Things to do in London
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Whether you’re just in London for 24 hours, a whole weekend or for a couple of weeks. There’s always something to see and do in London. The What to do in London Guide offers you insider’s tips on how to make the most of your visit. We’ve gathered together our favourite attractions, restaurants, bars and activities. Helping you to find the best bars and restaurants in London, the best activities in London, the best London attractions, the best tours of London, free and cheap things to do in London, ‘eat the best the city has to offer’, discover fun things to do in London, find unusual or romantic things to do in London, things to do this weekend in London or the best day trips out of London our guides should have you covered.
(PS. Do you want to be shown around London by a local and taste the best of the city? Then book one of the best food and drink tours in London! Choose from a Traditional English Food & Drink Tour , Drunken History London Pub Tour, Royal London Food Tour)
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford” Samuel Johnson (1791)
Our guides favourite bars and pubs:
The Oldest Pubs in London
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, 145 Fleet Street, City of London, EC4A 2BU – Dr Samuel Johnson’s local, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is thought to be the oldest continuously surviving pub in London. It was rebuilt in 1667 and still stands today with sawdust on the floors.
The Churchill Arms, 119 Kensington Church St, Notting Hill, W8 7LN – One of the most beautiful pubs in London. The Churchill Arms was built way back in 1750 and is the place where Winston Churchill made his televised famous speeches to the public from during WW2.
The George Inn, 77 Borough High Street, Borough, SE1 1NH – Situated near London Bridge, The George Inn is London’s only surviving galleried coaching inn. It was rebuilt in 1676, original dates back to the 13th century. A favourite pub of Shakespeare.
The Old Bank of England, 194 Fleet Street, London, EC4A 2LT – The tunnels and vaults below the pub are said to be where notorious Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd, carried out his atrocities. He was famous for his pies too…
The Seven Stars, 53-54 Carey St, London WC2A 2JB – a Small pub with 1602 origins, popular for lawyers’ case-closing celebrations and real ale.
Best Cocktail Bars in London and the World!
£££ – Expensive ££ – Average
The American Bar, The Savoy, The Strand WC2R 0EU – One of the most famous and classiest hotels in London. In this hotel’s cocktail bar, you could be rubbing shoulders with celebrities while also drinking the tastiest cocktails London has to offer. Voted the 2nd best cocktail bar in the world 2016. Dress up smart. £££
DANDELYAN, Mondrian Hotel, London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD – Entertaining bartenders and great views over the Thames. This hotel’s cocktail bar has won numerous awards and was voted the 3rd best cocktail bar in the world 2016. £££
The Gibson, 44 Old Street, EC1V 9AQ – 1920’s style cocktail pub voted the 6th best cocktail bar in the world 2016. £££
Happiness Forgets, in the basement, 8-9 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU – Very relaxed bar with good a nice atmosphere well priced for London. Voted the 10th best cocktail bar in the world 2016. ££
The Nightjar, 129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB – Prohibition-style cocktail bar, with live jazz music virtually every night and great service. Voted the 19th best cocktail bar in the world 2016. ££
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club Live jazz club playing European vanguard for jazz and blues from world’s top musicians, in basement club with late bar. Nightclub upstairs with good DJ’s (Book in advance for the live Jazz shows as they are very popular with locals) ££
Be at One, SOHO, 20 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LA – Good place to start a night out. Nice atmosphere, in the centre of London and a really long happy hour (16:30 – 19:00) ££
The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA – Bar and restaurant with beautiful gardens on the roofs of Kensington. The restaurant serves great food with unrivalled views over the skyline of London and the club at night is always fun. (You will have to book in advance to get entry into the club at night, and have photo ID with you. book here: http://www.virginlimitededition.com/en/the-roof-gardens/the-club) £££
Phone us at +44 (0) 7706 304 888 or visit www.londonfoodtour.com to book any tour. Earn a 5€ return discount!
Secret Bars and passwords (shhh!)
Cellar Door, Stairs leading underground in front of 1 Aldwych, West end, WC2D 7DN – A really small 30’s style burlesque bar, with live music and shows, if you can find it it’s a great night out!!
5CC, Singer Tavern, 1 City Road, EC1Y 1AG – Concealed under a seemingly innocent pub. The Old Street cocktail branch is hidden beneath the Grade II listed Singer Tavern
The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town, The breakfast club, 12-16 Artillery Ln, London E1 7LS – Enter The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields, announce to a member of staff that you’d “like to see the mayor”. (We promise we aren’t trying to make you look like a fool… Trust us), The secret doors of the SMEG fridge will be opened and you’ll be making your way downstairs to The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.
