Welcome to London: the place where everyone is trying to carve out a life for themselves, the mecca where you’ll find the vibrant soul of the West End and its theatres, proper energetic British pubs and fish and chips doused in vinegar and ketchup. While traditionally our city has been known for its iconic red buses, Buckingham Palace and historical architecture, it’s time we celebrated the real London as our city opens its gates to the public after that tumultuous year.
So, eager to celebrate the rediscovery of our favourite haunts across the capital, three members of the Refinery29 team have taken us on a journey to all the places in London that they hold close to their hearts, each styling Coach's Summer Collection and its timeless — and nostalgic — archival-inspired bags that celebrate the brand’s legacy and New York heritage to carry them around the city.
Anna Jay: Nunhead High Street, SE15
My favourite local spot has to be Nunhead High Street. It’s just a short cycle away from home and has everything you need, all from friendly independent shops. There’s a refill shop, cafes, florist, fishmonger, deli, butcher and even a small but perfectly formed garden centre.
I usually start off at BYO, an excellent refill shop which has a grocery and a household branch on the same road. I fill up on my essentials here, from olive oil to spices and grains (and usually sneak in a treat too – the chocolate covered almonds are a winner).
From there I’ll get an oat flat white from Good Cup and maybe even a bagel if I'm hungry, before embarking on the uphill stroll to Telegraph Hill park. This park has the best skyline view of London so it’s a great place to have a coffee and a wind-down, especially if the sun’s shining.
As much as I like to get my legs out in a denim skirt and enjoy the sunshine, it can get a bit chilly on the hill so I always opt for a cosy jumper. This one is made of cotton so it's really soft and the pastel tones and pattern are so perfect for spring. The Coach Dinky 18 cross body bag adds the finishing touch to my outfit. The cool spearmint green is my absolute favourite colour so it’s a no-brainer and perfectly fits my essentials for a little mooch around my pick of south London.
Jessica Morgan: Hanbury Street, E1
Just around the corner from the famous Spitalfields Market sits the quieter, lesser known Hanbury Street. A hidden gem in London’s East End, this street celebrates everything from quintessential British cuisine to the city’s eclectic street art which changes every time I visit.
It has been a favourite location of mine for years, not least because it’s home to one of my favourite bookshops, Libreria, a labyrinth of literature. I discovered Libreria a few years ago when I first moved here and a friend took me there after a day of exploring east London. I'm spoiled for choice there when it comes to literary options, housing bestselling authors such as Rupi Kaur and Kiley Reid.
After a few hours of browsing books, I always visit the street’s famous fish and chip shop, Poppie’s, for a newspaper cone of their unbeatable chips. It has called Hanbury Street its home since 1952 and is renowned for its authenticity, filled with retro memorabilia from founder Pat “Pop” Newland’s childhood.
When it comes to exploring the city, I love my style to match its surroundings and these sartorial choices pair perfectly with the area's bold and colourful street art. Coach’s playful red summer dress allows easy movement as I bolt from shop to shop, paired with a socks and sandals combo and Coach’s gorgeous white Willis Top Handle 18 bag for my essentials. This outfit embodies London’s spicy attitude, especially when styled with an oversized straw hat to protect me and my hair from whatever weather the city throws at me.
Ciara Sheppard: Coldharbour Lane, SW9
I first discovered Coldharbour Lane in Brixton in 2017 when I moved in with two strangers I met on a house-sharing website. One of the girls offered me a drink, we chatted for two hours and the rest was history. I don’t live in Brixton anymore which always makes returning to Coldharbour Lane super special and full of nostalgia.
With our flat nestled right next door to the vibrant Brixton Village, we’d spend lazy Saturdays bumbling through its many independent shops and eateries – whenever I visit I feel like I discover somewhere new.
Fish, Wings & Tings, an amazing Caribbean street food restaurant situated at the Coldharbour Lane entrance of the Village, is an absolute favourite. If it’s your first time, the jerk chicken or the fried plantain are unbeatable, with a fruit punch to wash it all down. We’d spend many Friday nights working our way through the menu at colourful pavement tables.
Sticking to the food theme, Sicilian restaurant Franzina Trattoria is also a must-visit. The cosy restaurant with exposed brick and authentic blue and white tiles serves a knockout stuffed baby aubergine tagliatelle. If you’re visiting in summer, make sure to get a seat in its small-but-lovely garden area, decorated with pretty potted plants.
This is exactly the kind of outfit I’d wear for weekends traipsing Brixton. Comfort is key but I’ll always dress it up with some fun accessories, making this Coach sweater with jeans and colourful sandals an ideal combo. I’m obsessed with the Coach floral print Swinger bag (it’s possibly one of the cutest handbags I’ve ever laid eyes on) and topped off the look with a Coach bucket hat, which I’m really into at the moment. The whole look is giving me big ‘90s vibes.