I was in the UK (and Barcelona) just over Christmas and New years just recently, and it was such a great way to end 2015/welcome 2016! ❤ London is seriously one of the best cities in the entire world! I love it oh so dearly from the shopping, history, food, musicals and everything in between.
I have come up with some tips or should I say the must-dos when you’re in London. I’ll be breaking them up into 5 sections as shown below.
I definitely recommend my all time favourite shop, and it’s none other than Primark. It’s definitely a shop where things are reasonably priced and are of style. Well I go there mostly for the clothes, accessories and lingerie but they cater so so much more such as home-ware, beauty products, confectionery items, shoes and things for kids. I highly recommend the Primark store located down at Oxford Street because it was a walking distance from where I was staying which was in Paddington. Additionally I love Oxford Street in general (tons of other shops further down) and also because it is just across from Marcble Arch station and alternatively Bond street station just about a 10 minute walk away! I advice bringing a shopping bag or those recyclable bags because the bags they give are all brown paper bags and have a tendency of tearing apart so better be safe than sorry! Queues there can also get really long so I advice going to Primark the first thing in the morning when they open if you would like to stay away from the crowd and snake like queues.
Other shopping places I would recommend would be Fortnum and Masons, Selfridges (a little bit like our own Takashimaya but wayyyy nicer), Harrods, Hamleys (especially if you are a toy enthusiast or have kids) and not to forget Marks and Spencer’s (The confectionery items are all much cheaper with much more variety than what you see in SG).
If you’re into quirky, hippy things and crafts, Camden Town is the way to go! Camden has markets and stalls that sells anything and everything! Well they do sell clothes too but not much! It’s really nice to walk around too and seeing the different types of stalls. I even went into a so called art gallery where this artist was spray painting his feelings/sentences onto big rolls of papers and it was something so unusual but so uniquely beautiful. So head down to Camden Town if you want to find something out of this world because it is possible!
2. Sight Seeing
There are tons of sight seeing that can be done from visiting museums to historical sights, football stadiums and attractions! The must sees are definitely the Big Ben, The London Bridge along River Thames, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham palace, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Oxford university and St Paul’s Cathedral (attended Sunday mass there with my family). Most of these sites are highly accessible via the underground or are walking distance from one another but some are a tad bit further such as Windsor Castle and Stonehenge. Just remember to do some research on your own and do not hesitate to ask people around if you need directions! There are tons of sigh seeing brochures at the airport or even at your own hotel so feel free to take a look at them so as to have a strong gauge on where or what you would like to see! Additionally if you prefer tours, there are even hop on/hop off bus tours that are popular now and take you to all the famous sights. You can check it out via their City Sightseeing London website. (Check out their brochures if you see one as their might be coupons or discounts inside at times).
Don’t we all love food! Food options in London are crazy. There are all sorts of cuisines and tons of options available for everyone. As I’m more towards the health conscious side, I tend to stick to places that offer healthier or vegan options! But of course, I still do indulge every now and then because I love me some sweet treats etc.
Food can be rather pricey (roughly 10 pounds or more per meal) as there are no such things like food centers/kopitiams however if you are looking for more budget friendly meals, I recommend Pret a Manger, Marks and Spencer’s (their cafe offers rather affordable and yummy food too) and supermarkets such as Sainsbury and Tesco. Even certain Boots outlets sell food items too! Generally all those outlets mentioned above are into the take and go concept and offer meal deals. But if your’e not in the rush, they also have an option where you can dine in. Many of what they sell are wraps, sandwiches and soups. All their meals are well portioned therefore you would not need to worry about over eating whatsoever.
Other food options that I highly recommend would be to visit Chinatown (Leicester Square Station). That place has tons of amazing food and being the Chinese me, I made sure I had some nice asian food. I love me some Dim Sum and Roast meats and if you love them as much as me, I suggest you take note of the places I’m about to mention: Four Seasons, New Loon Fung and Wong Kei (My favourite goes out to New Loon Fung though hehe). Also, not forgetting the ever so famous food places such as Burger and Lobster (Best Lobster rolls in town!) and Jamie’s Italian (The pizzas and appetizers are lovely!). These 2 restaurants have outlets situated around London and are worth the visit. Feel free to check my trip advisor out for more information!
If you’re abit of a health nut like me, please do check The Mae Deli out! It’s an extremely amazing place for a meal or for a pick-me-up. The deli is by one of biggest inspiration Ella Woodward aka Deliciously Ella. She serves up wholesome and healthy food! It would mean the world to me if you’d take the time out to check her deli out! I promise you, it’s worth the hunt. Will be doing a blog post about my visit to The Mae Deli as a whole and also about how Ella plays such a big part in my life as my inspiration so stay tuned!
You have to catch a musical! You must! Just head down to Leicester Square and you’ll see tons of ticketing booths around. You can purchase your tickets or even check what musicals are currently on right now at those booths (go and enquire the different booths so that you’ll be able to get the best deals/compare the prices). I highly recommend The Lion King, Les Misérables and The Book Of Mormon.
5. Accommodation and Transportation
Try staying in bed and breakfasts! B&B’s are all over UK plus you get to save on breakfast! I suggest staying in a B&B around Paddington. Paddington is one of the main stations and you can take the Heathrow Express from the airport straight down to Paddington. It is a smarter and faster way of getting into London within minutes. Choosing a place to stay in Paddington is ideal as not only is the underground there but there are buses that take you to places like Oxford street or Leicester Square. However before transporting on the local transport, try to purchase the Oyster Card (SG’s version of the Ez-link). Transportation can be a tad pricey but much cheaper than taking London Cabs anytime. Plus taking the underground is such an experience! It is not as clean or spacious but it does get you places! I commuted a whole lot on the public transport and have no regrets! On a side note, it is important to keep your belongings close to you and to MIND THE GAP as the gaps can be really huge so please don’t keep your eyes off when boarding the underground especially when you have elderly or kids around).
Before I end off this post, please feel free to check my Instagram/Tripadvisor account out for more pictures. All in all, London is one of my favourite destinations to go. It’s oh so nostalgic talking and thinking about London because now all I feel like doing is jetting off to London! London calling anytime! Thank you London for making it my happy and magical place.