City Guide: London

Now that we are approaching our 1-year mark in London, I finally feel like I can share a comprehensive guide to what to eat, drink, see, and do in one of the largest and most iconic cities in the world. Sharing recommendations for London is challenging not just because there is SO much history and culture to explore, but also because the city is geographically very spread out (unlike cities like New York or Paris). This can make it a bit harder to see everything, so I also have a few tips for getting around:

  • I highly recommend downloading an app called Citymapper, which displays routes for absolutely all possible transport options (including walking and driving), usually with live timing, between any two locations in a supported city. This will be your very best friend while in London (or in any other major European city, for that matter).
  • As long as you’re in Zone 1, almost everything in London will be about ~30 minutes away from you — this sounds far, but it factors in traffic, train schedules, etc. and it’s actually pretty fast if you think about the size of the city.
  • If you’re taking any form of public transportation, which you absolutely should, you don’t actually need to buy tickets or an Oystercard anymore. You can just use any form of contactless payment (credit card, debit card, Apple Pay) to get on the Tube, buses, trains, etc. Use the same form of payment throughout the day so that it automatically caps your payment at the daily rate, which is just £7.70 if you’re only traveling in Zones 1-2.
  • I recommend taking a black cab or an Uber from LHR (Uber will usually be a bit cheaper for this route), especially if you’re traveling with a lot of luggage. You can absolutely take a cab or Uber for other routes, too, but be aware that it is probably going to take longer than other forms of transportation unless you’re going a relatively short distance.
  • Speaking of airports, London actually has six (!!) major airports: London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, and London Southend. If you’re planning to fly in/out of London from/to other European cities, it’s critical to choose an airport that’s located in the same/approximate cardinal direction as where you’re planning to stay in the city. For example, I live in Battersea so I would never fly into or out of anywhere but Gatwick, Heathrow, or City. Pro tip: if you’re staying anywhere in the southern/eastern/central parts of the city, I highly recommend London City — it’s smaller, but as London’s “business” airport it is easily the most efficient airport experience I’ve ever had.

I am certainly not an expert, but I’ve listed some of my personal favorite restaurants, attractions, and shops below for anyone who might be visiting for the first time or is looking to expand on old itineraries. You can also click here to access and download my list of saved places in Google Maps. Cheers!

Food & Drink

  • Markets & Food Halls:
    • Borough Market: This open-air market near London Bridge is one of the oldest food markets in London and is easily one of my favorite places in the city to take visitors. It’s much larger and more organized than a typical market—and is almost always incredibly crowded—but still has a very authentic and local vibe. In addition to the many vendors selling everything from fresh-shucked oysters to artisan cheeses to spices to exotic meats to fresh vegetables, there are also some truly fantastic restaurants, including The Ginger Pig (butcher shop and sandwiches) and Mei Mei (Singaporean food counter),
    • Seven Dials Market: One of London’s newest “markets” is actually much more like a trendy version of a food court than an actual market, but either way, it’s an excellent place to go for drinks, snacks, or a meal. In addition to a bar, there are a dozen or so independent food vendors serving everything from Filipino street food to Sicilian sandwiches, and it’s all delicious. It’s also the home of the world’s first “cheese conveyor belt restaurant”…you’re welcome.
    • Mercato Mayfair: Of all the food halls in London, Mercato Mayfair stands out for its location — it’s housed in the Grade-I listed St Mark’s Church in the heart of Mayfair, which makes for a truly unique and beautiful experience. There are multiple floors of food and drink vendors, but don’t miss the ‘Jim and Tonic’ gin bar in the former nave and the rooftop terrace.
    • Maltby Street Market: 30+ fresh produce stalls pop up each weekend in this Bermondsey street market found below 19th-century railway arches, but Maltby Street Market’s brick-and-mortar vendors make it an excellent option for drinks or dinner any day of the week. It’s not too far away from Borough Market, and is also a perfect location for beginning or ending a journey along the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
    • POP Brixton: This “village” of shipping containers in South London is home to 50+ restaurants, food trucks, and other independently owned local businesses. It’s a perfect place to enjoy food and drinks when the weather is nice and is ideally located right by the Brixton stop at the end of the Victoria Line.
