The eyes of Texas are upon you — even when you’re in London.
Last spring, I spent nearly a month exploring London with my family. Shortly after arriving, we started to wonder if there were places with London-Texas ties that would remind us of life at home.
Once we started looking, we saw glimpses of the Lone Star State everywhere, from a carnival ride at the amazing Isle of Wight music festival called Super Bowl that featured both the Cowboys and the Texans, to a restaurant with surprisingly delicious margaritas.
Here’s a roundup of some of the places where we discovered Texas in London:
The Texas Embassy. Near No. 4 St. James Street at Pickering Place, there’s a plaque marking the building where the Texas embassy once stood. It reads, “Texas Legation: In this building was the legation for the ministers from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James 1842-1846.” From what I’ve been able to find online, popular wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd served as landlords to the Texas Legation in the 1840s. The plaque was installed in 1963 by the Anglo-Texan Society. Side note: There’s also a spectacular hat shop located next to the plaque called Lock & Co. Hatters. Stroll through and imagine yourself preparing for the wedding of a London celebrity.
- Whole Foods. I’ve been visiting Whole Foods since I was a child growing up in Austin, so it was fun to take a spin around the store in another country. For the most part, it looked the same. I wasn’t able to do a full inventory, but I did spot a number of Texas products on the shelves, including D.L. Jardine’s Texas Original Chili Mix, Mrs. Renfro’s Peach Salsa and even a cookbook on Texas barbecue. The top floor of the Whole Foods was filled with eateries, including a Mexican restaurant called Cocina Mexicana that promised “cilantro rice, the American favourite” as well as tostadas, burritos and quesadillas. Sadly, there were no breakfast tacos on the menu.
- Madame Tussauds London. Can we wax poetic about this wax museum for a minute? In addition to being home to full-size figures of fan favorites such as Julia Roberts, Robert Pattinson and Darth Vader, the museum offers a nice nod to Houston-sensation Beyonce, who has her own statue (think “Single Ladies” costuming) and is even featured in a video about how her wax figure was created.
- The Natural History Museum. It was here that we discovered the Glyptodon, an extinct giant relative of the armadillo. They weren’t able to roll up into a ball like our state’s beloved (?) critter, but they could tuck their armored heads down into their shells to protect themselves from predators. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough — they died out about 10,000 years ago.
- Wahaca. This restaurant prides itself on “Mexican market food.” I’m always wary of Mexican and Tex-Mex places overseas, but we were pleasantly surprised by food and drinks here. The quesadillas with jalapenos and habanero chilies were on point, as was the chicken tinga burrito. I highly recommend it if you need a Mexican food or margarita fix while traveling in London.