Wild Wingdings in Westminster City, London #BlogchatterA2Z

317380_10150267001949058_169011172_n

This post has been written for the theme “26 Places, 26 Memories” for the #AtoZChallenge.

W FOR WESTMINSTER CITY, LONDON:

London, the capital of England, is divided into boroughs or cities for easy navigation. The City of Westminster covers most of Central London, and is densely populated. This part of London includes Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), shopping areas like Oxford Street, the theatre street of Shaftesbury Avenue, the tourist hub of Piccadilly and Soho; making it extremely popular with visitors.

I lived in London from 2011-12 while pursuing my Master’s degree. My travel series contains many posts on England, because I consider it my second home; having accumulated wonderful memories from my visits to this country. The story I’m narrating today took place in April 2012, when I was a student.

WILD WINGDINGS AT SOHO, WESTMINSTER CITY:

Soho is the liveliest part of London, with an array of bars, restaurants and kitschy night clubs. The most exclusive party places are located here, the kind where you aren’t granted entry unless you’re on a guest list. One such place was ‘The Box’, which two of my Danish friends and I decided to visit, one fateful night.

We began with drinks at a cocktail bar in Soho, to save on the exorbitant prices of the club. Around 11:00 p.m. the three of us stood in line for entry to the club. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long. The bouncer recognised one of my friends, who was a model, and allowed us to cut the line and enter.

Excited, we quickly bought drinks and joined the mass of humanity dancing to eclectic music. ‘The Box’ is a chain of nightclubs originally from Manhattan, New York; best known for its ‘variety performances’, including cabaret and various unique stage acts.

As the night progressed, we realised the advantage we had as three young women. We got free drinks from a waiter who took a fancy to one of us. Later, when I saw a turbaned Sardar, a fellow member from my religious community, I ecstatically introduced my group to him. He in turn, warmly welcomed us to his private VIP table by offering free drinks.

At about 2:00 a.m., a special star performance was announced. The famous American rapper Snoop Dogg arrived on stage! We couldn’t believe our luck. His performance hadn’t been advertised and we had no idea we were in for such a treat.

Later still, my friend charmed our way to the exclusive ‘Green Room’; an area demarcated for VVIP’s where drinks flowed free and security was at its highest. This part of the club was divided into three rooms and was scarcely populated. We first had our fortunes read by a fascinating drag queen, who predicted that I would study further before getting married (her prediction proved wrong!).

From there, we sauntered into the next room and gasped with surprise. Snoop Dogg was sitting on a bed receiving a shoulder massage. Completely star-struck, we giggled and told him how much we loved his work, only to receive a tired smile in return. Not wanting to bother him, we didn’t ask for photos!

After an eventful and enjoyable night, we left the club close to 6:00 a.m.; to scarf down food at McDonald’s on Piccadilly Circus, which had just opened for the day.

This night is the reason I love London- it’s the only place in the world where I could party with two Danish girls, a Sikh man and Snoop Dogg on the same night 😉

Come back tomorrow for the letter X and another story!

If you enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy reading my ebook “TALES FROM MY TRAVEL TREASURY: AN ALLITERATIVE ANTHOLOGY” which is a collection of my travel tales. It can be downloaded for FREE for a limited time only from this link.

392213_287189211322768_1768451600_n

298201_10150351665788067_1352493190_n

392788_10150313667779058_2047413230_n

Memories of many fun nights with my friends in London, 2011-12

W for Westminster City, London

Book a stay in London by clicking here.

*The copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla. 

**This is not a sponsored post, but it contains an affiliate link. If you book a stay using my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

A for AmritsarB for BhopalC for CambodiaD for Delhi,  E for England, F for France, G for Gwalior, H for Hemkund Sahib, I for Italy, J for Jim Corbett National Park, K for Kamakhya Devi Temple, L for London, M for Munich, N for NaplesO for Odisha,  P for PragueQ for Qila Mehrangarh Jodhpur, R for Rishikesh, S for Singapore, T for Tarifa in Spain, U for Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir, V for Velassaru in Maldives

Advertisements

Life Lessons in London #BlogchatterA2Z

London 5

Enjoying my Graduation Ball in London, May 2012

This post has been written for the theme “26 Places, 26 Memories” for the #AtoZChallenge.

L FOR LONDON:

London is the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital of England. The city maintains its rich historical flavour, while being completely modern. It’s known for its wonderful art and culture, fabulous eateries, world-class museums, beautifully kept parks, and fantastic shopping.

I made London my home in 2011-12, while pursuing my Master’s degree.

