Lately I get a lot of questions about hotspots in London from people who have planned a trip to the city. When I lived in London for three months, I have been to a lot of great places. After some requests from friends, I decided to just make a note in my phone and send it to everyone that asks for recommendations. From this note, I created this article, for all the people that want to go to London and don’t know where to go. It won’t be a complete tourist guide, just my personal favourites. And if you have anything to add, please do!
For most of the girls, shopping is the main reason to go to London, which is obviously a good reason, because London is a great city to spend your money. Literally: everything in London is expensive, including the shopping. Of course Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street are the best places to go if you enjoy shopping at retail chains like Topshop, Forever 21, Zara and Urban Outfitters. If you like to go to stores that are not located in probably every country in West-Europe, you should go to some other areas.
New Bond Street
New Bond Street is well-known among the bigspenders of London. This is a side street of Oxford Street and the location for expensive brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Burberry and Louis Vuitton. But the best store of this street and probably also the most crowded one: Victoria’s Secret. I never skip this store, even though it’s only to take a look at the amazing collection. But be aware: you will buy a lot more than you intended to do.
London has, just like the rest of the UK, two big drugstores: Superdrug and Boots. They both sell international make-up brands like Maybelline and Rimmel, but I go here for the Collection 2000 concealer, products from bloggers (like Zoella) and bubblebars.
The city of London offers a great range of department stores. My favourites are Harrod’s, Liberty’s and Selfridge’s and in my opinion, everyone that goes to London should have been to these stores. Especially Harrod’s and Liberty’s are already a sightseeing itself. The buildings are so beautifully old that you can almost call them historical, and if you go around Christmas, the shop windows are a real show. Swinging fairies, waving Santa’s and Christmas trees full of lights and snow: the bigger the better. Selfridge’s is a bit more modern and sells a lot of different brands: from Gucci and Valentino to Adidas and Topshop.
You will find more information about Chelsea in the last section of this blogpost, but I still want to highlight the best stores of King’s Road. It’s the biggest street in this area of London and also the best place to go for some smaller boutiques and stores you don’t go to every day. To me, the best stores in this street are Free People, Anthropologie, and, the bigger ones: Brandy Melville, French Connection, Jigsaw and J. Crew. But this street is great to wander around and find new stores you love!
Westfield shopping centre
The perfect spot to go to if you don’t have much time, because in Westfield shopping centre you will find a lot of stores that they have in the city center too, and you can go everywhere without having to cross the street everytime. I name a Victoria’s Secret, Primark, Lush and H&M. There’s also a huge food court here, so if you get hungry from shopping, you’re already in the right place.
Food, drinks & clubbing
In cities like London, there is always too much choice if it comes to good restaurants and other places to eat. The same thing is for having a drink at night. In London people regularly have a drink after a long workday, so pubs are overloaded almost every night. It’s much fun if you ask me, because you can easily get in touch with the ‘locals’. If you want to do a little dance afterwards, there are different kinds of places you can go to. I reduced this list to my absolute favourites.
Even though the restaurant Andina was already known by a lot of health lovers, I accidentally found out about it when me and my friends walked around Shoreditch and didn’t know where to have dinner. When we asked someone on the street, he immediately recommended this Peruvian restaurant. The courses are a little different than most restaurants, but really delicious and definitely worth it. Think of balls made of quinoa, chilli-marinated cauliflower and pork in a corn dumpling: you will be surprised and you will love it!
A typical food truck market in the heart of Camden Town. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the food amazing. It’s all freshly made in front of you, and because there are trucks with different types of food, there’s always something you like.
One of my favourite pubs in London is The Book Club. It’s very trendy and a little hipster, but the atmosphere is good and they serve great cocktails. The Irish pub O’Neills near Piccadilly Circus is also a nice place to go. If you can’t choose of the many pubs that London has to offer, you can participate in one of the pub crawls of London. I once did it in Camden Town, but Shoreditch and around Piccadilly Circus are also nice areas to go from pub to pub. A great way to meet new people and explore a neighborhood without having to do all the sight-seeing you do normally.
Borough Market is a byword in London. It’s a little like Camden Lock, but then it’s all biological. It’s located under the subway station of London Bridge. You can buy yourself fruits, vegetables and other biological products, but there are also many stands where you can eat a homemade brownie or drink fresh pressed juices.
A sushi lover like me should have a favourite sushi restaurant in the city. In my opinion, the best sushi restaurant in London is Sushi Salsa in Camden Town. They serve different kinds of sushi and sashimi for a great price. The restaurant is equipped with tables that are a little lower than normal, because you eat on a cushion on the ground. Do you like it a little more luxurious? Then you should go to Sushi Samba, which is located on top of a huge building. Honestly, I haven’t been here, but I heard it’s a great way of spending your night (and money).
Do you really want to go somewhere and dance? Then Club Koko is the perfect location. The club is located in an old theater, which makes the atmosphere and acoustics even better. It”s huge on the inside, and the music genre depends on the night you go. Mostly they play pop music and a little R&B.
The Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben: that’s all you think of at first. Of course they belong on every London bucketlist, but after you’ve seen all the regular touristic spots, I would recommend the following pearls of the city:
On Primrose Hill, you can enjoy a view over a part of the city. Because it’s an area in the middle of trees, grass and at the edge of Regent’s Park, you have no idea you are standing in a European metropolis.
My favourite neighborhoods in London are Chelsea, Shoreditch and Notting Hill. Chelsea is a very trendy area and next to the most expensive part of town: South Kensington. You will find a lot of beautiful houses, fashionable people and also some small boutiques, which I mentioned earlier. Make sure you pay a visit to the Saatchi Gallery, which is a wellknown gallery for modern art. For the best book stores, some small museums and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen you need to go to Shoreditch. A little outside Shoreditch you will find the Old Spitalfields market, which is open every Sunday. Another market tip: the Notting Hill market on Saturday. The market is spread all over the Streets of Notting Hill, which is also a good opportunity to discover the beautiful coloured houses of Notting Hill.
The streets of Notting Hill
Covent Garden is the perfect mix of restaurants, bars and small shops and with Christmas, there is a big Christmas tree on the square. Get some macarons at L’adurée, visit the boutiques in the indoor market or find yourself a restaurant in the neighborhood.
If you like museums, you’re in the right place in London. Almost every museum has a free entry, so you won’t spend your money and you can go in every museum you like. I enjoyed the British Museum, because it’s huge and there’s something to visit for everyone. It’s all about the history of all kinds of cultures and therefore, really interesting. You will probably only see a part of the museum, so be picky of what you want to see before you go.
A little outside London
Are you in London for a longer period? Then you’ll probably also like the small trips you could make in England. If you want to go all cultural, go to Bath and Stonehenge. Bath is famous for its Roman Baths and the fact that (almost) every building is made of bath stone. It’s also the place where Johnny Depp owns a house. Stonehenge is also a real sightseeing!
Want to go citytripping from London? I definitely recommend Brighton! It’s on the seaside, and the beach with the pier is a wonderful place to stroll around. The center of Brighton has different kinds of shops and restaurants. Tip: go to Blackbird Tea rooms for a high tea. Their pie is amazing and the scones to die for!
Well, this was my ultimate London bucketlist! Do you have other tips to go to? Just mention them in the comments!