London is a city of endless possibilities. It’s nearly double the size of New York City and the 35th biggest city in the world. For that reason, visiting England’s capital might feel a bit overwhelming, with so much to see and do—where do you even begin? Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re visiting The Big Smoke for business or pleasure, there’s something for everyone, every day of the week. Let’s get into it!
London has an overwhelming choice of restaurants, but here are a few of our favorites. They serve great food with great views, so you can eat like a local.
Duck and Waffle
Enjoy a playful twist on traditional British cuisine with a mesmerising city view, from the 40th floor. Duck and Waffle offers a 24/7 gastro-dining experience, in an intimate yet vibrant setting. The restaurant prides itself on its sustainable approach, using local, seasonal ingredients.
Perfectly located with a view of London Southbank’s skyline, from Coppa Club you can dine with the view of the iconic Tower Bridge. The restaurant offers a riverside terrace with cosy igloos for an al fresco dining experience all year round. Coppa Club serves thoughtful, unfussy European food, offering small plates, grilled mains, salads and sourdough pizzas.
One for the fans of Deliciously Ella—best-selling author Ella Mills has opened a plant-based restaurant in London where you can try her favorite recipes. The restaurant, located in the heart of Mayfair, has you covered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and best of all it’s 100% plant-based, with gluten-free options available too.
Whether you’re looking for cocktails, wine, or a traditional British ale, here are some unique, traditional and quirky spots to check out.
The Bar at China Tang
If cocktails are your thing, here you’ll find Cantonese recipes, evoking a 1930s Shanghai vibe. The elegant decor inside China Tang will transport you to a different place.
This North London watering hole looks seemingly like any other London pub, but with one key difference: it’s the only ale and cider house in London to sell products exclusively from independent breweries. If you’re interested in trying something a little different, Southampton Arms is the place for you.
Gordon’s Wine Bar
This Dickensian-style wine cellar is tucked away just down the road from Charing Cross Station—if you didn’t know it was there you’d miss it. The 1890s vaulted cellar serves a wide selection of wines, and cold plates to accompany them, from charcuterie boards to cheese plates. Drink wine by candlelight and soak up a traditional British wine cellar at Gordon's.
Knowing where to stay in a city the size of London can be a huge task. Here’s the lowdown on some of the different areas of the city and what the vibe is there.
Known for its hipster art scene, Shoreditch is a great place to stay if you’re a creative looking to soak up some local inspiration. Explore the many vintage shops and markets on the iconic Brick Lane.
London’s West End is a great location to stay if you want to be in the heart of everything going on—a stone’s throw from many of the city’s famous theaters, and close to London’s shopper’s paradise, Oxford Street.
For those who want to party! Soho is the heart and soul of London’s nightlife and the epicenter of the LGBTQ+ scene.
One for live music fans. Here, you’ll find great music across the bars and music venues. You can’t miss the legendary Camden Market on Regent’s Canal, selling street food and an eclectic mix of clothes and bric-a-brac.
For those wanting something a little quieter. Richmond is a little further from the center of London, but it's a picturesque location on the River Thames. You can spot wild deer in Richmond Park, or visit London’s Botanical Gardens at nearby Kew.
If you’re traveling for work, you’ll most likely be looking for spaces you can co-work—whether it's calm, peaceful vibes or a creative hub you’re seeking, we’ve got you covered.
SW16 Bar & Kitchen
A hot-desking haven from 9-5 available on a first-come-first-serve basis. For a price of £15 per day, you can enjoy unlimited tea and coffee with lunch included. With speedy WiFi and stylish decor, this vibrant hub is a great option for creatives.
Westminster Reference Library
Located in central London, just off Leicester Square, the library provides a free open space for those who want to work peacefully. It’s open from 10am-8pm daily, with a stunning interior. Even better still, when you’ve finished working for the day you’ll find yourself in the center of London, ready to enjoy your evening.
When traveling to a new city, it’s easy to fall into tourist traps or end up spending a fortune on taxis to get you around. We’ve put together some London hacks, direct from a London local, to help you have the best time on your trip.
Travel by Underground
Like our New York Hacks, taking the London Underground is the most efficient way to travel around the city, often quicker and certainly cheaper than taking a taxi. For single journeys you can tap on and off easily with a contactless bank card, so there’s no need to queue up to buy a ticket!
Change buses for free
London buses allow you to change unlimited times within one hour, meaning if you need two or more buses for your journey you’ll only pay for one. Just tap on and off as normal, and make a note of the time that you board the first bus!
Weekend 24-hour tube service
A 24-hour service runs on several tube lines on Fridays and Saturdays, so save money on a taxi or Uber home after a big night out!
Don’t Get Caught Short!
When exploring a new city it can often be hard to find public toilets. Save the money on buying a coffee just to use the toilets, and check out The Great British Public Toilet Map instead!
Visit the Museums & Galleries
Did you know that most museums and galleries in London are completely free? Head to South Kensington where you’ll find the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and The V&A Gallery. In Trafalgar Square (a must-visit place to see Nelson’s Column), you’ll also find The National Gallery and Portrait Gallery.
Parks & Outdoor Spaces
Visiting London can be expensive, but it offers some fantastic parks and green spaces. From St James’ Park, you’ll get a great view of Buckingham Palace, especially from the bridge over the lake in the center of the park. In the summer, check out the open-air theater in Regent’s Park, or head to Hyde Park for a dip in the Serpentine Lake.
Long story short…
When visiting London it’s important to have an idea of what you want to see and do during your stay. Many things require booking in advance, but be wary of the distances between places when planning your day—London is vast so make sure you check out a map first.
We hope you enjoy our recommendations for your visit to The Big Smoke!
Written by AC Callahan