There are many memories associated with this wonderful city, however, the incident I’ll relate today was a defining moment for me.

LEARNING LIFE LESSONS IN LONDON:

My Graduation Ball was held in May 2012. Everyone was excited to attend, as it was an opportunity for my batch-mates to mingle one last time. The venue was a hotel in central London. As a student, walking was the easiest and cheapest mode of transport, so, I carried a large bag and stashed my high heels and evening bag inside it. The large bag was stowed away in a cloak room during the event.

We left the venue close to midnight, shifting the party to a friend’s apartment. Around 10 of us waited for a bus at the nearest stop, to take us there. We were all quite drunk, chit-chatting away without paying attention to our surroundings. In the hubbub, I’d forgotten to zip the large bag I was carrying. When trying to pay the bus fare, I discovered my evening bag, which contained my phone, student id, credit cards, petty cash and transport cards; stolen from my large bag.

I was extremely upset. I immediately called my father in India, howling as if something far more serious had happened. My friends tried to be sympathetic, and practical; aiding me in cancelling my credit cards and phone plans; but they couldn’t understand why I’d reacted so dramatically to a simple theft. Truth be told, this was the second time I’d lost my wallet in London. I was upset with myself for being so irresponsible.

My year abroad was meant to have made me independent. Moving from a pampered and privileged life in Delhi, it was my first experience of adulthood and all its ensuing responsibilities. I cried endlessly that night, repeatedly calling my father for reassurance; because I felt an absolute failure. I couldn’t believe my carelessness after living on my own for almost a year.

The next morning, I learnt that while I was behaving like a child and bothering my father; my mother had been moved to the emergency ward of a hospital in Delhi, due to a sudden severe back injury. My father hadn’t told me this because I was very upset about my own silly problems. He’d been calming me down, while seated with my mother in hospital, the entire night.

That was a real jolt. I finally realised that the ability to pre-empt problems doesn’t make a person responsible. What makes a person responsible is the ability to deal effectively with problems that life inevitably throws at them. I strive to live by this idea.

Now, I’m better equipped to handle responsibilities, and I trust my own judgement. However, I still allow myself the occasional emotional outburst with my parents 😉

Come back tomorrow for the letter M and another story!

If you enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy reading my ebook “TALES FROM MY TRAVEL TREASURY: AN ALLITERATIVE ANTHOLOGY” which is a collection of my travel tales. It can be downloaded for FREE for a limited time only from this link.

London 6

London 2

London 3

London 4

Enjoying my Graduation Ball before the purse-snatching incident!

welcome little one! (2)

Book a stay in London by clicking here.

*The copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla. 

**This is not a sponsored post, but it contains an affiliate link. If you book a stay using my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

A for AmritsarB for BhopalC for CambodiaD for Delhi,  E for England, F for France, G for Gwalior, H for Hemkund Sahib, I for Italy, J for Jim Corbett National Park, K for Kamakhya Devi Temple

Vacation in London: Child-Friendly Places to Eat

IMG_3150

Hi folks, welcome to my series on London, United Kingdom! Having lived as a student in London from 2011-12 and visited it multiple times, I’m sharing my knowledge of this wonderful city. I plan to post content every week. The content will largely focus on my recent trip there in June-July 2018, but there’ll also be some gems from the past. If you’d like to know more, please follow my blog.

My recent visit to London was with my 2.5 year old toddler, so we specifically looked for child-friendly places to eat. Here’s my round-up of the ones that my son and I both enjoyed and would highly recommend!

COVENT GARDEN:

Many restaurants line the cobblestoned streets of this beautiful area. We ate delicious hot dogs from the German Hot Dog Stand, enjoyed them on the sidewalk to live performances; while my son chased the legendary pigeons!

SALLY CLARKE’S:

This is the best bakery around the Kensington area. It offers fantastic fresh breads, delectable desserts and various other items. A deli is opening soon, so one can sit and eat.

Information: https://www.sallyclarke.com/

ICE-CREAM TRUCKS:

This is usually a summer-time thing, but nothing beats enjoying yummy ice-cream while lounging in the many sunny parks of London. Parks also have many food stands, so one can have a lovely picnic without carrying their own food.

icecream-truck-westminster-bridge-london-uk

Picture courtesy: http://www.yogoyo.com

COMPTOIR LIBANAIS:

This kitschy restaurant chain offers fantastic Lebanese food. They have a special children’s menu which my son could play with while eating. Their baklavas are a must-try!

