December 2nd, 2021
No matter how many trips you’ve taken to Oxford Street, or visits to Madame Tussauds, there's always more to see and do in England’s capital city. Lucky for you, our team is full of weathered Londoners, from those who were born and bred in The Big Smoke, to those who studied there and just never left. Our team can provide you with a comprehensive list of the best places to eat, stay and visit while in London. This week’s Touring with Tell will take a slightly different structure to usual due to the vast amount of contributions I received from the team. Special thanks goes to Joey, Erin, Scott, Alex, Dave and Watson. Okay, buckle up!
When to go?
London is a beautiful city all year round but there are of course a few occasions when it’s that extra bit special. For example, with its wealth of parks and green spaces, London in summer is perfect for picnicking and a few sunny beers. However, the team pretty much unanimously decided that London at Christmas and New Year’s is something to behold. Particularly with GMT being started there and the huge NYE celebrations.
At Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, you can have the most magical day ice skating, grabbing a drink in the ice bar, watching wintry circus shows and shopping at the christmas markets. If you’re looking for something equally christmassy, but perhaps a little more low key, the Tell team also suggest taking a trip to Teddington High Street for their annual Christmas Light Switch on. The street comes alive with music, food and local businesses’ market stalls. Or, if you’d prefer to be cosy inside somewhere, The Churchill Arms in Kensington is lovely during the festive season for a drink or even some Thai-themed Christmas food.
Where to eat?
While we are on the topic of food, it's about time we shared the teams’ recommendations for where to eat during a trip to London. The team offered up a great suggestion of eateries covering worldly cuisine to traditional English pub grub.
Monmouth for a good coffee
Kokoro for Japanese food
Gordon Ramsay Bar and Grill in Mayfair
Hakata in London Bridge for Ramen
Thai Charm or Prem both in Teddington
The Anglers pub on Teddington Lock
Greenwich Market for street food
Where to visit?
In terms of free activities, London is famous for all of its grand green spaces. You’ve got Bushy Park with the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, a whole host of walks in Epping Forest, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park, Regent’s Park...we could go on but you probably get the idea. There are also many museums that are fascinating and totally free to visit such as Queens house and the National Maritime Museum.
If you find yourself wanting to do something a little different then a visit to God’s Own Junkyard is right up your street. It's a huge Funky art store featuring colorful neon signs and other eclectic pieces. Music fans should also take a trip to Banquet Records if they find themselves in Kingston. Alternatively, if the weather isn’t so good, you can catch a bus to Kingston Bentalls Centre for shopping and some more great places to eat/drink.
If you are able to spend a bit more money then there are some fantastic experiences all around London. Why not start by visiting a West End show such as Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables. London also has some fantastic festivals and you can't beat. All Points East, for example, has a great lineup every year and is really fun with a group of friends.
Where to stay?
“The outer boroughs of London are just as important to visit as Big Ben etc - don't shy away from staying somewhere else and exploring other areas!”
The most obvious choice for where to stay during your trip is an AirBnb. To save yourself some money the team suggests choosing one based outside of central London but with good public transport links. Failing ths, you can't go wrong with a Travelodge. The pricing is pretty standard, and you get everything you need without the frills! A cheaper option is always to stay in a hostel, of which there are many dotted all around London at different price points. A benefit to hostels is there's a much higher chance of making friends with fellow travellers.
How to travel?
In terms of getting to London, depending on where you’re coming from, there’s a whole host of planes and trains available. If you’re flying in then your best options are Heathrow, Gatwick or City airports. There is also the option of the Eurostar which arrives at St Pancras.
When you’ve safely landed in London there are a few hacks to utilising the public transport systems. The first rule is, remember peak times! Peak times are certain hours in the morning and evening where transport is extremely busy with commuters. Avoid whenever possible. Especially because travelling outside of these times tends to be easier and cheaper. Secondly, download yourself an app that makes travelling around London more straightforward. Citymapper is a great one!
Hopefully this blog has helped make London seem a little bit less intimidating. We know when travelling to a different country, the culture shocks can knock you off your feet. However, London is like a whole different country of its own, even people from different English cities can find it a whirlwind. Here are a few travel tips from the team;
Remember to pack a coat or umbrella - there's no rhyme nor reason to the rain in London!
Remember that ‘Are you alright?’ usually means ‘hello’!
Public transport is your friend
London is great but it isn't cheap so just be mindful of expenses
Our team is based all over the city and so have a great experience of navigating it and making the most of what London has to offer. If you're coming from overseas, take some quality English Breakfast tea back with you along with a few bars of Cadbury's chocolate. You can't go wrong.
“London has always been my home and I love having it on my doorstep. There's always somewhere you haven't been or something you haven't done.”