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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Instagram Guide to London

As you scroll through Instagram, there are millions of photos of Big Ben and Tower Bridge. But why post photos of those when you can find something more off-the beaten path?

Instagram has quickly taken over the social media scene with over 300 million users. There are over 75 million photos posted a day on the app and yours can easily get lost in the shuffle. To make your followers even more insta-jealous of your study abroad travels, try these locations. The places are not only photo worthy but also hold historic and cultural meaning that even Londoners can attest to. So grab your iPhone and Oyster Card and get out there.

Victoria & Albert Cafe – Silverware clatters against plates, the murmur of hundreds of conversations float around you, and the overhead chandeliers cast a soft glow. The Victorian-era walls of the

Morris, Gamble and Poynter rooms, originally decorated around 1857, create the world’s oldest museum restaurant. The columns in the middle of the rooms are ornate and the ceiling features hand-painted tiles with glorious woodwork. The food is an added bonus, with hot and cold options as well as various pastry and tea delights. You purchase your food before finding a table and for your best photo options, sit at a booth on the side of the main room. 
Victoria and Albert Café is located in the back of the museum. (www.vam.ac.uk/visit#cafe, 0300 061 2380). Entry is free. Open daily from 10am- 5:15pm, Fridays from 10am-9:30pm.

Greenwich Park – The quiet of Greenwich Park in the morning is engulfing, amazing you that you’re only a 45-minute train ride from London’s center. It is relatively empty, aside from the odd dog walker or couple practicing their waltz at the bandstand. The park is 180 acres and by walking through its entirety you get a sense of tranquility, putting you at piece with the world around you. It is the most historic of the Royal Parks as it dates back to 1427, when Henry V’s brother inherited it. The park was the birthplace of Henry VIII and in 1661 the Royal Observatory was commissioned on the site. The Royal Observatory lies at the top of Greenwich Hill, with hoards of school children and tourists pushing past to get their photo with the Prime Meridian. But avoid them and head for the lookout point to take your idyllic photo of the greenery ending in the National Maritime Museum, its classical architecture a bright, white offset to its surroundings.
Greenwich Park (www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/greenwich-park, 0300 061 2380 ). Entry is free. Open every day from 6am-9:30pm. Best Instagram Filter: Gingham

Leadenhall Market – Past the flood of men in suits at Bank is Leadenhall Market. Being there is like being transported back to the set of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Glass ceilings provide vibrant sunlight while burgundy painted wooden columns hold gargoyles. The market began in 1411, was rebuilt after the Great Fire in 1666, and in 1881 it received its current architectural fame. Today the market host’s stores and restaurants that fill-up quickly during the lunch hour. As you stand in the middle of the market looking up at the ceiling multiple tour groups walk in to quickly snap photos. But your best photo comes from standing at the end of the market and shooting back into the center. Leadenhall Market (https://www.leadenhallmarket.co.uk/). Entry is free. Open all day every day. Best Instagram Filter: Amaro.

Daunt Books – Just off Marleybone High Street Daunt is daunting indeed; but in a good way. Books are stacked almost to the ceiling and the travel section is something you could only dream about. The Edwardian bookshop opened over 25 years ago with its long oak galleries, intimate surroundings, and the smell of books. Green lights hang from a sunroof and green walls are studded with etched glass windows. Plan at least an hour for the perfect perusal time and be warned you will probably end up purchasing one of their Daunt book bags. The Instagram lies in the reading room, standing at the top of the stairs, shooting into the room. 
Daunt Books (www.dauntbooks.co.uk, 02072242295). Entry is free. Open Monday-Saturday from 9am-7:30pm, and Sundays/Bank Holidays from 11am-6pm. Best Instagram Filter: Valencia

Queen Mary’s Gardens – After you leave Daunt Books, head outside to Regent’s Park, which features Queen Mary’s Gardens. Perfect during the first two weeks of June and after a recent rain, the roses glisten with water droplets and the vivid colors will fill your camera roll with hundreds of options. The petals that have fallen off cover the floor of the gardens and the smell of fresh roses emanates from every corner. The area was opened in 1932 and holds London’s largest collection of roses with about 12,000 varieties planted. The hardest thing will be controlling yourself from taking photos of each kind. 
Queen Mary’s Gardens (https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/the-regents-park/things-to-see-and-do/gardens-and-landscapes/queen-marys-gardens, 0300 061 2300). Entry is free. Open everyday from 5am-9:30pm. Best Instagram Filter: Reyes.

Bywater Street – There is always someone posing with the colorful homes on Bywater Street, be that a fashion blogger or an old couple with a Nikon zoom lens.The street is on a cul-de-sac and is eerily quiet despite its closeness to Sloane Square’s shopping district. Bywater, located in Chelsea, is often confused with Notting Hill on social media platforms. It features a row of adorable, brightly colorful houses that make one of the most aesthetically pleasing Instagram photos you will ever take. As an added bonus, if you are a mystery novel buff, you will recognize No. 9 Bywater as George Smiley’s (John le Carre’s MI6 intelligence officer) house. 
Bywater Street is located at Chelsea, London SW3 4XD. Entry is free. Open all day every day. Best Instagram Filter: Clarendon.

Green Park – Birds chirp, the wind whistles through the trees, and you can faintly pick up the sound of children laughing in the distance. Green Park located next to Buckingham Palace is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of tourist-centric London. Sit on a bench, pack a picnic and let the calm serenity soothe your mind. The park was first listed in historical records in 1554, as a meadowland used for hunting. But today’s park landscape looks much more like when the park was opened for the public in 1826. There are no buildings, just wide-open green spaces. Your instagramable place lies behind the Canada Gate, a line of hulking trees that create the perfect green canopy, make sure to go in the late afternoon when the lighting is best. 
Green Park (www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/green-park, 0300 061 2350). Entry is free. Open all day every day. Best Instagram Filter: Slumber.

I realize there are tons of other places to Instagram in London, but this was just a little round-up. If you want even more of my favorites, please email me, I lived in London for 2 1/2 months! Also, be on the lookout for the most massive travel guide HT has ever seen in the next few months, I am going to be taking my extensive knowledge of London and creating an ultimate guide-xoxo darling, Hayden.

P.S. Stay tuned tomorrow for advice on the best souvenirs to buy on your next vacation! 


  1. Loooovely shots girl!

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  2. So many great Instagram places. Hope to travel to London one day!

    - Nazira

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