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A Whistle-Stop Tour of London with Original Travel

This post is sponsored by Original Travel

One of the most exciting perks of being a travel blogger was going on press trips… I loved the sheer anticipation of going on such trips – meeting new people, discovering news places and being able to see behind the scenes. Even turning up to the airport was a buzz as often I didn’t know who would actually be on the trip until I got there. But now I haven’t been on a press trip for two years (pregnancy, baby, Covid etc) and I miss them! So an invitation from Original Travel to come on a mini press trip around London came just at the right time…

You may remember me writing about Original Travel before as they organised my entire trip to Morocco in 2018 plus elements of my trip to Oman in 2020. Original Travel specialise in luxury tailor-made holidays incorporating personalised details and little extras to make the prefect holiday. My collaborations with them have been incredible so I knew I was in for a treat!

Our first stop on our tour of London was Gloria in Shoreditch. A restaurant that has been on my bucket list for a long time anyway, I was very much looking forward to eating here. Gloria is themed around an authentic Italian trattoria with a menu of Italian classics made from products sourced directly from 180 small producers in Italy. First impressions of Gloria will have your eyes popping out, the restaurant is beautiful from the marble bar and floor to the foliage everywhere, antique mirror and brightly coloured upholstery. The idea is to hark back to 70’s Capri for a true explosion of atmosphere and utter flamboyance.

A restaurant this beautiful is truly making a statement and the food has a lot to live up to… and it truly does. We were a group of bloggers, journalists and members of the Original Travel team in the private dining room and different dishes had been preordered for sharing. There was not one dud dish in this selection and we enjoyed arancini balls, burrata and cured meats while hearing about the background of Original Travel and the upcoming news from the company. Their new ethos of ‘Travel Less, Travel Better’ may sound counter intuitive for a travel company but it’s something I’ve been trying to do myself in recent years before travel bans. It’s a phrase thats up to you to interpret but for me it’s adopting a more ‘slow travel’ style, trying to cram less into a trip and to really appreciate what you are seeing. With 2022 looming, Original Travel have lots of ideas for doing something new and different including lots of ideas for UK holidays.

Main courses were equally fantastic particular my favourites being truffle pasta and the pizza. And after all that food could we fit in a dessert? We when we saw the spectacular lemon meringue pie, we absolutely had to try it!
Next on our journey was a Street Art tour and Original Travel had lined up a top tour guide to take us around Shoreditch, London’s street art hub. Original Travel are great for thinking outside of the box and the Street Art tour was a really unique and different way to experience London outside the usual tourist hot spots. Original Travel connect their customers with a concierge at every destination who can organise everything for you from excursions to restaurant bookings and unique days out like this one.
The first piece of art we saw was a mural of Romeo and Juliet on the side of the Horse and Groom pub marking the fact the Romeo and Juliet was first performed in the original Shakespearean theatre nearby. Despite being an English Literature student, I didn’t know that one of the bard’s most famous plays was first performed in Shoreditch. We soon found ourselves on Redchurch Street which is currently one of London’s coolest design havens and best shopping streets. As we walked our guide pointed out pieces of street art both large and small lining which have become iconic sites in the city.

Our last stop was to see ‘Bubble Girl’, a piece of artwork that has adorned this wall in Whitby Street for over ten years. Just as we were admiring the piece we were joined by an unassuming man and our guide introduced him as James Cochran aka Jimmy C, the artist behind the piece and many other famous pieces of street art around the world! We were then treated to the story of James’ life and artwork, starting in his home country of Australia before moving to England to pursue his artwork and finding fame as both a street artist and studio artist.

Next it was time to showcase our our talents (lol!) and we headed to the famous Cargo Club where we were met by our next guide. Here we were introduced to the art of spray painting and provided with our own canvas to create artwork. Needless to say mine wouldn’t be winning any prizes. However, another highlight to visiting Cargo was the chance to see two original pieces of Banksy artwork which just happen to be in the garden!
After creating our masterpieces we had a brief history lesson about the area including an insight into the A10, London’s oldest Roman Road.

Next it was time to hop in a Black Cab – our Black Cab driver was actually an Original Travel Concierge and I mean who has better knowledge of London that a Black cab driver? Our motorcade of taxis drove through Stamford Hill, a place with personal historical significance for me as it’s where my mum grew up. Our final destination was located in this area and it was somewhere really rather special.

Bellerby are an artisan Globemaker who offer a one-of-a-kind service making totally bespoke globes. The showroom was full of fairy lights and the whole place felt really rather magical – a little bit like Santa’s workshop! Peter Bellerby told us the story of how he started  the company when he noticed a gap in the market whilst looking for a present for his father’s 80th birthday. The service Bellerby’s offer allow customers to create something really special, highlight destinations of personal significance on their globe and designing their base from scratch themselves. The workshop isn’t usually open to the public and we were very lucky to get a behind the scenes look and even try our hand a bit of globe making ourselves.
Visiting the Globemaker was something of a metaphor for Original Travel who organise their itineraries bespoke to their customers. The team work closely with you to build a holiday from scratch to accommodate all your personal requirements and interests and then they build in all the extras like the local concierge and airport fast-tracking. On our trip to Morroco, Original Travel built in little personal luxuries that we didn’t even realise were possible!

Just like all good things (especially holidays!) our mini press trip with Original Travel was over all too quickly and I was saying goodbye to my fellow bloggers and journalists. But new ideas and dreams had been planted in my head and thoughts for holidays in 2021 awaited!