London

LONDON IS MY FAVORITE CITY IN THE WORLD. There are no words to express how much I love London. I first had the chance to visit in November 2013, and I immediately knew I was going to have to find a way to live there. I siezed an opportunity to get my masters at the University of Westminster, and spent the best 13 months of my life livin’ the dream.

There is so much to do here! Let’s dive in:

Afternoon tea should always be at the top of your list for a quintessential London day. The most famous afternoon tea in the city takes place at The Ritz (even Stephen Tyler is a fan!), but Harrods is also insanely popular as is Fortnum and Mason (formerly the Queen’s royal grocer- worth a peek anyway!). A really trendy option these days is Sketch but it’s a whopping £60. Think of the Insta tho… If you’d like the Sketch experience without the hefty price tag, join them for their cream tea! It’s a more simple service consisting of a sweet treat and tea and only costs £12. When in doubt, venture to Groupon! There’s always deals for afternoon tea on there.

Day trippin’ from London? Trains connect you quickly and affordably to all parts of the UK (and more). Manchester, Liverpool, Brighton, Oxford, and Canterbury are all quick options, as is PARIS! Book a Eurostar Snap fare (they start at £25) and you could be eating croissants on the Eiffel Tower lawn in two hours! Busses are connect the country quite nicely. Try Megabus or National Express to get around!

Foodies thrive in London. They say you can get the second best of every type of cuisine in London, the first best being in the country of origin. You can get Indian on Brick Lane, or by venturing to my personal boujee fave, Dishoom. Massive bagels from Beigel Bake, or an All-American brunch at The Diner or The Breakfast Club. My favorite greasy spoons for an English Breakfast are Kennington Lane Cafe, Regency Cafe, and Mike’s Cafe. The best Sunday roast HANDS DOWN is at the Elgin Pub in Notting Hill. In a rush? Stop at any Pret– you’ll see them on every corner!

Museums in London are free a lot of the time, so take advantage! My favorites are the Museum of London, the Imperial War Museum, and the Geffrye Museum. Other favorites include the National Gallery, the V&A Museum of Childhood, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Science Museum, the Tate and the Tate Modern, and the V&A Museum. There’s a museum for every bit of culture and history in this city, and you’ll never run out of options should you hit a rainy day (which is very much possible in London). Museums I still need to hit up: Sir John Sloane, London Transport Museum, Churchill War Rooms, HMS Belfast… yep, there’s still a lot to do.

The outdoors are an absolute must when the sun shines! In the city center, there’s Hyde Park, St. James’s Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park, and Regent’s Park / Primrose Hill. If you’re feeling smothered in central London, Hampstead Heath is a nice escape in north London, as is Greenwich Park in the east. Grab a picnic lunch, ride some bikes, or people watch the lads playing football- it all makes for a great day!

Royal sites in London are some of my favorite things to explore. While I found myself underwhelmed with the Tower of London (sue me), I really enjoy Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, and Hampton Court. If you visit Buckingham Palace while the Queen is away in late summer / early fall, you can actually tour some of the exclusive interiors!

Theatre is always something that tops my list when I think of where I should take visiting friends! London has intimate theatres, massive theatres, Victorian theatres, and royal theatres… there’s seriously a show for everyone! Over the course of my London time, I saw 17 shows (and may sneak in a few more when I venture back in November). You can get discount tickets from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square, or you can try your luck at getting day seats- all information for that can be found on Theatre Monkey’s site (it’s been bookmarked in my phone all year). If you have questions for the following, I got answers: Aladdin, Alice’s Underground Adventures, Apologia, Beautiful, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Les Miserables, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Matilda, Motown the Musical, Phantom of the Opera, Romeo and Juliet, Stomp, The Book of Mormon, The Play that Goes Wrong, Twelfth Night, Wicked.

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