  • Restaurants:
    • Noble Rot: Not only is Noble Rot one of the best wine bars in London, but it’s also consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants. The fresh, seasonal menu has a wide variety of options and is pretty reasonably priced for such a popular and elegant restaurant. There are now two locations (Bloomsbury and Soho), but you’ll still probably need to book a table a few weeks in advance—I promise it will be worth it. Side note: we ate here with my brother and his family when they were in town, and it ended up being a surprisingly accommodating place to bring young children. The waitstaff was so friendly and helped make the experience just as enjoyable for my niece and nephew.
    • La Mia Mamma: This tiny restaurant group literally brings in a group of “mammas” from Italy to develop a menu of traditional dishes from their region for a three-month rotation that they also cook and serve. It sounds too good to be true, but La Mia Mamma somehow makes it work and continues to deliver excellent-quality, homestyle Italian cooking at great prices. I’ve only been to the location on Kings Road in Chelsea, but there are a few other locations across the city.
    • BAO: This is one of our go-to spots for casual-but-trendy dinners, especially when we have guests in town. There are several locations across town, which makes it easier to snag last-minute reservations, but the original BAO in Soho is particularly cool. It has a Michelin Bib Gourmand award, and the extremely affordable price points for its eponymous steamed buns and equally incredible Taiwanese small plates make it all the better. In short: you should go here.
    • Dishoom: Yes, it’s cliché and the lines are always insane, but there’s a reason Dishoom is one of the most famous Indian restaurants in the world—it is absolutely delicious. The menu is full of clever twists on classic Indian/Persian dishes, and I’ve truly never had anything that wasn’t amazing. Although they famously don’t take reservations, there are now several locations across London (try to avoid the Covent Garden location, though).
    • Pantechnicon Rooftop Garden: This garden oasis is on the roof of Pantechnicon, a five-story, Nordic- and Japanese-themed, retail-restaurant concept on a particularly charming street in Belgravia. The roof is retractable, so you can enjoy the lovely views over the city regardless of the weather, and the Nordic-Japanese fusion small plates and creative cocktails are both fantastic and unique. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to “feel like you’re in London”.
    • Gymkhana: There are endless options for Indian food in London, but the Michelin-starred Gymkhana should be at the top of your list. Everything on the menu is simply stellar, so go ahead and order the £95 tasting menu so that you can experience as much of it as you can.
    • Mildred’s: This trendy vegan restaurant has a few locations (including a surprisingly large location in Soho) that all offer excellent cocktails and food — even though it’s 100% plant-based, there’s really something for everyone.
    • Kin + Deum: This modern, stylish restaurant in London Bridge serves some of my favorite Thai food in London. It’s owned by three Thai sisters who have managed to nail the perfect mix of trendy, authentic, and approachable traditional dishes paired with a neighborhood-style ambiance.
    • Casa do Frango: The Infatuation perfectly summarizes this fun and lively Portuguese restaurant in London Bridge: “Like Nando’s but not Nando’s is the best (and laziest) way to describe Casa Do Frango. This piri-piri chicken spot serves juicy, delicious chicken alongside some tasty sides. It’s a bit spicy, tasty, and excellent value.” In addition to being a great option for dinner, there’s also a (not-so) secret speakeasy called The Green Room located behind an unmarked door in the main restaurant.
    • Wun’s Team Room: This “1960s Hong Kong speakeasy-style tea room” is one of my favorite options for drinks or dinner in Soho. The Cantonese small plates are delicious and perfect for sharing, and the cocktails are extremely funky and creative.
    • Pear Tree Café: Despite being a casual, counter-service restaurant in the middle of Battersea Park, Pear Tree Café actually has pretty fantastic food. There are full menus for brunch and lunch, but they also offer a rotating assortment of pizzas and grilled options for dinner in the summer, as well as a solid wine, beer, and cocktail list.
    • Wild by Tart: This gigantic multi-purpose space includes a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, and retail store that are all absolutely fabulous. I recently had dinner with some friends here and it was honestly one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in London. Our server was phenomenal and the extensive menu focused on sustainable, seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients and cooked with either a charcoal grill or wood oven. Also, the restaurant is in an absolute hidden gem of a location, Eccleston Yards, a lovely mixed-use concept with a great courtyard that is inconspicuously tucked away on a side street just a few blocks from Victoria Station.
