Your Deep Dive into All Things in London

A timeless and enchanting combination of old and new, London is so big and diverse that one could live here for years and still miss out on a plethora of amazing things that the city has to offer. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a local who has yet to fully explore the city, our London guide will help you explore this fascinating and inspiring place, including its hidden  gems!

 

EAT & DRINK

Regarded as one of the most diverse cities in the world, London offers a wide variety of fantastic eateries. Wherever you are and whatever you feel like, there are always bountiful options when it comes to delicious food!

 

Traditional British  

1. Blacklock Soho (Traditional British, ££)

Photo: Courtesy of Blacklock Soho

No weekend in England is complete without a glorious Sunday roast. While you can head to almost any pub in the city to try one, if you are looking for a truly spectacular experience, head to the Blacklock in Soho!

 

2. Poppies Fish & Chips (Traditional British, £)

Photo: Ubereats Poppies Fish & Chips 

The quintessential British dish of fish and chips is not to be missed during a trip to London. Poppies provides a traditional experience of fantastic quality and high standards. Sustainably caught and locally sourced fish are cooked to perfection and served with crispy delicious chips. These can be taken away wrapped in newspaper or eaten in the retro-style restaurant. 

 

3. Flat Iron (Traditional British, ££)

Photo: Instagram @flatironsteak

Unbeatable steak at unbeatable prices! Despite Flat Iron offering a variety of cuts and burgers on its specials board, the star of the show is its flat iron steak. With two branches within walking distance of Oxford Street, it’s the perfect place to break up a busy day of shopping. They don’t take reservations, but you’re never waiting long. Trust us, it’s worth it.  

 

Asian

4. Dishoom (Indian, ££)

Photo: Instagram @dishoom

As an Indian restaurant that serves good quality at affordable prices, it’s no wonder that Dishoom is so popular. Its menu and aesthetic is based on the eateries set up in Bombay by Persian immigrants, so expect Indian food with a twist accompanied by a wonderful drinks menu. We recommend you to try breakfast at Dishoom- it serves the best char-striped smoked streaky bacon naan you’ve ever tasted! If you are really hungry, get The Big Bombay, which comes with akuri (spicy scrambled eggs), char-striped smoked streaky bacon, peppery Shropshire pork bangers, masala baked beans, grilled tomato and mushroom, and buttered pav buns.

 

5. Ping Pong (Chinese, ££)

Photo: Twitter @pingpongdimsum

With 9 stylish branches across London, Ping Pong is the place to go for Dim Sum, exquisite flowering teas and unusual cocktails. Alternatively, head to Chinatown in the heart of Soho where you will find endless restaurants serving Asian delicacies. When ordering, you’ll receive a list of the dim sum dishes and you simply tick off the ones you would like. The dishes are served in small bite-sized portions, so best order several!

 

6. Sake No Hana (Japanese, ££££)

Photo: Instagram @sakenohanalondon

The best sushi in London. There, we said it. Go on a Saturday to take advantage of the seven course lunch (Umai Sushi Saturday menu). A reasonable £49 will buy you seven small courses, a really tasty cocktail and half a bottle of Louis Roederer champagne. It’s a fantastic value for money!
 

7. Sushisamba (Japanese-Brazillian-Peruvian, ££££)

Photo: Instagram @sushisamba

Sushisamba’s glass-walled express lift hurtles up the outside of Salesforce Tower, taking you 38 storeys above the City in under 30 seconds. Once you are up there, Sushisamba has a pretty impressive rooftop lounge giving stunning views of London. Exceptional cocktails and great Japanese food in the form of both classic and modern sushi. The design of the place is stunning too, for those with a keen eye for interiors. 

 

8. Yori (Korean, ££)

Photo: Yori official website

Yori, meaning “cooking” or “cooked food,” is an authentic Korean food located in the heart of London, Piccadilly Circus. Start your meal with crispy ‘Seafood Pajeon’ (Korean seafood pancake). If you feel like going a bit traditional, try a Jeongol- a giant hot pot cooked at your table. If you like Korean barbeque, we recommend you to try Bulgogi Jeongol! 

 

European

9. Casse-Croute (French, ££)

Photo: TimeOut 

For a taste of France, visit this cosy bistro. It boasts a family atmosphere, from its friendly staff to its chequered tablecloths. Menus are written in French on black chalkboards and the dishes change frequently, but you’ll always find a French classic such as Coq au Vin or Boeuf Bourguignon. If the restaurant is full and you’re too hungry to wait, it’s well worth a walk around the area; Bermondsey Street is full of similar-sized independent restaurants serving food from all over the world.

