Often top of the list for tourists visiting the United Kingdom, London is a bustling and unique city with a lot to offer. So much so it can be slightly overwhelming knowing where to start! Here are a few recommendations for a whistle-stop tour of the capital.
1. Breakfast in Notting Hill
Famous thanks to the movie of the same name, Notting Hill is home to the Notting Hill Carnival since the mid 1960’s, which celebrates the British West Indian heritage of the neighbourhood. It is also home to The Electric Diner which provides an all day breakfast (with a French-American menu) in the setting of an old and very stylish cinema diner. Perfect to fuel yourself up for a busy day of sight-seeing ahead!
2. Little Venice
Not far from Notting Hill is Little Venice, a beautiful area of canals and waterways. As well as the lovely scenery which makes for a great walk, there are plenty of quirky waterside cafes, cosy pubs and charming restaurants, both on and off the water. Wandering downstream, you can admire the well kept gardens on the tow path, belonging to the inhabitants of the many narrow boats, and arrive at Camden Town via Regents Park.
3. Camden Market
An essential part of any city break – snacks! Camden Market is the place to go, with an incredible choice of foods from all over the world you can stroll around the stands until you decide which one you’d like best. Or, if you’d rather not limit yourself to only one, try a few different snacks from different stands, that should keep you energised for the next part of your journey!
4. Covent Garden treasures
Located within London’s West End and a lovely area to stroll around, Covent Garden is full of tea shops and boasts a variety of interesting shops for browsing, and of course the Covent Garden Market itself is worth a visit. If a tea break is needed, do it in style with a luxurious teas on offer at both the Savoy and the Delaunay.
5. Lunch Stop at the Strand
One of the better known roads in Covent Garden, the Strand, is one of my favourite areas and a great spot for a delicious lunch. You can choose from several wholesome cafés, such as Farmstand or 26 Grains, set in the colourful Neal’s Yard. These quirky cafés reflect the alternative and energetic vibe in this area and make it a perfect spot to eat, rest and regain some energy for the afternoon.
6. Buckingham Palace
A tourist spot which of course features on the to do list for many visitors to London, Buckingham Palace. Await the changing of the guard in their famous uniforms and Beefeaters (large hats), or simply admire the size of the palace. Maybe even spot the Queen of England?!
7. Hyde Park
One of the most picturesque of the many London parks, Hyde Park is a brief moment in nature in the otherwise hectic London. Stroll between the trees and enjoy this slightly more peaceful area, with some interesting sculptures and monuments dotted throughout.
8. The Theatre, Darling!
The West End in London is world renowned for its theatrical delights, and in my opinion this reputation is well deserved. I had the pleasure of watching the theatre adaptation of War Horse by Michael Morpurgo here many years ago, and I still remember it in detail to this day. Book in advance as although last minute deals can be had, shows do book up quickly. Shows typically start at 7.30pm so it’s an ideal end to the day.
9. An evening drink
If you’re looking to round off your busy day with a couple of relaxing drinks, or maybe some live music, then there is something to suit everyone in London. Covent Garden and Soho offer delicious cocktails and locally brewed beers, or if you’re after something fancier the The Savoy and the Ritz offer some splendid champagnes. Cheers!