I lived in London for four months over the summer of 2014. I was lucky enough to get an internship just off Oxford Street, the busiest street in Europe, with a PR firm in the most exciting city in the world.
London is load and chaotic and never-ending. Here are some of my favourite things about it.
When to go:
I’ve seen London in different months around the year, and I doubt there’s a bad one. That said, summer is the time to visit. There’s something that comes alive in London under the sun. Maybe it’s the flower markets, or the parks that fill up at lunch time with central London’s employees, but London is pure magic.
The Tube: London’s famous Underground is by far my favourite way to get around the city. Beneath the city is a massive network of train lines that connect you to everywhere you could want to go. Buy a pay-as-you-go Oyster card and load it up with whatever you need, or buy a week long unlimited pass if you expect to be using it non-stop.
Buses: Buses work on the same transit system as the tube, so your transit fare can be transferred for buses as well. Not quite as quick as the underground, buses are great for traveling between tube stops, or for getting that double-decker bus experience.
Taxis: Taxis are expensive for London, and for good reason; London taxi drivers know everything. No one knows the intricacies of London’s web of streets and allies like a cab driver, so don’t be afraid to ask.
What to do:
Wander down Brick Lane. Brick lane is without a doubt my favourite spot in London. Having lived nearby, I spent every Sunday wandering through the market. Not only does it mark the largest collection of vintage stores in Europe, but Sunday mornings it fills up with stalls selling everything from records to international cuisine. Rain or shine, but’s the best way to spend your weekend.
Visit a museum or gallery. Even if museums aren’t your thing, consider visiting one of the many free galleries and museums around the city. My personal favourite is the National Portrait Gallery, but you could never go wrong with an afternoon wandering through British Museum or the Tate Modern.
Explore Victoria Park. Victoria Park was a daily stop for me when I lived in London, proving the perfect place to go for a run and escape the noise and clutter of the city. If running’s not for you, make sure to stop by for breakfast on weekends or share some ciders with a friend on a warm evening.
Get High Tea. Cliché as it may sound, High Tea was one of the best things I did in London. You can get it basically anywhere that serves tea, and can choose to dress up for High Tea at the Ritz, or keep it casual at a local tea joint. I chose to take an Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, and it was unbelievably enjoyable. You’ll never feel more like a tourist than on a double decker bus drinking tea and biscuits, but the pictures alone are worth your while.
Go to a show. One of my favourite things about London is that you could, potentially, see an amazing show every night of the week. I’m partial to Les Mis, but after seeing some of the other ones, I really don’t think you can go wrong. Don’t feel like music? Try a play. The West End has endless options to suit your tastes.
Where to eat and drink:
Borough Market: This is without a doubt the best place to eat in the city. Come with an empty stomach and let your taste buds lead you through this massive market. Taste everything before you make a purchase, and it’s always fun to get a glass of Pim’s or Cider to enjoy while you wander around.
Wagamama: Wagamama is a restaurant I frequented probably a little too often when I lived in London, but thinking about it now, I wish I’d gone more. They offer an asian fusion style menu, with everything from pad thai to sobas to sushi.
Princi: Princi is located in Soho, and is a spot my Dad showed me on a visit to London. Located near the theater district, it’s the perfect place to stop in after a show for a glass of wine and something to eat. Their pizzas and foccacia never disappoint, and the desert options on display are endless.
Crate Brewery: A friend showed me this place one night when we met for drinks, and it quickly became our favourite spot. Crate Brewery is a craft brewery and pizza joint that sits right on the edge of an east London canal. Enjoy your meal at one of the many communal tables, or if you’re lucky you can snag a spot in one of the canal boats docked against the brewery.
Belgo Centrale: It seems like all the best restaurants in London are shown to you by other people, and this one was brought to my attention by my sister. Belgo is the #1 place to for go mussels in London. They taste straight out of Brussels, and the underground atmosphere turns the meal into an experience. Top that off with a Belgian beer from their beer bible, and you’re in for a great night.