Thanks to Amna Alam for today’s guest post. She is a is a London-based freelance writer who loves to discover cities around the world.
Having lived in London over the last four years, I’ve always found it a struggle to leave. With such great shopping districts, irresistible food and an arts scene that never fails to impress, London has always offered more than I can imagine. Every stop on the underground has a unique vibe to it, and is a chance to discover new places and create new memories.
Here are a few highlights of my experience that will make your visit to London just as special.
Oxford Street is overflowing with tourists and it’s where you can find just about anything from high street brands to designer items. Between Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road you’ll find electronics and home design studio shops. Chelsea also has specialty house décor boutiques like Anthropologie.
Vibrant street markets such as Portobello Market in Notting Hill, Borough Market near London Bridge, Camden Market and Greenwich Market offer distinctive arts and crafts, as well as specialty, fancy foods. Since I lived right on the river, I’d hop on the Thames Clipper for a ride across the river to Greenwich market, where I picked up freshly made fudge.
I’d pop to Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush for items like aromatic hammam sea salts and bath soaks from the spa shop, Rituals. You can grab lunch at the world canteen – my all-time favourite is Comptoir Libanais for their piping hot chicken taouk and a refreshing pomegranate orange blossom juice called roomana. I’d normally take the tube everywhere but with so many bags to take home, I’d book a ride with National Car Hire and park it in the car park to easily load my shopping. It’s also great to have a car when going to outlet shops in Watford, Lakeside or Kent for the Blue Water Mall.
I discovered great lunch spots like Benugo on Curzon Street, an ideal place for a carrot, ginger and lime soup along with the falafel wrap. The fresh juices at Crussh fresh juices had me hooked too – I have gone through about 5 loyalty cards already, which means I’ve already enjoyed 5 free juices. Ask for a not very well blended ‘Love Juice’ with a guarana booster, infused with oranges, peaches, bananas and strawberries.
Head to Southall, Tooting Broadway, Wembley, and Ilford for all of your favourite Indian, Pakistani, Bengali and Sri Lankan cravings. I’ve been to several restaurants such as The Pink Simba and Kebabish as well as cheap eats like Kati Roll and Saravanaa Bhavan. For something more centrally located, why not try Tayyab’s or Maedah Grill in Whitechapel? Edgware road is also central for Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian cuisine where you can enjoy mint tea and shisha. If you fancy upscale dining, Noura in Mayfair for Lebanese food and Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia for Thai food are among my favourites.
A cuppa and a cupcake
A classic English cuppa accompanied by a cupcake, scones or pastries can be indulged at places like Hummingbird Bakery, Lola’s Cupcakes, Café Concerto, Patisserie Valerie and Fortnum and Mason. Ca’puccino also serves up the finest Italian coffee such as the hazelnut espresso called Nocciola.
Culture and Arts Scene
Year-round, there’s a great line up of events showcasing local and international talents across all art forms at the Southbank Centre. The nearest underground station is Waterloo and it sits adjacent to the London Eye and overlooks the Thames and the picturesque houses of parliament. I never miss out on the Alchemy Festival and the Chocolate Festival.
Museums including the Tate Modern, British Museum and the National Art Gallery are worth checking out and if you’re a music fan, head out to the O2 in North Greenwich for live concerts featuring a variety of bands.
So many great choices! Thanks, Amna.
If you’d like to read another one of Amna’s posts, check this out:
You should also:
The O2 / Millennium Dome by Tanya Hart
Regent Street by Stuart Chalmers