I love London. There are so many things to do and see! I’ve been here for a long time and still I haven’t been to all its top attractions.
My favourite way to get to know a city is on foot. So here are my (sort of) walking tours recommendations, in case you are coming to London and are not sure about the distances between one spot and the other and how to see everything you want to see in the few days you have.
One great way to visit many of the city’s attractions is taking the Tube to Piccadilly Circus. From there you get easy access to Regent Street, China town, Soho, The British Museum and the West End.
I did all of this last Saturday. It’s doable you just need to wear comfortable shoes 🙂
And by the way, all along the more touristic bits of the city, you’ll find maps that tell you where you are and how long it will take you to get from one place to the other on foot:
When you get off the Tube in Piccadilly, you’ll see this:
The fountain with the statue of Eros, watching over millions of tourist daily. I have no idea whether he manages to actually shoot someone in love, but given the different nationalities passing under his arrows daily, maybe it is for the best. Lest a young girl from one side of the planet falls for a person from the other side of the world.
From here you can turn to one side and walk down Regent street:
There, depending on your budget, you can enjoy window shopping or actually do some shopping in the different stores along the way. My favourite store is Desigual, but there are plenty of stores catering for all tastes: Gant, Zara, Superdry, you name it, and it’s there.
Don’t miss Hamley’s a 4 storey toy shop full of everything you dreamt of as a child. It’s worth the visit if only to marvel at the sheer size of the place.
Turn left on Great Marlborough St. and you’ll see Liberty’s one of the oldest department stores in London (a beautiful old building too). You can enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea in their traditional tea room if you don’t mind doing it with another hundred tourists.
At the back of Liberty’s is the famous Carnaby St., with it’s more eclectic selection of shops and trendy coffee shops.
By now, if you are hungry, you can retrace your steps towards Great Marlborough St., there, on number 45 you’ll find Ping Pong. They do a modern take on dim sum, the service is fast and efficient and the prices are average. The food is very, very good, though my favourite thing about the place are their drinks.
Here is what a sharing menu for 2 gives you:
Then came the dim sum…
From left to right: duck spring rolls, spiced chicken rice, mushroom rice, beef soft roll (there were three rolls and 4 spring rolls, but we were starving by the time we got to the restaurant so no time to take photos ;-)).
Potato and edamame cakes and some vegetable gyoza. Tasty and delicious. By the time you finish with the sharing menu, you might feel like taking a nap, but don’t close your eyes just yet, we still have a lot to see!
You can continue up Regent Street towards Oxford Circus and Oxford St. or you can go back towards Piccadilly and take Shaftesbury Ave. towards the West End and China Town.
If you are into Japanese food and culture, make a stop at Japan Centre on 19 Shaftesbury Ave. (beside Jamie’s Diner) not only does it have fresh, tasty sushi daily, but it is also the home of all things bento.
Finally, you’ll see to your right an arch:
What to do once there? Well, you could eat Peking duck, which is roasted, shredded duck, that comes with little crepes and vegetables, and plum sauce, so that you make your own duck rolls. All quite tasty and definitely worth the visit to Chinatown.
But if you have already eaten by the time you get there, don’t worry: there are brick-a-brack shops, Chinese bakeries and many other shops to keep you interested. There are also plenty of Bubble tea shops. My favourite combination: Iced Mango green tea with tapioca pearls (the dark things at the bottom of my glass):
After a wander around China Town, you can go back to Shaftesbury Av. and walk up to Earlham St. which is one of the streets that will take you to the Seven Dials area. There are markets and festivals there during the summer, and a collection of independent shops worth the visit.
After a walk around the area you are ready for a visit to the British Museum:
Go back to Shaftesbury Av. and follow it up until it turns into Bloomsbury St, that’s the street that will take you to the Museum.
Along the way you will see plenty of signs telling you which way to the Museum, so don’t worry, you’ll never get lost.
On your way to the Museum, you’ll come across three buildings in rather bright orange, green and yellow. They are Central Saint Giles, the work of Renzo Piano, the architect responsible for The Shard in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris amongst many other projects all over the world. Just saying, in case you are interested in architecture 😉
Here is a link to the highlights of the British Museum, things you can see in 1 hour.
I look forward to making more “Walking about London posts”. In the meantime, here is a link to 50 things to do for free in London.