Although it is always crammed full of tourists, I love Piccadilly Circus. I’ve been lucky to visit on quieter days, and there can be a peace about it that isn’t easily achieved in London. However, it is most often bustling and full of energy! I *usually* visit Piccadilly in London because that is where you can find one of my most absolute favourite-st shops in the world- Fortnum and Mason! You can head down Regent Street for shopping, or to Leicester Square for any number of amusements. You quickly realise exactly why this is called a circus!
For those people who don’t spend a weird amount of time parsing words, in this context Circus is in reference to the Latin Circle (not a Big-Top event that drops into town). I wouldn’t recommend spending a great deal of time in the roundabout itself but definitely go out of your way to spend time in the area.
The architecture surround Piccadilly Circus is some of my favourite in London. The Georgian period is my favourite in English history, and I love how elaborate and ornate the buildings are while still being calming. When M and I were visiting London in 2015, I was so happy that we decided to stroll down from Piccadilly to the Mall. I daydreamed about working in the area (as if I could somehow work in international finance in London…..), and took in everything around me. One thing I noticed is the number of hidden doors that led to clubs, restaurants, offices, and shops that you would have to know exist to even hope of finding them.
Something I find entertaining about Piccadilly Circus is that the statue that is in the middle of the Circus is not actually Eros as everyone claims. However, if you want people to actually know what you are talking about, I would just suggest that you refer to it as the Eros statue.
I love that no matter rain or shine, windy or snowing, Piccadilly always looks perfect. I don’t know what it is about the stone in the buildings, but it stands out in every climate.
The walk down Piccdilly to Fortnum and Mason is one of my favourite walks. Along the way, you pass Barbour, Waterstones, and BAFTA, in case you were thinking, “This isn’t English enough for me.” As busy as Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street are, I don’t find that Piccadilly Street is ever too terribly crowded. I am just thankful that my family and M are always willing to put up with my Fortnum trips!
Everytime I walk up to Fortnum and Mason, I am amazed at their window displays. I have to say, I have yet to see a store in North America that can do window displays like the English. I think that we need to potentially look at hiring our visual merchandising from the UK…
For anyone who doesn’t know, Fortnum and Mason is a luxury department staore that was founded in 1707, known for their tea and hampers! If you are so inclined, you can enjoy afternoon tea at the Diamond Jubilee Salon, opened by Her Majesty herself. It will set you back €44, but I will say that it is probably worth it. Last time I went with tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace, but this is for my next trip.
Their baking and treats are beautiful, and I think just as picturesque as Ladureé. Soapbox Sidenote: I hate macarons. I think they are gross (in taste and texture), difficult to make, and weirdly expensive. Why are they everywhere?!?! Anywho, I tried a cupcake and a cro-nut when we were there in April 2015. Not too shabby, indeed.
Their standard tea caddy is a thing of beauty- for €10, you get 250g of excellent quality tea, and a beautiful caddy. I collect tea tins from my travels, and you can bet that I still have all three of the caddies I’ve purchased so far. If you like tea at all, I would certainly recommend ordering one for yourself from Fortnum!
If you are interested in Fortnum and Mason and/or tea culture, I would certainly recommend grabbing this! It’s available at the store, on Amazon, and I have it on my Kobo, so it shouldn’t be hard to snag.
For anyone who has been to London, what is your number one, absolutely have to visit, favourite spot? And for anyone who hasn’t, what would be your first stop when you land?