When you think London, the first things that probably come to mind are tea, the Royal Family, Buckingham Palace, and Red Telephone booths. However, there is so much more to London than just those things! Luckily, our friend Bugo from Life with Bugo has lived there for ten years and has the inside scoop on the best local spots to check out across the pond. Check out our London Travel Guide below to find out where to eat, sleep and play in the city of London!
London Travel Guide: What to Do
1.) Visit the V&A Museum
The Victoria and Albert museum is such a lovely and typical British museum. From visiting for the art pieces to lunching in one of the gorgeous cafés on its grounds, my favorite spot would be the Courtyard and Garden Cafés for afternoon tea and people watching. Admission into the museum is free but some exhibitions carry a charge. I would also recommend the Tate Modern and National Gallery if you are into your art.
2.) Watch a football game
Our London Travel Guide doesn’t just aim to show you pretty places in London — we want to immerse you in the culture! Football (which we know as soccer) is a big part of the British raison d’être and when you are in London, visiting one of the big stadiums is a no brainer. If you are lucky or if you plan well ahead, you could watch a game too. Tour the football grounds of Wembley stadium which is the official football home but if you want to watch on club level, why not tour Arsenal Football club’s Emirates Stadium in North London or Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge in West London? Stunning grounds and you get to feel the spirit that drives football rivalries. Epic, I tell you!
3.) Stop by Harrods
You cannot come to London and not visit Harrods. Not necessarily to shop but just to have a mooch around, window-shop and people watch. Catch the building at night when it lights up and makes the entire Brompton road look really pretty.
4.) Check out Portobello Market
The famous vintage market in Notting Hill. (a girl standing in front of a boy…you know the rest) This market brings people from all over the country just for the vibe. It is certainly pricier than most vintage markets but you are shopping in one of the most expensive boroughs in the country so this is expected! It can get a little crowded especially during weekends but it is worth visiting. Also, don’t forget to stroll down the Notting Hill streets to catch the beautifully lined pastel coloured townhouses. If you’ve got time, look out for the famous bookstore, The Travel Book Co from the movie.
5.) St Paul’s Cathedral
There are a few Cathedrals in London but my favourite is St Paul’s Cathedral. Make sure you climb the dome for the spectacular sky view on the city.
6.) Take a boat trip on the River Thames
Want a stunning view of the London Eye? Take a boat trip on the River Thames and your boat instructor will give you a little history about the city.
7.) Get touristy at the Tower Bridge
One of London’s famous bridges, and probably on every London travel guide ever written. It does get really busy but it is such an important landmark that you have to see it and of course, take a picture with it as your backdrop. If you are lucky, you may witness the bridge part in half for a ship to go through.
8.) Stroll though Covent Garden
While Oxford street is probably the most popular shopping street in London, for a quieter shopping experience, go to Covent Garden instead. It has all the shops you would visit anyway, is less busy and more British.
9.) Get a drink on Carnaby Street
For the pubs and general London vibe!
10.) Have a bite at Spitalfields Market
Is it street food you fancy? Visit Spitalfields market in the city and you have an array of choices to pick from!
London Travel Guide: Where to Eat
Everyone says that British food is bland but there are some fantastic places to have a nosh! One thing London is known for is its fancy afternoon tea houses and brunch spots. In the last few years, thanks to instagram’s unspoken demand for pretty spaces, there has been a massive increase in aesthetically pleasing food spots. However, in the spirit of having the best London experience and getting quality for your coins, I have narrowed it down by meal types (and don’t forget to make a reservation!)
Undoubtedly, Duck and Waffle. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which means that you can roll out of bed at 6am and have breakfast there but that’s not all, it offers the most gorgeous skyline of the city. You can watch the sunrise and even stick around to watch people stroll into their offices as you are in the heart of the city!
Dalloway Terrace. Quintessentially British, and no London travel guide would be complete without a go-to afternoon tea spot! It is located 5 minutes from Tottenham Court Road station in The Bloomsbury and offers the most delicious scones.
The Ivy Garden has been a brunch spot even before London knew what brunch was. There are a few locations dotted around the city from Chelsea to Canary Wharf to Soho. My favorite part of The Ivy is the relaxed vibe you get while brunching there and they have an extensive menu to choose from.
Peggy Porschen. Award-winning cake designer to the stars opened their bakery in Belgravia in 2003 and became a sought after spot overnight. It is pastel heaven featuring cakes, macaroons, tea, and coffee. It is not just another pretty spot. Although the entire shop serves as a backdrop for cute pictures, the cakes are yummy as well.
Scott’s for the best seafood choices. This Mayfair restaurant offers a variety of options to choose from. It is a celebrity spot, and if you are lucky, Hugh Grant might be having dinner next to you!
Fish & Chips and Sunday Roast
Ok, for the cliché food choices which non-Londoners expect to eat, the best places would be a pub! Pub lunches are the traditional spots for fish & chips while watching a football game; you don’t get more British than that! If you are here over the weekend, you must enjoy the famous Sunday roast in a pub.
London Travel Guide: Where To Stay
London is so diverse and each postcode or borough has something different to offer. Thanks to the brilliant underground and world-famous red double-decker buses, transportation in London is probably one of the best in the world. That means that it does not matter where you stay, you should still be able to commute into the city or anywhere you would love to!
Novotel London Canary Wharf – Close to Canary Wharf station, you have the option of a superb location surrounded by a lot of restaurants, bars, and even shops. This hotel features a Roof Terrace, which is probably its best feature as you get a 360 view of the London skyline from the terrace. Canary Wharf is a prime location, and you have a lot of underground lines which go into central London. You have tons of options from the Jubilee line to the DLR. The underground lines also connect you to several other locations in our London Travel Guide… #convenient.
The Tower Hotel located in the city and is close to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The nearest stations are Tower Hill (for underground trains) and Tower Gateway (for the DLR). There are also a lot of bus-stops around for transportation. The best thing about this hotel is its location as it is near a lot of attractions; it is very central and has a cute terrace as well!
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel located in Camden borough and is an extension of the famous St Pancras International train station. The selling point of its location is its proximity to the Eurostar train service which transports you to Paris, Brussels and a few other European cities. Therefore, it is the most logical location if you are planning on making multiple trips across Europe.
Sanderson Hotel is a gorgeous hotel on Berners Street and is very popular for its Madhatters Afternoon Tea. It is close enough but is also tucked quietly away from the noisy and more central hotels. It is a luxury hotel close to Oxford street and is very modern. It’s probably one of the most popular and prominent hotels in London; luxurious and worth every penny!