Last week I had the huge privilege of attending Hillsong Conference at the O2 Arena, located south of the Thames in the historic and culturally rich borough of Greenwich. It was one of the most impactful weeks of my life and it has left me super inspired and excited to create fun and meaningful content.
Throughout conference I stayed at the InterContinental London – The O2, situated just a few minutes walk from North Greenwich station and closer still to the arena. In theory I could practically roll out of bed and fall straight into the O2 for the morning sessions. In reality I woke up at 5am to capture sunrise, managed to get a few miles of running under my belt proceeded by the most delicious breakfast…then I started my day!
The ‘InterContinental London at the O2′ is a superior and elegant hotel, featuring 452 contemporary bedrooms and suites, all accompanied by air-con and free wifi. While I didn’t have quite enough time to relish in relaxation, the hotel does features a spa with 8 treatment rooms, a gym, indoor pool, sauna and steam room…maybe next time! Most importantly, everyone was more accommodating and friendly than I can express, making my stay particularly enjoyable.
Spending a few nights in South East London provided me with the perfect excuse to begin exploring the multitude of quality, independent coffee shops. With panoramic views of London’s skylines, shining golden at sunrise, my running route vaguely followed the Thames. It wasn’t until I entered the cobbled backstreets, passing old riverside pubs and vintage stores that I really began to understand the beauty of true London life. Away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Circus, where the crowded queues of pedestrians swarm like bees beside buses crawling at a snails pace; there’s hidden beauty in the old and less discovered sidewalks, an often forgotten side of London.
Entwined between bustling market traders and vibrant street art, the East End has become a thriving hotspot for flat whites to V60’s, cold brew to siphons. The coffee scene in London has been rapidly expanding over recent years with both coffee shops and roasters popping up all over the city, bringing fresh knowledge and wisdom from overseas.
My first coffee stop took me to White Mulberries in St Katharine Docks, just a few minutes walk from Tower Hill station. Who could believe that this beautiful, serene dockland area was at the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world? A calm amongst the storm; a little peace within the chaos.
White Mulberries is home to some of the best poured coffee in our city, voted ‘London’s Best Coffee Shop 2014’ at the Coffee Shop Awards. For me, White Mulberries is a great example of keeping things simple, focusing on a limited but excellent menu of food and drink. Currently, White Mulberries serve All Press coffee and the attentive staff were able to churn out coffee after coffee as one person after another arrived for their caffeine fix.
Wonder up towards Commercial Street and you’ll eventually reach Brooklyn Coffee in Shoreditch, an area I could refer to as, ‘London’s Woodstock’. This space is a modern, minimal, marvel of fine Caravan coffee without distractions. Just a few window seats each side of the doorway, Brooklyn Coffee is somewhere special to grab a great take-away from knowledgable coffee connoisseurs and continue with your day.
I shouldn’t need an excuse to visit the other side of London but it certainly helps to have one. Spending a few nights away in Greenwich wasn’t only a convenient spot to rest my head while attending conference, The InterContinental London – The O2 placed me closer to some of the best cafés in London. Whether for a journey on the Emirates Cable Way or visiting the Greenwich food market, there’s so much still to explore, just the other side of that door.
Other coffee shops worth visiting in East London include:
Ozone Coffee (Old Street), Caravan (Borough), Mouse Tail (Canary Wharf),