Collected by Richard Brinker
First-time trip to London
Cranbourn St, Charing Cross, London WC2H 0AP, UK
If the theater prices are a little steep for your budget, or you're just wanting to catch a last-minute show, the half-price ticket booth on Leicester Square is a must. As a local, I've used it often to get discounted tickets to shows. Although...
Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DA, UK
The blue plaques dotted on the walls of buildings across London are little delights, a small reminder of just how historic this city is. From Mozart to Charles Dickens to Winston Churchill and beyond, the plaques commemorate the places where...
Tower Bridge, United Kingdom
This is a landmark that is so familiar, so often seen, that to visit it -- even for the first time -- feels almost ordinary. You know the Tower Bridge. You've seen it in storybooks and on movie screens. You get it. Right? Nope. Because even if it...
Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, UK
This is actually three theaters—the Lyttleton, the Cottesloe, and the Olivier—in one incredible 1960s complex on the Southbank. It's the absolute epicenter of London's vibrant theater culture, putting on both the classics and the most contemporary...
287 Upper St, Islington, London N1 2TZ, UK
Everything at Ottolenghi is tiny and tasty with typical English charm. Apparently it's the home of "legendary flourless chocolate tea-cakes" as well as a variety of other little snacks. It's primarily take-away but there is one small table at the...
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK
Located at Trafalgar square and home to about 2300 beautiful paintings, the national gallery of London should definitely make its way to almost any London itinerary. Set up in 1824, it the fifth most visited museum in the world. The quality and...
Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK
Museum cafes are often depressing affairs, white formica boxes where you grab a curling sandwich on your way to the next piece of tourism. But the main cafe's trio of rooms are nothing like that. Designed, respectively, by William Morris,...
St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK
Visitors to this turreted riverside castle enter a thousand years of history filled with cultural significance (but go early to avoid lines to see the crown jewels). Tudor fans can view the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and the kinds of...
8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK
Over the past two centuries, the covered market at Borough, not far from London Bridge, has become one of the country’s most famous foodie spots. From Wednesday to Saturday each week hundreds of traders gather to sell homemade breads,...
6 Park St, London SE1, UK
No visit to London ever goes by without a stop at Neal's Yard Dairy. Neal's has two shops (in London I'm a fan of the Borough Market location) and I often go to taste my way through the 70-some cheeses they sources from cheesemakers in farms...
Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, UK
The residence and office of Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace is one of the few working palaces of the world. It is used by the Queen to entertain guests of State. However, a portion of the Palace is open to the public. This includes rooms...
20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK
William and Kate’s wedding brought a 21st-century focus to this 700-year-old abbey, which is built on the same spot as a Benedictine monastery enlarged by Edward the Confessor in the 1040s. The site of every coronation since 1066, it boasts...
160 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EB, UK
It's pronounced "Wool-zee," and it's a former showroom for the smart old cars that bear its name. Now a restaurant, it's been restored to its original 1930s glamour with a gorgeous art deco slant. If you want a true taste of old Mayfair and St...
Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
Checking out the famously preserved mummies at the world’s oldest public museum is on many London wish lists, but there’s much more to the British Museum than ancient Egypt. Other must-sees include the Elgin Marbles and the African...
47 Chandos Pl, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4HS, UK
London is famous all over the world for its thousands of pubs. In fact, there are so many of them, it can be hard to pick out the lousy ones from the ones that are absolutely fantastic. The Harp is the latter. It's small, it's intimate, it's...
Portobello Rd, London, UK
Portobello Road is a colorful stretch of shops and stalls selling bric-a-brac and antiques. Part trendy neighborhood, part flea market. On Saturdays, thousands of people flock there for bargains. I recommend going on a weekday. You can have the...
71a, 73 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, London W1U 2PN, UK
The Golden Hind in Marylebone is a standout among the hundreds of fish and chips places in London. The modest place has been around since 1918 and has had only a few owners in that time, mostly Greek and Italian immigrants. The cod is coated in a...
Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
On its own, the architecture of the Natural History Museum is enough of a reason to walk through its doors one afternoon. The stunning archways and staircases create a grand backdrop to equally impressive exhibits, and you could spend countless...
Beatles Coffee Shop, St. Johns Wood Underground Station, Finchley Rd, St John's Wood, London NW8 6EB, UK
First time I went to London I liked it, but that was pretty much it. I thought it was a great, solemn, (stylistically) cold, masculine European capital. Then I lived there for 3 months, and fell in love with it. Yes, I still believe its solemn and...
13A The Piazza, West End, London WC2E 8HD, UK
... he's going to want another cookie to go with it. If you're at Ben's Cookies, you're in luck. Founded about 30 years ago by an Englishman in Oxfordshire (say that 10 times fast), Ben's Cookies has a handful of locations around the United...
Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP, UK
I'm partial to the old-school charm of the afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel, with its dark wood paneling, the piano, and overstuffed setees underneath the window. Perfect for a fall or winter afternoon. The tables are as they should be, low and...
Strand, London WC2R 1LA, UK
Located less than a ten-minute walk from Covent Garden, Somerset House still manages to be off the beaten track. The site has tremendous historical significance, having served as a residence for Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I), and...
London W2 3XA, UK
The Serpentine is a gallery in Kensington Gardens. It’s a place where nature and culture converge. Each summer the gallery commissions international artists and architects to create a pavilion for concerts, talks, and presentations. The 2012...
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
It’s impossible to ignore the hulking 1950s architecture of the Tate Modern, slap-bang in the middle of the most-walked part of the South Bank. A visionary refurb of this former power station has resulted in an artistic behemoth with multiple...
5B Shepherd St, Mayfair, London W1J 7HP, UK
Tucked along the edge of Shepherd Market in Mayfair you'll find tiny L'Autre, a Polish-Mexican Bistro. It takes you by surprise, this combination, and you hover outside the door wondering what could possibly come of it. Everything. Everything...
One of my favorite things about London is the mix of old and new architecture. Take this view (from the Tate Modern Museum) of the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral. If you're an architecture buff, a walking tour (or two...or three!) will...
16B Electric Ave, Brixton, London SW9 8JX, UK
In South London, just off the Victoria line, there's a one-stop-shop for all your boozing and dining desires. But unlike Borough, this isn't a market from which you walk, wait in line, and then eat while standing and walking and waiting some more....
40 Wellington St, West End, London WC2E 7BD, UK
This delightful brasserie was a real find in the heart of Covent Garden. There was a warm welcome for everyone from the staff and every effort made to find tables on a busy evening. The food was delicious and perfectly presented. My sea bass was...
Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK
This iconic landmark in London is popular for a reason...it's breathtaking! Did you know that Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the tower, not the clock? While you are there, check out the Houses of Parliament (if they are in session)....
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