“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
London City Guide – City Overview and Fun Facts
I live outside of London and I love, love, love it! I consider it my second home and there is nothing I don’t know about London. Well, I think anyway – LOL.
I love the uniqueness of London. Honestly, there’s so much to see and explore around every corner. You could take ten trips to London and still find more fascinating places or secret nooks to adore.
The parks in the Fall, with the leaves blanketing the grass, get into your soul. And in the spring—when the birds are chirping and flowers blooming—they put a song i your heart. Truly!
Let me share a few fun facts about London and then take you to some of my
absolute favourite places.
London City Guide – Fun Facts about London
● London is the capital city of England and has a population of more than 8.9 million people as of 2019.
● London is FULL of diversity and more than 300 languages are spoken
throughout the city.
● Big Ben is a famous landmark but that name actually refers to the bell and the clock was meant to go by the name “The Clock Tower.”
● The London Eye is another famous landmark. Also known as the millennium wheel it’s an observation wheel that attracts more than 3 million visitors annually and is the largest paid tourist attraction in the UK.
English is spoken throughout London although more than 300 languages are in use throughout the city due to its diversity.
The official currency of the United Kingdom is the pound. Many people ask if euros are accepted in London and while a few places may accept them, it’s best not to hope for it as the exchange rate will likely be more. Many people also ask if US dollars are accepted in London and again—nopers, it’s the pound. Bring your debit or credit cards or get pounds if you’re planning a trip to the city.
Best Time to Visit
I find something I love in London all year round. I think it’s charming in every season, but most say that the best time to travel is between March and May when the parks are starting to bloom or in full bloom and the temperatures are not too terribly hot. The thing is, however, that many tourists flock to London during the summer months, so honestly it’s really up to the kind of experience you want to have.
Christmas in London is full of so much charm with ice skating, the London bridge Christmas Market, and winter wonderland in Hyde Park. It’s really about the kind of London experience you want to have.
Alright, let’s dive into my absolute favourite places.
London City Guide – What to Do
Go to the Theater in Theatreland—London’s Theatre District
Theatreland is London’s theatre district with more than 40 venues! I love the theater and I love to make a day of it. I have seen The Lion King three times— yes 3! I am that person who sings along in the audience. I saw Aladin with my friend France and Tina Turner with one of my best friends, Maddy. It was sooo emotional and we had so much fun. We enjoyed a bike ride after the theater and it’s one of the best memories I have.
Have Afternoon Tea
I recommend this! It is a very british thing to do and makes for a fun day out and an opportunity to dress up. The most recent afternoon tea I had was with my lovely friend at Palm Court at the luxury Langham Hotel London and it was absolutely divine. Tons of places offer afternoon tea but two of my favorite places to have afternoon tea are at the boutique hotels the Covent Garden Hotel and Charlotte Street Hotel which I talk about under my London Stays. Check them out here. The Langham Hotel is also obviously a very wonderful place for afternoon tea.
Get Inspired at Tate Gallery
Another one of my favourite places to go to is Tate Gallery. I love the exhibition Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art. If you like art and photography, this type of exhibition is for you.
Shop Until You Drop at Harrods
If you are looking for the best place to shop when you visit London, Harrods is one of them. Harrods is one of the world’s most famous department stores known for its in-store services. It was founded in 1849 and sells over 5,000 brands. This premium department store has over a million square feet, 330 departments, and attracts international shoppers who are dying to get their hands on the latest trends.
Soak up the Nightlife in Soho and Eastern London
Nothing beats Soho and Eastern London when it comes to nightlife. Home to the hottest nightclubs and bars, if you’re looking for a wild night out, explore the Soho scene.
Don’t Miss the Markets
There are so many markets to go to in London, but my favourite are Camden Town, Portobello Market and Old Spitalfields. You’ll find fashion, food, music, antiques, and art at Camden Town; the world’s largest antique market with over 1,000 vendors at Portobello Market; and a mix of antiques, artisan finds, food, and fashion at Old Spitalfields.
Explore Chelsea Who doesn’t love the Chelsea life? It is so beautiful there! I used to work at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel so I got an opportunity to explore the neighbourhood quite a bit. Chelsea is an area in West London known for its affluence, high-end restaurants and charming boutiques. Enjoy a shopping trip at the Chelsea Market, visit High Line Park, grab a quirky pizza with interesting toppings, or check out one of the many art galleries.