 

10. Barrafina (Tapas, £££)

Photo: Instagram @barrafinalondon

If you’re looking for fantastic tapas with a variety of great wines, Barrafina is for you. Consistently voted one of London’s favorite Spanish restaurants, it often has a queue for tables as there is modest seating, but the array of meat, seafood and vegetarian tapas options make it well worth the wait.

 

11. Villa Di Geggiano (Italian, £££)

Photo: Instagram @villa_di_geggiano_london

This is the London outpost of a Tuscan estate, specializing in the rich cuisine of this Italian region. This isn’t the place for pizza, as Tuscan cooking is traditionally more hearty and expensive than in the South. Instead, you’ll find a range of pasta, meat and fish to suit anyone’s tastes. Desserts range from tiramisu to sorbet, and there is a fantastic wine selection. We recommend booking in advance and requesting  a table on the terrace for an Italian al fresco dining experience.

 

Middle Eastern

12. Megan’s (Mediterranean, ££)

Photo: Megan's official website

The friendliest staff in London, this place will warm your heart. Megan’s garden is open whatever the weather in their flagship place (Kings Road, Fulham) offering the most romantic year-round al fresco dining (highly recommended). At Megan’s by the Green (Parsons Green) sit beneath flowers & fairy lights and enjoy ‘filthily delicious food in a magical setting’ (TimeOut). Their newest addition is in Balham, delivering more of what Megan’s is known for best: great food in a lovely setting. They also offer a cracking bottomless brunch.

 

13. Maroush (Lebanese, ££)

Photo: Instagram @maroush

If you’re looking for the quintessential Lebanese dining experience, Maroush is the place. Their traditional charcoal grilled kebabs and delicious cheesy pastries are paired with vibrant live music and even traditional belly dancing on most evenings. There are several other branches now, but Maroush on Edgware Road is the original (and perhaps the best...).

 

Afternoon Tea

1. Claridge’s (£££)

Photo: Instagram @claridgeshotel

Traditional afternoon tea at Claridge’s is the perfect way to celebrate or indulge in a little bit of luxury. Enjoy champagne, scones, crisp cucumber sandwiches and a glorious array of pastries. Suffice to say, you will need to book in advance. 

 

2. The Ritz (£££)

Photo: Instagram @theritzlondon

A British institution in itself, The Ritz offers a choice of several varieties of tea, finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones, jam and clotted cream and a range of delicate pastries. These combine to make for an unforgettable afternoon.

 

3. Sketch (£££)

Photo: B.LOVED

For a more modern, quirky, take on the classic afternoon tea - head to Sketch. Served in ‘The Gallery’ from 11:30AM - 4PM (Mon-Sun), you’ll be surrounded by copious amounts of art on the walls, the toilets look like massive dinosaur eggs and it’s very, very pink. This is a very instagrammable spot!

 

ATTRACTIONS

No stay would ever be long enough to fully explore everything London has to offer. Here, to make your London trip easier, we take you through some of our favourite must-visit attractions that embrace a mixture of classic and modern British culture.

 

Classics

1. London Eye

A fantastic way to see London is from the London Eye; one of the city’s most famous landmarks. But did you know you can actually do all kinds of things in the capsules besides sightseeing? Check the London Eye website for the special experiences: wine tasting, chocolate tasting and champagne tasting. Tickets should be bought in advance at www.londoneye.com

 

2. Tower of London

A visit to the Tower of London is an unforgettable experience. Having played a crucial role in shaping England’s history, there is plenty to see- from the Crown Jewels to the infamous Raven’s tower. In movies and media, the Queen’s Guard are always shown to be standing outside Buckingham Palace, but you can also see the Queen’s Guard up close at the Tower of London! Tickets are slightly cheaper if booked online

 

3. Westminster

You can book tickets for self-guided audio tours or guided tours of the Houses of Parliament via this website: www.parliament.uk/vising. If you don’t want to pay to go inside, it’s still worth visiting the area. Stroll down Downing Street, marvel at Westminster Abbey and hear Big Ben chime on the hour! 

