To make a selection of the most important places to see them in London is a real challenge. It’s the London from Nothing Hill and Love Actually, the London of My Fair Lady or Sherlock Holmes. It’s the city of the double decker buses, of the Queen and princesses, the city of the five o’clock tea, lush breakfasts and those unmistakably black cabs. And if the city overwhelms you, the Londoners will conquer you on the spot: it’s enough to stop for one second and gaze on the map, that someone will politely ask you if he can help you with anything. And if you want to leave home with a plan, then mark on the list all of the below:
Take a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus
I know, they are for tourists. Exactly like you :). There are many cities in which I wouldn’t recommend to take the hoho buses, but to walk as much as possible. Yet, especially if you are for the first time in London, the Hop-On Hop-Off is a good idea: you will see the most important attractions (such as the Parliament, the Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, the London Eye) and you’ll get an idea of how big is the city and, very important, in what areas you’ll want to come back later for a longer ride.
Visit a few museums
There are too many to see them all in one vacation, so choose at least two or three that you really want to see. You cannot miss them, I mean it – museums are such an important part of the British culture, are, as the English say and the whole world has taken over, must-sees. I know that you consider it might be possible to sit for hours at the endless queues, so make a plan and buy your tickets online, as to avoid the crowds. On your list should be the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Tate Modern, the Design Museum and so many others.
Roam around a lot. This time by foot
You’re definitely going to fall in love with the streets of Nothing Hill and you’ll enjoy the thrill of discovering antiques, but also amazing stuff at the flea market in Portobello. If you want to, you can go shopping in East London – here you won’t find famous brands, but you have the opportunity to discover some of the coolest boutiques. It’s an inspired choice when you’re looking for something different. At the opposite end, there’s Harrods, a true institution, where you have to go, it’s a real experience. Toward the evening, go in Mayfair, the most exclusive residential area of London. And book the next morning for a walk in Hyde Park.
Enjoy the delicious cuisine
Start with an English breakfast, like a true Londoner. Drink tea at noon, and… well, and at dinner, I don’t even know what to recommend you for lunch and dinner, as in London you’ll find any kind of cuisine. From Mediterranean to Indian or French, not to mention all the pastries and snacks you can nibble at every street corner. Of the dozens of famous restaurants, try Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill for seafood, Pied a Terre – a classic French restaurant with a Michelin star –, Sushi Samba if you like Japanese food, or Sketch, which is a bar, a brasserie, a library and an art gallery at the same time. It’s decorated so nice that it deserves getting there even for a cup of coffee. Pardon, a cup of tea :).