When I first moved to London about ten years ago, to be honest I didn’t really get out and see the city, it was just work and nights out and I loved it.
It wasn’t until I started the blog, that I actually decided to start exploring more, taking opportunity of everything on my doorstep, from museums and exhibitions to trying some of the best restaurants in the world.
Whether it’s your first visit to London, your tenth or you live in the City, I’ve compiled 21 things you must do.
The Tate Modern has always been a great place to take a wander around. It’s free to visit and you can roam about the space and enjoy the art. There is usually some additional ticketed exhibitions on, currently I think they are showing Picasso. There is also a new addition to the Tate building, which has even more to see and at the top of the building it has a 360 look out point.
2. Have A Cocktail At American Bar
If you love cocktails American Bar is a must. It’s located within the Savoy Hotel and it’s definitely on the pricer side, but even if you just go for one drink it’s worth it. The bar has some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had and the menu changes seasonally with some creative ideas. The waiters are always helpful in helping you choose your drink. In the evenings you can often find a pianist tinkering away on the piano and singing for some evening entertainment. It is one of my favourite cocktail bars in London.
3. Visit Hampton Court Palace
I can’t believe Hampton Court Palace is even in London, because it is so beautiful and it feels like your escaping to the countryside. You can go inside the palace and also explore the gorgeous gardens. There is a restaurant to have lunch, dinner or afternoon tea and they often hold concerts in Summer here from some of the best artists. Don’t miss the fun garden maze, which is much, much harder than you’d think. It’s a really fun day out, so get yourself on a train to Kingston Upon Thames. Read more about my visit to Hampton Court Palace.
4. Cafe Catch Ups
London is full of cafes. Whether you are looking for pretty cakes and flowers to up your Instagram game in one of London’s most Instagrammed spots or just a simple good sandwich and pastry then there are plenty boutique cafes to do this across London. Nothing better than a spot of tea and a scone over a catch-up. Some favourites include Elan Cafe, Bonne Bouche and Dominique Ansel.
5. Check Out The Markets
London is home to some amazing markets. Whether you love food, clothing, flowers or antiques, there is something for everyone. Some of my favourites include Portobello Market in Notting Hill, Borough Market and Columbia Road Flower Market. Find out where the London markets are and when to visit them in my guide.
6. Afternoon Tea at Lord’s Cricket Ground
If you are a sports fan or even if you aren’t the Afternoon Tea at Lord’s Cricket Ground is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Sip tea overlooking the grounds and then after afternoon tea enjoy a tour around the cricket ground and into the players dressing rooms and museum.
7. Try The Chocolate Glory At Bob Bob Ricard
Have you really been to London if you haven’t tried Bob Bob Ricard. One of my favourite restaurants in London and one of my favourite desserts. The Signature Chocolate Glory is not only tasty but looks amazing too. The waiter will pour hot chocolate sauce over it and watch as it cracks open to reveal chocolate jivara mousse, chocolate brownie, berries and a passionfruit and orange jelly. It’s definitely one to try if you love chocolate desserts. If chocolate isn’t your thing then check out some of my other favourite best desserts in London.
8. London Zoo
You can spend hours at London Zoo, it is so big and there are so many animals to see here. Some of my favourites are penguin beach where you can watch the penguins feeding times, the lemur enclosure which lets you walk amongst them and also the tiger area. But my favourite has to be the tropical jungle section with the sloths, you can really get close and they climb all over the place. Theres a cafe, a shop and lots of fun activities for kids and grown ups too. You can even stay a night at the Zoo in one of the Lions Lodges, don’t worry you don’t have to share the lion’s den, you will get your own very cool lodge.
The London Aquarium is located on the Southbank and is a fun day out where you will see everything from sea horses to sharks. As you enter you can walk over the shark walk, a glass panel to see all the creatures below you. Just like the Zoo there is talks and feeding times to join in on. It’s situated right next to the London Eye.
10. London Eye
Which brings me to the London Eye of course. I personally haven’t been on the London Eye for a really long time. I think I did it when I moved to London and haven’t since, so I am more than overdue a trip. It’s a great way to see over London and you can even do a champagne experience in your capsule.
11. Try One Of The Best Pizzas
London has some of the best pizza places, offering wood fire pizzas (the best kind in my personal opinion). There is also a pretty special Nutella pizza for dessert at Mayfair Pizza Co. So definitely one to go and try. Find out where to find the best pizzas in London here.
12. Design Museum
Spend an afternoon or morning at the Design Museum in High Street Kensington. It’s free to visit and there is plenty to see, as well as some paid for exhibitions, so worth checking what’s on before you go. There is a cafe and restaurant area to pick up a bite to eat or you can just watch passers-by on the steps. A great place to find some inspiration and the building itself is pretty impressive. Read more about the Design Museum here.
13. Treat Yourself To A Facial
Before I started blogging, I’d never been for a facial in my life. Now I’ve had numerous and it’s one of the best experiences. It helps to get your skin glowing and looking itself again, if not ten times better and it’s so relaxing. Some facials I’ve been for have even had back massages included too. London has some of the best spas and salons so you are in good hands. I’ve compiled my best facials in London, so pick one and go and treat yourself!
14. Sun Yourself At A Rooftop Bar
Summer is just around the corner, fingers crossed and what better way to enjoy it is at one of the best rooftop bars in London. All of these bars have a great view over London and serve up tasty cocktails and food too.
15. Take In The View At The Shard
The Shard is the tallest building in Europe at over 300m high. Pop to the viewing platform for a view over the London skyline or head to GONG bar in the Shangri-La Hotel which is located in The Shard for a cocktail and a view to remember.
I think I tell everyone visiting London to go to SkyGarden. You can have a view over London, see the skyline, including The Shard and also enjoy a drink in the cafe or a full on meal in one of the restaurants. It’s free to visit, make sure to book tickets in advance, unless you are visiting the restaurants in which I don’t think you need a ticket.
17. Natural History Museum
One of my favourite museum’s in London is the Natural History Museum. I could spend hours here. In the great hall is now a giant whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. Explore dinosaurs and hidden gems, there is so much to see here.
18. Rotisserie Chicken at Cocotte
Rotisserie chicken restaurants are few and far between and when I discovered Cocotte in Notting Hill, I fell in love with it instantly. The best rotisserie chicken with some beautiful sides of mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes and roasted baby potatoes. I’m drooling just now thinking about it. Definitely try it.
19. Have Tea With Alice In Wonderland
Who knew you could have a Mad Hatter’s Tea party in London? The Sanderson Hotel do a themed afternoon tea that has an Alice in Wonderland theme. Enjoy sweet and savoury treats like Tweedle Dee’s lemon and curd financier and Alice’s cinnamon, apple and peach Drink Me potion. It’s one of the most popular afternoon teas in London and you will leave absolutely stuffed.
20. Fill Your Boots At Bottomless Brunch
What’s better than a boozy bottomless brunch? Find my favourites in my guide to boozy brunches in London.
21. God’s Own Junkyard
Off the beaten track in Walthamstow is God’s Own Junkyard. If you love neon signs, you need to pay it a visit. It’s a shrine to the late artist Chris Bracey’s neon work and it’s amazing. There is also a cute little cafe inside, with tea and cake.