Play Around and Get Down at the Oxford Circus
This will definitely give you the London Buzz! It is one of the busiest places in London and man it does not sleep! From beautiful shops to restaurants, spas, street music—you name it! This place has it all and definitely gives me the London fuzzies.
London City Guide – Where to Eat In London
These are ALL my favourite places to eat in London!
The Ivy Kensington
The Ivy Kensington has great food and a great interior. They have really fun leather couches and cute comfy chairs around tables which are great for laid back conversation or a casual bite after work. It’s the perfect place for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon, tea and dinner—seriously, they have it all! From British cuisine to classic dishes to international cuisine they offer an eclectic mix curated by their own executive chef.
My Favourite Coffee Houses
I may be biased, but I think you can find the very best coffee in London. Some of my absolute favourite coffee shops are The Locals Cafe, The Gentleman Barista and Albion London. From the interiors to the menu options, these spots get into your soul and inspire you in the very best way.
At The Locals, their feta avocado toast is my absolute favourite! It’s made on toasted sourdough with shaved parmigiano, soft goat cheese and balsamic vinegar reduction. I also really love their grilled broccoli with garlic and fresh chili and their pumpkin pancakes made with pumpkin purée, almond biscuits, almond caramel and coconut yogurt.
The Locals: https://thelocals.co/
At The Gentleman’s Batista, I adore their afternoon teas! My favourites are the well-mannered coffee and tea, the Chash English Breakfast tea and their single origin coffee. I also really love their sweet treats as well! My favorite is the coffee and walnut cake, caramel slice bites and homemade scones with jam and Cornish clotted cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
The Gentleman Barista: https://www.thegentlemenbaristas.com/
At Albion, their lunch menu is divine! My two favourite starters are the smoked mackerel pâté on sourdough with red grapes, sea herbs and radishes, and the roasted pink fir potato salad with horseradish, fine beans, pear, candied walnuts and chicory. They serve what’s called “morning fixers” and you cannot go wrong here! There are so many delicious options. I love the turmeric and almond latte from the barista bar, the ginger and cinnamon hot detox,and the green juice with spinach, cucumber, avocado, kiwi and pineapple. My favourite breakfast is the grilled spiced sweet potato with macadamia feta, avocado and spinach.
Albion London: https://boundary.london/albion/
Believe it or not—this is the oldest Indian restaurant in London and the food is amazing! They have 3 chains and this one is great for a quick working London lunch with their set menu. It overlooks London’s regent street which is a very popular shopping street in the West End of London so it’s also perfect for a yummy lunch during a shopping trip with the girls. With Venetian style chandeliers, teak tables and hand-woven carpets, the ambiance is reminiscent of the roaring 20s and majestic Indian palaces. My favourite items on the menu are the Tandoori Wild Tiger Prawns with coriander, mint and chili and the Kerala style spicy quail with madras shallots and coconut flakes.
This place has some of the best pizzas I have ever had and the interior is to die for! In fact, Conde Naste Traveller hailed this space as “one of the most beautiful restaurants in London!” Their whole approach is to offer plant-based, alternative style pizzas. They feature bases such as focaccia pizza and cauliflower pizza and have a number of vegan options. They also serve soup and salad which is really great!
Talk about food for the soul! This is a street food hall with tons of options. You really can’t go wrong here, but my favourite street food is the South Bank at Waterloo. You’ll find everything from pizza to super tacos to vegan dishes to Japanese, Malaysian and Cantonese cuisine to churros, pancakes, and so much more. It’s a food lovers paradise!
This is simply the best sushi! Sushi Samba is in the London Heron Tower and the terrace views are simply breathtaking! It’s a rooftop restaurant that’s as beautiful as it is tasteful! If you love sushi, this is an absolute must-visit! You’ll take in 360 degree views of the city and be so inspired by the culinary creativity and presentation of every dish!
I love it here! Now more than ever following the COVID-19 pandemic, their sitting structures make sense especially with all the social distancing in place! Their food is really yummy and it’s just such a charming place with their famous igloos. Coppa Club is super kid-friendly and they serve all day meals. It’s super relaxed and informal, which I love for a laid-back Saturday or basic weekday.
Peggy Porschen – Chelsea
OMG! This has to be the most Instagramable place in London! It is so cute and cool. I love their exterior and interior. It is my everything favorite! They serve cakes, cookies and cupcakes, and their cakes are absolutely delicious! Vanity Fair proclaimed that they have “the best cupcakes in the world!” You can enjoy also enjoy a selection of blended teas.
I hope you have enjoyed reading our London City Guide! For more information contact Love From Mwai Experiences