Photo by Anthony Delanoix on Unsplash
So you have a friend living in London? Clearly they are person with a highly refined sense of style, discerning taste, and enjoying the high-life already. These are wonderful traits in a friend, but boy does it make them hard to buy presents for!
We are going to assume that they have been here for a while, they have worked out how the transport system works and understand the basics of taking an umbrella everywhere. You are looking for something not that they need to survive, but that adds a little extra spice to their lives.
Here at packingl.ist, we would be delighted to help you meet this challenge with a carefully selected list of gifts. Read on...
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
The recent lockdown has had people all over the world thinking about growing their own food. Taking on a full allotment and aiming to grow everything a family needs might be beyond most people, but growing some herbs on a kitchen window-sill is easy to do, looks and smells delicious, and who knows, your friend might even cook with their homegrown produce.
Kew Gardens are quite magnificent. You can stand and gaze in awe at trees planted over 250 year ago, when King George III was on the throne and America was yet to rebel against him. At the same time Kew is a centre of scientific excellence and conservation. It can be toured in a day, and yet still have secrets after a lifetime.
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash
Gin is perpetually associated with London. It used to be the drink of the poor. Known as 'mother's ruin', toxically strong gin was available for a few pennies at every street corner. London seems to be in the grip of another gin craze over the last few years, but now the product is sophisticated, subtle and superb. Its still available on every street, but sadly not for a few pennies anymore. The Gin Box Shop has a wide range of gin gift sets here.
Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash
The London Cream Tea is a strange, unique ritual. You are shown to your seats by a young man or woman in the dress of an earlier age. You drink tea from china cups and saucers (pinky raised, naturally!). You eat tiny cakes and sandwiches, sans crusts, from a multi-level tray.
However, the strangeness is part of the occasion, and part of the fun of it. In creams teas, as in most things, you pay for what you get. While many chains provide cream teas, very few compare with the offering at Fortnum & Mason - this gift package for two comes from lastminute.com.
If the view is as important as the cakes, it would be hard to go wrong with The View from The Shard and Sparkling Afternoon Tea for Two at Brasserie Blanc, which includes a glass of prosecco.
The London Transport Museum is a gem in Covent Garden, perfect to entertain the kids for a hour or two. It also happens to sell some scarves and other pieces made from the icon London Tube material. Our favorite is the District Moquette Design Lambswool Scarf, shown above.
Borough Market has developed into a serious foodie heaven over the last few years. It isn't exactly the place to do your weekly shop, but it is great for an occasional treat or present. Mons does a wonderful cheese called Beaufort. If you add a bottle of olive oil (try The Olive Oil Co) and some soughdough (available throughout the market, but don't leave it too late in the day to buy) then you are set.