Information: https://www.comptoirlibanais.com/

THE FOOD COURT AT WESTFIELD MALL:

If you’re making multiple shopping trips to the Westfield Mall, you’ll have plenty of child-friendly options in the food court. Our favorites are the Creperie, Chip + Fish and Indi-go.

Information: https://uk.westfield.com/london

BUBBLEOLOGY:

Bubble tea is a flavored drink that contains mushy tapioca balls. There are many uncaffeinated options available for children to try. If you’re just looking for a variety of bubble tea (tea/coffee beverage with flavored tapioca balls), this is the place to visit.

Information: http://www.bubbleology.co.uk/

Project-header-Image-BUBBLEOLOGY.

Picture courtesy: http://www.mystery.co.uk

LIDO CAFÉ AND BAR, HYDE PARK:

Open spaces in the park that offer quick and tasty food, such as pizzas and fish and chips, are a great place to park the family. Adults can enjoy some Pimms in the sun while the children will be fascinated with the lake and its inhabitants.

Information: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park/food-and-drink/lido-bar-and-cafe

DAYLESFORD:

This chain serves deliciously fresh organic food from its own gardens, and is great if you’re looking for healthier options.

Information: https://www.daylesford.com/

ITSU:

My son loves eating the sticky rice part of sushi. With tasty and affordable sushi on the go, this chain is located on almost every street corner.

Information: https://www.itsu.com/

WASABI:

This is another great option for sushi on the go. Wasabi outlets are conveniently located in most busy shopping areas and large tube stations. There are many options to choose from but I love their sushi boxes.

Information: https://www.wasabi.uk.com/

IMG_3427

TINSELTOWN:

Get your fix of delicious diner food here. If you’re looking for a place that’s open late into the night, this is your best bet!

Information: https://www.tinseltown.co.uk/

IMG_3042

POLPO:

This restaurant is located in the lovely Duke of York Square in the Sloane Square area. The children will love the no-fuss Italian food and the open space, while parents indulge in some shopping!

Information: https://www.polpo.co.uk/

SNOG FRO-YO:

There are many frozen yoghurt places across London, but I particularly like the flavors and toppings at Snog.

Information: http://www.ifancyasnog.com/

IMG_3135

PING PONG:

This chain of restaurants serves fantastic dimsum! It hits the right spot after a day of shopping at the Westfield Mall.

Information: https://www.pingpongdimsum.com/

KHANS OF KENSINGTON:

We ate at this North Indian restaurant because we stayed in an apartment nearby. The food was authentic and the place was child-friendly.

Information: https://www.khansofkensington.co.uk/

HARE & TORTOISE:

This family style Asian restaurant has delicious food but be mindful of their massive helpings!

Information: http://www.hareandtortoise.co.uk/

IMG_3198

CRUSSH:

This cute eatery offers healthy meals on the go. When you’re busy running around the city, yet want to eat healthy, this is a good place to visit.

Information: http://crussh.com/

IMG_2768

That wraps up my post and my series on London. Do check out my previous London posts if you’re planning to travel there anytime soon. Stay tuned for my posts on vacationing in Cambridge, UK.

*Featured image courtesy: http://www.bookatable.co.uk

Here are my other London posts, do read them if you’re planning to visit soon:

Where to Eat & Drink in London

The Best Sightseeing in London

The Best Street Markets in London

The Best Parks & Playgrounds in London

Budget Friendly Shopping in London

5 Best Museums for Children in London

Review of Ivy Lettings, Apartment Rental Service in London

Vacation in London: Where to Eat and Drink

IMG_3068

Hi folks, welcome to my series on London, United Kingdom! Having lived as a student in London from 2011-12 and visited it multiple times, I’m sharing my knowledge of this wonderful city. I plan to post content every week. The content will largely focus on my recent trip there in June-July 2018, but there’ll also be some gems from the past. If you’d like to know more, please follow my blog.

This post focuses on restaurants that I’ve returned to time and again. They are mostly budget-friendly options ideal for tourists or families on vacation. So here’s my round-up of the tried and tested! My next food-related post will be mini-reviews of the places I ate at on my recent trip.

ENGLISH FOOD:

What’s a trip to London without enjoying some typical English grub?

PUBS:

Most localities and neighborhoods have pubs, but some iconic ones really stand out. Try bangers & mash, fish & chips and good ol’ beer on tap. My favorite ones include The Globe in Moorgate, The Knights Templar in Chancery Lane, The Churchill Arms and The Windsor Castle in Kensington.

