Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Top ten things to do in London

When you live in a place, no matter where it is, you tend to take it for granted and think that tomorrow will always be there to do all those things you have on your list.

However, a lot of the time tomorrow never comes and it is time to move away.  So I thought I would pull together a list of my top ten things that I love to do in London.

1. Go to the Theatre 

Forgetting how amazing the West End is, is a common problem for people who live in London as it is often full of tourists.   When you live here, you tend to walk through places like this with your head down, manouvering your way through the hoards of tourists as quickly as possible.

Every now and again though, it is great to join in with the hoards of people mingling around Covent Garden and go to see a show.

This is great for when you have family visiting or even for somewhere to take your parents if they are in town for the weekend.

2. Find your favourite pub

There are hundreds of pubs in London, some older than others, some bigger than others - you may even prefer a different place in the summer to the winter, depending on how much space they have outside to sit down and enjoy the view.

View from The Captain Kidd

There are a few different ways in which you can explore the pubs, but here are my recommendations...

- The Ale tour of London
- Pub Golf (I would recommend doing this around Covent Garden and working your way down towards Embankment to Walkabout)
- Get lost and find a pub
- Do some research and find the oldest pubs around London

Here are some of my favourite pubs in London though:
- The Captain Kidd, Wapping. Perfect for Summer afternoon's
- The Albert, Victoria. Great on a rainy day or a quick pit stop on a tour of London.
- The Princess of Wales, Charing Cross. A must after a busy day in Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square
- The Crown and Anchor, Seven Dials. Perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden
- The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden. Well hidden and great for after work drinks if you want to be outside

3. Visit Covent Garden in the winter

There is something magical about Covent Garden in the winter.  All the decorations that appear, the music that is being played and best of all most of the tourists that disappear.

If you have a young family, it is a great place to spend the afternoon and you can even take a walk along to Trafalgar square too while you are there.

The perfect end to the day has to be walking across the bridge at Embankment, where you will have an amazing view of the City as well as being able to see all of the lights on the trees along the river.  If you are here later into the evening, then you will be able to grab food along embankment or even pop into some of the pop ups that happen along the river there.

If by the time you get here too, you fancy a trip on the London eye - then I would go for it.  The London eye at night is beautiful.

After a long day in London, one of my favourite things to do is walk along the Southbank towards the City to catch a train home.  So if you live east I would definitely recommend this route instead of the tube. 

4. Check out the museums (they're free)

People always think of museums as boring, and well maybe they are to some people.  But find one that you have an interest in as there are lots all around London.

If you like history, then you are likely to enjoy most of them - however, you may find the Natural History Museum a little more interesting than the V&A.  

However, if you like Fashion you will love the V&A, but may not be that interested in the Imperial War Museum.  Take a look online and do a bit of research around the things you love and maybe plan another activity to do during the day when you are there too.  I always enjoy popping into a local pub for some lunch or even making a booking for afternoon tea somewhere.

5. Trafalgar Square

As a child, Trafalgar square used to scare me a little, as there were a lot of pigeons.  However, there are nowhere near the amount of birds they used to have there any more and the place is pretty enjoyable now.

Among all of the history the square has to offer and the beautiful architecture sits the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, both of which are free to look around and admire. 

There are also a lot of different events that take place here on the weekends all throughout the year.  So take a look online here, if you want to find out more about them.

Last year I attended the fan rally there, before the NFL game in November.  It was an awesome day and even if you aren't able to make it to the game the next day the rally is worth getting involved with.

My friend Tom and I went last year and then to the game afterwards and we had a brilliant time.

6. Columbia Road Flower Market

The perfect way to spend a Sunday morning, whether you are looking for fresh flowers or some to plant in your garden.  You can even just go for a stroll through the market - but when I went this summer I could resist buying a bunch of flowers or ten...

7. Trooping the colour

This happens only once a year, but it is amazing and the goose bumps running up my arms as the red arrows fly over Buckingham palace is amazing.  If you aren't here in the summer for this event though, you can always make it down to Buckingham Palace for changing of the guard instead.

8. Sample the delights of London's gin bars

This one comes with a warning though, as we were pretty worse for ware after trying out one of the local gin bars.  It is probably best to go for a quick bite to eat first as a cheese board may not cut it...

This is a good place to start though....

9. Go to Brick Lane for a curry

This is a test that I am yet to take, but I have it on good authority that if you want a good curry in London, then Brick Lane is the place to go.  I am however, planning this for some time in October - so keep an eye out and I am sure you will see a blog post soon.
10. Camden Market

This is somewhere I used to go a lot as a teenager, thinking this was the height of rebellion.  It really wasn't though.  Yes people sell magic mushrooms in their shops and tattoos and piercings are all but common place there - yet the most rebellious thing I ever did when I went there, was to buy a frappachino with cream on top of it. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post, if you have any other tips then please feel free to comment with them below.