    • Granger & Co.: Another one of my “go-to” places, this laidback, all-day restaurant has two excellent locations in Notting Hill and Chelsea. The food is good and the drinks are even better, making this a great option for breakfast/brunch, lunch, or afternoon drinks.
  • Bars & Pubs:
    • Connaught Bar: This is the #1 bar in the world, so you’re definitely going to need to get here early to get a table—but it will be worth it to sip martinis and other chic, innovative cocktails at this swanky hotel bar in the heart of Mayfair.
    • Happiness Forgets: Super cool speakeasy-style bar in a low-lit, low-key basement in Shoreditch. The mixologists are world-class and the cocktails (and bar snacks) are fantastic, yet the vibe is surprisingly chill and everyone is really friendly and laid back.
    • Vinegar Yard: This mixed-use space made from shipping containers is right by London Bridge and has an eclectic mix of drinks, food, flea market stalls, and pop-up shops. Reserve an outdoor table in advance and come hungry—the food stands are amazing.
    • Pubs with Good Food: Most visitors to London are hell-bent on having a meal at an “authentic” pub…and most are sorely disappointed. So if you absolutely must go to a pub while in London, stop by The Cadogan Arms, a recently renovated, historic public house on Kings Road in Chelsea. The Cadogan Arms has all the standard pub fare classics, yet also offers other options and has a high-end selection of wines, beers, and cocktails. Its upscale vibe and comfortable seating make it feel much more like a gastropub than a bar, but you’ll still get to check “dinner at a pub” off of your list. The Albert (right by the Albert Bridge in Battersea) and The Phoenix (Chelsea) are other excellent options for finding elevated pub food with an ideal ambiance.
    • Traditional Pubs: If you’re just looking for a place to grab a pint, stop by Princess Louise (Holborn) or The Churchill Arms in Notting Hill (this is the crazy-looking pub covered in flowers/shrubbery that you’ve probably seen on Instagram). Another cool option is The George, a 17th-century inn and pub in Southwark (near London Bridge) with a huge courtyard.
    • Wine Bars: Gordon’s Wine Bar is allegedly the oldest wine bar in London, and its candlelit, vaulted cellars and original, Dickensian-style decor will make you feel like you’re back in the Victorian era. They don’t take reservations, but it’s definitely worth stopping by this London institution if you’re near Embankment for the history alone — the wine list isn’t really anything to write home about, though. On the other hand, Shepherd Market Wine House is a charming little wine bar and bottle shop in Mayfair that takes reservations and has a fantastic wine list, excellent snacks, and a charming, romantic atmosphere with beautiful vintage advertisements covering the walls. Last but not least, Amie Wine Studio (Belgravia) is a really cute wine bar in a fun courtyard with super friendly waiters and a short-but-excellent wine list.

Attractions & Activities

  • Museums, Churches, & Palaces:
    • Tower of London: This is easily my top recommendation for first-time visitors because it’s the perfect mix of history, architecture, and ambiance. Founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror, some of the most important events in English history happened here, and a £30 ticket grants access to the entire complex, including the Crown Jewels exhibit featuring all of the monarchy’s actual crowns, jewels, and coronation regalia. My favorite part about the Tower of London experience is taking a guided tour from one of the Yeomen Warders (AKA Beefeaters)—it’s a super professional tour and the perfect way to hear all about the Tower’s bloody history and the people who lived and died here, including Anne Boleyn, Henry VI, and Guy Fawkes. I recommend reserving a ticket in advance, but unless it’s a school holiday or special event your ticket is valid for the entire day and so you won’t need to worry about committing to a timed entry.
    • Churchill War Rooms: If you are even remotely interested in history or politics, this will be your favorite attraction (it’s certainly mine). This incredibly interesting museum is housed in the underground complex right in the center of London that served as the British government’s top-secret command center throughout World Word II. It’s absolutely fascinating to walk through the perfectly preserved rooms where some of the most important decisions about the course of the war were made, including a BBC studio for wartime broadcasts and a tiny room disguised as a private toilet where Churchill had a direct line to secretly speak with President Roosevelt. The complex also includes a biographical museum exploring the extraordinary life of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The £29 tickets often sell out (and the walk-up line is always crazy long), so I recommend booking in advance.