Information: https://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/restaurants/london/theglobemoorgatelondon#

https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/england/london/the-knights-templar-near-fleet-street

https://www.churchillarmskensington.co.uk/

https://www.thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk/

the-windsor-castle

Picture courtesy: http://www.tripadvisor.co.nz             

KENNEDY’S OF LONDON:

Though delicious fish & chips are available almost everywhere in London, Kennedy’s is known to serve some of the tastiest.

Information: http://kennedyslondon.co.uk/

kennedys-streatham-hill

Picture courtesy: http://www.streatham.london.com

STREET MARKETS:

You’ll get the quintessential London experience at its various street markets. Check out my dedicated blog post here:

https://nooranandchawla.com/2018/08/20/vacation-in-london-the-best-street-markets/

GettyImages-933844140-5b0d986c1d6404003766ab83

SOUTH BANK:

This food market located along the River Thames is a charming place to catch up with friends and enjoy some British hospitality.

Information: https://www.southbanklondon.com/index

60301-640x360-southbank-centre-640

Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

TOM’S KITCHEN:

With a focus on sustainability, this chain produces high quality organic food. The delectable food is worthy of the high price tag. Reservations must be made beforehand.

Information: https://tomskitchen.co.uk/

GB216212_942long

Picture courtesy: http://www.londontown.com

DAYLESFORD:

This is another chain that serves deliciously fresh organic food from its own gardens, and is a must-visit.

Information: https://www.daylesford.com/

daylesford

Picture courtesy: http://www.goingglobaltv.com

AFTERNOON TEA:

Afternoon tea is an essential British experience. Most genteel hotels and restaurants offer deals on afternoon tea, but I highly recommend one of the oldest ones, at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.

Information: https://afternoontea.co.uk/uk/london/mayfair/browns-hotel/

brownsnewafternoontea_main

Picture courtesy: http://www.afternoontea.co.uk

INDIAN FOOD:

If you’re missing home food, you’ll be spoilt for choice, as Indian cuisine is extremely popular in London. Chicken Tikka Masala is considered the national dish! Here are my favorite Indian food joints:

PUNJAB:

They get the butter chicken and desi ambiance right! Check out Punjab in Covent Garden for some North Indian delights.

Information: http://www.punjab.co.uk/

776a6f1ad034f971ec4910d0e09c8795

Picture courtesy: http://www.in.pinterest.com

DISHOOM:

This chain offers authentic Parsi food inspired by Irani cafes in Bombay. With its quirky Bollywood-y décor and delicious food, you’ll definitely enjoy your experience.

Information: http://www.dishoom.com/

dishoom-spread-london

Picture courtesy: http://www.standard.co.uk

MASALA ZONE:

Visit this chain of restaurants for a wide range of authentic Indian cuisine. You can sample everything from street food to thalis.

Information: http://www.masalazone.com/

MZ-Soho_16_1000x500_LP

Picture courtesy: http://www.masalazone.com

MALABAR JUNCTION:

This restaurant in Bloomsbury offers fantastic South Indian cuisine.

Information: https://www.malabarjunction.co.uk/

P1020176

Picture courtesy: http://www.thelondonfoodie.co.uk

BRICK LANE/ SOUTHALL:

These areas of London are mostly inhabited by South Asians and one can find delicious Indian food in almost every nook and cranny.

Information: http://www.visitbricklane.org/

https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/london-areas/southall

maxresdefault

Picture courtesy: http://www.youtube.com

ASIAN FOOD:

I loved exploring Asian food options when I lived in London, because the food suits my taste palate and is easily available everywhere. Here’s a pick of my favorites.

BUSABA EATHAI:

Eat authentic and lip-smackingly delicious Thai food in a swanky new-age restaurant. There are many branches of this chain scattered across London, but they don’t take reservations, so plan your visit accordingly!

Information: https://www.busaba.com/

download

Picture courtesy: http://www.bookatable.ch

WAGAMAMA:

This canteen style eatery, located all over London, offers filling and delicious Asian food served super fast, so you can get on with your tourist-ing!

Information: https://www.wagamama.com/

download (1)

Picture courtesy: http://www.bighospitality.co.uk

BANANA TREE:

This chain of restaurants offers scrumptious Indo-Chinese food. The large helpings will energize you for all the walking you’ll be doing!

Information: https://bananatree.co.uk/

banana_tree-malaysian_laksa_soup-1418304489-

Picture courtesy: http://www.eetapp.com

WASABI:

Wasabi outlets are conveniently located in most busy shopping areas and large tube stations. They offer Japanese food on the go. You have many options to choose from but I love their sushi boxes.

Information: https://www.wasabi.uk.com/

Wasabi-Sushi-Bento-London

Picture courtesy: http://www.bizdiruk.com

PING PONG:

This chain of restaurants serves fantastic dimsum! It hits the right spot after a day of shopping at the Westfield Mall.

Information: https://www.pingpongdimsum.com/

Ping Pong U--621x414

Picture courtesy: http://www.livemint.com

ITSU:

With tasty and affordable sushi on the go, you’ll find this chain on almost every street corner.

Information: https://www.itsu.com/

100630_itsu

Picture courtesy: http://www.london-se1.co.uk

ME LOVE:

Me Love Sushi, Noodles & More, is heavier on the pocket than the aforementioned options, but it serves fantastic food!

Information: http://www.melove.co.uk/

melove-sushi4

Picture courtesy: http://www.melove.co.uk

CHINA TOWN:

If you want to sample authentic Chinese cuisine, with fried duck legs and a super-crowded ambiance, China Town has many places worth visiting. Do try the refreshing Bubble Tea.

Information: https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/london-areas/chinatown

76281-640x360-china

Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

BUBBLEOLOGY:

If you’re just looking for a variety of bubble tea (tea/coffee beverage with flavored tapioca balls), this is the place to visit.

Information: http://www.bubbleology.co.uk/

Bubbleology_Knightsbridge

Picture courtesy: http://www.thekitchencaddy.blogspot.com

ITALIAN/ EUROPEAN FOOD:

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty meal, Italian or European deli food is your best bet. Here are my favorites.

CARLUCCIO’S:

This child-friendly chain is very popular for family visits. Fortunately, the food is good too!

Information: https://www.carluccios.com/

120814_carluccios

Picture courtesy: http://www.london-se1.co.uk

COTE BRASSERIE:

This French cuisine chain of restaurants is quite fancy but easy on the pocket too!

Information: https://www.cote.co.uk/

cote-brasserie-westbourne

Picture courtesy: http://www.tripadvisor.in

PIZZA EXPRESS:

This chain is popular in India too, but its firmly entrenched in the London food scene. It’s a good place to visit with children.

Information: https://www.pizzaexpress.com/

pizza-express

Picture courtesy: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk

JAMIE’S ITALIAN:

I love the innovative and delicious Italian food served in this chain of restaurants.

Information: https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/

5-jamies-italian-london-bridge-outdoor-seating-desktop

Picture courtesy: http://www.jamieoliver.com

AMERICAN FOOD:

If you’re on the hunt for American diners and juicy hamburgers, here are my top picks.

TINSELTOWN:

This chain of diners is open late into the night and offers the perfect meal after a night of partying.

Information: https://www.tinseltown.co.uk/

IMG_20170331_120504_740-1170x500

Picture courtesy: http://www.goingonadate.co.uk

BYRON:

This chain has arguably some of the best burgers in town.

Information: https://www.byronhamburgers.com/

Byron-Burger

Picture courtesy: http://www.blog.kevinmaxwell.co.uk

BLACK & BLUE:

More chic than casual, this chain has some delicious steaks and burgers on their menu.

Information: http://www.blackandbluerestaurants.com/

black_blue_steakhouse_borough_london

Picture courtesy: http://www.fluidlondon.co.uk

FIVE GUYS:

This chain is one of the popular fast food burger chains in USA, and is now making serious inroads in London too. Their burgers and fries are satisfyingly delish.

Information: https://www.fiveguys.co.uk/

five-idiots

Picture courtesy: http://www.thevoiceoflondon.co.uk

MISCELLANEOUS:

Here are some other eating options I’ve frequented in the past that don’t fit in the above categories.

WHOLE FOODS:

If you’re in a hurry but want to eat healthy, Whole Foods is your best bet. I particularly love their burritos and sushi.

Information: https://www.wholefoodsmarket.co.uk/

19dc9f9e4872af8f6d506da88ce0aed3

Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

SAINSBURY’S/ TESCO/ WAITROSE:

These supermarkets usually carry cold food options which are great on the go. Some of the larger Sainsbury’s also have a decent salad bar. Though Waitrose is the most expensive of the three, it has a nice variety of health food options.

Information: https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/

https://www.tesco.com/

https://www.waitrose.com/

nintchdbpict000282746536

Picture courtesy: http://www.thesun.co.uk

COMPTOIR LIBANAIS:

This kitschy restaurant chain offers fantastic Lebanese food. Their baklavas are a must-try!

Information: https://www.comptoirlibanais.com/

59a7453563480112d0c8ed0cd3512da1

Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

CHIPOTLE:

Visit this restaurant chain for fantastic Mexican food.

