Updated: May 2
Ah, London. I freakin' loved this city. If you're thinking about going, I highly suggest it. It's like NYC, but older and with less pizza. lol obviously that's an oversimplification, but just go, seriously, it's one of my favorite cities. Now enough chit-chat, let's get to it. Here's some things you absolutely must do when you go to London.
Southbank Centre Food Market- I love food, so at least two of these are going to be
food related- starting with the Southbank Centre Food Market. Do you like food trucks and stuffing your face with different flavors from different cultures? Well then you'll love this place. I wouldn't call it a "market", more like a food truck festival type deal, which is my favorite. I think I came here like, 5 times for lunch. Located on the other side of the Thames, right next to the London Eye, it's easy to find. Enjoy things like beer, tacos, polish sausage, chocolate covered anything, baked goods, pasta covered in cheese, Ethiopian cuisine, Indian curry, literally everything. It's not super spacious, so it can get crowded, but they do have numerous picnic tables so you can sit down and eat. They also have beer to go fyi. Link for hours and such- https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/visit/cafes-restaurants-bars/scfood-market
2. Afternoon Tea- So right now you're either thinking "OMG duh!" or "nah, sounds dumb", but seriously, just do it. I don't care if you're a 300lb cool quarterback or whatever, this shit is fun and delicious. It's not just tea- it's also all you can eat mini sandwiches, biscuits, and pastries (usually all you can eat, depends where you go). I did two different ones when I went to London- The Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea and Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand. Both were unique and both were delicious. My favorite of the two was Science Afternoon Tea but that's because I'm a huge science nerd and the pastries were shaped like planets and rockets and came out smoking with dry ice lol. One tip- MAKE RESERVATIONS BEFORE YOU GO. SERIOUSLY. The cool ones book up quick.
3. The Bermondsey Beer Mile- OOOOOH YEAH, ENDLESS BREWERIES. Do I even have to write more? The Bermondsey Beer Mile is the only good idea those Brits have ever had (I kid, I kid). Kind of out of the way a bit, (shortish cab ride from the inner city or a mile-ish walk from the nearest tube stop) but an absolute must if you're a beer drinker. Located underneath a stretch of
railway arches, this nearly two mile long stroll is just brewery, after brewery, after bottle shop, after brewery.... etc. For nearly two miles. They are constantly changing so I can't really list what breweries are currently here, but does that really matter? Take note though- they all are only usually open on Saturday afternoon, so plan accordingly. I made it to about 5 different breweries before I blacked out, but I do recall drinking at Moor Beer, Cloud Water Brewing, and Brew by Numbers. My morning flight the next day was.... rough.
4. The Borough Market- Yes, another food market lol. London has a bunch of different food markets, and I went to a lot of them, but trust me, this one and the one I mentioned before (Southbank) are the two you want to go to. The Borough Market is right near The Shard (huge glass skyscraper, can't miss it), on the other side of the Thames river. This one is bigger than Southbank Centre market, mostly inside, and they have more food items that you could take with you (like packaged cheeses, meats, produce, trinkets, etc). It has picnic tables and food and beer you can enjoy right there as well.
I enjoyed a delicious salt beef sandwich and a beer here. The one downside was that every time I went, it was hella crowded, and I'm not a huge fan of crowds and people bumping into me. Either way though, def worth going to. Link for hours and such- https://boroughmarket.org.uk/
5. See London from above- For anyone that knows me, knows I'm a slut for city skylines. I love looking down on cities, seeing their layout, and reminding myself how little I mean in this world. I have 3 suggestions to see London from above (I'm sure there's more, but these are the 3 I did)-
The Shard- This one is my favorite. The Shard is a huge glass sky scrapper on the other side of the Thames, where you go to the top in an elevator and can enjoy a drink or snack while chilling up there. Similar to the feel of the Empire State Building or OUE Skyspace LA, this option has gorgeous views you can enjoy while you relax.
The London Eye- This one is a classic and probably a must do while you're in London. It's the huge ferris wheel thing you see in all the photos of London, and yeah, it's pretty cool. You have great views with 360 degree windows, and it goes hella slow so you can actually enjoy it. Downsides-you're in the carriage or whatever you call it with strangers, and there is a line usually (I bought skip the line tickets and I still had to wait maybe 20-30 minutes).
The Tower Bridge Exhibition- Not quite the classic view of the entire city of London, but def a unique view. This tour lets you walk along the top of the Tower Bridge and the floor is glass, so you get to look down at all the cars and people crossing the Tower Bridge. I thought this whole tour and experience was really neat and educational, and I would highly suggest it.
So there you have it I guess. Those are the 5 MUST DOs. Real quick I'm just gonna list some other cool shit that I would highly suggest doing (feel free to shot me an email if you wanna hear more specifics about these).
_ Sherlock Holmes walking tour, Sherlock Holmes Pub, Sherlock Holmes museum at 221B Baker St
_Chill in Covent Garden and the Jubilee Market Hall
_Natural History Museum
_Shakespeare's Globe Theater tour
_Vinegar Yard food market
_Hang in Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus
_Check out St. Paul's Cathedral
_Walk around Hay's Galleria
_Hang out in Kingly Court (good food, shopping)
_Walk around Carnaby Street (super cool area)
_Walk around Buckingham Palace (I feel like this is obvious)
And here's 1 DON'T DO- See "The Changing of The Guard" at the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Absolutely miserable and dumb. SUPER crowded, hella people pushing (like seriously SHOVING you), and not even worth the time. Save your time and energy, don't go.
So this is all the stuff I would suggest to do, but there was hella shit I didn't have time to do that might be cool too. Lemme know (email, IG DM, whatever) if there's anything you suggest for the next time I fly over the pond, because I'm for sure going back.