It’s no secret that London is one of my favorite places in the world. It is a city that is both new and ancient, both classy and quirky, both evolving and traditional. Each neighborhood you explore has its own unique charm, from the boutiques in Chelsea, to the tea shops in Soho, to the parks in Kensington. With such a large plethora of things to do in London, planning a trip can be daunting and overwhelming. My first two experiences where jam packed with activities and even still, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. While I still have plenty to see, I have definitely developed some favorites. Here are a few of my most favorite things to do in London.
Here’s something you may not know: food in London is expensive with a capital E. But what you also need to know: it’s worth the splurge. London is known for three traditional dishes: Sunday Roast, Full English Breakfast, and Afternoon Tea. Sunday Roast is comprised of roast, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, and all the gravy. You may struggle to walk afterward, but it is well worth it. We ate our Sunday Roast at The Mall Tavern Pub, which was fairly priced, came out quickly, and had all the home-cooked goodness. A Full English can also be found at a pub and includes bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, and tomatoes. Depending on the pub the dish may vary so I would recommend doing research beforehand. I rely heavily on Trip Adviser for all my food selections so trust the reviews.
Oh Afternoon Tea. This is one of those things that just makes you feel transported into a movie about duchesses and dukes (at least for this American it does). Afternoon Tea is something that I spend a lot of time researching beforehand to check out pricing options but also menus. Tea will always include scones, finger sandwiches, and desserts. I like to make sure that the menu includes items that sound appetizing to me, so just look ahead of time! Tea venues rang from quirky plush covered restaurants to outdoor terraces, so shop around and decide on an aesthetic that suits you!
The Royal Kew Gardens are London’s hidden gem. Located about an hour outside of the city in the town of Kew, this garden has it all. From tropical greenhouses to the largest rose garden I’ve ever seen, Kew had me feeling all the Alice in Wonderland vibes. Kew Gardens are not widely known to a lot of London visitors so it offers a breath of fresh air from the hustle of tourists. Kew also offers an Afternoon Tea at one of their sweet restaurants which is where I enjoyed this London tradition during my most recent travels. If you have a morning or afternoon to dedicate to this little excursion, 14/10 would recommend.
One of the best things about London is simply enjoying the scenery. I love having the opportunity to walk around and photograph all the character filled streets. During my most recent visit, several buildings were still decked out in flowers from the Chelsea Flower Festival which made the streets even more colorful. When visiting London, I’d recommend taking an afternoon or even a whole day just to walk around and explore. Make sure you have your camera in hand!
Some of the most photogenic places in London: Notting Hill, Covent Garden, Soho, Elizabeth, Chelsea, and South Bank (for the more traditional tourist shots).
This place right here may be my most favorite thing about London. Parks in England are not like parks in the US. When you walk in Kensington, it’s like this calm settles over you and you’ve been transported to the Finding Neverland set. All around you dogs walk with their owners without leases, kids play with their parents with no screens in sight, and people sit and have genuine conversations without a phone in hand. Add in miles of greenery, statues, and fountains, and it really is quite a magical place. So grab a picnic basket and your loved ones and head to the park just to hang awhile. You’ll feel very English and forget why you ever wanted to leave.
If you’ve been to London, you know the way it captures your attention and is always drawing you back in. It’s a city that offers inspiration, new experiences, and a peak into history. So now that I’ve shared my favorites I have to ask, what are your favorite things to do in London?
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