 

4. Buckingham Palace

The ‘Changing of the Guard’ at Buckingham Palace is a very patriotic and entertaining ceremony. Do note that the times and days change regularly as a security measure - dates are usually posted online a month in advance, and tend to be every other day. If you see the flag (the Royal Standard) flying above the palace, the Queen is at home!

 

5. The Globe Theatre

From April to October the Globe Theatre comes to life with a variety of Shakespeare’s plays. For full details of the schedule see the Globe website or call for more information. With tickets starting at £5 (for standing spots, where you’ll experience Shakespeare just like a sixteenth century ‘groundling’ would have) it’s not one to miss. There are also exhibitions and tours to illustrate what life was like in London during Elizabethan times. You can see the costumes that were worn, the instruments used on stage and the special effects that were used during the plays.

 

Museum & Gallery

1. The British Museum

London is a city full of museums, all of which are well worth a visit. The British Museum, however, should be top of your list if you don’t know where to start. Entry is FREE but donations are recommended as they all go towards maintaining the collection. See the Rosetta Stone, Parathenon reliefs and Portland Vase in the flesh, and marvel at one of the world’s greatest Egyptian collections. 

 

2. Natural History Museum

Photo: Natural History Museum official website

A favorite with children and adults like, this free museum is one of London’s best. It is home to skeletons and replicas of all kinds of animals and dinosaurs, and even has a special exhibit of the first T Rex fossil ever found. Further, the Science Museum is just next door!

 

3. Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)

Just next to the Natural History Museum is the Victoria & Albert. Marketing itself as the world’s leading museum of art and design, it is full of beautiful artwork, sculpture and fashion. From 16th century marble statues to dresses by Alexander McQueen, the V&A caters for all tastes. 

 

4. Sir John Soane’s Museum 

Photo: CN Traveller website

The Soane Museum is the extraordinary house of Sir John Soane, one of the greatest English architects, who built and lived in it more than a century and a half ago. The Museum has been kept as it was at the time of his death nearly 180 years ago. It displays his unique collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, architectural models, paintings -- including work by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto -- and over 30,000 architectural drawings. It’s a vast, extraordinary collection, full of curiosities and surprises. And to top it off, it's free!

 

5. Tate Britain

The Tate Britain holds the largest collection of British art in the world from 1500 to the present day. You’ll find masterpieces by Gainsborough, Hogarth, Millais, Whistler, as well as outstanding modern and contemporary artists such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Damien Hirst.

 

6. Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is housed inside the former Bankside Power Station on the bank of the Thames and contains works from such famous artists as Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock, Warhol and Bourgeois. The view from the top floor is well worth the climb, looking across the River Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf and even Wembley Stadium is visible in the distance. Grab a drink and snacks from the bar at the terrace and enjoy a beautiful sunset with the view. Be sure to check the opening hours before you visit!

 

7. The National Gallery

Photo: The National Gallery official website

There are many fabulous art galleries in London, and the National Gallery is certainly one of them. We have chosen this as our starting point due to the sheer breadth of its collection and its prime location in Trafalgar Square. See Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and Botticelli’s Venus & Mars amongst the 2,300 works on display. You will need to purchase tickets for special exhibitions but entry to the main collection is free.

 

Further Afield…

London has plentiful attractions of its own; however with so many unique destinations outside the city within easy reach, it would be foolish not to take a day trip at least once. Be adventurous and plan your trip ahead!

 

1. University Towns: Oxford or Cambridge

Home to the two most prestigious universities in the world, Oxford and Cambridge are well worth a visit. See the Bodleian Library and Christ Church at Oxford or visit King’s College chapel at Cambridge. There are many walking tours and college tours available at both universities, it’s barely worth booking in advance. Visit in the summer to see students celebrating the end of exams and graduating. Trains to Oxford go from Paddington and Marylebone and journeys to Cambridge leave from Kings Cross or Liverpool Street, with both taking just an hour!

 

2. Hampton Court Palace

Photo: Hampton Court Palace official website

This is a great day out for those who enjoy beautiful architecture and history. Henry VIII and his six wives lived at Hampton Court Palace, and many other monarchs since. There are gardens, cafes, a maze and even a treasure hunt; something for the whole family! The palace is located near Richmond-upon-Thames, a beautiful area of London with some of the city’s best restaurants. We recommend taking a boat trip on the river or visiting the nearby Kew Gardens to complete a fun-filled day.

 

3. Bicester village

Photo: Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa official website

Very close to Oxford is the designer outlet shopping centre, Bicester Village. Under an hour away from London, this is a great day out if you’re looking for designer clothes at bargain prices. There are plenty of brands on offer, including Versace, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. Trains depart from London Marylebone and take under an hour.

