Many have London on their travel list, many have been there, and many more dream of going to London. Whatever your relation with this old city, all your passions and interests will be entertained by the array of unique landmarks, attractions, and basically just being there.
Twice the size of Singapore, there is so much to do and see around this bustling, yet cultural city – from its elaborated architectures in the city centre to the mellow areas outside Central London. Sadly, visitors do not stay for more than a week and often miss out on the finest gems in the city.
Here’s a list of activities you should check out in London:
1. Portobello Road Antique Market
Visitors from all over the world flock to Portobello Road Antique Market, the world’s largest antique market, in hopes to find some gems as souvenirs. With the market stretching over 3 kilometres and over 1000 dealers selling all sorts of collectibles, you’ll be surprised by you can bag home.
This market has a long history dating back to the 1700s, and despite the constant changes it went through, it never lost its charm and continues its ‘rag and bone’ nature. You can expect to find fresh produce here too!
How to get there: Portobello Road, London, Greater London, W10 5TA
0900 – 1800 Monday to Wednesday
0900 – 1300 Thursday
0900 – 1900 Friday and Saturday (main day for full street market)
No street markets on Sunday except some cafes and shops
Closed on other bank holidays.
2. Columbia Road Flower Market
Every Sunday, rain or shine, expect this street to transform into an oasis of flora. You can find all sorts of floral species here – home grown or imported – from the sixty independent shops.
Amidst your flower gazing, you can also find small art galleries tucked in between the flower shops; or even stalls selling sweet bites.
Getting There: Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG
0800 – 1500 Sunday
3. Borough Market
One of London’s largest and best-known food markets, Borough Market needs no further introduction. This food market is your best bet for all the fresh takeaways when you’re downtown – from sweet pastries, fresh loaves, produce, and even bar food.
This food haven is also London’s oldest, dating back to the 13th century. Definitely a great place for exceptional British and international food in the city centre.
Tip for cheese lovers, there’s a stall selling cheese ice cream!
Monday and Tuesday, open for lunch 1000 – 1700
Wednesday and Thursday 1000 – 1700
Friday 1000 – 1800
Saturday 0800 – 1700
4. Southwark Church
Right beside the Borough Market lies Southwark Church on River Thames. Southwark Church has been a place for worship for more than a millennium and was believed to have been erected since AD 606; so you can imagine its detailed architecture inside and outside.
Completing the beauty, there are also some benches outside where you can soak up some sunlight while taking a break from touring the city – a perfect hideout from the busy surroundings.
Getting there: London Bridge, London SE1 9DA
5. Newham City Farm
If you are getting bored of the city life and want a quick escape, Newham City Farm – located in East London – makes a good day trip. This will be an enjoyable experience for animal lovers and family with young kids.
Though the farm does not boast an extensive area, it is home to a large collection of farm favourites and will keep you entertained for the entire afternoon. The best reward would be the black and white Alpaca, something uncommon in Asia.
Getting there: King George Avenue, E16 3HR
Summer: Tuesday – Sunday, 1000 – 1700
Winter: Tuesday – Sunday, 1000 – 1600
Closed on Mondays, except Bank Holidays
6. Hyde Park
One of the city’s eight Royal Parks and one of the largest, covering 350 acres, Hyde Park is one you should not miss. It is home to some of the famous landmarks such as Serpentine Lakes, Kensington Palace, among many others.
The park also offers various activities, permanent and seasonal, so make sure you check them out when you’re there!
Despite being right in the middle of the vibrant city, Hyde Park has an expansive wildlife habitat – a diverse range of flora and fauna.
7. Tower Bridge
Not to be confused with the commonly mistaken-named “London Bridge”, Tower Bridge is another representation of England. Not only does Tower Bridge provide a spectacular city view from its glass flooring, it will bring back all your childhood memories of ‘London Bridge is falling’.
But fret not, all is safe on this bridge since 1894.
Getting there: Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP, London
More information: http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/
8. Honest Burger
Honestly, this is one of the best burgers in London; and I can safely say in Europe. At an affordable price of less than £12, you can get stuffed. The sheer number of branches and undying crowd justifies for the generous, juicy medium-rare beef patty and handcut, rosemary crisps.
Brixton | Soho | Camden | Portobello | Kings Cross | Oxford Circus | Tooting | Liverpool | St Clapham | More information: http://www.honestburgers.co.uk/locations/
9. Burger and Lobster
This place needs no further raving because the hype has even extended to Singapore. Many would agree that this would be your wisest £20 spent in London. Heaps of fresh lobster flesh in a toasted brioche bun, served with melted butter; nothing can really go wrong with this combination, really. And no stinting on quality!
Getting there: 36 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PS
Monday – Saturday 12pm – 1030pm
Sunday 12pm – 10pm
10. Four Season Duck
No, you didn’t see it wrong. You can actually find the best roast duck in London. Food connoisseurs, regular customers, and magazines will nod in unison that Four Seasons London serves the best roast duck with their special mix of spices and herbs as they feast on yet another golden crispy skinned one.
Note: long queue in front of the restaurant is a daily occurrence.
Getting there: 12 Gerrard Street, London | 84 Queensway, London
11. Sunday Roast
One of the most eaten-out meals in London with almost every pub serving them, you cannot miss Sunday Roast. There are hundred of places across London serving Sunday Roasts, it’s not really difficult to settle for one.
Tip: pair it with a glass of ales for the complete experience.
12. Oxford Street / Piccadilly Circus
Originally a Roman Road, Oxford Street is now a major street in the City of Westminister where shopaholics throng for the exclusive designer shops or affordable international brands.
Can you believe it, this street houses half a million visitors daily!
Yet another street not to be missed, even if your wallet is lacking. Knightsbridge is one of the classiest areas (also with the most expensive shops) in Central London. This exclusive residential and retail district is renowned for its endless designer shops.
It’ll be fun to join in the crowd at Harrods, but seriously, it’s not a very English thing.
14. Big Ben + London Eye
Of course you will find iconic Big Ben and London Eye on this list. What’s London without getting a peek of them?
15. Windsor Castle
If you have more time to spare; or simply a castle fanatic, you’ll have to head to Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is the official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world – that has been erected for over 900 years.
Many parts of this dream-like castle is open to public; including the precincts, the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s famous dolls’ house, and St George’s Chapel among many others.
Getting there: Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead, SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom