TRAVEL: A weekend in London

by - February 11, 2015

I sometimes forget London is pretty much on my doorstep and to be honest, haven't really spent much time there other than for business. I'm back on the train to Brighton in a flash, no doubt with a fridge cold station sandwich for company.

So it was lovely to finally go up for a bit of a break. I think I’ve had the most intense work/life periods of my life the last couple of months (exciting though!) and a new bambina on the way soon so I jumped at the chance to spend some quality time and stay over for the weekend with Superbreak.

The Cavendish Hotel is brilliantly located on Jermyn Street and pretty much everything we wanted to get to. Mr GF could stock up on his shirts and I could lie in a bed that was bigger than my first flat, undisturbed, without anyone asking me where their socks are, if they could have a beaker of milk or if the presentation for their new brand was ready. Hea-ven in Egyptian cotton.

But I had to peel myself away and fall a few feet into Fortnum & Mason for afternoon tea (weep for me). I love F&M. As soon as I see that cool duck egg blue and gold, I’m in. Luckily there was no time to grab a gold shopping basket as this place seriously damages my finances. Their Diamond Jubilee tea room is refreshingly modern and light but very on-brand. I’ve had some pretty swish afternoon teas but nice that this one was a little more relaxed but still felt special.

It's amazing that so many places charging £50 will give you stale edged sandwiches but these were fresh and enticingly filled, the rare, thinly sliced beef being the best. Scones were crumbly and the top tier of patisserie was of a good standard. There was also a choice of cakes from the trolley after all of this which would have been crazy, but the very nice waitress insisted like an Italian mamma that I take home a slice of pear tart with me...oh go on.

Shame I didn’t get to try any of the F&M honey, particularly as I had a view of their premium hives from the 14th floor of The Cavendish and you can buy some gorgeous, rustic wax candles from them too.

Next up was a trip to the theatre. Now, I’ve had my fair share of highbrow theatre and back in our courting days (a moon ago) myself and Mr GF used to go quite regularly to cross off all the main shows. I also covered the real classics in my English Literature days at school (even more of a moon ago). Forward a number of years and being older, burnt-out working parents, we craved something a little lighter so for whatever reason chose Wicked. As the curtain went up on the (magnificently designed) set, I realised there was a problem. Wicked was a musical. I HATE musicals. But 15 minutes in I was on board and shockingly, really enjoyed the whole thing.

Pass me my jazz hands, I’m converted to the temple of song. Never, never, never would I have imagined to see this day.

After a trip back to the hotel bar (virgin cocktails for me - boo), I had one of the most delicious sleeps in months. Breakfast was brought to me in bed and as hotel breakfasts go, this was really nicely cooked, fresh and hot. You have to pre-order the night before which means you can go a bit crazy with the tick boxes on the list, but this fuelled us for the following event.

Despite being one of the coldest days in history (possibly), the walk around Kew Gardens was just lovely. I’d wanted to go on the treetop walk since it had been built and the grounds were beautiful, even in the dead of winter. Imagine what it would be like in the summer - I’m sure returning myself to see. We warmed up with soup in the Peyton and Byrne cafe there before sadly heading home to the real world.

Although not included in the trip we also visited Brasserie Zedel near the hotel for lunch. I’ve been itching to go as I’m a true sucker for vintage (original or in the style of) interiors as well as large, bolshy, brass trimmed Parisian brasseries. Zedel is a cavern of wonder with dripping chandeliers, deco wallpaper and in addition to the main dining area had bars, entertainment rooms and an upstairs cafe. This ticked a lit of boxes and didn’t disappoint. I still can’t quite believe the low prices here with the location in mind. Food wasn’t ground breaking but generous, well made and the sort of classic Parisienne food you would expect. Mr GF’s hanger streak was particularly good actually and my confit duck with bean stew was full of flavour. Service was attentive and smart.

Also a good shout is the Wolsey which is also a stones throw if you wanted to treat yourself for breakfast as well.

The weekend was a perfect break and we felt refreshed coming back home. The Superbreak site is not something I would have normally thought to book through but there is no denying that a one-stop shop to make up your entire weekend itinerary and can often work out cheaper overall than booking independently.

To give you an idea, one night at the 4* Cavendish Hotel including breakfast, with top price evening tickets to Wicked, entry into Kew Royal Botanical Gardens and afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason is £231 per person, based on 6th March 2015 arrival.

I was a guest of Superbreak, thanks for resting my head and body for a while!

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