Travel Dog: LONDON

This is a long read alert with links to send you off down various rabbit holes in the first of my 'Travel Dog' blog posts, I had in mind to share a glimpse into my influences and favourite places and illustrating as I travel to new places...

 The plan is all illustrations will be available as prints here

I'm starting in London, Mr Dean is from London and I moved there in 1989, we left in 2013 so just short of 25 years in the capital for me and this, I feel, is where my creative story really started. We love going back to visit London, visiting means you actually go to some of the places you always meant to when you were living there!

Cork and Bottle leicester square watercolour illustration Cork & Bottle

Lets start with food & drink! This is a wonderfully quirky, basement bar and restaurant with a blink and you’ll miss it entranceway right in Leicester Square. I was so relieved to see it’s survived the pandemic and we’ll be back on our next visit to tuck into their signature ham and cheese pie along with something off their 300+ label wine list.

When I worked in Theatre (see below) this also used to be a meeting place after work, although you couldn’t have any secret meetings here as it was overlooked by the offices of the biggest group of theatres in London and you were always spotted going in or out by someone!

John Lewis Wine Bar

Whilst I love a visit to the likes of Fortnum and Mason to drool over their produce and revel in the atmosphere, it’s a tad touristy with super efficient service in their restaurants where it can get crowded, noisy and a bit school canteeny (if that’s a word). Alternatively, one of our favourite spots is in the basement (I hadn’t noticed before, but there’s a theme running here!) food hall of John Lewis on Oxford Street. There’s a tiny wine bar in the wine section, 4 tables and 4 stools at a bar, they have a handpicked selection of wine and champagne to choose from, or you can pick anything you like from the shelf around you and a selection of food platters from their deli counter. Here you’ll find a great place to sit and watch ordinary life going on all around you, there’s usually at least one fabulous character in situ usually at the bar talking to the bar staff like they’re family (maybe they are!). It’s a tiny bubble in which to sit and observe with a nice glass of something (no tea or coffee here!). Mr.Dean and I would often meet here after work and I remember one time we decided to replace my phone with a newer model, so up to the 5th floor I went, purchased my phone and was back in the basement just as the food platter was arriving and another glass was being poured (happy sigh), one of our more decadent moments!

John Lewis Wine Bar Oxford Street watercolour illustration
London Fields Lido Illustration with dogs swimming

London Fields Lido, Hackney

This was on my way to work, I’d often swim in the early mornings, it’s heated so in winter you’d have a wonderful atmosphere of swimming through mist as the steam rose from the water.

Going off on a slight tangent there are some fabulous photographs of the swimmers in winter by madeleine waller, she really captured the atmosphere there

https://www.madeleinewaller.com/swimmers

Here is where I used to swim laps and almost chant to myself, ‘I just want to be painting and designing greeting cards’ (at the time I was office bound working as an account manager for a software company). It’s still a clear memory for me and where I think my business was born, in the middle lane of London Fields Lido!

Liberty

Wonderfully eclectic and still the place to go in London to find things you won’t find anywhere else. Beautifully curated it’s a shop to spend time in and did I mention it’s dog friendly, shop with your dog. Although it can get very busy so morning shopping recommended followed by a leisurely lunch at Arthurs, their restaurant which is also dog friendly.

See The Dogvine for all things London and dog friendly

Love My Human/London Town House

A fabulous dog grooming emporium and boutique shop on the Kings Road (they also stock my greeting cards, great taste!) They’ve opened up a dog friendly café with other services also available across the road, well worth a visit

Algerian Coffee Shop

Century-old shop for global coffees and teas, it’s wonderfully old and atmospheric, we stock up on coffee when in town, but they also deliver with a very good online delivery service, we also received a fabulous selection box for Christmas so they have great present ideas for coffee lovers AND you can pop in and get a takeaway

Illustration of Liberty London

 

 

 

 

Illustration of Algerian Coffee Stores London

The Mousetrap, St Martins Theatre London

Theatre

I can’t just pick one, but as a huge Agatha Christie fan and as it’s still running, here’s St Martin's Theatre, this West End theatre has staged a production of The Mousetrap since March 1974, making it the longest continuous run of any show in the world. The theatre is located in West Street, near Shaftesbury Avenue and Seven Dials and a fun inspiration for this illustration.

When I first came to London, I worked for a large group of Theatres, in their box offices, I don’t think I've ever laughed so much as I did in that first job, the stories…! Well, that’s for another blog! I saw so much theatre in those days, the fabulously good and the shockingly bad and will always have a soft spot for going to the Theatre, nothing quite like the excitement of a live performance

 

So my first illustrated travel blog of the series, let me know what you liked? I wonder where to next?…

This London illustration is available as a fine art print here

Comments

  • Posted by Ruth Wright on

    I love this so much. I can’t wait to see and read more.

  • Posted by Jo on

    I knew a couple of these and being reminded made me smile. Some I didn’t and it’s lovely to learn them! Beautiful illustrations – adding to the stories!

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