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall.A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + Whisky

Founded in 1895, The Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts held annually in the Royal Albert Hall.

A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyOften described as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival”, it’s a very civilised affair indeed; no mud or camping here; it’s all about the Champagne and classical music.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyAnd to some extend, the queues… But well, when the best tickets in the house are only £5, I suppose it’s only fair game.

A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskySouth Kensington Natural History Museum, details | Cake + WhiskySouth Kensington Natural History Museum | Cake + WhiskyHaving picked up a couple of raffle tickets, we left the Royal Albert Hall behind and raced off towards South Kensington to pick up a few bits for a little pre-concert improvised picnicLa Patisserie des Reves, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyAfter contemplating our many options for a quite a while (and deciding that a pudding-only meal wouldn’t be reasonable despite how delicious everything in La Patisserie des Rêves‘ window looked), we settled for an old favourite: Comptoir LibanaisComptoir Libanais, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyComptoir Libanais, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyWe picked up enough baba ganoush to feed a small army (and a few baklawas too, I simply couldn’t resist that amazing window display) and carried our feast back to the Royal Albert Hall. A Night at the BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskySoon after we returned, we were led into the Royal Albert Hall.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyFrom then on, my jaw didn’t stop hitting the floor for the entire evening.

The architecture, the music, the company… Everything was perfect and made for one of the best nights I could ever have wished for.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t take pictures of the concert so I’m afraid you’ll have to go check it out for yourself some time soon!

Have you ever been to the BBC Proms? 

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

10 things to do in London with your parents

My parents are visiting next week. Which would be all good and exciting and everything if my dad didn’t happen to not be the biggest fan of big cities (this sentence is quite an understatement of his actual feelings towards them) and wasn’t sacred of “being bored” (his words).

So obviously, I started compiling lists (yes, plural!) of things for them to do when they’re here (boredom doesn’t stand a chance against my list-addict superpowers!!). Here are my top 10 must-do!

1- Walk along South Bank Cake + Whisky | Tower BridgeCake + Whisky | Blackfriars BridgeCake + Whisky | South BankCake + Whisky | South BankCake + Whisky | South BankCake + Whisky | St Paul's Cathedral… It’s been proven that it is impossible to get bored of these views!

2- Notting HillCake + Whisky | Notting HillCake + Whisky | Notting HillIt simply would be rude to ignore pretty pastel houses.

3- ALL THE PARKS! Cake + Whisky | RichmondCake + Whisky | Kensington GardensCake + Whisky | Regents ParkCake + Whisky | GreenwichCake + Whisky | St James ParkCake + Whisky | Richmond ParkCake + Whisky | Green ParkCake + Whisky | Richmond ParkCake + Whisky | London Hyde ParkCake + Whisky | Richmond ParkCake + Whisky | Richmond ParkAre we actually in the middle of one of the biggest cities in Europe? Yes? Really? (Also, deers. If that doesn’t win my dad over, I don’t know what will.)

4- Borough Market Cake + Whisky | Borough MarketCake + Whisky | Borough MarketCake + Whisky | Borough MarketCake + Whisky | Borough MarketCake + Whisky | Borough MarketCake + Whisky | Borough MarketCake + Whisky | Borough MarketMarkets in France are very different from what we get here in London (mostly produce-focused vs mostly street-food focused) and the Borough Market miraculously manage to mix both concepts perfectly. Plus litterally ALL THE FOOD!

5- Climb the Monument Cake + Whisky | Climbing the MonumentBest view at the best price (+ extra exercise!)

6- Walk around Covent GardenCake + Whisky | Covent GardenCake + Whisky | Covent GardenCake + Whisky | Seven DialsCake + Whisky | Seven DialsIt’s just so pretty. Also, there are pies. And tea. Which is basically my idea of heaven.

7- Take a peak of the best museums Cake + Whisky | V&ACake + Whisky | V&A MuseumCake + Whisky | V&A MuseumCake + Whisky | V&A MuseumCake + Whisky | V&A MuseumCake + Whisky | V&A MuseumCake + Whisky | Museum of LondonCake + Whisky | Tower of LondonMy favourites include The Tower of London, the V&A and the Museum of London.

8- Have a pub dinner. (pictures from last week’s very succesful dinner at The Pig & Butcher. Really good food inc. *THAT* Brulée Rice Pudding.)Cake + Whisky | Pig & Butcher, IslingtonCake + Whisky | Pig & Butcher, IslingtonCake + Whisky | Pig & Butcher, IslingtonA great way to prove that British food can be very (VERY) good indeed and make your mum stop sending absurd care packages (my own mum has gotten better lately though, she doesn’t send pasta anymore!).

9- Teatime!Cake + Whisky | Teatime

10- And most importantly, catching up on everything and spend time together!Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsCake + Whisky | MuffinsAnd if this happens to be over a few rounds of cocktails or some cake, well, what can I do about it?

What do you like to do in London with visitors? Anyhting I should add to my list?

10 things to do in London with your parents