    • Buckingham Palace: The surrounding area is one of my least favorite parts of London because it’s so crowded and the exterior is incredibly underwhelming, but the tour of the palace is actually incredible. It only lasts about an hour, the guides are extremely knowledgeable, and the interior of the palace is beautiful. The only catch is that the palace is only open a few weeks out of the year and the tours almost always sell out quickly, so you typically need to book several weeks (or months) in advance. If you can’t book a tour, I recommend just walking by quickly on your way to something much more interesting instead of standing in a crowd to watch the (once again, incredibly underwhelming) Changing of the Guards ceremony.
    • Windsor Palace: If you can’t visit Buckingham Palace and you have the time, I would also recommend taking a train over to Windsor to tour the monarchy’s primary residence. It is absolutely worth the quick trip out of the city to tour Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world—it takes <1 hour to reach Windsor by train and the castle is just a quick walk from the train station. The palace itself is beautiful and contains so much history, but the 15th-century St George’s Chapel is even more amazing, especially now that it’s home to the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth II.
    • Kensington Palace: The gardens around the palace are beautiful, but the palace itself is nothing special and booking a visit isn’t worth the time or money. There are always a few noteworthy items on display and it’s definitely cool to see where Queen Victoria lived, but the palace isn’t nearly as beautiful or interesting as the others and the audio clips played on a loop throughout the exhibits are honestly kind of creepy.
    • Westminster Abbey: A visit to one of the most iconic churches in the world is a must-do, even if you’re not someone who typically tours churches — it has more historical significance than perhaps any other cathedral or church I’ve visited across Europe. Perhaps most notably, Westminster Abbey has hosted all coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066. It’s also the burial site of more than 3,300 people, including Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary I (AKA “Bloody Mary”), Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Charles Dickens…just to name a few. It is really cool and very centrally located right by Big Ben and Westminster Palace, so I highly recommend spending an hour or so here. Tickets typically need to be booked in advance, but the £25 entry fee includes a good multimedia guide to provide context as you walk around.
    • St. Paul’s Cathedral: Not to be outdone, St. Paul’s Cathedral is perhaps even more beautiful than Westminster Abbey and is also well worth a 1-hour visit. There has been a church on this site since the 7th century, but the current structure was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century after the earlier cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Its 365-foot-tall dome is one of the tallest in the world (and was the tallest building in London until the 1960s), and the view from the top is incredible. Both the interior and exterior are gorgeous, and it’s hosted plenty of historic events, including Princess Diana’s wedding and Winston Churchill’s funeral. Booking a ticket in advance is cheaper (£18), and also includes an audio guide.
    • British Museum: A museum dedicated to “human history, art, and culture” in the heart of Bloomsbury with one of the largest and most comprehensive permanent collections in the world. Some of its most famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marbles (which remain the subject of international controversy because of looting/plundering claims), treasures from the Sutton Hoo Burial Site, and 100+ Egyptian mummies. Although it’s free to visit, you typically need to book a timed entry ticket in advance.
    • National Gallery: If you enjoy art museums, the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square should be on your list. Its small-but-mighty collection contains impressive works from all of the great painters, including masterpieces from da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, and van Gogh. Admission is free, but I recommend buying a ticket in advance to avoid long lines.
    • Victoria & Albert Museum: The world’s largest museum of “applied arts, decorative arts, and design” has a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects ranging from architectural drawings to sculptures to ceramics to fashion exhibits to manuscripts, including da Vinci’s famous Forster Codex. It’s free to visit and you don’t need to reserve a ticket in advance (which is extremely unusual for London), so it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in going to a particularly unique museum.
  • Entertainment:
    • Royal Opera House: Andy and I have both really enjoyed going to the opera and ballet—something I never imagined I’d be able to get Andy to enjoy with me. The theater is absolutely stunning and everything about attending a performance just feels sophisticated and special. Tickets are typically quite affordable, especially since you really can’t get a bad view/seat, and it’s usually not too hard to get a last-minute ticket to a weeknight performance as long as it’s not a new show. If you’re planning to go to a show, keep in mind that you really don’t need to dress up (think: midi dress and slacks/button down) and, unlike shows on the West End, you can’t bring any food or drinks to your seats (except for water and the ice cream sold during intermissions).
