Despite whatever you have read on The T List, please believe me that I am a city girl at heart.
And London, to me is like a sanctuary away from home. Perhaps because whenever I visited the city, I was blessed to be warmly hosted by friends based there. London is so accessible and connected, and there is no way you can be bored in the heart of the buzz.
Therefore, to come up with a shortlist of 10 things to do in London is incredibly easy. I think we could easily churn out 20, or even 50. I have put together a short 10 Things To Do, and indeed most of them are quite touristy. Perhaps my friends who have lived there may laugh at it… Nonetheless, it is to be believed that this could be a solid list and good starting point for newbies of London.
1. Have a picnic at St James Park.
Go on a walk that covers major sights in London. We suggest you could start from Buckingham Palace and walk to the St James Park. Pause for a picnic at the Park to enjoy the picturesque floral and fauna of London. Subsequently, proceed towards the Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square and National Gallery. Conclude this walking tour with an evening view of the London Eye.
2. Take a picture with the red telephone box
The red telephone box has established itself as a British cultural icon. Touristy as it may be, one should not give up the opportunity to snap a cute selfie or #OOTD with this ubiquitous street furniture when in London!
3. Visit the Museums
There are so many museums in London that it is hard to get them all covered within one trip. Visit one (or two) according to your interest. For art and design lovers, I would highly recommend Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum.
4. Catch a musical at the West End
A cultural trip to London wouldn’t be completed without catching a musical at the West End. For cheap tickets, check out Lastminute.com or CompareTheatreTickets.com. Matinee shows tend to be cheaper than evening shows and you could wind up with some legit Chinese fare for dinner (Refer to Point 5 below)!
5. Take a walk around Chinatown and have some dim sum or roast duck!
As Asians, it is an interesting experience to immerse in a melting pot of cultures while overseas. The hustle and bustle of Chinatown feels somewhat familiar, yet different. I enjoyed taking a stroll along the busy alleys inundated with Chinese eateries and local stores, and did I mention that the Chinese restaurants at Chinatown served really delicious Chinese food?
To try: Roast duck at Four Seasons
6. Source for more food at Borough Market
Think of our Pasarbella, but the enhanced version with more than 100 stalls cooked food, alcohol and fresh produce. Plan your trip to Borough Market with other sights at South Bank, such as London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Shard etc. The full market opens from Wednesday-Saturday, so try to visit during the late afternoon for a more manageable crowd.
7. Dedicate a day for shopping at Oxford Street
There is little doubt that shopping at Oxford Street is amazing – with all the high street brands in one street together with the huge store of our all-time favorite Marks & Spencer. The best part – there is free wifi in the area so you and your pals can do your own shopping and meet up again to flaunt your purchases!
PS: Covent Garden is great for shopping as well – I particularly enjoyed checking out some of the local boutiques, such as Joy The Store!
8. Go for the true blue afternoon tea experience
After a tired day of shopping, it’s time for high tea. Apparently the practice of “afternoon tea” originated from Britain, so we have got to set aside some time for the authentic English snacks such as scones and sandwiches, coupled with some English tea.
The best place for afternoon tea is The Ritz, but if you find the price (£52) inhibiting, consider its neighbour The Wolseley instead. Reservations required.
9. Visit famous Michelin-starred dining spots
There are many good English restaurants in London – you could check out the Gordon Ramsay’s or Jamie Oliver’s. Just secure an online reservation early as these restaurants are so popular that it’s hard to get a table without waiting time at walk-in. Lastminute.com could be your best friend for exclusive special offers and set menus.
10. Check out the massive weekend market at Portobello Road
The street market experience wouldn’t be complete without visiting the massive Portobello Market, which is always packed on Saturday when most of the stalls are opened. You get street fashion, antiques, food, vintage, fresh produce all covered! Set aside at least half a day there – and if you feel that you might not be able to cover the entire market, strategise!