Who was it that painted London all the colours of overcast, fog and drizzle in people’s minds the world over? I want a word with them. Coz my London grinds every perceivable colour into the fabric of itself.
I often muse to myself that although I wear black everyday, like a self imposed uniform, if you slice me like a cake – layers of pastel goo might run away from me. Perhaps that’s why I am so attracted to every shade of pale blossom, milky mint, creamy custard, early morning ocean and sparkling misty sky.
|| Leopold Buildings on Columbia Rd | Benches in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park | Wyke Estate ||
I’ve been exploring London through pastel shades, capturing these colours with my phone as I go along. I also recently met up with the lovely Bloomzy with whom I spent a day sauntering through the pastel panoramas of east London. My time with Emma inspired me to pen this post and share the pastel penchant, you know – just incase there are other nice and strange folks out there that fancy it.
Here is how to have a pastel coloured day out in London. Great for sprinkling a little bit of magic in your daily monotony and combatting stereotypical views of London (even when London is playing up to them herself).
|Cafe Miami + The Strand Building on Lower Clapton Rd, London|
Plonk yourself down in Café Miami and order something sweet while you let the subtle pastels sink in. Smile at the shaped sugar cubes and giggle at the WIFI password. The granola is yummy and Emma says that the banana bread is too. When you are done, walk around the building and look at the delightful gates and grilles and mint coloured window frames. If you are wondering what it looks like inside, search #strandbuilding in Instagram and say “oooooh” like I dooooo.
The famous Palm Vaults is not too far away. Their pastels are mainly pink but this includes pink marble tables! Their take-away cups are cute so you should certainly try something in them. All that drinking and you will probably need the loo – you must take a look when you are there. Their menu is colourful – both drinks and food. Their plants are show stoppers – I like them a lot. Each time I see this place – I cannot believe how much this part of Hackney has changed.
|Somewhere off Portobello Rd|
|Near Portobello Rd Market|
If rows of picture perfect houses you can ‘stick ‘pon a postcard and send to your nan’ is your thing, then head west to Notting Hill. Here you can walk along Portobello Rd and many an adjoining street and fill your boots with the saccharine sweetness of the pastel coloured million pound homes.
|Behind Columbia Rd|
Does door spotting make you happy? Slink about on the old rows of houses around Columbia Road, why don’t you?
If you prefer your pastel coloured homes perpendicular yet ironically more down to earth, stay east and head head to Bow. Here, Tower Hamlets Council like to sell off council housing to the highest bidder. The tower blocks are often re-clad in pastel colours and sold on for crazy money. Ah regeneration what a b*tch you are dislocating the soul from a place. Anyhoo, there is a realness here that pastel paint only highlights to the savvy. The towers of the Wyke Estate in Hackney cut nice shapes against a sunny sky. Clare House, is my local – I cannot walk by it without mentally blowing it a kiss (I wrote about it before here). The triplets of Bow Cross are a sight to behold and must not be visited without reading this excellent and brief piece from my favourite London blogger Diamond Geezer. The aforementioned towers are historically important if you like Grime. Wiley, Dizzy and Tinchy all called these home – you won’t find a plaque or anything though – just have to take my word for it.
You like colourful garage shutters too? Yeah!? That’s what I’m talking about. Pritchards Rd is your place then. Right by the RE Hotel on Hackney rd. My favourite one is the peachy pinky one and I love it even more after All Things Stationery told me something magical about it. I’ve noticed that there always seems to be a pastel yellow camper van along this road – it adds to the character. Let me know if you see it there too.
While you are on Hackney Rd, take a quick look at the Blue House. It’s a quirky little thing isn’t it?
If you are reading this during Spring then you must add some of those cherry blossom and magnolia hues to your pastel day out. Victoria Park always puts on a nice display of both this is a – good place to start. There is a row of trees beside the bowling club – find it and be rewarded with a beautiful sight. As for the magnolia tree, head for St Agnes’ Gate – you cannot miss it!
You can finish your day with your favourite pastel treat (some say macarons, others like Battenburg. What about ice cream. Or my favourite – Wagashi) and a nice cuppa while you look at the pastel rainbow that you’ve caught on your phone.
|In that Pagoda thing in Victoria Park|
|Somewhere near Columbia Rd|
|Behind St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch|
|Somewhere near Broadway in Hackney|
Just in case you haven’t noticed; this is not a proper walking tour suggestion. As far as being a suggestion for something to do, it is properly abstract. It’s not even equipped to be referred to as a ‘guide’. I won’t always give exact locations – because that is not how adventures are had! This is for “curious people with an incurable tendency to photos of things that most others totally ignore”, who do not mind getting lost.
Do you have any favourite pastel coloured places in London? Go on! Do share!
Manners are free! Please keep in mind that many of the places mentioned above are residential. People live here. Be polite. Be considerate. Don’t show yourself or me up.