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Stephanie
Salisbury, North Carolina

London

4 days in London - Local insights on attractions and restaurants?

My boyfriend and I are traveling to London for four days after a wedding in Scotland in late June. Since it's a short trip, what are some of the top sites/attractions we should visit to make the most of our time there (and a few great restaurants to try)? We know the typical tourist stops but anything unique we shouldn't miss? We are staying in the Kensington Gardens area not far from Notting Hill. Neither of us have been to London before. Thanks!


9 Answers

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answered first by
Valerie from Seattle

Stephanie,

Given that you've never been to London before, here are my suggestions. Additionally, you're coming from the East Coast, so you'll probably be arriving in London in mid-to-early morning -- if you can manage to push through that first day without succumbing to jet lag, you'll feel great the rest of your trip.

As an aside, this list is mostly cultivated from my own loves in London -- it's by no means definitive nor necessarily the most popular. Just places I love! :)

Day 1 (Day of Arrival)

Day 2

Day 3

  • Visit Camden High St and Camden Market for some funky shopping, and if you're beer fans pop into Camden Town Brewery to try some of the best craft beer that the city has to offer.
  • Have dinner somewhere in the heart of it all -- either Duck & Waffle in the heart of the city, or something like Wahaca - Soho near Oxford Street.
  • Grab a nightcap at Evans & Peel, a secret underground bar where you need a "cover story" to get your case accepted.

Day 4 (Day of Departure)


Hope this at least gives you some ideas!


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Regency Cafe (restaurant)
  2. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  3. Westminster Bridge (attraction)
  4. Southbank Centre (attraction)
  5. Tate Modern (attraction)
  6. Saint Paul's Cathedral (attraction)
  7. Burger and Lobster (restaurant)
  8. One New Change (attraction)
  9. The British Museum (attraction)
  10. Holborn (attraction)
  11. Russell Square (attraction)
  12. The Lady Ottoline (restaurant)
  13. London Eye (attraction)
  14. Camden High St (attraction)
  15. Camden Market (attraction)
  16. Camden Town Brewery (restaurant)
  17. Duck & Waffle (restaurant)
  18. Wahaca - Soho (restaurant)
  19. Evans & Peel (attraction)
  20. Victoria & Albert Museum (attraction)
  21. Natural History Museum (attraction)
2 thanks


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answered by
Dani from Oakland

Kensington Gardens is a great spot- beautiful neighborhood.  There are some nice restaurants hidden there too.  Try The Shed on the edge of Kensington and Notting Hill, Otto Pizza for interesting Pizza, and W8 for a fancy dinner.  The Museum of London, on the other side of town, is a hidden gem of a museum and free too.  Great story about London's history.  


Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Kensington Gardens (attraction)
  2. The Shed (restaurant)
  3. Otto Pizza (restaurant)
  4. W8 (attraction)
  5. Museum of London (attraction)
1 thanks


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answered by
Ahmed from Montreal

Attractions: All the cliche (great for couples):

- London EyeLondon Eye (giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames

- Buckingham PalaceBuckingham palace, Westminster Abbey, London Tower & The London Dungeon

- Madame Tussauds London Madame Tussaud's wax museum

-Hyde ParkTake a walk or bike through Hyde Park


Restaurants - so many but i give my favourites but as everything in London is expensive get ready to spend GBP, always call for reservation where possible:

-The best food you will ever eat in your life if you are into Japanese fusion: Nobu (London) (restaurant - you always spot celebrities there) & Nobu This second one is more known as Nobu Lounge (more hip party atmosphere with a DJ - club like with dance floor after 12pm) $$$

-Best Pizza i ever had: Pizzeria (Bar type seating with the singing Italian chef) - ( on the 3rd or 4th floor of Harrod's) $

-Best breakfast: Tom's Kitchen $$

-Wagamama - Amazing asian casual dining (bench type seating) Famous for their Chicken Katsu Curry  $$ 

-Burger & Lobster (the best of those two, beware, their lobsters get really big so you can always opt for the amazing lobster sandwich) $$

All the food places in the food courts of Selfridges, Harrods & on the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols London (this is where burger and lobster is)

Get around with uber or navigate the tube.