    • Royal Albert Hall: London’s most iconic concert hall is truly as beautiful as it is historically important. Since Queen Victoria opened it in 1871, everyone from Eric Clapton to Pink Floyd to Adele has played at this tiny (<6,000-seat) venue in South Kensington. It’s also where the last few James Bond films have premiered. I highly recommend visiting, even if you’re not able to see a show, but the very best way to see it is during a Christmas carol singalong in December.
    • West End: Even if you aren’t a huge theatre fan, going to a show in the West End is an incredible experience. Along with Broadway, West End theatre is the pinnacle of English-language commercial theatre and it is truly so cool to see award-winning and brand-new shows. Unlike Broadway, tickets are notoriously inexpensive and the performances are in magnificent, historic theatres, which is all the more reason to check out a performance while in town.
    • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter: The Harry Potter studio tour is well worth the pilgrimage up to Watford (it takes ~45 minutes and is very easy to reach) for any true Harry Potter fan, but you have to book tickets very far in advance, especially if you want to go on a weekend. It’s pretty crowded and kind of gimmicky, but it’s still so cool to see all the real-life sets and props from the movies and learn all about the behind-the-scenes secrets.
    • Afternoon Tea: It sounds like an extremely touristy thing to do, but having afternoon tea at an upscale hotel is one of my very favorite activities for out-of-town guests. There are lots of options (all of which you will want to book in advance), but a few of my personal favorites are the Oscar Wilde Lounge at Hotel Café Royal, the Thames Foyer at The Savoy, Rubens at the Palace, and the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason. It can be kind of pricey, but you actually get quite a bit of food so it’s perfect for a late lunch or pre-theater dinner.
  • Landmarks & Monuments:
    • Tower Bridge: This iconic bridge across the Thames is one of the most recognizable bridges in the world…that basically everyone confuses with the much less interesting London Bridge (which, to be fair, is the next bridge over). The best views of the bridge are from the banks within the Tower of London complex.
    • Millennium Bridge: The London Millennium Footbridge is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians crossing the Thames between South Bank and the City of London. In addition to being a particularly convenient way to navigate between two popular areas and providing a really beautiful clear view of St. Paul’s south façade, it’s also the bridge that was featured during the Death Eater chase in the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
    • Platform 9 3/4: It’s definitely a bit cheesy and more than a bit touristy, but it’s actually quite cool to stop by the “real” Platform 9 3/4 — especially since it’s located at King’s Cross Station, which is ridiculously easy to get to on almost any Tube line. If the line isn’t too long, you can take a picture that looks like you’re running through the gate to the Hogwarts Express, but at the very least, you can buy pretty much any kind of Harry Potter-related merchandise that you could imagine.
    • Leadenhall Market: Last but not least on my list of Harry Potter filming locations is Leadenhall Market, a beautiful, 14th-century covered market in the historic center of the City of London that was used for filming some of the scenes set in Diagon Alley. When you see the ornately painted ceilings and cobbled floors, you’ll immediately understand why the location was chosen. There are also several decent bars and restaurants to choose from, which makes it a perfect location for taking a break while sightseeing.
    • Albert Bridge: My very favorite bridge in all of London! I’m not sure that it’s worth going out of your way just to see a bridge, but if you happen to be near the River Thames in Chelsea then I highly recommend crossing the Albert Bridge to Battersea and grabbing a pint at The Albert before taking a stroll through the beautiful, serene Battersea Park. Albert Bridge was constructed in 1873, but over the years it has been updated and added to so many times that today it has a really unusual (yet somehow still beautiful) mix of architectural styles. Most notably, it’s painted pink, blue, and green, in an attempt to provide greater visibility for ships during fog and murky light — which is also why it’s lit up by more than 4,000 LED light bulbs at night.
    • Hyde Park: A Grade I-listed park, Hyde Park is the largest Royal Park in Central London and is as iconically part of London as Central Park is for New York. Henry VIII took the land for the park from Westminster Abbey in 1536 and originally used it as a hunting ground, but it opened to the public just a century later and has been popular ever since. In addition to being a wonderful green space in the heart of the city, it’s also home to tons of cool history and has hosted some of the biggest names in popular music during its legendary summer concert series—including Adele, whom I saw perform her first public concert in 5+ years here just a few weeks ago! I recommend entering through the gorgeous Wellington Arch (between the corners of Hyde Park and Green Park) and making your way to Serpentine Bar & Kitchen or the Serpentine Lido Cafe for lunch or cocktails.
