With nearly 2,000 tourist attractions and 18,000 restaurants alone in London, there is certainly enough activities to satisfy the 19 million tourists who visit the capital every year. If you are visiting for the first time to can be easy to feel overwhelmed when planning your weekend activity or end up with hoards of crowds at the obligatory tourist spots.
The city really has a lot to offer. The only thing it requires in return is a bit of your time, and some of your energy (on the weekend probably a little bit more). With so many trendy spots bustling with life both day and night, the robust visual arts scene and more than 170 000 music performances a year. Finding the best bits of London takes time and trial and error. Luckily, we’ve put together a quick guide about London, by Londoners.
Arrive early - Arriving on Friday evening will give you a head start that may be handy if you are planning to make the most of your stay in the capital. Staying somewhere central will save you a lot of hassle, not to mention money. Many hotels offer discounts if booked directly, check out the Every hotel Piccadilly for a central location. Perks of booking accommodation in the center include having easy access to all of London’s best attractions on your doorstep. Whether you decide to shop till you drop on Oxford Street or watch an all dancing, all singing production in West End, getting home late shan't be a problem.
Raise a glass, or two in Soho - Although you can order a cocktail in London on every corner, every Londoner will admit that Soho is home to best mixologists in town. Soho gets ample late-night traffic, with both locals and tourists crowding the bars to have the taste of anything from sweet to sour.
Visit Noting Hill and Portobello Market - Whether you want to refresh your vintage look with a few retro items, or you are hunting for some stylish antiques to complete the decor of your house - Portobello Market is the place to go!
The shops, as well as occasional stalls, are packed to the rafters with treasures from different periods such as immaculate vintage handbags, hats, maps, prints, cameras and even textiles. It has a reputation of one of the most recognizable markets in Europe, so if you are looking for a completely different shopping experience than Oxford street has to offer, this should be your call.
In the evening it is recommended to join the vibrant music scene - feel the rhythm of the city, and search for some great music venues, that will create the perfect soundtrack to your visit. You can either choose a classic option and pick something to watch along the West End or look for off the charts venue at the Vaults Theatre.
Don’t forget to fill your belly first at one of London’s most popular restaurants – Dishoom Carnaby, a contemporary venue based of traditional Indian sharing plates. It’s advised to get there early as there is normally a 60-minute wait for a table. The food certainly makes up for the wait though!
Visit Hampstead Heath - Towards the end of the weekend, Londoners like to explore the greener pastures of the city, hoping to regenerate before the next busy week at work. Hampstead Heath is the city’s largest and wildest green space, great for both sports and recreation. If that seems too strenuous a walk around and a stop for a coffee works just as well. If you want our advice - don't miss the chance to see the city from a completely different perspective and go to the Parliament Hill that is famous for its impressive view.
After a long walk around the Heath, be sure to book a table at The Spaniards Inn and reward yourselves with one of London’s highest rated roast dinners.