Just some of our favourite London things

Exploring London -

Just some of our favourite London things

I'm often asked what a Londoner would recommend for visitors to do in London. It's hard to know where to start. There are just so many things to do... and I might be a little Hackney-centric, but here are some of my favourites.

London can be very tiring, covering a lot of ground. Up and down escalators, hopping on and off buses and pounding the pavements for miles. Plan your days well so you're not trekking back and forth. It's a big city and travel within it can add up.

One of my favourite ways to see the main sights is by river boat. The Thames Clipper allows you to get a day ticket, hop on and off when you like, or just stay on for the ride. There's a cafe and toilet. It passes the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Tower of London, St Paul's, London Eye and many more key attractions. Wave at the people as you pass under millennium bridge. Or head out on a guided tour to Greenwich and back.

Other ways to get around London 
On foot (check out apps like go jauntly) and make sure you've got comfortable shoes, you'll certainly clock up the miles. Tube (avoid peak travel times if you can and remember to stand on the right), bus and overground (use an Oyster card or contactless - you'll need one for each traveller), Lime bike or similar, grab a rickshaw in Central London and of course, Uber or a traditional London black cab. Although be aware that traffic can be very slow at peak times.

The usual suspects, in no particular order

If it's your first visit to London you'll probably want to tick off all the main attractions.

HIghgate cemetry 

And some other ideas...

  • Dennis Severs House . This Spitalfields house was built in 1724. Walk through time following the story of an imaginary Huguenot family who lived there.
  • Postal Museum. Ride a mail train and explore the history of our postal system.
  • London Transport Museum. Learn about the history of London transport in the heart of Covent Garden.
Museum of the home picnic

Grab a bite in central London
We love Rossodisera on Monmouth Street or Da Mario, just around the corner on Endell Street. Or for a very fancy treat in Marylebone, Orrery.

Head over to Euston, NW1 for delicious vegetarian curry at Diwana Bhel Poori House. Bring your own drink (from the shop next door).

If you're in the Spitalfields area, there are plenty of market food stalls, or this place is perfect for tea and cake or full lunch. The Market Coffee House & Bar. Next door to Liverpool St. Station you'll find a wealth of choice at Eataly. Get a take out and head to the park just to the left of Spitalfields market. A little further up, in Shoreditch, is the fabulous Gloria - Italian food with 70s Capri-style trattoria. Or near Aldgate tube is the Whitechapel Gallery restaurant. 


    Netil House 360  


    Going up!
    We love to go high, somewhere with a view.

    St Pancras


    Village life
    London is made up of many little villages, each with its own character. A day just walking from one to the other can be fascinating. Hackney Central to Hackney Wick. Covent Garden to Trafalgar Square, Knightsbridge to Soho, Gospel Oak to Hampstead. Or just a wander along the Southbank from County Hall to the Aquarium. You'll see lots of street entertainers. Cross the bridge from South to North and head up into the West End. You'll find more entertainers in Covent Garden.

    The markets also have their own personalities. For a vast range of food try Borough Market. Covent Garden for sophisticated gifts Camden or Spitalfields Market for a mix of vintage, clothing and gifts.

    Columbia Road

    columbia road music

    On Sundays the famous Columbia Road Flower Market is worth a visit. Quite often you'll find musicians playing. The Royal Oak has a very nice restaurant upstairs. Then perhaps walking onto Victoria Park for the food market. Or on Saturdays Broadway market has a fabulous mix of food and gifts. Near by, just to the East of London Fields, on Mentmore Terrace you'll find the famous E5 Bakehouse full of ethically sourced foods, local produce and cafe. 


    From here, head South to Netil Market and onto Broadway Market, walk along the canal heading East, past the famous gas towers, along to a wonderful warehouse style restaurant with performance in the basement, Bistroteque. Heading back via Bethnal Green Tube, pop into Town Hall Hotel for a drink or wander onto Lee Hurst Back Yard for a bit of comedy.

    A walk further East can take you to the Palm Tree, often with live music at the weekends or head out to Number 90, Hackney Wick, for food, art and music at the canal-side bar or Crate Brewery for pizza and beer.

    From Liverpool Street station walk over to Old Spitalfields Market. From here you can cut through the brewery visiting places such as Rough Trade Records or have a walk along Fournier Street to see the fantastic Georgian houses, turning left up Brick Lane.

    rough trade records

    At the weekends this area is packed with market stalls. During the week you'll find a few curry houses and the 24 hour bagel bakery right at the top. Where you can get a bagel at any time of night or day, freshly baked!


    Kings Cross there's a huge area, recently redeveloped, full of shops, restaurants, cafes and huge square with fountains. 

    kings x

    Down by the river
    One of my favourite walks is from St Pauls tube station. Walk through Paternoster square and to St Pauls. From here you can walk across the millennium bridge and over to the Tate Modern.

    There's a fantastic view of St Pauls looking back from the cafe on the 6th floor. You'll also be able to see Shakespeare's Globe.


    If you're visiting The Tower of London or Tower Bridge then a walk around St Katherine's Dock is nice and peaceful. It's worth trying to see the bridge at night when it's all lit up.

    St Katherine's Dock

    There are cafes and restaurants and lots of boats to admire. Don't forget to have a look at the sun dial outside Tower Hill station.

    sundialsun dial

    Out East
    If you want to head further East, walk through the old warehouses of wapping, along to the Prospect of Whitby. (Read about our tour of Wapping here).

    Prospect of Whitby

    Heading North
    For a view back over London get the train to Gospel Oak and walk up to Parliament Hill. Then on into Hampstead Heath and into the pretty village streets of Hampstead. The Holly Bush, one of the oldest pubs has flickering gas lamps.

    Parliament hill view

    Parliament Hill

    Young at heart

    west res

    After all that, you'll be ready for a sit down... and we do love picnic on a London day out.
    We have three London PACMAT prints. Inner London, London Parks and London National Park City to help you plan your days, or keep as a souvenir.

    Read how we tried to tick off the parks.

    > London Picnic Spots