London is, without a doubt, my favourite city in the world. There’s so much to see and do, you can go from historic, to modern, to classy, to trendy in just a few minutes. It’s cosmopolitan, fascinating and always exciting, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it. And then there’s the shopping… ;)
For this and many other reasons I go to London about once or twice a year, often only for a few days and even though I always try to fit in something new, I usually end up going to the same places and doing the same things again and again. Simply because I love those places and things so much.
So this post is not about what to do in London traditionally speaking, you will find many better guides and blog entries about the British capital, but it’s my personal list of things not to miss… This is MY London:
In the more or less 50 times I went to London, I never once missed going to Camden. Been there for the first time when I was about 13 years old, loved it since. The place is simply crazy, and I think it even got more interesting in the past few years. The stables market is great, there are so many cool shops, and it’s even better during the summer when you can eat outside and try dishes from all over the world. The area around the canal is very pretty too. I don’t think I ever came back from Camden without at least a new pretty T-shirt or beautiful necklace. Or something else completely… who knows, maybe this time it will be a new piercing or a tattoo? :)
If it’s sunny and not too cold, this is where you may find me in the afternoon, and thousands of other people too. I usually take the tube to Westminster, because when you’re in London you want to see the Big Ben at least briefly, right? I cross the bridge and then walk along the Thames up until Tower Bridge. A great walk, you will get to see many of the most famous London sights, some from close up, others from far away. Visit the Tate Modern restaurant and bar for a great view of the river. There are many nice restaurants and pubs on the walk, loads of buskers, markets (check out Borough market!), a few shops, and so much more… you won’t be disappointed!
A classic tourist spot in London, but one I still love dearly. There’s a market there too, but I don’t like that one very much, but the shops are cute, and the streets nearby are nice too.
People I know always tell me how bad the food in London is supposed to be, but you know what? I think the food in London is great nowadays! First of all you can eat food from every country in the world, which is already amazing, but even the local English food is yummy! And there are good restaurants at every corner, and believe me, I’m not easy to please when it’s about lunch and dinner. Oh, and check out the food halls in Harrods and Selfridges, just wow! And at least once during every visit I need a full English breakfast, yum!
High Street Shopping.
Westfield shopping centre if it’s cold or raining, Oxford Street and Regent Street if the weather plays along. There still are a few shops that you can’t find here in Switzerland and that I really like, for example Monsoon, Anthropologie, All Saints, White Stuff and Fat Face, just to name a few. So save some place in your suitcase, you can thank me later ;)
I studied English literature, I love Shakespeare. And there’s no better place to see one of his plays than at the Globe Theatre. So if I go to London in summer I always check what play they are performing… I’ve seen some great stuff, and I’m sure I will see more amazing performances in the future. I’m still hoping to catch Romeo and Juliet one day…
I had some friends living in the Notting Hill area so I spent a few great days there in the past. It’s such a lovely area, not only on Saturdays when there’s the Portobello market taking place, but every day of the week. I guess it’s my favourite area in London, it has a bit of a village vibe to it. Nice cafés, little shops, market stalls, and beautiful houses wherever you look. I always love getting back there for a walk and a visit to the markets.
London + music = LOVE. Actually music is usually the reason why I book a trip to London. Band X isn’t coming to Switzerland? They’re playing in London? Cool, let’s check out flights. Yep, that’s usually how it works, simple as that. Luckily I have a few friends that don’t mind playing along ;) So from Wembley Stadium, to O2 arena, to Royal Albert Hall, to Union Chapel in Islington… I’ve been to my share of venues in London.
Oh, and of course there’s the musicals too… I’ve seen a few and they are usually a lot of fun!
At least once during each stay in London I have to spend a few moments on Piccadilly Circus, possibly when it’s already dark to enjoy the lights. And then I walk to Leicester square, maybe pop into a souvenir shop, stop for an ice cream at Haagen Dasz and look at the hundreds of tourists that are taking pictures. And if I’m in a mood for Chinese food, I go to Chinatown for some sweet&sour chicken…
Spitalfields / Shoreditch.
I think I first went to the Old Spitalfields market 8 or 9 years ago, and now go back regularly, especially if I am in London on a Sunday. I love the market, another place I will always find something interesting to buy. There are nice shops and restaurants in the area too, that’s why I now sometimes go there during other days too. But what’s best about Sundays is that there are a lot of other markets popping up nearby, for example Sunday Up market and Backyard market. And then there’s Brick Lane market too, so no time to get bored in that area on a Sunday. Even better if it’s sunny and warm when a lot of it is taking place in the street…
So this was MY London… yep, I love markets, could you tell? ;) So what are your favourite places in London?