After having spent a collective nine months living in London over last year and this, I decided the best way to kickstart the blog again was to put together a list of a few of my London favourites. Favorites, who am I kidding?! My spelling (and misspelling) is pretty much ingrained in me after three decades.
These are obviously based on the places I’ve been (and not been for that matter, as there is still A LOT I want to see and do!) but these are my favorite things to do in London. You definitely should check out everything on this list.
And so, as Julie Andrews once said, these are a few of my favorite things…
Hands down my favorite view of London is from the top of Heron Tower eating at either Duck & Waffle or SUSHISAMBA. It doesn’t get much better than delicious food & pretty scenery. The ultimate view has to be from the SUSHISAMBA patio, where you can view the city outdoors from 38 floors up. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation to dine at both immediately!
Runner-ups would include from the top of St. Paul’s and for a more general skyline from afar, Primrose Hill.
Building: St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s is amazing. I love the architecture. I love the history. I took a tour of St Paul’s and took pages and pages of notes (like the nerd I am) because I was fascinated by it all. If there is any building in London that just makes me smile, it’s St Paul’s.
Restaurant: Duck & Waffle
What started with a crush, turned into a love of the delicious food, tasty cocktails, lovely staff, amazing ambiance and dining with the best view. Every dish I’ve tried so far is delicious. Combining great food with a phenomenal view is a real winning combination. I’m a sucker for a good view. Duck & Waffle is my go-to spot to take any and all friends visiting London. The. Best!
Music Venue: 02 Academy Brixton
Admittedly, my concert venue experience is limited but I absolutely LOVE Brixton Academy. I saw Local Natives with a friend back in October and it was such a great show and the venue is amazing. It’s a midsize venue with an intimate feel. Looking forward to more shows here in 2014.
Burger: Bleecker Street Burger
This is a really hard one. Last December, just before I came back to the States for the holidays, Honest Burger was up there as my favorite. However, when I came back to London in February, I realized that there is a great big burger world out there and many, many more places I needed to check out. Over the past couple months I’ve visited a lot more (so much so that I’ve occasionally used a burger location as a London landmark) and have had some delicious burgers. I even had the opportunity to help out Young & Foodish at the Burger Monday Championship Quarter Final of Bleecker Street v. Dip & Flip. I was excited about this one, as I’d eaten at both twice prior and both were in my top three. It was a delicious night and each burger was incredible. Gun to my head, Bleecker Street wins as my favorite London burger. More on burgers later though. 🙂
Mexican: Boho Mexica
At the present moment, Boho Mexica is the best Mexican food I’ve had in London. All of the Mexican restaurants I’ve tried so far have been perfectly fine, but I’m beginning to realize, what I’m looking for likely doesn’t exist here. After all, I lived in Southern California for nearly eight years, which is home to some of the best Mexican food in the world. You could try and argue that point, but you’d be wrong. So perhaps I’m a little bit of a Mexican food snob. The enchiladas suzias at Boho Mexica are the closest I’ve had to SoCal style Mexican. Plus, their cocktails are quite tasty!
Pizza: Franco Manca
It’s delicious and inexpensive. Do yourself a favor and head down to the original in Brixton Market. You can get a whole sourdough pizza & a beer for £10.
Runner up: Pizza East. They have delicious pizzas, salads and sides. My favorite pizza here is the spicy sausage, mozzarella and broccoli. Followed by the salted chocolate caramel tart for dessert, naturally!
Run: South Bank
A long run along the South Bank became a weekend ritual of mine and I absolutely love that run. Six miles doesn’t seem so bad running along the Thames. If you’re going to do this run, and you should, it’s best to keep in mind a few things:
- Start on the early-ish side. Don’t make the mistake of a noon start or you’ll be pushing through tourists meandering about from about Westminster Bridge to about Waterloo Bridge, and cursing them under your breath.
- Always, ALWAYS run with cash or a debit card. I made the rookie mistake of running without money and ran out of credit on my Oyster and was forced to run home. On the plus side, I now know I can run 10 miles!
Tube Line: Victoria
Just before the holidays last year, I stayed with a friend in Brixton and got to experience the joys of living on the Victoria line for a month. And since returning to London, I’m back in Brixton. It’s fast, frequent, and everything you could want in a tube line.
Unless of course, there’s an accidental cement flooding in a control room. But that happened when I was in the States and I was able to laugh about it from afar without having to deal with the pains of no service.
This Buzzfeed ranking of the tube lines does a much better job than I could ever do and is really funny (they rank Victoria 3rd, behind Jubilee & the DLR).
Walking Tour: London Walks
A friend recommended London Walks to me and they’re absolutely fantastic. I’ve been on at least ten walking tours and every one is equally enjoyable and informative. I love learning random facts and history about London. I hope that one day this knowledge will serve me well in a pub quiz.
Day Trip: Oxford
I still have a list of English destinations I want to visit, but since I studied abroad at Oxford in 2003, the city has always held a very special place in my heart. Located about an hour northwest of London by train, it’s super easy to escape to for a day. You can spend the day wandering around the town, have lunch at The Turf Tavern, tour some of the college grounds (in the summer at least, not entirely sure about when school is in session) and if you feel up for it, stay for some late night drinks at The Purple Turtle or The Bridge (Both faves during study abroad! Unfortunately I haven’t visited in years, so it COULD be full of 18-22yo…). If you have the time, it’s easy to combine with some Cotswolds exploration, also an utterly charming escape.
Phrase: “Can’t be bothered”
I say this all the time. When Danielle and I first learned this phrase in Thailand from our English friends, we said ‘Can’t be asked’ and despite pronouncing it the same as our friends, when we wrote it down as such, they laughed at us. They corrected us and let us know it was ‘arsed.’ As an American (or Southerner), I can’t say arsed without sounding like I’m overly pronouncing the ‘r’ so I just stick with bothered.
What are your favorite things to do in London that I’ve left off this list?