-Central London = their downtown (stay around there for the food) - this is where Harrod's, Harvey Nichols and most upscale stores are. Knightsbridge & Brompton rd are the well known streets. Oxford Street near Selfridge's is more younger and where all the other shopping is

-Piccadilly Circusis their version of Time square - worth walking around there and checking the shops. If i remember, the wax museum is around there

hope you enjoy it. its my fav city in the whole world and you need more than one month to enjoy everything so make those 4 days count :)


Mentioned in this answer:

map
VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. London Eye (attraction)
  2. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  3. Madame Tussauds London (attraction)
  4. Hyde Park (attraction)
  5. Nobu (London) (restaurant)
  6. Nobu (restaurant)
  7. Pizzeria (restaurant)
  8. Tom's Kitchen (restaurant)
  9. Wagamama (restaurant)
  10. Burger & Lobster (restaurant)
  11. Selfridges (attraction)
  12. Harrods (attraction)
  13. Harvey Nichols London (attraction)
  14. Piccadilly Circus (attraction)
1 thanks


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answered by
Dabs from Chicago

I've taken a lot of people to London for the their 1st trip and the one place I've taken all of them is the Tower Of London.  It's got entertainment (the beefeater tour), the Crown Jewels and a fabulous history, it's my don't miss place.  You are also going to at least go by some of the famous landmarks-the House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey are near each other, if you decide to visit Westminster Abbey, do the verger tour which is a few extra £, well worth the money.

Beyond that, it's going to depend on your interests, London has many free museums that are world class but if you don't like art museums, there is no sense in telling you to go to the National Gallery.  I personally love the Victoria & Albert Museum which is largely decorative arts but many men may prefer not to go to that particular museum.  The British Museum is considered a must see by many people.

Agree with the suggestion to go to Regency Cafe, it's one of my favorites in London.  We always get fish and chips, even if the locals declare that you must be by the sea to get good ones, my current favorites are Laughing Halibut and Poppies Fish and Chips, Camden.  If you want a splurge meal, I'd suggest Rules, the oldest restaurant in London.  Indian is quite popular in London, I liked Punjab a lot and also Masala Zone Covent Garden which has multiple locations throughout London.

If you are looking for something to do in the evening, try a Jack the Ripper walk with London Walks or a pub walk.  The theater is fabulous in London, you can stop by the tkts booth in Leicester Square for discounted last minute tickets.

I could give you a whole list of off the beaten path sites but if it is your 1st trip, you may find that you're overwhelmed with all the choices for on the beaten path


Mentioned in this answer:

map
VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Tower Of London (attraction)
  2. House of Parliament (attraction)
  3. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  4. National Gallery (attraction)
  5. Victoria & Albert Museum (attraction)
  6. The British Museum (attraction)
  7. Regency Cafe (restaurant)
  8. Laughing Halibut (restaurant)
  9. Poppies Fish and Chips, Camden (restaurant)
  10. Rules (restaurant)
  11. Punjab (restaurant)
  12. Masala Zone Covent Garden (restaurant)
  13. tkts (attraction)
1 thanks


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answered by
Jonny from Nowhere

Hey Stephanie, 

One of the best things in London is exploring all the street markets. I wrote an article about my favourite markets here:

http://backpackingman.com/the-best-markets-in-london-to-visit/

A good curry down Brick Lane Market is highly recommended followed by a walk down to the Thames, across Tower Bridge, and then walk along the South Bank where you can see a farmers market before crossing the Thames again when reaching near Charing Cross Station to get to Covent Garden area and explore that area and nearby Soho.

Jonny




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answered by
nako from London

Go Soho for all the nice restaurants.

For sightseeing, go for the The British Museum. It is amazing.

Tower Of London is nice as well. After you finish there, cross the bridge and walk along the thames river. Very nice experience.


Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Soho (attraction)
  2. The British Museum (attraction)
  3. Tower Of London (attraction)


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answered by
Elly from Taiwan

If the 4 days are over a weekend, you should definitely go to some of the markets in London. They are my fav. Borough Market, portobello markets, Spitalfields and Camden Market are must dos.


Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. London (city)
  2. Borough Market (attraction)
  3. portobello markets (attraction)
  4. Spitalfields (attraction)
  5. Camden Market (attraction)


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answered by
Krista from London

Hi Stephanie

It really depends on what you are into! Of course you should see the major things -- Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye -- but if you are looking for other options, also check out the following...

Spitalfields -- fun market close to Liverpool Street Station. Especially good on Sundays. 

Brick Lane-- great Sunday people watching AND eating. It's where the trendoids roam! Lots of small snack stands along Brick Lane, particularly under the East London Line overpass.

Columbia Road Flower Market -- crowded neighborhood flower market, but worth it for the accents alone. Another Sunday activity. A few bars and restaurants around. 

Camden Passage -- behind Angel tube station. Small little antiques market, surrounded by lots of eating and drinking. 

Also, I always highly recommend London Walks -- check them out at Walks.com -- they are very inexpensive walking tours all over London. A great way to see the city and learn the history! I like the pub tours myself.

There are many many great restaurants in London so let us know if you're looking for anything in particular and we can try to narrow things down.

Krista


Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Big Ben (attraction)
  2. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  3. London Eye (attraction)
  4. Spitalfields (attraction)
  5. Brick Lane (attraction)
  6. Columbia Road Flower Market (attraction)
  7. Camden Passage (attraction)


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answered by
Steven from Berlin, Germany

you should have a drink Balans


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Balans (restaurant)




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