London… capital of England, home of the Queen and Royal Family, a leading global city of commerce, art, entertainment, education, fashion and history!
During my first visit to London, I couldn’t help but feel like I was right in the middle of Manhattan. Maybe because of the common language, the diversity of people, the sounds of cab horns, or the familiar sights of Starbucks and metro stations… I felt incredibly at home despite being in another country.
I wandered, roamed, explored and experienced London like a true tourist. If you’re heading to London for the first time, here’s a mini guide on some places to stay, eat and play:
STAY: My neighborhood of choice for this trip was Bloomsbury, a quaint, convenient and trendy neighborhood in central London.
My hotel choice was The Academy Hotel. A charming and luxurious hotel with the perfect room for one; a view of the courtyard garden, a desk for working on the road, and the comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in! It felt like I was staying in an English townhouse rather than a hotel, and I loved it.
Check in to The Academy in Bloomsbury on your next trip to London!
EAT: It wouldn’t be a trip to London, England without a classic High Tea.
There are tons of places to have tea in London, and equally as many varieties! From luxury and high end, to fashion-themed, or budget-friendly. I decided I wanted more of a local’s take on Afternoon Tea, so I selected the praised Bea’s of Bloomsbury for their classic High Tea experience.
Finger sandwiches, mini pastries and delicious, homemade scones… you won’t leave disappointed. Bea’s has more than one adorable location in London, perfect for high tea on a drizzly London afternoon.
You could also try the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour for a unique afternoon tea experience – on a double decker bus!
Breakfast took me to Gail’s Kitchen in the early morning hours. Go to this award-winning cafe for the yummy cinnamon rolls and fresh baked pastries, and don’t leave without a delicious latte.
Borough Market in Southwark is London’s oldest and most renowned food market. It’s a source of exceptional British and international produce of the highest quality.
Meet the local traders, shop for fresh goods, and walk around sampling bites from the many stalls in this landmark haven of food.
PLAY: The sites and scenery of London.
The Shard is the tallest skyscraper in London’s skyline. Grab tickets to the Viewing Gallery and you’ll get the best 360-degree, panoramic view of London for up to 40 miles (on a clear day).
Despite the rain clouds and fog, the View from the Shard is a great way to soak in all of London.
Back on the ground… Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey and St James Park are just some of the well-known landmarks and sites in London that are worth a visit.
Or head over to Harrods and (window) shop until you drop.
Walk across the Hungerford footbridge to get to the London Eye – you’ll get great views (and photos) of Big Ben and the Eye all in one.
While I’m positive there are more places to stay, eat and see in London, these are merely some suggestions based on my explorations for a first-time visit! Cherrio.