Information: https://chipotle.co.uk/

chipotle-mexican-restaurant-london-charing-cross-1

Picture courtesy: http://www.fluidlondon.co.uk

GOING OUT (CLUBS AND PARTYING):

London has a vibrant nightlife where the party never ends! I’ve done my fair share of clubbing in the past. The Soho/ Picadilly Circus area abounds with fashionable bars and happening clubs. Gaining entry is difficult and you may have to wait in line unless you’re on a guest list! China White, Café de Paris and The Box are some good places. If you’re lucky, you may find yourself rubbing shoulders with celebs, like I did with Snoop Dogg one crazy night at The Box!

Information: http://www.chinawhite.com/

http://www.cafedeparis.com/

https://theboxsoho.com/

original

Picture courtesy: http://www.luxguestlist.com

TIPS TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD & DRINK:

  1. Sign up for a free trial of the Taste Card, which gives you fantastic discounts and deals on many restaurants across London. Access here: https://www.tastecard.co.uk/
  2. Similarly, you can scour through hundreds of food-related deals on the Groupon Website. Access here: https://www.groupon.co.uk/browse/london?category=food-and-drink
  3. Search for deals on the individual social media pages of restaurants you like. They often post about ongoing events, festivals and discounted menus on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Instagram is a fantastic way of getting on a club’s guest list.
  4. Always be careful about your belongings. Carry only cards if possible. Always carry your ID card for proof of age.
  5. Supermarkets always have discounted racks for fruits, vegetables, sandwiches and the like.
  6. If you’re living in London for a long period of time, it’s worth getting membership cards of supermarkets as well as coffee shops. You accumulate points with every purchase which lead to free future purchases.
  7. If you’re planning on a heavy partying night, its best to pre-game! Drink with your friends at home or at the local pub which is a lot cheaper than buying drinks in clubs.

Thanks for getting this far folks! Stay tuned for my next post 🙂

*Featured image courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

If you like this post, you’ll like these London posts too:

The Best Sightseeing in London

The Best Street Markets in London

The Best Parks & Playgrounds in London

Budget Friendly Shopping in London

5 Best Museums for Children in London

Review of Ivy Lettings, Apartment Rental Service in London

Vacation in London: The Best Sightseeing

Hi folks, welcome to my series on London, United Kingdom! Having lived as a student in London from 2011-12 and visited it multiple times, I’m sharing my knowledge of this wonderful city. I plan to post content every week. The content will largely focus on my recent trip there in June-July 2018, but there’ll also be some gems from the past. If you’d like to know more, please follow my blog.

IMG_2574

London is a delight for a discerning tourist, with multiple sightseeing options. I’ve already listed out my favorite museums to visit with children, the best parks and playgrounds, and best street markets. Here’s a round-up of the best sightseeing in London that can be done solo, with groups or with family.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY:

This ancient Gothic-style church in the heart of London is the venue for many royal weddings and all coronations. Its hallowed halls have many stories to tell and the place should be on everyone’s list.

Timings: Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Some days are closed for special occasions)

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines)
St. James’s Park (District and Circle Lines)

By Rail: London Victoria, London Waterloo

Tickets: 22 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

WAbbey-2

Picture courtesy: http://www.blog.headout.com

PARLIAMENT & BIG BEN

The stunning architecture and fascinating history of the parliament will have you hooked. Unfortunately the iconic clock of Big Ben is under renovation at the moment.

Timings: Monday- Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines)
St. James’s Park (District and Circle Lines)

By Rail: London Victoria, London Waterloo

Tickets: 28 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

London-Houses-of-Parliament-from-Westminster-Bridge

Picture courtesy: http://www.free-city-guides.com

THE SUPREME COURT & INNS OF COURT:

This may appeal more to lawyers, but it’s interesting that in a country with such a vast history, the Supreme Court is a new fixture! The Inns of Court at Temple however, have a long history and are worth seeing just for their formidable Gothic architecture.

Timings: Monday- Friday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines)
St. James’s Park (District and Circle Lines)

By Rail: London Victoria, London Waterloo

Tickets: Guided tours at 3 pounds per head

UK-Supreme-Court

Picture courtesy: http://www.livelaw.in

THE BRIDGES OF LONDON

Take a stroll through the many historic bridges of the city and admire the views. You could take a boat ride along the river Thames, and stop by the South Bank for a meal with a view. My favorites are the Westminster Bridge for the sights dotted along it; the Tower Bridge for the Tower of London museum; and the Waterloo Bridge because it brings back memories of my university!

