In our opinion, there’s no better way to get to know the city you’re in than by walking or cycling. Fast vehicles just don’t cut it when you’re surrounded by history and culture in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not only that, but it’s always worth establishing your bearings at the start of a relatively long business trip. The route you take is completely up to you – sometimes it’s better to get lost and discover new corners and shortcuts, or sometimes it’s better to plan a route and make sure you don’t miss iconic landmarks… it can happen.
Museums and Art
A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one museum and embracing the incredible history that the city possesses. From the British Museum to the Design Museum, you’re guaranteed to find something you like. The British Museum opened in 1759 and is still free to this day, so any ‘studious and curious persons’ can go in and marvel at the weird and wonderful objects on display. London’s Natural History Museum is home to 80 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens, and again offers free admission. Visitors to the museum can expect to come face-to-face with life-sized dinosaurs, an extinct dodo, an earthquake simulator, and much more. While in the area, take note of the Grade I-listed St Mary-le-Bow Church, which played an important role in the cultural history of London. Tradition states that only those born within the reach of Bow Bells are true cockneys and like several of The City’s most-recognisable landmarks, the church was designed by Christopher Wren. We also recommend visiting the Imperial War Museum – which shines a light on people’s experiences of conflict from World War I through to the modern day. The Design Museum has relocated to Kensington High Street, the museum introduces the history of contemporary design. Wander around the mix of free temporary exhibitions, pop-ups and bookable displays or just get distracted taking snaps of the museum’s incredible curved ceiling.
Get lost in theatre
London’s West End has continued to grow over hundreds of years of being inextricably linked to theatre, and now is the largest theatre district in the world. No other city can offer the same variety and quality of theatrical performances as London’s West End, converting the ‘I’m not a fan of theatre’ people every day. To experience the thrill of the West End is to immerse yourself in the unique magic of the best London shows, and personal favourites of ours would be The Lion King, Wicked, Les Misérables, Dream Girls, War Horse, Othello, Woman in Black, Annie, Mamma Mia, Blood Brothers… Pretty much all of them. If you fancy escaping reality just for a couple of hours or singing along to the best, world-renowned songs then we couldn’t recommend the West End more!
Admire the landmarks
Starting off with the most obvious one, Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the main attraction for tourists and visitors. If the beauty and history isn’t enough to tempt you to visit, Buckingham Palace performs a colourful spectacle and British pageantry – the Changing of the Guard. Another landmark you should definitely see whilst in London is Westminster Abbey – one of the world’s greatest churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years. The church was formed by monks during the 10th Century, “establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day.” Big Ben is the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. Big Ben was cast on 10th April 1858, making him 151 years old and a truly amazing milestone. A 15 minute walk away is the famous London Eye. The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London overlooking the whole city during the day or night, providing you with endless opportunities to see London from every angle and getting that perfect Instagram shot.
Cocktails and virtual reality at The Shard
The Shard is a 95-storey skyscraper in Southwark, London and stands 309.7 metres high. The Shard is the tallest building in the UK and the fourth-tallest building in Europe. Not only a tourist attraction, The Shard also offers a Skydeck bar at the top floor, providing you with the best views of the capital, one complimentary cocktail and live music every Friday night. The shard also offers the UK’s highest virtual reality experience, you’ll be able to test your balance on ‘Vertigo’ or enjoy the thrill of ‘The Slide’ travelling at up to 100 miles per hour… if you dare!
One for the foodies
London is definitely not short of restaurants and cafes – whatever craving you have that day. Here’s our top five places to go when we’re in London:
For those who like to start the day in a leisurely manner, The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane is a great option, with four different variations on the classic eggs benedict alone.
Duck & Waffle is located on the 40th floor of the 110 Bishopsgate Tower, providing you with a spectacular view of the city. This restaurant is undoubtedly one of our favourite restaurants to visit when in London. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day, so no excuses not to visit – breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner the menu accommodates all. Be sure to leave room for a sumptuous dessert and enjoy the views while sipping on a cocktail made from ingredients foraged from within The City.
The Grande Café is perhaps the most impressive and certainly lives up to its name, with grand columns and a remarkable entrance you will feel like royalty. The restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, as well as catering for Afternoon Tea needs. Reservations aren’t accepted, so just turn up and make yourself known at the oval bar in the centre of the courtyard.
(Try to) stay active
The capital is home to eight beautiful parks, including Hyde Park and Richmond Park. There’s also Hampstead Heath, with amazing views over the city. Although London may look like a concrete jungle there is plenty of green spaces to relax with a book, meet a friend, do work or join in with the numerous outdoor activities that take place throughout the year. There’s a choice of outdoor swimming pools and cinemas spread out across London, and we highly recommend visiting them if you’re blessed with good British weather (it could happen).
Shop until you drop
You’re spoilt for choice when shopping in London – from Oxford Street to street markets, London is filled with famous shopping regions that have almost reached landmark status in the UK. The most famous, and busiest (please note) is Oxford Street, which starts at Marble Arch at the north-east corner of Hyde Park and runs all the way east to St Giles Circus at the intersection with Tottenham Court Road, featuring over 300 stores. London is also the home to the famous, luxury department store, Harrods. Harrods continues to astonish and intrigue people from all over the world providing first-class service and selling almost anything you could think of. It’s near enough impossible to visit London and not hit the shops, so let loose and enjoy the retail therapy.
Daytrips and Activities
Madame Tussauds is a famous wax museum in London. The reason it’s so iconic is because of how accurate the wax figurines look to the celebrity they’re mimicking. It’s an opportunity to ‘meet’ and take selfies with some of your favourite actors and singers.
London Dungeon is located on London’s South Bank, recreating various gory and ghoulish historical events in gallows-humour style. Using actors, special effects and rides, London Dungeon tells you iconic stories of London and makes you believe you’re a part of it. London Dungeons is fantastically performed, educating you with unknown but fascinating facts in the wittiest way possible.
London Zoo was opened in 1828 and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It now houses over a collection of 700 species of animals and is one of the largest collections in the UK. Plenty of greenery and friendly faces, London Zoo is a place for everyone to relax and enjoy everything around them.
Rowing down the Thames
The Thames offers numerous ways of sightseeing London – from cruises to speed boats you can choose the one best suited to you and experience London off land. Boats with panoramic windows, open upper decks, three course meals and live commentary… this is something we definitely recommend to do during your stay in London.