After nine or so months of living here, I can definitely say that London is one of my favourite cities in the world. There is so much to offer, whether you’re looking for a chilled out day exploring castles or a bustling night out on the town, London has got the perfect thing for you! In lieu of my upcoming departure from London, here are some personal recommendations for any of you looking to go visit London, of the very best things to do for almost every kind of personality!
For the ones who “do it for the ‘gram”
Let’s just get it out there that we all have moments where we do something for the ‘gram – whether it’s a foodie shot or a posed flower wall pic, there ain’t no shame in our ‘gram game! For the girly ‘grammer, try Peggy Porschen, the divinely pink café with flowers everywhere and adorable little pastries and cakes. Fair warning, if you go during busier times (lunchtime and mid-afternoon) you may need to wait in line for a table. Another great spot is Aubaine, with chic flowers on the walls, this French bistro is the perfect post-work or post-day-out place to grab a drink or dinner! Covent Garden is also a fantastic area because there is more than one spot to visit! Covent Garden is host to many different shops, all of which focus heavily on the aesthetic, so you’ll find flower walls, flower-adorned benches, and a ton of stores to shop around in! There’s also a fab spot on the right of St Paul’s Cathedral (if you’re looking at it from the main entrance) where there is a pedestrian path that’s got a fantastic view of the Cathedral if you really wanna get that shot!
For the history buffs
If you love history, London will be one of your favourite places in the world. The obvious choices would be all the museums and galleries, but some key ones you want to be sure to visit would be the British Museum (say hello to Cleopatra’s mummy for me), the British Library, and the Natural History Museum. The amazing thing here is that most of the museums are free – though they encourage donations if you are able to donate. I definitely would recommend getting there early to try to beat the masses, and make sure not to bring any large bags as there will be a security search which can delay your entry. Another great spot to check out, would be the tour inside Buckingham Palace! It’s important to note that this is only open to the public for a select amount of days during the year, so check in advance to see if it is available during your visit! If you have a chance to do any travelling outside of the city, be sure to visit Oxford! It’s one of my favourite spots, and if you love strolling historical universities and sitting in a pub where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien sat, then it’s a must-see! This is literally the tip of the iceberg for historical sites, but it’s a great place to start!
For the Harry Potter fans
I’m a huge HP fan, and I will never deny my adoration for the fictional Wizarding World. For those of you who are also fans, there’s no shortage of places to check out! The Warner Bro’s studio tour is a definite top of the list spot to visit, but be sure to book tickets in advance – preferably a month in advance, if not more, since these sell out really quickly! There are bus tours that can also take you to a number of filming sites around London, and a walking tour as well! There are a few sites in Oxford that were used for filming as well, and I would recommend checking out the Chirstchurch College of Oxford University if you’ve got a keen eye for film spots. Leadenhall Market is another great spot which does walking tours as well (for free), but be sure to visit on a weekday, as they are not open on weekends. Finally, for your merchandise, check out Hamleys on Regent Street for their fantastic Harry Potter lower level, with all of the merch you could want!
For the nature lovers
Kew Gardens is an absolutely gorgeous spot, with a ton of different exhibits to check out, which can take a full day depending on your walking speed. Of course, all of the Royal Parks are my favourite places to relax in city, and you can rent a bike for a day near most of the entrances, which is perfect if you’re keen on a bike around the park! The Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park is absolutely stunning, and if you’re looking for flowers that’s the best spot around! If you’ve got a full day to spare, I would check out Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens, where you can explore the grounds for the day and grab a cup of coffee or a pizza at the Serpentine Bar and Grill!
For the foodies
Sketch London was number one on my list, and it has gorgeous pink velvet chairs, space pod toilets, an art gallery seating area, and so much more! Another great thing to check out, is the afternoon tea bus tour! The bus houses only a limited number of tables, and your ticket includes the full spread for afternoon tea, while enjoying a relaxing tour of the city. It’s the perfect way to wine and dine while seeing the sights at the same time!
Pro Tip: for those of you on a budget (same) check out the local Tesco or Sainsbury’s grocery stores (there’s literally one on almost every corner) where they have the **$3 meal deal. It consists of typically some sort of sandwich or wrap, a bottled drink, and chips! Perfect for a cheap snack on the go while you explore!
For the fitspos
If you’re visiting during October, why not run the Royal Parks Half Marathon? It’s one of the best running events of the year, has a full festival site with tons of goodies, and what locale could be better for an autumnal jog than the most beautiful parks in London? If you’re visiting any other time, why not rent a bike and do a bike tour of the city? There are a ton of options online to choose from, and you can stay in shape while checking out the sights!
For the horror fans
Check out the Jack the Ripper tour, it’s sure to haunt you as you drive from site to site where the many victims were viciously murdered. Brompton Cemetery is another great locale, as it houses a number of historically famous dead people, like Emmeline Pankurst, and there are tombs that you can tour along with a café if you’d like a coffee along with the coffins. You can also check out The London Dungeon which spooks ya right out!
For the music buffs
Abbey Road anyone? The legendary crosswalk and studios call London their home, and if you’re even the slightest fan of The Beatles it’s a great thing to say you’ve been to! There’s not a lot to do aside from seeing it, so definitely don’t plan to be there for a long time! Another spot that’s great for any metal music fans, is Crypt of the Wizard! Kellan loves to shop there, and he gets all of his records there, he’s a megafan!
For random activities
Check out Ballie Ballerson! Its best to book in advance, but you can still get a spot if you come last minute – it just may end up to be quite late! Ballie Ballerson is a club/bar that has a giant ball pit in it! It’s just as fun as you remember from your younger days, and the mirrors and neon lights make for quite the backdrop! Another thing I love is the Columbia Road Flower Market! It takes place only on Sundays from 8:00am – 2:00pm, so get there early! It houses some of the most beautiful flowers, and even if you aren’t looking to buy any, it’s a great area to wander around in!
For theatre lovers
Of course, Shakespeare’s Globe is a must-see, but did you know the current site isn’t the original site? There are tours of both, and if you want the facts, check out both tours! If you want to see a show, there is always a number of great ones that are happening, check out the current ones on the website! Another great place to see (during the warmer months) is Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre! Kellan and I saw two different things there this past summer, and both times we were blown away by the skill of the actors and the atmosphere! If you book in advance, you can add on a meal package that is to die for, and get added drinks!
There is so much to do in London, and I could go on for ages about all the things there are to do, but that’s part of the beauty of London; no matter what (or who) you love, there’s something here for you. While London may not be our permanent home, it will forever feel like home to us.