Jo, a marketing consultant from London who’s lived around the world, shares some of the top places to visit in England’s capital city. Check our her blog on travel tips and places to visit all over the world.
As a London resident and employee for the last 8 years, I have been able to discover many interesting and unusual areas in the capital. Walking around the city, instead of taking the tube, has given me a real sense of where places are in relation to each other and has given me insights into many places I would not have ordinarily seen or come across.
Here are just some of my favourite places to visit in London.
The river by Waterloo has seen a transformation since 2000. Along the South bank, there are many bars and restaurants. In winter, there is a Christmas market. The South bank is also home to the London Eye and London Aquarium, overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. The SouthBank Centre is a mini cultural centre with the Tate Modern, BFI, IMAX and Royal Shakespeare Gallery all within walking distance of one another.
This is one of my favourite parks. Closet station is Green Park on the Victoria link, which is right by The Ritz. In the summer, visitors can rent out deck chairs and relax in the park. Spring is the best time to visit the park as all the daffodils are in bloom. The park runs along Piccadilly on one side and the Mall on the other, which leads to Buckingham Palace.
The famous shopping streets of London include Regents Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, all located within a short walking distance. Regent Street and Oxford Street meet at Oxford Circus, which is one of the busiest tube stops. There is such a wide choice of department stores and boutiques that, despite the crowds, many people come here, as they are sure to find the best selection of clothes, shoes and other commercial products.
Covent Garden is home to the Royal Opera House, which has been recently refurbished. It stands majestically in the square surrounded by boutiques and restaurants and is opposite the old fruit and vegetable market, which now houses craft and food stalls. It is a wonderful place to visit during the day as there are very often street entertainers and at Christmas and Easter, special displays in keeping with the season. There are many theatres in and around the area as well as the Seven Dials shopping centre.
Soho is a fantastic place to visit and offers something for everyone. It is situated between Oxford Street to the north, Shaftsbury Avenue to the south and Regent Street to the East. Soho was once a seedy part of London, just for sex shops, but is now full of restaurants, bars and clubs. For those looking for a good night out into the early hours, Soho is the place to go. Bar Italia just off of Old Compton street serves food until 6am.
Situated a short boat ride away from the centre of London, Greenwich is well worth a visit. It is the location of the Meridian, the line dividing east from west longitude. The museum recounts the history of the search for longitude and has an impressive display of chronometers. The Sunday market is a busy, bustling covered square selling clothes, crafts, food and unusual gifts. The recently renovated Cutty Sark now has pride of place in the purpose built dock. There is also the naval museum, venue for the show jumping in the Olympics last year. Getting to Greenwich is easy by boat, the Thames Clipper boats have a regular service from any of the quays on the riverbank.