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Katie
Amherst (Massachusetts)

Katie from Amherst (Massachusetts) asked

Restaurants/Nightlife/Cultural Landmarks in London this summer

I'm visiting a friend in London in mid August. We are both 20, so we are looking for delicious (but not too expensive) restaurants/pubs as well as the best nightlife in London. We also want to visit a few museums or cultural landmarks. Any suggestions?

London

11 Answers
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answered first by
Courtney from Los Angeles

Hey, Katie,

Sounds like such a fun trip! Here are a couple of suggestions:

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese -  - this is the oldest pub in London and one of my absolute favorites. It's like you can feel the ghosts of past patrons when you're there. Make sure you check out lower floor as well--not just the ground level area--you really feel as if you're in the 1600s down there! 

Princess Louise - I probably recommend this pub too much, but I can't help it--it's a favorite. It's an old Victorian (I think) pub that's just been renovated and it's soooo cute! If you want to move from one side of the pub to another you literally have to go outside. It's so adorable!

Be EXTREMELY careful with your purses in pubs! Pickpockets are all over the place and you have to be really careful!!!

For restaurants, I would try The Botanist. It might be a little bit of a splurge but you can always just have drinks there. It's a fun, hip crowd without being too much of a scene. 

I would also check out the Regency Cafe. This is an old diner that serves an amazing, good old-fashioned English breakfast. Be prepared to wait a  bit for a table as it gets crowded!

I would also check out the Laughing Halibut which is a little out of the way, but they serve amazing fish & chips. Very cheap and a bit gritty which I kind of like!

My favorite cultural attraction is definitely Tower Of London. If you have even the slightest interest in British history this is a must. It's not a cheap ticket, though--tickets are something like $25-$30, but it's a place you spend just about a whole day exploring so ultimately it's worth it!

My other favorite attraction is the Victoria & Albert Museum. They always have interesting exhibits going on here and the permanent collections are incredible. One of the best museum gift shops I've ever seen, too! 


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Katie
Thanks, Courtney, for the suggestions! Really looking forward to checking out Ye Old Cheshire Cheese!
 

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Dabs
The Tower of London has a 2 for 1 deal if you get a paper travelcard. However, they sometimes carve out the peak summer months but keep on eye on this website for that deal and plenty of others http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (restaurant)
  2. Princess Louise (attraction)
  3. The Botanist (restaurant)
  4. Regency Cafe (restaurant)
  5. Laughing Halibut (restaurant)
  6. Tower Of London (attraction)
  7. Victoria & Albert Museum (attraction)
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answered by
Valerie from Seattle

Most of the museums will be free, at least in part (often special exhibits will have an entry fee, but the majority of the museum is free). My two favorites are the Tate Modern and The British Museum (the latter of which plays host to the Rosetta Stone. If you're a bit alternative, check out the Hunterian Museum.


In terms of cultural landmarks, may I recommend London Eye (best done at sunset), and Monument to the Great Fire of London (a bit of a climb, but worth the ~£3 for the view). You can also climb to the top of Saint Paul's Cathedral for a reasonable fee.


As for food, there are a couple places you've got to try:

  • The Rock & Sole Plaicewas my main introduction to a proper 'fish and chippie'
  • Sketch is an experience, probably best for a funky 'high tea' adventure (definitely the most expensive place on this list)
  • Brick Lane is the place for various kinds of Indian food, but if you're looking for the spot the locals know is better (and it's nearby), try Tayyabs
  • Bistrotheque (23-27 Wadeson Street, E2 9DR) is my FAVORITE brunch place in the city and well worth the trek to Bethnal Green
  • Cafe Chula is a great little Mexican spot in the Camden Lock Market
  • Not sure if it's still in fashion, but Evans & Peel is the best 'secret bar' in town--just make sure you have "something you need investigated" as your cover story... a close second favorite is UnderDog (51-55 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA)
  • One of my fave cocktail bars is The Marylebone (93 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4RE), where there are 2-for-1 cocktails for Sunday night happy hour


Okay, that should be a good list to get you started!


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Katie
Thanks, Valerie :) This is a great list!
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Tate Modern (attraction)
  2. The British Museum (attraction)
  3. Hunterian Museum (attraction)
  4. London Eye (attraction)
  5. Monument to the Great Fire of London (attraction)
  6. Saint Paul's Cathedral (attraction)
  7. The Rock & Sole Plaice (restaurant)
  8. Sketch (restaurant)
  9. Brick Lane (attraction)
  10. Tayyabs (restaurant)
  11. Bistrotheque (restaurant)
  12. Cafe Chula (restaurant)
  13. Camden Lock Market (attraction)
  14. Evans & Peel (attraction)
  15. UnderDog (attraction)
  16. The Marylebone (attraction)
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answered by
Martin from Paris

Hello Katie, 

London is a really big city (ten times Paris), if you come only for few days you should target precisely what you want to do and discover, otherwise you should go in North, East, West and South London to see all differences. I suggest you:

-Camden Town for "hippy" places

-Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus for shopping and meet foreigners

-Liverpool Street for some cool bars

-Kensington for french people ;)

And If you want to have choice in cheap nightclubs and bars you should go to Shoreditch where you will find many different places to dance,drink and meet people.

If you want i can give you contacts but not on public post.

hope you will enjoy!

Martin


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Katie
Thank you Martin for the suggestions!
 
