The United Kingdom’s cosmopolitan capital is home to charming pubs, fascinating museums and a vast array of restaurants and cafes. Not sure where to start? Here’s an insider’s guide to the best London hangouts from a local expert.
Different parts of London celebrate the various cuisines of its multicultural communities. You can have Indian curry on Brick Lane in the East End or Vietnamese food on Pho Mile along Kingsland Road in Shoreditch.
For the best in fresh local produce, have a gourmet lunch at Borough Market near London Bridge. Anchor Bankside, one of the city’s oldest pubs, offers great fish and chips, and overlooks the River Thames.
A favourite nook of mine is Tea and Tattle, a little known cafe-bookshop in Bloomsbury. Quintessentially British, it serves a range of tasty sandwiches, homemade cakes and scones on traditional crockery, and offers an extensive menu of teas.
London has more than its fair share of bars and nightspots, but one of my favourite options is the monthly Lates series that turns some of the city’s museums into pop-up bars – with free entry. The last Wednesday of the month at the Science Museum is billed as a drinking and thinking event that features live music, comedy shows, fun pub quizzes and workshops.
For quirky goods such as crafts and one-off clothing items – all found along winding alleys – travel to Camden Market. If you’re more into knick-knacks and antiques, try Portobello Road Market near Notting Hill.
To while away the hours leafing through second-hand books, take a weekend stroll along the South Bank. Covent Garden is also great for art, bespoke jewellery and crafts.
Don a harness and literally climb over the top of one of London’s best-known venues, The O2, to view the city in a fun way. There are no steps, just a slightly steep and bouncy walkway to get you to the top, and an observation area to see the surrounding city.
Want to see London from a different perspective? Many of the city’s famous landmarks lie along the River Thames, and you can get a great view of them from the water. Often forgotten are the riverboat services that run rather frequently. They pass by landmarks such as the London Eye and Tower Bridge.
Richmond Park is another great spot just outside central London that’s great for a picnic in summer. From the top of the hill, you can see as far as St Paul’s Cathedral on a good day. Animal lovers may also like to get close to the local resident deer population that roams free.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now a public space, with parklands that boast intricate fountains, plenty of wildlife and even a climbing wall.
*Recommendations by Zoe Hatton.
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.