Part 2 of the peoples guide to London is here. We have been the exploring the city we love, in all its winter grandeur. Refer to this alphabetic list when you are stuck for what to do in a city that has everything. Whether you fancy quiet drinks in a Charles Dickens pub, or finding your way around a maze under the stars in King Henry VIIIs Royal Hampton Court, our loves of London are all here for you. Enjoy.
K is for KEEPING YOUR PARTNER HAPPY
Although a night in with your partner with a takeaway, glass of wine and Gogglebox is perfect, nothing quite says romance like going to see Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House followed by a candlelit dinner in the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie. Seriously, the views will make your heart stop, drop and skip a beat (in a good way). You should book a table… just saying.
L is for LOVE OUR LANDMARKS
Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St Pauls Cathedral, London Bridge the Ls are all about Londons most iconic landmarks and the list is literally endless and they are gorgeous in rain, snow or sun. For the more secret attractions, check out John Snows water pump – no, not the stubbly hottie from Game of Thrones – Dr. John Snow that helped trace the cholera outbreak in 1854 by sourcing various areas with contaminated water to this very pump still standing in Broadwick Street, W1. Go tourist crazy.
M is for MUSIC, MILKSHAKES, MAZES and MAYFAIR
I just could not choose between the four. Depending on your music taste, Brixton Academy is usually the place to be. Its funky vibes, sell-out bands and colossal yet strangely intimate stage make for a sweaty and sexy night of melodies. Cool off with a Mars Attack milkshake from the Love Shake in Shoreditch, and take a trip around a real life confusingly crazy maze at Hampton Court all before the last tube home. Top notch, I would say. Speaking of music, London is also home to a number of options when it comes to home music systems too. A simple search of av london will help you find out more information on this. And, of course, no trip to London would be complete without visiting Mayfair! There are some beautiful hotels in Mayfair, but one of my friends recently stayed at the Flemings hotel in mayfair london. She had a wonderful time, so if you are looking for somewhere to stay in Mayfair on your next trip, you might want to take a look for yourself.
N IS FOR NERD OUT
Sick and tired of your university library or the tiny bookcase full of cookery books in your living room? You are not the only one. If you fancy hitting the bottle whilst you hit the books then look no further than the wondrous Drawing Room, Southbank. Behind a bookshelf in Benugo Bar & Kitchen lies a secret cocktail bar/library full of fine luxurious armchairs, mahogany coffee tables and walls lined with classic literature. It is not quite Narnia, but it is definitely exciting.
O IS FOR OXFORD STREET AND OLD STREET
Think of the duo like this: Oxford Street is probably one of the most famous streets in London. Old Street is it is secretly cooler, severely underrated little brother, who is finally starting to gain the attention he deserves. Hit Oxford Street for light shopping, heavy shopping, and Christmas shopping, because it will well and truly serve all your consumer needs like no other. Yep, it genuinely looks like a pretty postcard. Old Street is your port of call for the food market alone; join the mass of office workers and locals who go every lunchtime for the best Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Italian and Ethiopian food in town. I would highly recommend the burritos from the teal campervan parked in the middle of the market. Get it with guacamole.
P IS FOR PUBS AND PHOTO BOOTHS
You have not really been to London unless you have had a pint of London Pride ale in an old fashioned boozer on the corner of a cobble-stoned street. Personal favourites are the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel, Dirty Dicks in Liverpool Street and a beautiful little pub Charles Dickens used to drink in (and mentioned in several of his novels) called the Grapes in Limehouse. For photo booths, have a look inside record shop Rough Trade and night club Cargo where you will find old-school photo booths that will take you back to the 50s era of rock n roll. Document your moment in the most hip (and black and white) way possible at 3 a pop, then stick them on your bedroom wall in an artsy collage. Much better than any selfie.
Q IS FOR QUEST LONDON
Ever been stuck in a really fun, exhilarating sticky situation? Well you can be. If you have ever heard of murder mystery and mind-solving games with groups of 3-5 people in London, then it was probably brought to you by companies like Quest London. They create suitably challenging events for anyone and everyone: co-workers, stag and hen parties, and friends and family. The murder mystery party is said to be one of their best events, with guests upon arrival being transported to a classy 1920s world where they are invited to sip champagne and liaise with the DEschelle family, members of the upper-class elite, until a dead body is found on the mansions front steps? Book if you want an imaginative day out unlike any other.
R IS FOR RICHMOND AND REGENTS PARK
Did you know that London boasts over 5,000 acres of pure, stunning greenery? I did not either, and we have crazy green space like Regents and Richmond Park to thank for that. It is not all about picnic blankets though. Regents Park offers an open air theatre, the London Zoo and a boating lake to explore, and the beautiful Isabella Plantation plant gardens at Richmond Park is also a must-see.
S IS FOR SPITALFIELDS
If you have not heard of Spitalfields, frankly where have you been? It is the name for the general area between Brick Lane and Liverpool Street, where great markets are held selling a range of goodies from kooky clothes to leather diaries to posters and other arts and crafts. The market is held in the grey, glass building behind the white statue of a goat that drunk people always try and climb up on. Yes, that one. Saturday is the big one for clothes, with original clothing, accessories and homeware being sold all day from 11am-5pm. There are also frequent art markets on certain dates (check the Spitalfields website for more details), and food markets on Fridays 12pm-2:30pm selling grub so good you can smell it from Liverpool Street Station. My tummy rumbles just thinking about it.
Explore London more in part 3, coming soon.