As one of the biggest cities in the world, London has enough going on to keep visitors busy throughout the year. From the famous avenues like Oxford Street; to the high flying neighborhoods like Chelsea; the indie rocker borough of Camden; and everything in between, London has enough changing faces to please everyone. During our recent stay at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill we took to the streets of London and discovered just a few of the wonderful things she has to offer.
Go on the London Eye
It’s hard to imagine what people did to see the views across the London skyline before the London Eye came along. The big wheel, which measures an impressive 135m in height, was opened in 2000. Each year it attracts an impressive 3.5 million people who want to tower over the city below. Each rotation of the London Eye takes about 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to see for miles right across the city. If you really wanted to go all out or it was a special occasion, you can hire private capsules and make a day of it. Tickets costs around £20 for 30 minutes and we promise you, the experience is well worth it.
Visit the British Museum
Even if you’re not much of a museum kind of tourist, the British Museum in London is just one of those exceptions. This huge museum is dedicated to human culture and history. It will take you on a journey throughout the ages, from ancient times to today, while covering all corners of the globe. Its permanent collection consists of about 8 million pieces of work, so there is sure to be something in there to interest everyone, it’s just a case of finding it. Having opened way back in the mid 18th century it stands as one of the best museums in the world, and as it’s completely free it makes a perfect London afternoon excursion.
Stroll through Camden
If the grander neighborhoods of London aren’t really doing it for you, and you’re looking for an alternative scene, then the borough of Camden is exactly the place you’re looking for. Situated in the north, this neighborhood is famous for being the home of London’s rockers and mods, with plenty of scummy pubs and live bands every night. If you like funky fashion then a visit to Camden Market will delight you to no end as you find row upon row of cool clothing to take home with you. Have lunch from a food cart next to the canal and watch the unique characters of Camden go by (of which there are plenty – it’s quite the show!).
Visit the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Big Ben is probably one of the single most recognizable monuments in the world, and a visit to London would not be complete without going to see it up close and personal. Take a stroll around the area to admire the beauty of this legendary clock, as well as the Houses of Parliament which are attached to it. These are exceptional buildings to visit in the day, but if you to head to Westminster Bridge and take in the view of the buildings all lit up at night, you’re sure to be blown away.
Go on a Eating London Tour
If you love to eat and you love to explore then this is the perfect way for you to discover London. Eating London have a wonderful tour of East London, an area rich with history and food that will get your taste buds dancing! A local guide will lead you around the fascinating and offbeat areas of East End, reveling in tales of yonder while experiencing some of London’s best eateries. An absolute must during your visit to London.
Catch a West End Show
If you love New York for the Broadway scene, you’ll love London for West End. Here there are just as many bright lights and young hopeful actors with dreams beyond their measures, with plenty of shows for you to enjoy during your time in London. Combine your evening with a meal out in the area and enjoy a classic West End experience.
Hop on the Original Bus Tour
A great way to see the city is on the Original Bus Tour. The tour is hop on / hop off style and takes you past all the important sights of the city. The company has been around for over 60 years so they have the route perfected. The best thing about this tour is having your very own tour guide… in your ears. You are given a headset so you can listen to the recorded track and learn all about the history of this amazing city. Plus, is there a better way to see the sights then from a open top double decker bus? I think not!
Shop on Oxford Street
If you want the ultimate London shopping experience, there really is no other place in the city to go to than Oxford Street. Here you’ll see the biggest of the UK high street stores, and when I mean big I don’t just mean in popularity. The stores you find on Oxford Street are literally giant versions of those you find all over the country. Shop ‘til you drop and try and tolerate the crowds.
Go and see the Changing of the Guard
You will, no doubt, be visiting Buckingham Palace to give the Queen a wave at some point on your trip, but if you’re going to visit anyway, why not make it whilst the Changing of the Guard is happening. You will need to check their website to see what day and time the changing happens, but it’s an iconic London event to see and well worth it.
Having some English pub grub
Most English people will tell you that there is nothing quite like the pub food served out in the country, in a tiny establishment in the middle of nowhere. However, if you’re in London you’ll have to work with what you’ve got, and what you’ve got isn’t so bad. In the city, you’re never too far away from a decent watering hole that should serve up food as well. So go and fill your boots with bangers and mash or a homemade pie and chips.
Stroll through a park
There are quite a few different parks you can have a wander through in London, including Hyde Park, Victoria Park, and Greenwich Park, to name a few. Whilst the parks in the center are of course very nice, sometimes if you venture further afield you’ll find others where the air feels fresher. Wimbledon Common is a particular favorite amongst locals, and here you can roam around with the deer (…seriously).
Go and have a curry on Brick Lane
It might sound odd, but having a curry on Brick Lane is one of those quintessentially London, and British, things to do, even though this style of food didn’t originate here. Some curries did originate in England, however, and you’ll see why when you visit Brick Lane. This neighborhood was originally a Bangladeshi community, but now there’s a mix of people from other countries such as India or Pakistan, and with that comes some excellent food. There is no better place in London to grab a great curry, which is ironically in the Top 5 of Britain’s favorite foods. Tuck in to a Chicken Tikka Masala to feel extra British, and soak up the atmosphere of one of the most diverse neighborhood in London.
For more information on these and many other activities available in London please see Visit London.
Do you have any other suggestions for Top Things to do in London?