A Weekend in St James: Grand Hotels & Breakfast at Laduree

Last week, one of my dear friends from Australia was visiting me. Her last two days in London were just the excuse I needed to have one of those decadent London weekends that err on the side of touristy just enough to remind me why I love this city so much.

Since the weekend was all about glamorous London, it was only appropriate that we started it with a girly sleepover at a grand old London hotel. After waking in the St Ermin’s Hotel in St James (top), we started the morning with a stroll through beautiful St James’ Park, where I can never help but to stop to talk to the ducks and the pink pelicans and the squirrels and take in the wonderful view on the bridge across the lake.

On the other side, the Mall, with it’s fluttering Union Jack flags, was being blocked off for a Royal procession (if one must be delayed, it might as well be for a fabulous reason…) just as we needed to cross, so we were forced to detour down in front of Buckingham Palace just as the Royal Guards trotted past on their glossy horses. Though I normally try my hardest to avoid anything with the label ‘tourist attractions’, there really is something about being in the throng of the tourists watching the British pomp and ceremony that is the Changing of the Guard that made me feel again like the wide-eyed and excited child that I was on my first trip to London in the 80s; a wonderful reminder that just once in a while, we should be a tourist in our own cities. Afterwards, it was to Green Parkย where, given the glorious blue skies of the morning, the green striped deck chairs where all the rage.

Once at the exit by The Ritz, we skipped across Piccadilly to Burlington Arcade, where croissants and pots of tea were calling our names for breakfast (and where obviously, I picked up a box of jewel-like macarons to take home with me. It would have been rude not to…). As my friend is on the good end of a crazy Australian-UK exchange rate, we beelined for our mutual mothership (aka. Chanel) on Bond Street, where there was lots of shoe-trying on to be had ย (I must have a masochistic streak, teasing myself in such a way).

Afterwards, we pressed our noses against the windows of Tiffany (where there are the most heart-warming real love stories in each window at the moment), walked to Miu Miu (for more bank balance torture in the form of glittery shoes so lovely I actually gasped at the windows), and then to the charming little Coco Maya (which I spoke about here) for lunch and chocolates.

Since it felt like all we’d done is eat sugar all day, we grabbed a pair of Boris Bikes and spent the afternoon cycling the back streets of Mayfair, discovering tiny mews and secret gardens until the sun went down.

I’d love to know how you spend a day being a tourist in your own city?

Love, Miss B xx

39 thoughts on “A Weekend in St James: Grand Hotels & Breakfast at Laduree

  1. I go to London so often I don’t feel like a tourist anymore when I’m there, but I love it still the same. I’ve spent last week in London very similar to how you described your day(s?) here actually!
    Loving your photos as well – I should really check out that hotel sometime, it looks amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚ X

  2. Thanks B! It was a fabulous weekend- just such a pity it will be ages before we can do it again. Missing London terribly, xoxo

  3. Ahhh London pottering…gotta love it. Spent last night making a delicious dinner for my cousin who has just moved to Melbourne and has been staying with us for the last two weeks with his lovely girlfriend. During dinner in the background was an old movie from 2006 starring Brittany Murphy and Dawn French called Love and other disasters…..one of those american made films set in London…..it had me going ooohhhhh I want to live back in London again. I mean the film was filmed in Vogue House and was very glitzy (acting not quite as good). Such a shame there isnt a Laudree here in Melbourne…..back home in Dublin we have one and love their scented candles..especially the salted caramel….by the way had the most amazing salted caramel brownie at Gordan Ramseys restaurant in Melb on Sat night……amazing. Too bad the restaurant has gone into liquidation…..Which part of Australia are you from Miss B?

    • How have I never seen this movie?! Going to track it down pronto.

      And it is SO hard to find good macarons in Australia. They are sorely deprived! I’m orginally from Adelaide.

      B xx

  4. London tourist board should actually hire you as a testimonial (or at least buy you a pair of sparkling booties!). And your “glitter lust” dreamy expression is priceless!

  5. Now that sounds absolutely perfect – and love that picture of you gazing longingly at the Miu Miu shoes! I can hear you say “Be still my beating heart!” I think it’s great to indulge in the touristy stuff in the place that you live in once in a while – it always make me realise how lucky I am! xxx

  6. HEAVEN!! This sounds like my ideal day, just reading it made me happy ๐Ÿ™‚
    Me and my siter have a trip to london planned in the next few days and we have Laduree pencilled into our itinerary!

  7. Well, that’s my perfect weekend in a nutshell too. I love living in London, and spend most of my weekends behaving like a tourist in the city. A few weekends ago I visited the Laduree in Burlington Arcade, and then Fortnum & Mason with a friend to complete indulge in all foodie related fantasies. And this weekend I went to Laduree in Harrods, browsed the food hall and Christmas department, and then went to the theatre, it was perfect!

    We should meet for tea and les macarons sometimes.

    VH, xxx

  8. Aren’t the times where you have a friend over and enjoy being a tourist in your own city the best? I was fortunate to have my parents in New York for a week in May and it was a delight as every day felt special ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You are so right. I relish when a friend comes to visit from overseas as it means I have the perfect excuse to do all those wonderful things in my own city. I loved your NYC post by the way!

      B xx

  9. Hi there. Gorgeous blog.
    Home town tourism must be on the mind… Just posted about exploring my own city. Rather than always flying out to somewhere else. Glad you enjoyed yr day. I look forward to my explorations in Sydney. X

    • Thank you so much, and lovely to have you here! Oh, you’ve just made me long for Australia! But you are absolutely right, sometimes it’s just as wonderful to do a bit of local exploration.

      B xx

  10. This is such a pretty post of fashion, food, smart hotels, and swanning about in London with one’s chum. Very delightful indeed;-)
    Breakfast at Laduree? A girl simply cannot refuse;-)

  11. Hi Briony,

    I’m a new reader of your blog – on the look-out as I am planning on moving to London soon, I loved this post and the 20 things under 20 pounds post! I’d love to hear about moving-to-London in general if you ever had the time to do a post on it. So many of us Australians want to make the move in a non-horrible-spend-all-your-time-at-walkabout way. I.e. chic neighbourhoods, ways to escape the Australian in London kind of trap!

    Thanks for your posts.

    xx Monica

  12. OMH- what gorgeous photos! Love those macaroons and the Chanel store- it’s such a great idea to visit your own city like a tourist, it’s a different perspective!
    Come follow my blog hun ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I think you’ve just named a perfect day. I still love being a tourist in London- it’s been home for the past year, but most weekends I love expeditions to explore. My current favourite is to start at Borough markets, have breakfast at Elliot’s (new and fabulous- proper Australian style brunches), then totter up to the Tate and finish at Chowpatty Beach bar for a cocktail and a curry. Not a bad day….

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