London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. I love it, and not just because one of my best friends lives there (that is however a big plus), but because there is just so much to do and see there.
This quick guide, or shortened city guide will give you the essentials for what to do and see in London.
London is a great, but also expensive city, so a lot of times I’ll opt for cheaper accomodations, so that I’ve got more money to spend on fun things. When you are booking a place, always make sure you are near a Tube station so that you’ll have an easy time getting around. Here are a couple of my favorites:
The Queen Elizabeth Chelsea Hostel: This hostel’s got a lot of charm, it occupies an older building, but it’s clean and it cute, plus there’s a bar downstairs to hang out and make friends. It’s a 10 minute walk from the Fulham Broadway stop on the District line so getting into central London is easy.
The Rubens at the Palace Hotel: If you are willing to spend some money, The Rubens is right in the center of London, you’ll be walking distance to some of the city’s biggest attractions like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. The staff is friendly and helpful, and breakfast is included!
EAT & DRINK
London has an array of both traditional and international cuisine to explore, and a trip to the pub for a pint is definitely a must.
Wagamama: Japanese ramen bar style deliciousness, I became kind of obsessed with Wagamama the first time I came to London (10 years ago!). The fresh ingredients and classic flavors are on point. There’s nothing like a big bowl of ramen to warm up with after being out in the cold and drizzle London is famous for.
Silver Cross: If you’ve been out on the town sight seeing, and end up near Trafalgar square, Silver Cross is the place to pop into for a beer and some fish and chips. It’s a classic British style pub, with traditional English favorites, as well as some new trendy dishes.
Wasabi Sushi & Bento: When you need a quick lunch or snack Wasabi is my go to. The words “take out sushi” might seem sketchy, but everything is fresh and made daily, and honestly it’s good. There are 39 locations in London making it easy to grab a quick and nutritious bite while you are out seeing the sights.
Dog & Duck: This is a great spot for grab a drink before (or after) seeing a play in the West End. With a wide selection of beers, wine, ciders, and cocktails, you’ll be able to get a good buzz on before your show. The inside is small, but cozy, and if it’s too crowded you can always stand outside at the outdoor standing tables. And if you are looking for a little something to eat, head upstairs for some traditional pub fare.
See a play in the West End: There are always a bunch of shows playing in London’s West End theater district. With everything from the new Harry Potter play to a musical based on Michael Jackson’s music, you’ll be able to find something cool to see. You can also find discounted tickets for a number of shows online or by going to the Leicester Square Box Office.
The big tourist sights: There are some things you just have to see if you are in London. The big ones are Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square. Luckily they are all right next to each other so you can get your super tourist fill in all at once.
Walk along the Thames: Take a walk along the south side of the Thames river, you’ll get excellent views of the London eye, the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben, and you can walk over the famous Millennium Bridge.
Ride a double decker bus: Yeah, I know it’s a little cheesy, but taking a bus tour is fun and a great way to see a city. Plus double decker busses are cool.
Transportation: The Tube is the easiest way to get around the city, I know that map may look a little daunting, but it’s actually quite easy to figure out, thank god each line is color coded.
Money: The British Pound is the currency of the United Kingdom. It (currently) is roughly $1.31 to £1. There are ATM’s all over so it’s convenient to get cash out. If you are paying by card, your credit or debit card must be a chip card.
Weather: British weather is notoriously damp, even in summer when temperatures are more mild(in the 70’s), it can still be rainy. Remember your raincoat and umbrella. I love this Marmot rain shell, it doesn’t have a lining so it’s nice in warm, but wet weather, and you can always wear warmer layers underneath for the cooler months.