Eating Out (some of our guides favourite eateries):
Duck & Waffle, 40th Floor, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY – Serves really good British & European cuisine 24hrs a day, On the 40th floor of one of London’s tallest buildings with amazing 360-degree views over the city of London. (book in advance) Meat/Veg/GF & Vegan ££
The Palomar, SOHO 34 RUPERT STREET, W1D 6DN – Great place to eat in the centre of London. The menu is influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. Great for vegetarian and meat eaters. (book in advance). Meat/Veg/GF & Vegan ££
Dishoom, 12 Upper St Martin’s Ln, London WC2H 9FB – Old school Bombay café in central, with good Indian style dishes. Meat/Veg/GF ££
The Jones Family Project, Shoreditch, 78 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3JL – International-inspired meat & steak dishes in a sleek basement restaurant with funky upstairs bar. (book in advance) Meat/Veg/GF ££
Cinnamon Kitchen 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YL /Cinnamon SOHO, Soho, 5 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5PF – Two venues in Soho and The City. The best Indian food in London, locally-sourced meats and a hearty choice of vegetarian options.(book in advance) £££
The White Swan, Holburn, 108 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1ES – London pub on the ground floor, and a stylish first-floor restaurant and mezzanine on the first floor. The White Swan cooks up delicious traditional, seasonal British fare. Best for lunches but also good for pre-theatre food. ££
Hawksmoor Spitalfields, Spitalfields, 157A Commercial St, London E1 6BJ – Atmospheric East London restaurant that excels at steaks and burgers. ££
Mews of Mayfair, 10 Lancashire Ct, London W1S 1EY – A space featuring antique maps, original beams and views of the kitchen, it’s a lavish and unique spot in which to retire and enjoy some relaxed dinner and drinks. Mews offers the feel of a member’s club without a joining fee; serving fine food and exceptional wines in stylish surroundings. (book in advance) £££
Sarastro, 126 Drury Lane, TheatreLand, London, WC2B 5SU – A favourite for theatregoers, as the inside is based on a theatre style. It serves Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine with live music and theatrical decor throughout and a very unique dining experience. (book in advance) ££
J.Sheekey, 28-34 St. Martin’s Court, TheatreLand, London WC2N 4AL – In the heart of Covent Garden, J Sheekey is a fish and seafood restaurant offering the finest fish, oysters, shellfish and other fruits de mer. (book in advance) £££
Our guides favourite West End shows:
Buy tickets for all shows at the official Ticket Booth, TKTS, The Lodge, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DE, Open: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 19:00, Sunday: 11:00 – 16:30
WICKED (family): Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Rd, London SW1V 1LG
THE BOOK OF MORMON (18+): The Prince of Wales Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, Coventry Street, W1D 6AS
MATILDA THE MUSICAL (Family): Cambridge Theatre, Covent Garden, Earlham St, WC2H 9HU
HARRY POTTER & THE CURSED CHILD (FAMILY): Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5AY
Fun and interesting places in London:
Neal’s Yard Dairy, Borough Market, 6 Park Street, SE1 9AB & Covent Garden, 17 Shorts Gardens, WC2H 9AT – (We ate cheese from their store on the tour) Cheese is a huge thing in England now and these are the guys who helped to bring English cheese back to compete with our European neighbours. They sell every type of English cheese imaginable at their 2 stores.
Wine Pantry, 8 Devonshire Row, Liverpool Street, EC2M 4RH – England’s best wine shop, where you can buy every English wine produced. If you’ve never tried English wine coming here will convert you.
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER – Opened in 1707. You won’t find a more traditionally English shop anywhere else in London. Walk in here and feel like you’ve stepped back to Victorian times. The shop is the grocer to the royals and if you visit here you will understand why. Try their speciality teas for free they are divine. (Our Guides Favourite shop in London)
Liberty, Regent St, Carnaby, W1B 5AH – A bit like Harrods but with far less bustle
Places to visit:
The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA – Beautiful gardens that are free to enter, on the roofs of Kensington with unrivalled views over the London skyline. The gardens have real flamingos walking around in them.
Sky Garden, 1 Sky Garden Walk, EC3M – After the Shard, it’s the best view in the city but unlike the Shard, it’s absolutely free. The gardens are great to sit in, with a coffee or drink from the onsite café/bar, and admire the London skyline (booking is necessary. Book at https://skygarden.london/)
Arcelormittal Orbit Slide – With great views of London, the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide and the UK’s highest freefall abseil, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is a viewing experience with a thrill. Opening times 11:00am – 4:30pm (booking is necessary) http://arcelormittalorbit.com/whats-on/the-slide/ .
THE FAKE 10 DOWNING STREET, 10 Adam Street, WC2R 0DE – You’re unlikely to get close to the Prime Minister’s residence without an official invite from Theresa May, but 10 Adam Street is the next best thing. Situated just off The Strand, Adam Street is a dead ringer for 10 Downing Street, and probably the closest you’ll get to a photo op outside the famous black door and the corridors of power.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP – London’s best kept secret museum, No tourists know about this museum but it is on par with the British museum. This little museum is one of the most atmospheric and fascinating in London. The building is the beautiful, bewitching home of architect Sir John Soane (1753–1837), which he left brimming with his vast architectural and archaeological collection (free entrance)
Rent a bike – Use the Santander bikes dotted everywhere around London. Santander Cycles couldn’t be easier to use. Simply select “hire a cycle” on the terminal at any cycle docking station and follow the instructions to print a release code. You’ll need a credit or debit card and it costs £2 for 24-hour access to the bikes. This includes all journeys of 30 minutes or less
The Globe Theatre – Watch a Shakespearean play in its original home. Adult prices for standing tickets are £5, while seats are priced from £15-39, or £3 for under 18s.
Our guides favourite day trips:
Stonehenge – While Stonehenge is located several hours outside of London, this iconic landmark is well worth the drive. You can take a bus, train or car. We suggest going by car, as you enjoy more privacy and the flexibility to stay as long as you like. By car take the M3 to the A303, an easy drive – even if you’re new to driving in the UK. Upon approach, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of this historic landmark. Take some memorable photos to share with family and friends.
Harry Potter Studios Warner Bros, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR – The Studio Tour is located 20 miles north-west of London and less than three miles from the M1 and M25 motorways. Regular public transport links serve the attraction and a shuttle bus from Watford Junction train station is available, costing £2.50 per return journey.
Richmond’s Park – The biggest of all the royal parks. It is a beautiful green 17th-century deer park in the middle of London where you can picnic surrounded by wild stags and deer. Take the underground District Line to the very end to get to Richmond, Then it’s either a 15-minute walk or you can jump on a bus to the Park.