London, home of shiny, red buses, cross eyed pigeons, and the Queen of England, has many charms. From the iconic Big Ben Tower to the patchwork rows of markets that line Camden, there’s no end of things to do, food to taste, and people to meet in the capital.
With that in mind, here’s a list of our 10 reasons why everyone should have London at the top of their travel lists.
One of the many perks of visiting London is the choice of places to eat. Whether you’re after a fancy five course meal or just a nibble of a chocolate chip cookie, Starbucks can step aside while you wander the criss-crossed stretches of Oxford Street in search of the tasty salted caramel éclairs of the Grand Café, or a little Russian cuisine in Bob Bob Ricard found along Upper James Street.
With no end of trendy restaurants, corner cafes, and traditional English pubs, the food served in London goes well beyond the typical English Earl Grey.
Hand in hand with the selection of restaurants, cafes, and pubs in London comes the option of drinks. Besides your usual caffeine fix or the calorific, pretzel sprinkled milkshakes from Miki’s Paradise; London serves some of the best alcoholic beverages with frothy beers, spirits, and colourful cocktails available on almost every street. If you can stand the frosty -5° temperatures, the Ice Bar London is definitely a must see for its ice sculptures and fruity drinks served in thick, ice glasses.
Some of the best clubs can be found in London. From the indie anthems of Buttoned Down Disco to the smoke haze dance floor of Electric Brixton, there’s a club for everyone in the capital. The clubs in London are known for their dance floors spreading over at least two levels, crazy flashing lights partnered with spluttering smoke systems, and big name DJs.
With Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Tower of London, the capital of England is well-known for the many landmarks that are scattered across the city. A trip to London is never complete without snapping pictures of the Houses of Parliament, stepping back in time at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or feigning royalty at Buckingham Palace.
Besides switching into tourist mode to see London’s landmarks, there are also many museums in London to pass your time with. From the Natural History museum to Tate Modern, if you can think of a museum London’s probably got it. Madame Tussauds in Westminster is one of our personal favourites for its creepy collection of wax celebrity clones.
Along the sparkly strip of ‘Theatreland’ to the west of London there’s always a selection of productions to go and see. With forty different venues constantly offering new shows or performing one of the long-running favourites, seeing a London musical is a must. Some of the productions up for offer are The Lion King, Wicked, and the longest-running musical in the West End, Les Misérables. If you fancy something a little spookier, The Woman in Black is guaranteed to leave you checking over your shoulder for days after the performance.
Home of giant shopping centres, multi-level department stores, and many high-street flagship stores, the shops in London are another reason why you should plan a trip to the capital. With Oxford Street dotted with some of your favourite high-street brands, Carnaby Street offering chic boutiques and independent stores, and King’s Road perfect to indulge in your interior design fantasies, there’s no way you can mooch around London without spending. You’ll find designer names such as Burberry and Tiffany & Co window shopping along Mayfair or for something a little cheaper, take a trip to Regent Street and pass hours lost in Hamleys.
Stalls lined with handmade jewellery, racks buried under heaps of vintage clothing, and tourists haggling with stall owners, Camden Market is definitely worth a visit while visiting London. Selling everything from soap to vinyl records with a loop of food stands found in the very centre, there’s no end of bric-a-brac items on sale in Camden Market - plus Camden is home to some of London’s coolest street art. Covent Garden Market is also the best place to buy art and crafts, confectionary, and clothing.
While admittedly no one can really say they enjoy tucking themselves under a sweaty stranger’s armpit on an overcrowded tube, nor is anyone particularly fond of passing hours caught in a web of black taxi traffic jams, the one bonus of London transport is the choice. Besides the usual trains, tubes, taxis, and buses, you can get around London on a Santander bike, a Rickshaw, a cable car, or even by boat. London Duck Tours will drive you all over London before taking you into the Thames.
The final reason why everyone should have London at the top of their travel lists is for the people. London is a multicultural city with a diverse range of characters. From the classic Londoner to the many people of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions who reside in the capital, there are so many new people to meet in London.There you have it…10 reasons why everyone should have London at the top of their travel lists.
MEET OUR CONTRIBUTOR
Julianna Barnaby runs the online travel magazine The Discoveries Of, a go-to resource for all things relating travel, culture and adventure. She loves hiking, red wine and wide-open landscapes, though not necessarily in that order.