THINGS TO DO:
- Hop-on hop-off bus tour which allows you to see all of the main tourist attractions and iconic landmarks in one day. The double storey bus has an open top floor which provides a great vantage point, particularly on a sunny day! There are a number of different bus routes with over 60 stops which allows you to tailor your experience. Busses depart very regularly (every 15 – 20 minutes) so you never have to wait long. We went with “Golden Tours”, the one day ticket cost 24 pounds per person and provided a free audio tour and map. There are a number of companies so be sure to shop around for what you are looking for. For an additional cost, many companies also offer a boat ride down the river Thames.
- Blackfriars train station – this central London train station is situated on a bridge over the river Thames. It offers a great view! From here we walked along the river, past the Tate Modern (the art museum has free entry and reportedly offers a spectacular view of London from the higher levels) to Borough Market. After refuelling at Borough Market we walked over London Bridge into the city, past the Monument to the Great Fire of London and later made our way to Sky Garden.
- Borough Market – one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. There are wholesale and retail market stores selling everything from fresh seafoods, to bakery goods and delicious cheeses. You are sure to find something you like! If crowds of people aren’t your thing, best to visit on a weekday.
- Hampstead Heath – situated North of Regents Park and approximately 30 minutes from London, it offers a great view of the city from Parliament Hill. The large green park is very large with several swimming areas (for the brave only), ponds, woodlands and areas for recreation so be sure to check the map before setting out. It’s a great place to stretch the legs or for a picnic lunch.
- Hyde Park – ideal for exercise, to stretch the legs, a picnic or afternoon beverage or even to sit and simply watch the world go by. Spend as little time or as long as you please.
- Sky Garden – an absolute must! The Sky Garden or more commonly known to locals as the “walkie talkie” offers 360 degrees of uninterrupted views across the City of London. At the top of the three storey building is an observation deck, indoor garden and bar/restaurant. The best part, access is completely free! visitors must book online, and I recommend doing so well in advance, to avoid disappointment. Tickets are valid for 1 hour from the allocated time of entry. If you miss out on a ticket, there are a number of free visitor walk in spaces, check the website for more details.
- Regents Canal to Camden Lock walk. The walk is approximately 4kms, and is an easy walk as it’s all flat ground. We caught the underground to Warwick Avenue station and then walked to Little Venice. This is the junction of Regent’s Canal and Grand Union Canal. Continue to walk at the waters edge and Regent’s Canal will take you all the way to Camden Lock. The walk takes you past plenty of sights including housing commission areas, expensive mansions, Regent’s Park and London Zoo. Once we arrived at Camden Lock we stopped for lunch – there are an abundance of food stalls to satisfy all taste buds!
EAT / DRINK:
- The Churchill Arms – Fullers Pub and Restaurant, Notting Hill. A pub beautifully decorated with copious amounts of hanging flower baskets (flowers and cider, some of my favourite things. Combined = heavenly.)The exterior is definitely more enjoyable than the interior, so we grabbed a drink and stood outside to soak up the sunshine.
- The Ladbroke Arms, Notting Hill. A charming little pub set in a beautiful residential area. The pub itself is small, so when we visited on a sunny summers day crowds of people where outside spilling on to the streets!
- The Blackbird, Earls Court. For a traditional pie with mash, go no further! The home made steak and London pride pie with mash is 11/10. So great, I ate it two days in a row. The portion sizes are large and we’re frugal travellers so we shared one dish between two, which more than satisfied and also left room for beer/cider! The Tea & hop smoked haddock & salmon fishcakes were also delicious.
- The Falcon, Clapham North. A large no frills pub, with an airy beer garden out the back. The Sausage & Mash was much more gourmet and tasty than what springs to mind when your grandparents announce “bangers and mash” for dinner. Highly recommended.
- London has a brilliant public transport system and with the introduction of mobile phones and apps (Citymapper is a free app and does all the hard work for you) it’s incredibly easy for all to use. Busses, trains and the underground are all reliable and efficient methods of transport to get around. You can use your credit card to tap on and off both the underground and busses, where as the over ground train requires you to purchase a ticket in advance.
- Air BnB “Fabulous Notting Hill Studio”, 19 Linden Gardens, Notting Hill. Cosy, cute studio apartment with a loft area for sleeping. Perfect location (near Portobello Road Markets) and featured a fully self contained kitchen to make basic meals.