Planning for a trip to London? Great choice, there’s no place like London, not only it is filled with history and arts, but also cultures from all over the world get integrated here. You probably have done your research and already have plenty on your list. But don’t depart without reading our recommendations, which will enable you to truly dive into English history, culture and lifestyle.
Attend a Parliament debate
The Parliament is not just a tourist attraction but a functional office. You can visit the public galleries in the House of Commons and the House of Lords and watch the debate live. And it is FREE! On most days, you can just turn up and wait for entry. But tickets are required for PM’s Questions. The galleries are open to the public from Monday to Thursday, and you just need to check the schedule HERE before attending.
Have some tea
Afternoon Tea is a meal composed of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam (known as “cream tea"), sweet pastries and cakes. It was initially developed as a private social event for ladies of the upper class in Britain in the early 1840s. Many places serve it across London: from the full-blown to the basic cream tea. If you want to have the “royal experience”, go to the English Tea Room at Brown’s, where Queen Victoria used to take her tea (£55). Or when it is sunny, our favourite is to sip tea from the love garden of the Orangery at Number Sixteen Hotel (only £22).
Visit an English house and garden
Architecture and garden design and landscaping have played an important role in the UK. Nowadays gardening maintains as many people’s primary hobby. London has a few private English houses and gardens that will give you a glimpse into English lifestyles. To name a few: Red House (best for craft lovers), Fenton House (London’s most enchanting country house), Apsley House (home of the first Duke of Wellington with fine art collection), Spencer House (London's finest surviving 18th-century private palace).
Step into Tower of London
This probably is already on your list as one of the most prominent landmarks in London. Tower of London is one of the oldest palaces in the country, built by William the Conqueror in 1066. But don’t just look at it from the outside, book a tour and explore its complete history and view the Crown Jewels. Tours are given by the Yeoman Warders (known as “Beefeaters”. In addition, remember to pay a visit to the Tower Bridge, it has a glass pathway which allows you to see the city from a new angle.
Picnic in a park
…on a sunny day. Though a busy city, London has many parks for everyone to take a break. When the city’s blessed by sunshine, it transforms: working day or not, Londoners just enjoy sitting under the sun. Join the locals and relax. Our favourite parks are St James (especially in Spring and Autumn, bring some nuts so you can feed the friendly squirrels) and Hampstead Heath (on the Parliament hill, you will have the best view of London).
Dive into the multi-cultural Brixton
London is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, and that’s exactly why we love it. 1/3 of Londoners were born abroad and over 200 languages are spoken here. This wide range of cultures can be best experienced at Brixton. Not only it filled with the best food, drinks, clubs, markets, but this cultural mecca is also filled with a sense of community. Experience it by taking a walking through Brixton Village and have a drink with some local residents at the open café and bars.
Seek inspiration in the East End
The East End of London has been transformed into a hipster hub in the past years. Unlike Central London, the best place to look for visual inspiration in the East is its streets. Take a walk from Brick Lane to Shoreditch, you will see some of London’s most impressive and creative murals. We highly recommend taking the Alternative Tour of London to get in-depth and hands-on experience.
Classic English experience at Richmond
Richmond is known as the affluent residential area in London. You will not find the large crowds of international tourists as in Central London. At Richmond, you will be more among the local people. There are many things to do and see, but our suggestion is just to chill and enjoy. Our favourite day out: picnic in the Hampton Court gardens, followed by a walk in the Bushy park with deer and tea at the local pub.
London is a city full of excitement and surprises for you to explore. We wish you a wonderful visit, and please share your recommendation with us.
*Images from the internet. Please contact us for credits.