As soon as I discovered This is Your Kingdom, I knew I'd stumbled upon an enchanting haven in cyberspace, which could become deliciously addictive. Described as "a trusted insider's guide to the UK's most lovely places", the site shares charming and potentially secret places across the UK (it is not solely London-focused). After working on British Vogue's Secret Address Book, and Time Out's "Secret London Spots" and "101 Things to do in London", I appreciate the time and effort it takes to unveil unique and special places, but also the fun that goes along with that. Spend just a few minutes perusing the beautifully designed This is Your Kingdom site and the joy of founders Hannah and Rebecca as they (and their readers) impart their lovely local knowledge is palpable. On the site, you will find features to include Bellinis & Boatrides in York, or a Vintage Treasure Trail outside Shaftesbury. However, for their guest post on City Girl Diaries (the blog's first-ever!), the lovely Hannah and Rebecca wished to share their extensive London-based knowledge, as part of their New Year 'I Will' Action List: attractions & distractions for a happy, healthy and productive 2012. Take your time reading and enjoy the links!
This is Your Kingdom's Guest Post for City Girl Diaries:
So, without further ado, here is your ‘I will’ list for 2012:
Make & Create: A fun, relaxing and productive way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends. Best of all, you come away with something truly bespoke and personal to you, much better than a hangover we thinks. From constructing wigwams in East Sheen to dressmaking in Clapham, shoe crafting in Hackney and bunting making in Balham, there are plenty of fantastic independent craft venues across the capital at which to get those creative juices flowing.
|The Papered Parlour, Clapham|
Potter & Ponder: London is full of lovely, little high streets lined with unique independent shops. How about cupcakes and collectables in Crystal Palace, brunching and browsing in Muswell Hill, grocery shopping at the Royal Hill lovelies in Greenwich, or unearthing trinkets on Northcote Road in Clapham? Dip into a new part of the city and do your bit to support independents and the passionate, creative locals who run them.
Explore & Discover: The city is dotted with gorgeous green spaces, beautiful buildings and hidden secrets and the best way to get out and discover these is on foot or (our preference) by bicycle! Find pelicans in St James’ Park and discover secret snack spots in Chelsea. Feel the wind in your hair as you cross Walthamstow Marshes and marvel at the views from the lawn at Kenwood House in Hampstead.
|Kenwood House, Hampstead|
Snuggle & Sleep: Cosy nights at home in front of the fire are the best way to get through the winter months but it’s important to get out once in a while so snuggle up at this cosy cinema in Shoreditch instead, take in a play at this small stage with big performances in Notting Hill or catch the Sunday film night at this eclectic café in Waterloo.
Indulge & Enjoy: We’re all for partaking in some serious scoffing to counter-balance the lack of boozing and London has a whole host of fabulous foodie destinations not to be missed. Take vintage tea in Hammersmith, find fine fayre on Maltby Street, seek out the yummiest coffee in Chelsea and master the sweet things in life at this unique cookery school in Queen's Park.
|The Art of Puddings Cookery School, Queen's Park|
Weekending Away: One of the best things about the city is that it’s ever so easy to escape for a weekend away. Take the train to Brockenhurst in Hampshire for gastro dining and luxury rooms at The Pig, tootle off to Cambridge (bicycle on tow) for city living mixed with gorgeous countryside, or take a trip to the great British seaside for fish and chips and market mooching.
Embrace Rurban Living: You may be in one of the world’s largest cities, but London has plenty of ways to forget where you are tucked up its sleeve. Take a trip to one of the many ‘city farms’ in Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Vauxhall or explore the many waterways, open spaces and growing gardens on offer to each of us across the capital.
|Stepney City Farm, Tower Hamlets|
Try a New Hobby: From open air swimming, to outdoor trapeze or Bolshoi ballet for beginners, there are plenty of weird and wonderful ways to challenge your mind and body across the capital. We thoroughly embrace the ‘try everything once’ mentality, though usually reward ourselves afterwards with a nice piece of Victoria sponge.
Get a Caffeine High: Substitute alcohol with caffeine and spend afternoons cosied up in coffee shops catching up with friends. If like us you are a bit of a coffee snob (just the right strength, not too hot, milky or frothy) have a peek at these TiYK recommended spots in Hampstead, Hackney, Hither Green, Brixton, Deptford, Hammersmith and Battersea.
|The Cupboard Deli, Shepherd's Bush|
If you would like to nominate your favourite thing to do or see in the UK, you can take part in This is Your Kingdom's Back Britain campaign! The best entry each month wins a prize; enter by February 29th and you could win a beautiful gift set by KatieMosa.
Would you like to write a guest post for City Girl Diaries? Get in touch & say hi: email@example.com