86830-640x360-tower-bridge-640

Tower Bridge. Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

THE LONDON EYE:

This is perhaps the best way to take in a 360 degree view of this fantastic city. Plan your trip in advance to make the most of your money and time.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines)
St. James’s Park (District and Circle Lines)

By Rail: London Victoria, London Waterloo

Tickets: 27 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

london-eye-as-seen-from

Picture courtesy: http://www.tripadvisor.in

BUCKINGHAM PALACE:

Fancy a visit to the Queen’s Home? The State Rooms are open for public visits at certain times of the year.

Timings: 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the months of August-September

How to Get There:

By Rail: London Victoria or London Charing Cross.

Nearest Tube Stops: Victoria, Green Park, St. James’s Park and Hyde Park Corner.

By bus: 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.

Tickets: 24 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

buckingham-palace

Picture courtesy: http://www.royal.uk

KENSINGTON PALACE

This royal palace is the home of Princes William and Harry and their families. The gorgeous building is adjacent to the lush greens of Kensington Gardens. Certain sections of the palace are open for public tours.

Timings: Summer: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Winter: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: High Street Kensington station: Circle and District lines; Queensway station: Central line, Notting Hill Gate station: Central, Circle and District lines

By Bus: Routes 70, 94, 148, 390 (to Bayswater Road), Routes 9, 10, 49, 52, 70, 452 (to Kensington High Street)

Tickets: 19.50 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

kensingtonpalace.jpg.pagespeed.ce.OEXudVfFPv

Picture courtesy: http://www.londontoolkit.com

KEW PALACE:

Though it’s a bit out of the way, this palace and its beautiful grounds deserve a visit.

Timings: Open March- September 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stop: Kew Gardens station: District line

Overground: Kew Gardens station

National Rail: Kew Bridge station

Bus: 65, 237, 391 and 267 (summer Sundays only).

Tickets: 4.50 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

1200px-The_Dutch_House_at_Kew_Palace

Picture courtesy: http://www.en.wikipedia.org

ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL:

The world-famous dome of this church is a perfect example of British architecture, and a great way to observe British religious beliefs.

Timings: Monday to Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: St. Paul’s, Mansion House, Blackfriars, Bank

By Rail: City Thameslink, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Liverpool Street

Tickets: 18 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

St_Pauls_aerial_(cropped)

Picture courtesy: http://www.en.wikipedia.com

HYDE PARK:

The largest park in London is also its busiest and most beautiful. There’s plenty to do here so you’ll want to visit more than once! In the winter months, a large section of the park turns into Winter Wonderland- a huge carnival.

Timings: 5:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Lancaster Gate, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Knightsbridge

w_1200

COVENT GARDEN:

This quaint cobblestoned market has all the romance and charm you expect on a European vacation. There are various crafts and handmade goods on offer, and plenty of places to eat at. If you’re with children, definitely stop at the Transport Museum.

Timings: All days 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Covent Garden’, ‘Leicester Square’, ‘Holborn’, ‘Charing Cross’, ‘Embankment’

Parking is a problem so use taxis if needed

covent-garden-london-piazza-1_23

Picture courtesy: http://www.coventgarden.london

THE LONDON ZOO:

With a huge collection of exotic animals, your children will love this place!

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Regent’s Park, Baker Street, Camden Town

Overground: Camden Road

By Rail: Euston Station

By Bus: 274, C2

Tickets: 29.75 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

6f86d9c8-299e-4323-a2ce-ae9e44fc5592-2380-london-london-zoo-admission-tickets-01

Picture courtesy: http://www.mylittleadventure.com

MADAME TUSSAUDS

Even though the franchise is now in India, the original showroom in London is very popular and houses some of the best statues. The ‘House of Horrors’ is particularly freaky!

Timings: Monday- Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stop: Baker Street station on the Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Circle and Jubilee Lines

By Rail: Marylebone Rail Station

Tickets: 30.95 Pounds but concession prices available for many categories

30102-madametussauds2017

Picture courtesy: http://www.365tickets.ie

TRAFALGAR SQUARE & THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

This iconic square is known as the place where crowds congregate for political rallies as well as largescale celebrations. The National Portrait Gallery, containing world-class artwork looks on to the square.