    • St. James’s Park: Although it’s the smallest of the four connected Royal Parks (which include Hyde Park, Green Park, and Kensington Gardens), St. James’s Park is a perfect place to take a quick break from the craziness that surrounds the area by Buckingham Palace, one of the most crowded and chaotic parts of the city. A short walk through this lovely little park full of huge, shady trees and interesting birds (including a colony of pelicans) will help give you the energy to deal with the crowds.
    • Trafalgar Square: This public square is actually the exact center of London, and it is surrounded by a host of famous landmarks and monuments, including the National Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Fields. It’s extremely crowded and definitely a tourist-heavy part of the city, but the outlook from the National Gallery provides the best view of Nelson’s Column and the surrounding fountains and statues, as well as an incredibly picturesque view of Big Ben and the London skyline.


  • Fortnum & Mason: Aside from being a really gorgeous and iconic store/experience, this is the very best place to pick up souvenirs and gifts. As one of the oldest tea purveyors in the UK, there’s plenty of space dedicated to tea (and tea-related merchandise), including a lovely tea room. I recommend heading straight to the homewares section on the third floor for the best selection of mugs, tea towels, and picnic items. Speaking of picnics, the food hall on the lower level is the perfect place to assemble the perfect spread to take to one of London’s many parks. There’s also a lovely Champagne bar tucked into a corner if you’re in need of some bubbles.
  • Harrod’s: As one of the most famous (and overwhelming) department stores in the world, a visit to Harrod’s is an experience in itself from the moment the iconic doormen greet you. You could probably spend multiple days browsing all the floors of designer boutiques, food hall vendors, and pop-up experiences, but I recommend at least checking out the souvenirs/gifts department. For such an upscale department store, it has a fantastic collection of unique gifts and mementos, including an impressive selection of Christmas ornaments.
  • Liberty London: It’s worth visiting one of London’s most iconic department stores just to walk by it: the Tudor-revival building is absolutely gorgeous, especially when it’s decorated for the holidays. However, I personally prefer it over Harrod’s for actual shopping, too. The high-end fashion and luxury homeware are well-curated, and perusing all the options from its iconic fabric line is an experience in itself.
  • Selfridge’s: Another one of London’s legendary department stores, Selfridge’s is as impressive as it is overwhelming. If you have some serious shopping to do, this is a perfect place to go — especially because it is much more curated and organized than Harrod’s. However, it is always so crowded, so I wouldn’t recommend coming in just to browse or window shop.
  • Daunt Books: Allegedly the first custom-built bookshop in the world, the original location of Daunt Books is in a beautiful, oak-panelled Edwardian gallery situated on Marylebone High Street. Although they sell plenty of general fiction and non-fiction books, Daunt Books is known for specializing in travel guides and other travel-related books. One gallery is devoted to such books, which are organized by country and include fiction books set in the respective countries, too. It’s a beautiful store and well worth a visit if you appreciate books as much as I do.
  • John Sandoe Books: My other favorite independent bookseller is located in a tiny shop near Sloane Square, which is an excellent area for shopping. John Sandoe Books opened in 1957 and is absolutely crammed with books, from fiction to history to poetry to classics…and everything in between. It’s such a fascinating store and the way it’s organized makes it even more fun to peruse.
  • Smythson of Bond Street: There are a few locations of this leather goods boutique, which is perfect for buying thoughtful, sophisticated gifts or souvenirs. In addition to handbags, luggage, and small leather goods, they also sell really lovely stationery.
  • Portobello Road Market: Notting Hill is a charming, quintessentially London neighborhood to explore any day of the week, but it’s best on Saturday mornings when Portobello Road is lined with antique merchants selling an almost unbelievable variety of curios, art, and decorative items at equally unbelievable prices. It’s such a fun experience to browse through the random shops and street booths, especially since London is so old that is simply brimming with vintage items you couldn’t possibly find in America.
  • Old Spitalfields Market: This covered market in the East End is one of my very favorites. It’s open every day (although the antique market on Thursdays is particularly noteworthy), and there are vendors selling pretty much everything you can imagine. The food and drink vendors are also particularly fantastic, which makes this a perfect place to spend a long afternoon.

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