City Spotlight: London
London, a city with over 8 million people, the worlds melting pot of multiculturalism. In 2013 it was voted second most visited city in the world with record tourism figures helped largely by the 2012 London Olympic Games, 3.4 million in the first three months alone!
With so much to see, do, eat and drink it’s an impossible task to ever really have “done London”. I just can’t get enough, I’ve visited over five times and counting and I’ve barely scratched the surface. So here are some of my recommendations.
Budget Generator Hostel Russell Square
Boutique The Hoxtel Hotel Shoreditch
Luxury Corinthia Hotel
Apartments Citadines Prestige Trafalgar Square
Alternative base2stay Kensington
Where I’ve Stayed The California Kings Cross & 10 Pembridge Gardens Notting Hill
EAT & DRINK
Allpress Espresso, Shoreditch
Monmouth Coffee Company, Bermondsey
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Farringdon
Nude Espresso, Soho
Flat White, Soho
Workshop Coffee Co, Clerkenwell
St John’s Bakery, Bermondsey
Electric Dougnuts, Notting Hill
Hummingbird Bakery, Soho
The Riding House Cafe, Fitzrovia
Monty’s Deli, Bermondsey
Pizza East, Shoreditch
Bar Boulud, Knightsbridge
Red Dog Saloon, Shoreditch
Burger & Lobster, Mayfair
Bone Daddies, Soho
Hawksmoor Seven Dials, Covent Gardens
Little Social, Mayfair
Golden Hind, Marylebone
Gokyuzu, Green Lanes
Flesh and Buns, Convent Gardens
Kerbisher & Malt, West Kensington
• The city has five major airports: London Heathrow, London Stansted, London Gatwick, London Luton and London City. All very easily accessed by heavy rail or the tube.
• Tipping is appreciated but not always necessary and totally reliant on service received. Generally rule of thumb is 10% - 15% for restaurants, taxis and hotels.
• Get yourself an Oyster card! It is the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way to pay for transport in London. You can use it on; the Tube, Bus, DLR, tram, Thames Clippers, the Emirates Airline and most National Rail services.
You will need to pay a £5 deposit when you get yourself a card although you can get the deposit refunded when you return it, or keep it as a souvenir. They can be loaded with 1 day (Travelcards only), 1 week, 1 month or 1 year’s worth of unlimited travel.
• London, an ideal city for museum lovers. There are hundreds to choose from and many are free, so it won’t cost you a penny.
• London has a public bike sharing scheme, Barclays Cycle Hire “Boris Bike” that is available 24/7, 365 days a year. There are more than 8,000 bikes and over 550 bike docking stations across the city.
•Alternative vantages points of the city other than the London Eye include; The Shard ($$$), OXO Tower, Tate Cafe @ Tate Modern, Heron Tower (Duck & Waffle), Primrose Hill and The Monument.
•Markets are plentiful in London, from cheap eats, fresh produce to art and antiques and vintage and designer clothing. Some of the top markets include; Borough Market, Brick Lane Market, Maltby Street Market, Broadway Market, Camden Lock, Convent Garden, Old Spitalfields Market and of course Portobello Road Market. Some are open on week days and others just Saturday’s and Sunday’s so be sure to check ahead of time.