Timings (for National Portrait Gallery): 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Covent Garden’, ‘Leicester Square’, ‘Holborn’, ‘Charing Cross’, ‘Embankment’

Tickets: Admission is free but donations are welcome

National_Gallery,_Trafalgar_Square,_London_-_20060515

Picture courtesy: http://www.commons.wikimedia.org

THE TATE MUSEUMS

The Tate Britain showcases British art from the year 1500 to the present, and the Tate Modern houses British and international modern and contemporary art from the year 1900 to the present.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tate Modern is open from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday

How to Get There:

Tate Britain: Pimlico: Victoria Line Vauxhall: Victoria Line, Westminster: Jubilee, District and Circle Lines

Tate Modern: Southwark: Jubilee Line,  Blackfriars: District and Circle Line, St Paul’s: Central Line

Tickets: Entry Free

136939-004-9ED91277

Picture courtesy: http://www.britannica.com

THE BRITISH MUSEUM

There’s a bit of everything in this museum, from Britain’s colonial past to treasures from around the world.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (open till 8:30 p.m. on Fridays)

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stop: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russell Square, Goodge Street

By Bus: 1, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 98, 242 Stop on New Oxford Street

Tickets: Entry Free

british-museum-exterior_1

Picture courtesy: http://www.artfund.com

THE MUSEUMS STREET (My Coinage)

The Natural History Museum has a beautiful ornate building and fascinating natural exhibits. The Science Museum is modern and marvellous. The Victoria & Albert Museum is a great place to explore different curios. The best part is they’re all located on the same road and are free to enter.

Timings:  10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Open Everyday

How to Get There:

Nearest tube stop: South Kensington and Gloucester Road, both on the District, Circle and Piccadilly Lines.

Bus routes: 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430, C1, 9, 10, 52, 452 and 70.

Taxis are a good option but avoid driving as parking is scarce.

skynews-natural-history-museum_4169396

The Natural History Museum. Picture courtesy: http://www.news.sky.com

PICCADILLY CIRCUS, SOHO, SHAFTESBURY AVENUE & CHINA TOWN

Piccadilly Circus is the tourist hub, with a frenzy of activity at all hours of night and day. Visit Soho to sample the chicest bars and clubs. Take a stroll down Shaftesbury Avenue, the performing theatre district, and catch one of the many popular shows on London’s West End. Finish with an authentic Chinese meal at China Town.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Piccadilly Circus via Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines

By Rail: Charing Cross station

Picadilly-Circus

Picture courtesy: http://www.strawberrytours.com

SOMERSET HOUSE

This gorgeous building (earlier a public records office), turns into an ice-skating rink in the winter months and hosts London Fashion week twice a year. I love it because it was part of my college building!

Timings: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Temple (Circle & District lines), Covent Garden (Piccadilly line), Charing Cross (Bakerloo & Northern lines), Embankment (Circle & District lines)

By Rail: Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Waterloo

Tickets: Entry Free

II_Somerset_House,_London,_UK

Picture courtesy: http://www.en.wikipedia.org

GREENWICH

Make a day trip where you can visit the main attractions like the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory, the Maritime Museum, the Greenwich Market, the Cutty Sark Ship and have a lovely picnic in the Greenwich park.

Timings: 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: North Greenwich on the Jubilee Line

By Train: Connecting trains depart from Cannon Street, Waterloo, London Bridge and Charing Cross and go to Greenwich, Maze Hill and Blackheath.

By DLR (Dockland Light Railway): Cutty Sark and Greenwich stations

By Bus: 53, 54, 177, 180, 188, 199, 202, 286, 380, 386

90246-640x360-greenwich_national_maritime_museum_640

A view of London from Greenwich Park. Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

TIPS FOR SIGHTSEEING:

  1. Sightseeing can be extremely expensive. You can score great deals on websites like Groupon.com, Londonpass.com, or by booking online beforehand
  2. Another advantage of booking online is that you can avoid the long lines at the venue
  3. Children, students with valid photo ID, senior citizens all have discounted rates
  4. Carry water as it can be quite expensive
  5. Wear comfortable walking shoes and layered clothing as London is known for its erratic weather
  6. Avoid going on the weekends if possible
  7. Beware of pickpockets and thieves
  8. The open top bus tours are a great option for those who don’t want to walk too much
  9. It becomes dark after 4:00 p.m. in the winter months, so plan your trips accordingly

That’s it for the sightseeing folks! Don’t forget to check out my other London posts (linked below), and stay tuned for posts related to food in London.

IMG_3189

*Featured image courtesy: http://www.free-city-guides.com

Check out my other London posts here:

The Best Street Markets in London

The Best Parks & Playgrounds

Budget-Friendly Shopping in London

The Best London Museums for Kids

Review of Ivy Lettings- An Apartment Rental Service in London

If you like this post, you may like these ones too:

Sightseeing in Landour, Mussoorie

Sightseeing in Nashik, Maharashtra

Sightseeing in Mumbai, Maharashtra

Sightseeing in Amritsar, Punjab