A Trip to London Zoo and Camden
When I started work in Camden, it just felt natural to me, because I socialize there all the time, so imagine my horror when my Mum admitted she had never been to Camden. Granted, she hates the tube, so it’s not that surprising, but she’s quite a funner so I set about organising a weekend in London to show her the most beautiful place in London.
Where we stayed
Now I’m never one to be seriously negative about a company on my blog. I always give you all honest reviews, and any time I have told you about a substandard product I have also taken the liberty to message the company and inform them why I formed this opinion.
The Britannia Hotel in Hampstead though, is something else. Although I prefer a nice hotel with a spa (like the Chelsea Harbour Hotel), this was apparently pretty central, and it was only £95, so I booked. The hotel advertises itself as being close to London Zoo and Camden, which were the two places we were going. When we arrived, the receptionist was friendly and welcoming, and we got in the lift to the third floor.
The first issue was the lift. Noted, nothing actually went wrong with it but it was basically an antique and made a noise that was every bit as loud as one of the zoo animals. The room was very old, but ok. It was clean, which was a bonus, but the positive attributes ended there. At around a million degrees, it was probably the hottest hotel I’ve ever been in. After a little battle with the window, we did have a chuckle that the big window was completely openable but the small window was locked ‘for safety’.
As it was sunny, we took a walk down to London Zoo, which was advertised as being close. To be honest it was, only around ten minutes from Regents Park. We got the canal boat back, so we walked from Camden. I’m quite the seasoned walker, but believe me when I say, this really REALLY is not close to Camden. Do NOT walk it.
Coming back to the room, we had a while before dinner, so I thought, cool, nice long shower. Well I thought wrong, as it didn’t work and dripped all night. Other delights included a giant metal hook in the middle of the floor with no warning and beds about as soft as sleeping on a giant iPhone.
Where we went
First on the agenda was London Zoo. Now I must admit, I’ve been a bit spoiled with zoos, as I live just next to Colchester Zoo. I even had many a school trip there, especially memorable was the one in year ten where we stole our parent’s alcohol, filled it into fruit shoot bottles and ran around off of our teenage tits on Aldi peach schnapps. So for London Zoo, I was expecting bigger and better.
It was around the same size, not as big as I thought it would be. The animals were good though. My Mum specifically wanted to see the penguins, and the penguin enclosure was great, we didn’t see Rocky, the only Rock hopper penguin. The giraffes were also good, and the Lemur enclosure is amazing because the Lemurs literally run right around you. One thing that was cute was that all of the zoo keepers knew loads about the animals.
If you are looking to kill half a day and are already in London, then I’d go, but in all honestly, I don’t think you could fill an entire day up here. The aquarium was particularly disappointing. If you really are looking to make a big day trip of it, go to Colchester Zoo.
After this, we decided on a whim to get the canal boat up to Camden lock. This was probably my favourite part of the day. By then, the insistent drizzle had cleared and we got a full sunshine filled boat ride back to land. It was only £4.40 and it was really pleasant. Definitely the best way to get around, especially because you can beat the crowds. I’d strongly recommend this trip, and if you just fancy taking one and not visiting the zoo you can go from Little Venice.
Where we ate
My Mum is an exceptional fusspot, so when I told her I had booked us into the Brazilian restaurant, Made in Brasil, I could see the panic forming. Unfortunately, Mum is one of those people that claims she doesn’t like something before she’s even tried it, based on what it smells like, what it looks like, and what Susan from accounts made of it the time she tried it on holiday.
I did manage to get her to try something though, and she loved it! For the mains, she had the Chicken in Barbecue sauce with sweet potatoes. I’m not going to write the Brazilian names because they are incredibly long and unless you are from Brazil, I doubt you will be able to use them. She said she really enjoyed it, and the chicken was cooked to perfection.
I had the mixed meat dish, which had beef, pork, chicken and a chorizo like sausage with cassava chips. For a start, the sausage was so tasty (I could insert a pun here about tasty sausage, but I’ll try and be professional for once). It was a little spicier than a chorizo, but not overwhelmingly so. The cassava chips were amazing. They have a little bit more of a nuttier flavour than normal potato, but again, it isn’t overwhelming. I even made Mum try one and she liked it (although I did just shove it in her mouth and tell her it was cassava after).
There was also some grated cassava, which was really nice. When it came to dessert, we both decided we were too full, until we actually saw the menu, then realised we could probably squeeze one in at a stretch.
I just had a Brazilian chocolate truffle, which I basically class as a diet food because it wasn’t really a full dessert. It was rich and smooth and everything you would expect from a chocolatey treat, and it was also super soft in the middle. My Mum had the Brazil nut brownie, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Apparently they manage to make the whole thing Brazil nut flavoured, win.
If you are out and about in this area, I would recommend eating here. A great little find tucked away on Inverness Street, it’s authentic and intimate, and only comes to around £30 a head with drinks.