I have London since the first time I visited a few years ago. I call it my soul city and if I could move there I would. I put together this fun London Travel Guide to give you some tips on places I like to stay, things I like to eat, and stuff I like to do.
Where to stay
I have stayed in a few different hotels in London and enjoy staying in neighborhoods that are super walkable and close to public transport. I’m not one to stay far from the center of town since I like to be close to all the attractions. My favorite neighborhoods are Covent Garden, Marylebone, and Leicester Square. Since this is a London Travel Guide you’ll love seeing these 3 cozy options!
Rosewood London is the most expensive hotel on this list but totally worth it if you’re looking for a little luxury. It’s the type of place where you’ll find workers in top hats and tails, fresh flowers all over the place, and little bowls full of fresh fruit and candy.
The Victory House Hotel is perfectly located for walking to all. the. things. It only has 86 rooms so it’s not a huge hotel but has a lot of the luxuries of a bigger hotel – room service, great front desk help, etc. It’s around the corner from Soho, Chinatown, West End, Covent Garden, and Trafalgar Square.
The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone is right around the corner from the Marble Arch, the Marble Arch underground, Hyde Park, and all the shopping on Oxford street. It’s super cozy and only has 23 rooms. Plus, they have a cute little bar in the lobby. If you like boutique hotels this one is for you!
Where to eat
When I travel I will sometimes plan my day around food. I know London has a reputation for not having great food but that is wrong. They have everything from fantastic coffee, fancy British meals, fantastic Indian food, great bars, and amazing grocery stores. Yeah, grocery stores. I 100% go into every single grocery store I see while in Europe. They have so many tasty buys! Below is my London Travel Guide to the BEST foods in the city!
20 Seymour Street
There are a few Daisy Green’s across London but I love this location the best. It’s a coffee shop that offers a great breakfast/brunch menu and some pretty hearty lunch options. Their flat whites, matcha lattes, and fresh-squeezed OJ are the best morning and afternoon pick-me-ups. For a quick snack, you MUST get a slice of their banana bread. I like it grilled and then topped with butter and honey.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Historic British Cuisine
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge, London
This was my FAVORITE nice dinner I had in London. The whole menu is lovely the 2 dishes that stood out for me was the meat fruit (it’s chicken liver wrapped in mandarin flavored jelly and it’s all shaped like a little mandarin and it’s equally adorable and delicious!) and the tipsy cake that is served with spit roast pineapple. I would fly back to London just for that dessert.
Chotto Matte London
Peruvian Japanese Restaurant
11-13 Frith Street
I’ve eaten here a few times while in London and I enjoy their inventive menu and play on flavors. It’s a unique combination of Peruvian and Japenese food that is served tapas-style. The plus side of coming here with friends is that you can try the whole menu and not feel like you’re overdoing it. It is a bit loud in the restaurant but that seems to be a thing in a lot of modern restaurants.
Dishoom Covent Garden
Several across London
Dishoom is one of my favorite Indian places in London. However, it should be noted they don’t take reservations for dinner and there is often a LONG line hanging out the door. I dined alone and came at 9:30 pm on a Sunday and had to wait about 45 minutes. However, one taste of their garlic naan and the house black daal made the wait worth it. Seriously, I cannot state this enough – get the black daal!
78B Long Acre
Covent Garden, London
If you like Greek yogurt you’re gonna love Mandira. Now, I’m talking straight-up Greek yogurt not the frozen kind. You can get it served topped with a bunch of different sweet and savory options including my favorite – dark chocolate, fresh orange, pistachios, mint, and honey. They also serve simit bagels, cold-pressed juices, and smoothies.
64 Shoreditch High Street
The Smoking Goat is a cozy restaurant that consists of small and larger plated dishes. It’s best to place your order in full as the food arrives when it is ready. Because of the serving style, I think this place is best enjoyed with people you don’t mind sharing food with. My personal favorite is the chili fish sauce wings – DEAR LORD THEY ARE DELICIOUS!
7 Newport Place
If you’re looking for a sweet treat Chinatown Bakery will totally hit that spot. They have a Taiyaki machine that fills small little fish-shaped waffles with pastry cream, perfectly soft buns filled with custard, and a delicious savory bbq pork buns.
12 Old Compton Street
Do you love Irish coffee? Do you love it a lot? Well, step on into Bar Swift and order one (or two, or three, or four…) of their crazy delicious Irish coffees. I know it’s weird to swoon over something as simple as an Irish coffee but it’s the perfect warming nighttime treat.
36-37 Upper Berkley St.
Green Valley is a Lebanese/Middle Eastern grocery store that has some of the best pastries. I typically order a sampler plate that is filled with crispy puff pastry, nut-filled honey-soaked pastries. If middle eastern desserts are your thing you’ll love this grocery store.
Marks & Spencer Food
Ok, this grocery store was my favorite! It was only a few blocks away from my apartment and I ate there regularly. It has a lot of pre-made sandwiches/snacks/salads and is great on the go lunch option. It’s almost like the prepared food section of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s had a baby. Their lentil couscous goat cheese salad was my favorite. Plus their coronation chicken sandwich was crazy good. Oh, and their apricot morning pastry was also lovely. Oh wait, one more thing – get their lamb kofta and mint crisps and the chocolate orange jaffa cakes – SWOON!
What to do
There are tons of things to do in London but here are just a few of the best tourist attractions. Yes, some of them are pretty standard but if it’s your first time in London you really should see the big sites. Here is one London Travel Guide tip: take the hop on hop off tour bus to see all the big sites in 1 or 2 days. Then you can go back to the ones you love the most that you want to visit longer.
Listen, if you’re gonna go to London you have to see Big Ben. At the moment it’s covered in scaffolding and isn’t chiming BUT you should still give it a peak. Plus, it’s sorta hard to miss. And it’s at the end of the House of Parliament so you get to see that too! Fun fact: if you go across the street into Parliament Square Park they have free wifi.
Yes, I think it’s a little overpriced but it’s a fun little ride. If you buy your tickets in advance they are not as costly as is in person. And if it’s a warm summer day it’s a nice hide from the heat since each little pod is air-conditioned.
Tower of London
If you’re into historic castles you’ll like the Tower of London. It’s right by the river, fun to walk around, and the perfect little historical treat. Plus you’ll get to check out the crown jewels which honestly was my favorite part of this trip.
It’s historic and a total must-see when you visit London. Like Big Ben, it’s sorta hard to miss.
Do you like fresh produce? Delicious food? Amazing cheese? Great shopping? Hit up the borough market and be prepared to drool. Hit up Kappacasein to get THE BEST grilled cheese I have ever eaten in my whole entire life.
St. James’s Park
I love sitting in St. James’s Park. In the spring and summer, they have so many beautiful flowers that have tons of bumble bees bouncing from flower to flower. Plus I love watching all the ducks.
Buckingham Palace – Change of the Guards
I did this once and will never do it again BUT I still think you should go once. It’s a very London thing to do and you get some great photos of Buckingham Palace.
If you like people watching you need to head over to Trafalgar Square. It’s the perfect little people watching or reading spot. Plus it’s right down the road from St. James’s Park, Big Ben, and 10 Downing Street.