London is an epic city. There aren’t just pubs on every corner – you’ll also find museums, galleries, street markets and historical sites all over. You’ve got world renowned restaurants serving just about any cuisine you can think of at anytime of the day as well rooftop bars overlooking the cityscape and all kinds of events popping up around town. An unbelievable amount of stuff to do, see, buy, eat and drink has been packed into London. Take a peek at our favourite bits!
There are so many ways to see London as a city. You can walk, cycle, catch a bus, jump on the famous London Underground or even try a little river cruise along the Thames. Each of these gives you a unique perspective of the capital. But one of the best ways to explore this city is to follow the Jubilee Walkway.
The 15-mile path (you definitely don’t have to do it all – just pick and choose your fave bits) takes visitors to some of London’s best landmarks. Trail along the Southbank past the Tate Modern, full of weird and wonderful modern art, and down to the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben. Walk through St James’s Park, teeming with squirrels and swans, before coming across Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery and the British Museum. The walk even includes the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and more! It’s the perfect introduction to London. Other great walks include those along the Regent’s Canal, Princess Diana’s Memorial Walk and the Jubilee Greenway.
Out and about
A trip to London is never complete without visiting a few of its famous markets. Borough Market is a favourite with visitors thanks to its massive selection of local and international produce. Brick Lane Market is the place to go for vintage clothes. The nearby Columbia Road Flower Market is an Instagrammer’s dream, running every Sunday. Camden Market is for all those wanting to embrace their inner punk. Portobello Road Market is for antique lovers. And Maltby Street Market is a street food mecca.
But there are plenty more things to try when visiting London. Have a picture perfect afternoon tea at Harrods or Sketch. Catch a West End show in town or try something a bit more alternative at The Vaults theatre. Explore different parts of London by going to one of Sofar Sounds’ hidden live music gigs scattered about the city or buy tickets to one of London’s roaming immersive supper clubs. And have no shame as you book your tickets to see the sets of Harry Potter – rushing around the Great Hall, riding broomsticks and drinking butterbeer! You’ll never be too old for this.
Located in trendy Shoreditch, The Hoxton is a stylish place to stay in town. It’s set right in the thick of the action, with all of Shoreditch’s super cool restaurants, bars and clubs within walking distance. And you even get 1 hour of free calls to Australia each day, for those who need to keep in touch for work or just relentlessly call their parents to let them know they’re still alive.
If you’re looking for luxury and old-timey elegance, stay in some of London’s oldest and most prestigious hotels. At the top of this list, you’ll find The Savoy, Claridge’s, The Ritz and The Lanesborough. A night in any of these hotels will leave you feeling like royalty.
Dates for the diary
London Cocktail Week, October
London becomes a cocktail lover’s paradise during the first week in October as more than 300 bars and restaurants take part in London Cocktail Week. Enjoy signature cocktails from some of the finest mixologists in the city for a reasonable £6. Also pick up a tip or two at a cocktail-making masterclass, sample the finest spirits at tasting sessions or immerse yourself in a multisensory cocktail experience. Don’t forget to visit the Cocktail Village, 3 distinct spaces on Brick Lane, and slurp your way through delicious cocktails trends from around the world!
On the last weekend of August, Notting Hill plays host to one of the biggest street parties in the world, with over one million people attending. To celebrate Caribbean culture, the carnival includes a parade of extravagant colour and noise while the surrounding streets are taken over massive sound systems, street food stalls and roaming bars (yes, you can drink in public in London).
London is transformed for the festive season. Hyde Park hosts the largest Christmas Market in London, while all major landmarks are covered in tinsel and fairy lights. Don’t miss out on listening to carollers at Covent Garden or going ice skating at the Natural History Museum and Somerset House. Most pubs will be serving delicious hot toddies and mulled wine throughout December.
London has four major international airports but it’s likely you’ll be flying into Heathrow Airport when you’re coming from Australia. Once you arrive, you can either catch the speedy Heathrow Express into the city or go for the cheaper option, the Tube, which takes a little bit longer. Trains from all over the UK will also converge on London.
Once you’re in the centre of town, use your Oyster Card to easily catch buses, trains and cabs to get to your accommodation. Try the handy transport app CityMapper to help you navigate London’s vast public transport network.
- London Unlocked