Whether merely window shopping, hunting out a bargain or restocking your wardrobe, London has the shops for you. The city centre is home to countless retailer flagship stores, while you can browse vintage, boutique and independent retailers’ shopfronts which abound off the main thoroughfares.
Oxford Street and Regent Street offer a bewildering array of top high street names on a grand scale, while Knightsbridge is home to world famous department store, Harrods. Carnaby Street, Covent Garden and the King’s Road offer a quirky alternative for shoppers looking for something different, be it a statement item of clothing, a unique vintage piece, or even a great cup of coffee and a moment’s pause.
Moving away from the city centre the shopping possibilities are no less impressive. Camden offers a different take on the London retail experience, where you’ll find unusual shops, handcrafted gifts and souvenirs, and a host of great places to eat and drink.
Notting Hill is famous for smaller individual shops selling everything from fine antiques to vintage bargains, and is home to the mile-long Portobello Market where you can browse the many colourful stalls for rare and unusual items. Similarly, Spitalfields Market provides a unique shopping experience.
London is home to 66 Michelin-starred restaurants, but that’s just one part of London’s culinary experience. With over 6,000 restaurants, coffee houses and street food sellers, the capital is a food lovers’ heaven.
Some of the most instantly recognisable TV chefs have restaurants in London, including Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Michel Roux Jr and Heston Blumenthal. Across the capital you can find food from every corner of the globe, for every budget, and served on everything from a plastic tray to fine china complete with a view over the city skyline.
Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason or at one of many luxurious hotels around the city centre is a real treat, but equally rewarding and more affordable is an expertly brewed coffee in one of the many coffee houses dotted around the city.
For a truly unforgettable dining experience there are a number of rooftop restaurants around the city offering fine foods served up with breathtaking views. But don’t forget to sample street food from around the world at the city’s markets - food doesn’t come fresher and more vibrant.
For a traditional taste of London, why not try one of the numerous pubs around the city where you can find craft ales and local favourites pie & mash, cockles, roast beef and fish & chips.
London is famous for the diversity and quality of its nightlife. From world-class theatre to bars and clubs, and from live music to cabaret, you will find it in the capital, only bigger and better than you could imagine.
No visit to London would be complete without a visit to the West End, the spiritual home of theatre. The Apollo, the Lyceum, the Aldwych, the Old Vic, the Duke of York’s, the Savoy Theatre, the London Coliseum, the Dominion, and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, among many others have the best and most recognisable stage shows and musicals in the world. For a different spectacle, take in some Shakespeare at the Globe, or laugh out loud at one of the many comedy clubs around the city.
London has some of the best nightclubs in the world, so if having a great time in a party atmosphere is your thing, try Cargo and XOYO in Shoreditch, the Roof Gardens in Kensington, Phonox in Brixton, the Grand in Clapham, Oslo in Hackney, or the Jazz Cafe and Shaka Zulu in Camden, among many others for a night to remember.
For a more intimate night out, London has an eclectic mix of bars, clubs and pubs serving everything from a mojito to craft ale in venues as diverse as a Victorian bathhouse and riverside inns.
London’s attractions are as famous as any across the world. Iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London should be on any traveller’s itinerary in London.
The list should also include Kensington Palace, the London Eye, ZSL London Zoo, Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon, and not forgetting the Churchill War Rooms, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the National Gallery, many of which are free to enter.
London is blessed with around 1,700 parks covering a staggering 70 square miles and include celebrated open spaces such as Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Kew Gardens, St James’s Park, and Kensington Gardens. The city may be a hive of activity, but its thousands of footpaths and streets provide fantastic walking around some of the most iconic sights in the world, so take a wander down the Mall to see the Changing of the Guard, or take a leisurely stroll along the Thames.
Sport also plays a major role in London’s cultural identity. The city’s inheritance from the 2012 Olympics can be seen across Stratford, the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where you can take a tour of the vast sports site.
With a range of historical riches, a diverse, multicultural population, world famous shopping, and nightlife which will keep you partying into the small hours, London is a destination everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.