 

4. Brighton 

Only an hour by train from London Victoria, Brighton is a fantastic seaside escape. Visit the famous Pier, enjoy Fish and Chips whilst strolling along the promenade and soak in the sights of the iconic Pavilion. We also recommend taking a wander down the winding lanes and getting lost amongst the many boutique shops.

 

5. Harry Potter World

Photo: Experience Oxfordshire official website

Harry Potter fans: you are in England, the home of the world’s favourite spectacled young wizard! The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a magical experience for those of all ages. You’ll see the Hogwarts Express, walk down Diagon Alley and come face to face with hundreds of original props and costumes. Tickets must be booked in advance, but the cost does include transport from either Kings Cross or Victoria, Book tickets here: www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.

 

6. Stonehenge

The prehistoric monument is one of the wonders of the ancient world. The stone circle is thousands of years old and full of magic and mystery. Include a visit to Salisbury in your trip, a beautiful cathedral town just a 20 minute drive from the monument. If you don’t have a car, it is possible to book tours from London or Salisbury. Trains from London Waterloo to Salisbury are frequent and take about an hour and a half. 

 

Shop

Can you really say you have fully experienced London without shopping in the city? No London experience is complete without a little bit of shopping. Here is the list of the biggest, best and most beautiful shopping destinations in London.

 

Major Department stores & Shopping centre

1. Harrods 

Elaborate shopping emporium with glittering Egyptian Room and acclaimed Food Hall. Head to Knightsbridge and get lost in Harrods, where you can find anything to buy but not buy everything you find. 

 

2. Liberty

Photo: LDN fashion

Steeped in British heritage, from the famous mock-Tudor exterior to the iconic Liberty fabric found inside, it doesn’t get more British than this. Across the department store’s six floors you’ll find fashion, homewares, beauty treatments, a food hall and a restaurant. 

 

3. Selfridges 

Photo: Selfridges official website

Selfridges is the largest department store on Oxford Street. The design and the interior layout of the building is beautiful and sophisticated with high end fashion brands. Grab a glass of champagne in the Champagne bar while shopping!  

 

4. Fortnum & Mason 

Photo: C&C search

Fortnum’s is renowned as purveyors of fine foods, hampers, teas and wine. Visit its first store on Piccadilly, where it was founded in 1707, for a smidge of luxury shopping or fine dining. 

 

5. Westfield (Shopping centre)

Photo: Chmee2

Westfield (Shepherd’s Bush) is home to more than 300 shops, with brands ranging from high street to designer, making it the biggest shopping centre in Europe. Westfield’s little brother is in Stratford, slightly smaller but still worth a go.

 

Learn more about Vintage shopping & Boutique shopping...

 

Transport

 

1. Oyster

Oyster is one of the most cost-effective and easy ways to travel around London. It is valid on buses, the tube and nearly every rail service in the city. It’s a prepaid card that you can load either by purchasing an Oyster card with credit online, or by buying one from a post office or station and then topping it up (either at participating newsagents or at stations). You can also use your contactless debit card or Apple Pay in the same way as an Oyster card. Please note that you cannot use cash on London buses or the tube.

 

2. Tube Map

Download the Tube Map app. It works in a tube station and offline! 

Photo: tfl.gov.uk

3. Citymapper

Citymapper is a must-have London travel app that helps you get around some of the world’s biggest cities, whether you’re after a cab, want to cycle or need to use public transport. It’s even possible to use the map offline which is very convenient if you are abroad and do not want to use data. You can plan and save your journey on the Citymapper app in advance.

 

4. Santander Cycles

Santander Cycles are a cheap and easy way to see the city. To rent a bike,

  1. Go to the docking station with a debit/credit card.
  2. Touch the screen and choose ‘Hire a Cycle.’
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions and take the printed release code.
  4. Choose a bike (check the tyres, brakes and bell), and type in your 5-digit release code.
  5. Take the bike out when the green light appears.

When your time is up, take the bike to a docking station, push it firmly into an empty slot, and wait for the green light. In case of any problems, call Santander Cycles: 0343 222 6666

Or simply download the Santander Cycles App. It sends you bike release codes straight to your phone, so you can head to your bike right away, skipping the docking station terminal. The app also updates you on which stations have bikes and spaces available.