London I consider as one of my favourite cities and my home from home – my family are Londoners and I spent a lot of time in this buzzing city after Uni living, working and playing hard!
There are so so many places to go in London, my recommendation is always walk, you will be surprised how close everything is, the Tube map clever as it is, is deceiving in terms of actual distance. Besides you see more by walking!
If your into creativity and being around creative people I suggest going to Shoreditch, but soon, before its taken over and becomes commercial like other places (huh hmmm Camden). Camden is great for young people and has a market vibe with loads of street vendors round the locks, but has become a bit touristy. Shoreditch at the weekend has the Spitalfields market and tons of boutique shops, one-off restaurants and a lot of artists from street artists to more famous such as Gilbert and George who live down the road in Hoxton. If going get off at Liverpool street (if you do take the tube) and its 2 mins walk from there.
It is worth looking out for the Graffiti tour around Shoreditch where a guide will walk you through the streets showing the latest artists work with history of the place thrown in. As an art collector I am biased and like this area as I am on the constant look out for new talent, which can be found at the Other Art fair held twice a year or local artists galleries. If you need to stop for a drink head to Boundary where there is an amazing rooftop bar and grill. There are so many places the list would be enormous but here are a few recommendations to get you exploring The Fox (pub also with food), Bar Kick (cafe and bar), Beagle (restaurant), Shoreditch Grind (espresso and cocktail bar) or the cafe Pitfield (lifestyle cafe) where you can buy the chair your sat on!
Other areas that are not so touristy is Little Venice which has a country/villagy vibe set round canals and locks and easy walk starting from Paddington or Regents park, worth a visit in summer – you can walk the tow path to Camden and beyond passing the regency streets of Maida Vale, stopping off at eateries and pubs along the way, just don’t fall in! Also please visit the Tate Modern for the art and architecture but enter the building on the right side, west wing entrance, to get the full impact. Walk further up the Thames towards London Bridge and walk around the cobbled streets near Vinniapolis, Shakespeare Globe Theatre, to see London of the past.
Soho is the Media centre of London and still has the main film companies, Radio, fashion publishing houses like Nat Mags, Hearst, Conde Nast- housing Vogue, Tatler, GQ (My old job!), fashion, graphic designers and advertising agencies . So it is pretty buzzing with creative types and you are bound to bump into someone you recognise. My son and I go to spot the celebs here!
Carnaby street is close by with loads of trendy shops, also worth popping into is the Photographers gallery – where most of it is free, downstairs they have a cafe and in the basement some amazing photography books.
Soho has some of the best restaurants in London so you’re not short of choice. One our favourites for street style food is Imli Street off wardour street, service is great and it is Indian food with a twist, not dish after dish in sauces – have a go for something different.
Bit of a music fan you can’t go to Soho without going into one of the music venues – I recommend Ronnie Scotts for some jazz. If you can’t get tickets for the main venue there is a bar upstairs and on Mondays has some pretty amazing artists play, you will need to book a table as it is popular, but tickets are a fraction of the price of the main venue. Atmosphere is intimate, friendly and you will know some people by the end of the night for sure! Good for all ages, not just the whipper snappers!!!
Ok Covent Garden is a tourist destination must, but what a lovely part of the city, you must go, it gets really crowded in the summer so get there before lunch time. Some of the restaurants are more about the looks/location than quality of food so head off the main square if you can. Saying that Clos Maggiore is great for a romantic dinner, contemporary french cuisine in a lovely setting – make sure you get the conservatory to see the stars! Or if you want to visit somewhere with atmosphere try Belgos, belgian beer, moules and frites served by monks! Or Homeslice for homemade Pizzas and something that was new to me, you can drink as much wine as you want, but pay for what you have drunk from a bottle, don’t get alarmed when they get out a ruler honestly!- genius idea.
I have barely touched on the extent of what London has to offer, but given a brief overview and places I visit regularly to get you started. Just remember forget the tube and walk or even catch the bus they are really easy to use!