Palm Vaults

Pastels, plant pots and the prettiest coffees in Hackney 

Walking down E8's Mare Street you'll be able to spot Palm Vaults almost immediately. The avocado green exterior is distinctly 1970s and is topped with the cafe's name in glittery capital letters. 

Step inside and you're transported away from Hackney and instead to what could be the set for a Wes Anderson film. The interior is different to anything else in London at the moment, with marble table tops, suspended pastel plant pots overhead and everything awash with pastel pink and green down to the napkins and till roll. 

There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options at PV. Try their Palm Vaults classic: smashed avo on sourdough with a dressed salad. You can pick your own toppings with crumbled feta and sundried tomato being the obvious choices for us. Their pastel palette even translates to the coffee: which is prettier than any hot drink you will have seen before. Our favourite was the Matcha Tea Latte which is served a beautifully light shade of green. 

This spot is so pretty you'll find yourself wanting to spend the whole day there. No bookings, this is less than five minutes walk from Hackney Central Overground. 

www.palmvaults.com

411 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HY

 

On The Bab

Craving fried chicken? This Korean eatery will hit the spot.

You'll find Korean food spot On The Bab on Old Street. They serve a mixture of tasty morsels from their modest kitchen which explains the queue outside the door. Bab, the Korean word for rice, is not the only option; there's a range of tasty meat filled steamed bao buns and sticky, spicy fried chicken on the menu.

This venue is only small with about eight small tables in total and a few seats at the bar. Sticking with Shoreditch tradition, On The Bab boasts the distressed look, with exposed brickwork and the menu is listed on a vintage peg board.  

This spot is definitely all about the food: arm yourself with some napkins and try the sweet and spicy Yangyum Korean fried chicken. Sticky, crispy and more-ish, the chicken comes topped with peanuts and served with shredded Korean cabbage. A trip to OTB isn't complete without sampling a couple of their bao buns. We love the soft shell crab and guac bun drizzled in garlic and chilli soy sauce. 

The Kun Mandu chicken dumplings and Gimari seaweed salad are also worth trying. This place is all about sharing, so get a group together and enjoy! 

www.onthebab.co.uk

305 Old St, London EC1V 9LA

 

Southbank Skatepark

Spend an afternoon at this iconic London skate spot.

The skatepark at Southbank has been viewed as the birthplace of British skateboarding since 1976 and is an attraction for graffiti artists, skateboarders, inline skaters and BMXers from all over the city. The concrete undercroft provides the perfect environment for skating as it is sheltered from the ubiquitous British rain, has conveniently flat smooth surfaces and a wealth of interesting architectural features (think banks, ledges and sets of stairs). And with graffiti on every inch of the park it's a mesmerising slice of colour by the Thames.

On any given day you’ll find a number of tourists and passers by watching skaters shred the park. The skaters tend to be pretty experienced making this a really good place to see some complex tricks.

The undercroft was threatened by redevelopment plans back in 2014 but after skaters and members of the community formed the Long Live Southbank campaign and a 30,000 strong petition was delivered to the Council, the park was saved.

Half a mile from Waterloo station, bring your camera or your board and enjoy this iconic London skate spot.  

www.llsb.com

Southbank Skatepark, Lambeth, London, SE1 8XZ
 

 

Thrifting at Central Market

A Saturday Flea Market in the Pink City.

On a Saturday morning, if you find yourself in the middle of the Pink City, then wonder round the back of City Palace and head to Central Market. There you’ll find - popping up between the regular vegetable stands and the marigolds - some amazing thrift stalls that gather here on a Saturday at which point you can settle in for a few hours of browsing trying to find that little something. Stalls here sell everything, it’s a playground for bargain hunters. There’s tool stands selling car jacks and wrenches, homeware stands selling crockery, radios, trunks, books and other random collectables and toy stands where you can find paint pots and roller blades, badminton racquets and bicycles to name just a few of the possibilities. There are clothes and shoe stands too to make sure all needs are catered for! Ideally get there before 8am and you can scan the stalls as they are being set up and be sure not to miss what you’re after or just enjoy the slightly cooler streets before the morning sun starts to heat up. 

Behind the main street stretches the beautiful flower market where sari’s are filled to overflowing with orange and yellow marigolds. Most people around you head there to do their daily deals and gather their goods while others take the more laid back approach and chill on their bikes with a chai to watch the day’s trading, whatever takes your fancy. 

Also nearby are the garden’s of Shri Govind Dev Ji Temple there is a lovely park just off the back of the market. Relax after your morning of bargaining and watch the monkeys do what monkeys do!

 

Daunt Books

You'll find thousands of travel books in this beautiful bookshop

Daunt Books is arguably one of London's most beautiful bookshops. Founded almost 30 years ago, Daunt Books can be found on Marylebone High Street in an old Edwardian building. Spread over three floors, this stunning oak bookshop is primarily known for travel books. Arranging all books by country, book lovers are given a unique browsing experience. As the store has expanded, they have encompassed fact, fiction, guides and cooking books.  

Everything about Daunt Books is aesthetically breath-taking. The shop front is organised neatly and opens up into a long galleried main room, reminiscent of an old university library. At the end of the room is a huge stain glass window and this, teamed with the oak balcony and William Morris prints, gives Daunt Books a real sense of grandeur.   

Daunt Books became so popular that over the last 15 years they have opened stores in Holland Park, Hampstead, Chelsea, Belsize Park and Cheapside. Keep an eye on their website for details of talks and discussions that are held in store and look out for their annual book festival. 

Spend a Sunday flicking through their travel photography books and enjoying the peace of this old book store. 

www.dauntbooks.co.uk

83-84 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4QW