 
 

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  1. Camden Town (neighborhood)
  2. Piccadilly Circus (attraction)
  3. Oxford Circus (attraction)
  4. Liverpool Street (attraction)
  5. Kensington (neighborhood)
  6. Shoreditch (neighborhood)
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answered by
Ken from Melbourne

Try Jamie's Italian in several London locations. The food is amazing plus an enjoyable ambience. Also spend at least one day at The British Museum.

If you are into the outdoors, spend a day of picnic at Hyde Park


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  1. Jamie's Italian (restaurant)
  2. The British Museum (attraction)
  3. Hyde Park (attraction)
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answered by
Philip

In central London, try Little Bay Clerkenwell - it's surprisingly cheap and good, and means you are near the areas of Clerkenwelland Farringdon, which have lots of decent bars for mid August outdoor drinking.

For things to do, you could do worse than a day out in Greenwich - you can see the Cutty Sark - The Sailing Ship (£12 to go inside), the Royal Observatory (Free), the National Maritime Museum (Free), the Old Royal Naval College (Free), and lots of other things besides... plus you can have lunch by the river and walk in Greenwich Park and Blackheath. Or visit Davy’s Wine Vaults for half price cocktails before 7pm :)


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Russ
I agree about Greenwich, take the Thames river cruise down and back, makes a nice day and be sure to straddle the Greenwich Mean Date Line up the hill from the museum and see the first ever ships clocks that perfected navigation (read "LONGITUDE").
 

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Debbie
Good stuff, Philip! :)
 

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Katie
Thanks, Phillip! Great ideas here :)
 
 
 

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  1. Little Bay Clerkenwell (restaurant)
  2. Clerkenwell (attraction)
  3. Farringdon (attraction)
  4. Greenwich (attraction)
  5. Cutty Sark - The Sailing Ship (attraction)
  6. Royal Observatory (attraction)
  7. National Maritime Museum (attraction)
  8. Old Royal Naval College (attraction)
  9. Greenwich Park (attraction)
  10. Blackheath (neighborhood)
  11. Davy’s Wine Vaults (attraction)
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answered by
Alex

Wagamama is a really casual Japanese noodle restaurant with many locations around London. The best area to check out for nightlife is Soho or Shoreditch


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Katie
Thanks, Alex :) I've heard good things about Wagamama, I'll have to check it out!
 
 
 

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  1. Wagamama (restaurant)
  2. Soho (neighborhood)
  3. Shoreditch (neighborhood)
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answered by
Nina

Wahaca restaurant for mexican food in Convent Garden


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answered by
Linda from Nashville

We lived in London and ate at Da Mario on Gloucester Road and Queen's Gate Terrace SW7.. the best pizza, Pasta, Salads...  Wagmama has locations all over London with great Asian fusion menu.. share long tables and lots of fun..

Go to Marks & Spenders (many locations) to their food hall.. the selection of ready to eat foods is fantastic.. "Pret a Manger" for delicious sandwiches and carry out food...


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Katie
Thanks, Linda. Wagmama sounds like a restaurant we will have to check out!
 
 
 

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top answer by
Dabs from Chicago

There are several reasonable and good chains in London that I like, Wagamama has locations all over London and is good for Asian/noodles, seating at communal tables, always bustling.  Masala Zone is another that I like, I've eaten at the one in Earl's Court and the one in Camden.  For fish and chips, I like Laughing Halibut or The Golden Hind, you can takeaway for cheaper than sit down if you have a nice day and want to eat outside.  For a good breakfast, I love Regency Cafe and Café In The Crypt is a unique place to get a full English breakfast.  JD Wetherspoon (like The Crosse Keys (Wetherspoon) is a chain of pubs that have reasonable meals, since you are 20, I'm sure you know that the drinking age is lower and that you can go into pubs.

All of the museums in London are interesting depending on the subject matter that you enjoy, my personal favorites are the Victoria & Albert Museum for decorative arts, the Museum of London and most people like to stop by the The British MuseumYou might have a look at Buckingham Palace which opens just in the summer for visitors and also Houses of Parliament which open in the summer as well for visitors. 

I take all 1st timers to the Tower Of London, Westminster Abbey and The Windsor Castle if a longer visit.  I also try to hit the markets, younger folks seem to like Camden Market better than Portobello Market


Comments (3)

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Katie
Thank you Kristi for the suggestions! Looking forward to trying the fish and chips at Laughing Halibut.
 

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Courtney
Awesome answers, Kristi!!!
 

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Kay
I'm going to be in London this summer too, and I love all your advice. Thanks!
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Wagamama (restaurant)
  2. Masala Zone (restaurant)
  3. Laughing Halibut (restaurant)
  4. The Golden Hind (restaurant)
  5. Regency Cafe (restaurant)
  6. Café In The Crypt (restaurant)
  7. The Crosse Keys (Wetherspoon) (attraction)
  8. Victoria & Albert Museum (attraction)
  9. Museum of London (attraction)
  10. The British Museum (attraction)
  11. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  12. Houses of Parliament (attraction)
  13. Tower Of London (attraction)
  14. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  15. The Windsor Castle (attraction)
  16. Camden Market (attraction)
  17. Portobello Market (attraction)
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answered by
Russ from Ohio

Go to Covent Garden and ask where the locals eat, we found a fish and chip shop that was amazing but there are tons of other restaurants.


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answered by
Alex

Check out www.eveningstandard.co.uk it's London's daily newspaper lots of cool reviews and calendar of events


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