Guide to London
London, or Londunium as it was once called by the Romans, is the world’s most visited city – and with good reason. It is home to four heritage sites and attractions that are known around the world such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Albert Hall.
It has museums, art galleries, theatre, chic shopping districts and cool neighbourhoods known for the night life and food. The options are endless so where do you start? That is up to personal choice but one thing is true you’ll never get bored as this city never stops evolving and dishing up new things to try.
Fun facts about London
- The actual City of London only extends 1.12 miles and is typically known as the Square Mile and is home to the financial district. It has 7,000 registered residents and 300,000 people commute in daily to work in the city of London. Most of whom live in the 32 boroughs that make up Greater London
- Her Majesty the Queen may be the head of state for the United Kingdom but Queen Elizabeth II is not allowed to enter the City of London without permission from the Lord Mayor
- London Bridge has been in use for more than 600 years and if you were to travel back in time, you would be able to see the spiked heads of rebels, including famous plotters and mutineers like Guy Fawkes and William Wallace
- There is a memorial to the German ambassador’s dog, who was “accidentally electrocuted” in 1934, at the top of the steps by the Duke of York monument off Pall Mall, which is where the German Embassy stood until the breakout of World War II
- Great Ormond Street Hospital owns the copyright to Peter Pan and receives royalties. Author J.M. Barrie — who had no children himself — gifted the rights to the hospital in 1929.
Places to visit in London
Where do you start! The city has so much to offer from visiting pre-historic creatures at the Natural History Museum to seeing London from high above in the London Eye to taking in the art and culture at the Tate Gallery, the Saatchi Gallery and the National Gallery. All of which must go onto your bucket list. But to hang out like the locals our top recommendations include:
Columbia Flower Market – set against the urban backdrop of the East Endthis flower market has been going since 1869. Today the market is known for being the place to go every Sunday for amazing flowers and plants at bargain prices.
Hampstead Heath – is the place to go if you want to feel like you are in the countryside. Set in 790 acres the ancient park is one of the highest points in London. The south-east part of the Heath is Parliament Hill, from which the view over London is protected by law and is the best to see any major fire work display during Guy Fawkes Night and New Year’s Eve.
South Bank – is the perfect destination for art, culture and entertainment. It has everything from theatre performances to street entertainers and a vibrant skate boarding and street art scene.
Little Venice - is a scenic part of London known for its canals and moored boats. Little Venice has two waterways: the Grand Union Canal and the Regent's Canal, which meet in a large, picturesque pool, known by locals as the "Little Venice Lagoon". The area is perfect for a relaxed Sunday with its many cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Camden – is known around the world for its live music venue’s, street fashion and its vintage markets, food stalls and the canal, which is perfect if you want a peaceful walk or bike ride
The best things to do in London
Roof top cinema – What could be better than to take in a classic film, whilst overlooking the city and munching through an endless supply of popcorn. The Roof Top Film Club puts on classics such as Dirty Dancing and Highlander at open air venues across the city.
Visit the Roof Gardens in Kensington – Flamingos roaming around in beautifully landscaped gardens, 100ft above the city, most definitely make the Roof Gardens in Kensington a unique experience. The three gardens are part of a private members club and fine dining restaurant, Babylon.
Check out the Flamingos at the Roof Gardens, Kensington
Enjoy a night out at a museum or gallery – who said visiting an art gallery and museums couldn’t be mixed with great food, a few cocktails and an awesome set by a DJ. Check out what is happening late at the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday and Friday and the last Friday of each month at the Natural History Museum.
Watch a football game – London is home to 14 professional football clubs and attract hundreds and thousands of spectators when they play. Whether you’re into football or not it’s worth going for the atmosphere and to see some iconic landmarks such as Wembley Stadium and the Olympic stadium.
Take in some Jazz at Ronnie Scots – This iconic live music venue in the heart of Soho is a mecca to Jazz and was also the last place Jimi Hendrix played.
Places to eat
London’s reputation as a foodies’ heaven is not misplaced. You can eat your way around the world from curries in Brick Lane, to pasta in Little Italy, Shawarma on Edgware Road and dim sum in China town.
The variety of cuisine readily available in London is impressive but if you want to try local delicacies you’ll have to go off the beaten track and head towards East London where you can still find Pie and Mash shops, serving up savoury pies that are accompanied with mash and eel licker.
The best one to visit is L Manze eel, pie and mash shop on Walthamstow high street. The café which opened its doors originally in 1929 now has Grade II listed status.
If sitting in one place isn’t your thing and you are looking for a more modern foodie experience, try the food stalls in Borough Market or Street Feast London for its exotic range of food stalls and bars that pitch up in different parts of London.