Confession: I’ve been to London six occasions, and I’ve under no circumstances been to Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge or Westminster Cathedral. Other than my initially time in London (a a single-evening jaunt from Paris with my mom when I was 19, exactly where our most important priority was a suitable fish and chips!), my trips have all been to pay a visit to mates who reside in the city. It is been a lot more about catching up more than cocktails, strolling via their neighborhood markets and popping into the cutest boutiques.
I do attempt to expertise some thing new every single time I’m in town, irrespective of whether that is a museum, a neighborhood or a specifically photogenic café I’ve spotted on Instagram. But I mainly prioritize catching up with excellent mates, and lean on them to show me their favourite spots in their city. Fortunately for me, they’re usually up for adventures as nicely! Though this is by no signifies a extensive guide to London—I’m certain lots of “tourist need to-do’s” are missing—these are a handful of of the finest items I’ve found, and the items I go back to do once more and once more.
What to Do
1 of my favourite items about England is that most of the museums are no cost! It tends to make it a lot a lot more attractive to pop in for a bit of culture, even if you do not want to commit all day there. And in a city that is frequently gray and drizzly, the museums can be a amazing warm escape.
My individual favourite museum is the Tate Modern day. Positioned on the Thames, it has an exceptional permanent collection and a giant airy foyer that is frequently host to extraordinary experiential exhibits. And it is no cost! I like having there ideal at 10am on a weekday and spending an hour wandering via prior to it gets crowded. Bonus: there’s a rooftop deck with a wonderful view as nicely!
The V&A Museum is all about art and design and style, housed in a sprawling 19th-century Victorian developing. Its collections are produced up of a lot more than five,00 years of creativity and innovation in style, architecture, furnishings, photography, sculpture, jewelry and a lot more.
The British Museum is house to lots of treasures from about the globe (aka the British colonial empire), like the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian sculptures and Athenian sculptures. To be truthful, it is not entirely my cup of tea: I choose contemporary art to artifacts, but it is undoubtedly a single of the greatest array of cultures and collections on offer you.
No matter the season, Hyde Park is a amazing breath of fresh air in the middle of the city. Though it is a beautiful sprawling park with lakes and tree-lined paths and lots of dogs frolicking, the most exciting portion is Speakers Corner, exactly where just about everyone can actually hop up on their soapbox and engage passersby in discussion.
Tucked away behind Kensington Palace, the Sunken Garden are a beautiful instance of a suitable English garden. Very best to expertise in spring and summer season!
My deep and abiding really like of Ferris wheels needs that I advocate the London Eye. The finest view of Significant Ben and the Thames!
And for an adrenaline rush with a view, ArcelorMittal Orbit is the tallest slide in the globe! Positioned in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (about a 20-minute tube ride outdoors of the city), it attributes a skyline view of London in addition to a 40-second ride of vertical glee.
And of course, you need to wander via all of the pastel facades of Notting Hill! Possibly my favourite neighborhood in all of London.
Exactly where to Consume & Drink
There are a handful of quintessentially British foods that are worth experiencing: namely, a fancy afternoon tea, fish and chips at a pub and a Scotch Egg. I also attempt to consume as considerably Indian meals as achievable anytime I’m in town!
1 of the areas that came most very recommended—and which I generally make a priority as a single of my initially meals in town—is Dishoom. It is a trendy Indian-inspired restaurant with numerous places all through the city, and the ambiance is as warm and welcoming as the meals is scrumptious.
Sketch is a single of these spots that appears a lot more created for Instagram than for actual meals and drink consumption, but it is essentially tastes fairly excellent. It is renowned for its afternoon tea in the Gallery (make reservations in advance!), but all of the meals and all of the rooms are amazing.
There are a lot of choices for fancy afternoon tea, specifically at the good hotels. I celebrated my birthday earlier this year with tea at the Ritz-Carlton, which was a delight! Though it is not specifically inexpensive, I’m generally shocked by how filling tea sandwiches, cakes, tea and champagne can be—and the surroundings are positively regal.
There’s no shortage of pubs in London, and they have a tendency to be almost everything you dream they would be: decorated with flower pots for the duration of the summer season, stocked with mulled wine and a roaring fireplace for the duration of the winter. Though it will be challenging to go anyplace and not get a decent pint, pub meals can variety widely—from exceptional gastronomic fare to items that are only edible for the reason that they are fried.
I specially really like the Churchill Arms: the flower-drenched exterior is arguably the most photogenic in the city. Inside, it is warm and cozy with a lot of ales on draft—and has a Thai restaurant tucked in the back.
Yet another exceptional selection is The Jugged Hare. There’s no shortage of taxidermy on the walls and common but scrumptious gastro-pub fare, like steak-and-ale pies.
For decadent cakes and decorative lattes and the most delightful pink exterior, head to Peggy Porschen in Mayfair.
For an extraordinary choice of just about each and every international delight, Old Spitafelds Industry is complete of adorable meals stands (as nicely as clothes, antique and vintage shops).
I also really like the neighborhood markets that pop up all across the city on the weekends: they’re the finest spots to uncover regional specialties and artisans. The Broadway Industry is specially excellent: do not miss the haggis sandwiches at Deeney’s (the vegetarian a single is extraordinary), the colorful array of meringues at Meringue Girls or the Scotch eggs at Finest Fayre.
For colorful lattes (golden! rose! topped with edible glitter!), verify out the café in the front of Aida boutique or the pink-and-plant vegetarian café Palm Vaults.
Exactly where to Shop
Though it is most famed for the Sunday flower market place, Columbia Road is worth going to on other days as nicely (and maybe even a lot more enjoyable when it is not so crowded). It is lined with adorable antique retailers, house excellent boutiques and art galleries.
The travel-focused Daunt Books has numerous places about the city, but the most gorgeous one—with famed skylight and wooden details—is on Marylebone.
1 of the items London does exceptionally nicely: division retailers! Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods: they’re all epic temples of style and architecture. My individual favourite is Liberty, with its wooden exterior and numerous floors of house, style and beauty delights.
What are your favourite spots in London to see, consume, drink and shop?