When thinking of London, most people may picture the fast life of a metropolis. But Happinez discovered that London also has a private life where the pace is much slower. Here are some of the most wonderful boutiques, the best organic restaurants and the greenest, most quiet spots.
Cereal Killer Café
Cereal is hip in London, which explains why people often queue up at Cereal Killer Café. It's open all day, serving the most delicious muesli among high stacks of brightly colored retro packets, most of the m from the 1980s and 90s. The café is run by Gary and Alan, hipster twins with beards, tattoos and colourful jackets. You can choose from a selection of more than 120 kinds of cereal, 30 milk varieties and 20 festive yet healthy toppings. The twins also make delicious cereal cakes.
139 Brick Lane * Open daily from 7am to 10pm * cerealkillercafe.co.uk
A plethora of markets
East London is the place to be for alternative markets. On Saturdays, there's a food market nearby Spitalfields which offers a dazzling variety of street food. On Sundays, there's an old-fashioned flower market on Columbia Road, and also an arts and crafts market in the old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. A new market is added almost every year, often in a beautiful old factory hall.
At Penhaligon's, a perfume shop with a boudoir-type atmosphere, they sell scents with a story. Take the scent "Hammam Bouquet" from 1872, inspired by the Turkish steam baths in London's Jermyn Street, and with ingredients like lavender and bergamot. Many of the scents, also used for lush scented cancles, are enriched with oils and herbs.
112 Islington High Street * penhaligons.com
In addition to the well-known Regent's Park and Hyde Park, London has a lot of other smaller green spaces. Most of them are well-hidden oases. Not far from Tower Bridge, wedged between tall buildings, you'll find the remnants of St Dunstan's church, overgrown with green leaves and branches. There are hardly any tourists in the small walled park and you'll often find yourself alone there. Enjoy its wonderful atmosphere of serenity.
St Dunstan's Hill * Open from 8am to 7pm
A beautiful museum lies hidden amidst the buzz of East London. Time seems to have stopped inside the Geffrye Museum. The museum shows how London's middle classes used to live, with living room scenes with wonderfully sober, serene atmospheres. Take a walk around the herb garden, spot a squirrel, and have tea at the cozy tearoom.
136 Kingsland Road * Open daily from 10am to 5pm, closed Mondays * geffrye-museum.org.uk
Photo: Hugo Sousa