5 Awesome Things to do in London

London is by far one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s the first city I ever visited abroad and ranks very high on my 30 best cities in the world list. I’ve visited over 100 times since I lived there in 1998 but I’ve written very little about it over the years. Perhaps because everyone has written about it I’ve been turned off to doing so. However, I think it’s high time I do a 5 awesome things to do in London post because after all, this is my website and my opinions and thoughts. So lets go!

Cocktail Bars

If you follow me you know I love cocktails and especially visiting different top cocktail bars. London is the top spot in the world for cocktails and each time I go there is a new smattering of great new cocktail bars around London. As time has gone on, they have started spreading to outer London and gone from super high end to underground Brooklyn-esque. So here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.

5 Awesome Things to do in London

American Bar is perhaps the best bar in the world. The inventive cocktails, classic atmosphere and location in the Savoy Hotel make it very appealing. It’s not a cheap place to drink but it’s hard to put a price on perfection.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, cocktail bars, American Bar, Savoy Hotel

Bar Termini is a small little gem on Old Compton Street in London. It’s modeled after Termini station in Rome and offers amazing coffee, parmesan cheese and other goodies along with killer cocktails. It’s a Soho institution in my book and the closest thing to Dante in New York this side of the pond.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Bar Termini

Nightjar, located right off the Old Street tube station is a speakeasy type place, very well hidden, with impeccable décor, great sharing plates, outlandish cocktails and a great atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite bars in London and worth the trek out.

 

Oriole is a place I put off going to for a long time out in Farringdon but once I did I was blown away. You may have to wait outside for a bit but once you walk down it’s pure awesomeness. It’s like a live music, Cuban Caribbean themed place with great drinks to match. The festive place makes you happy to be alive and it’s a great place to go with a small group of people.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, The Donovan Bar, Brown's Hotel, London

The Donovan Bar in the Rocco Forte classic, Brown’s Hotel, is a treat of old meets modern in Mayfair. Aside from Brown’s Hotel being one of my favorite hotels in London, the bar is high up on the list as well. Ask the bartender to make you something and you won’t be disappointed. Not to mention the olives and truffle nuts they serve to all are amazing!

 

The Connaught Bar in the Connaught Hotel may be the most classic bar in London. It’s a staple at the top of the top bars lists and it’s easy to see why. The art deco design, amazing cocktails, excellent service and old world Gatsby feel transport you back to prohibition era London.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Connaught Bar

Three Sheets out in Dalston of all places is the cocktail worlds best example of excellence in simplicity. It’s literally a hole in the wall with one shelf of liquor bottles and a nothing décor. It’s somewhere out of rundown Manchester but absolutely crushes cocktails. Just ask the bartender to do her favorite concoction and be happy you did. It’s far out but worth the Uber out to Dalston.

 

I could go on and on but those are some top choices to get you started in London and my own best bars in the world list will be coming out soon!

Hotels

Hotel, like cocktails are a London institution. I’ve been to London over 100 times and have probably stayed in over 70 of the top hotels in the city. I always tend to repeat some good ones but always am on the lookout to try new ones, or at least new ones to me. Here are a few I highly recommend.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Brown's Hotel

The aforementioned Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair is one of, if not the oldest hotel in London and it’s simply fantastic. I had wanted to stay there for years and finally got to my last trip. It didn’t disappoint. The rooms are renovated with large bathrooms, excellent furniture and perhaps the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. The breakfast is perfect English. They offer high tea, have one of the bigger gym’s I’ve been to in London and of course the Donovan Bar is superb. I couldn’t recommend this old new spot with a perfect Mayfair location on Albemarle Street.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Brown's Hotel

The Savoy Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in the world. While the rooms are nice enough, you stay at the Savoy for the Savoy itself. The Savoy boasts the only road in the UK where cars drive on the right in and out of the hotel. It features the American Bar and the Beaufort Bar although my latest Beaufort Bar experience was disappointing; it’s always been good in the past. It also has attached theatre if you’re into West End shows and nearby Simpsons is a London classic restaurant.

 

Grosvenor House is now a JW Marriott property and after renovation has become one of my favorite London hotel choices. It’s out on the edge of Mayfair off Hyde Park and a bit further out than I’d like but it boasts great rooms, excellent lobby area, bar, high tea and restaurant. I have also found it be very personalized service and I’ve always enjoyed staying there. I also once did a live TV broadcast from it on Fox News several years ago.

 

Like cocktail bars, I could go on and on about hotels but aside from the classics I mentioned here, choose your hotel based on the location and each time you go to London, stay in a different area to get to know different places. But if you only have one shot at London, I think there’s no better area to stay in than Mayfair. It’s a pricey area but you won’t be mad you did it.

Sites

London has more sites than just about any city in the world. I could literally go on forever. So I’m going to name a few obvious ones and a few you may not be aware of. I’m also including museums in sites because otherwise it would be way more than 5 awesome things to do in London!

 

Big Ben and Parliament, obviously, are must sees although they’re both currently under renovation for a few years unfortunately. However, Westminster Abbey is open now.

5 Awesome Things to do in London. Westminster Abbey

Piccadilly Circus is a classic place in London that you’ll surely run into whether you want to or not much like neighboring Leicester Square; my least favorite place in central London but it’s unavoidable. Just take it for what it is and you’ll think it’s cool like Times Square in New York.

 

Covent Garden is a classic London area worth a long look. It’s become a high-end place for shopping, restaurants and bars these days but still maintains it’s old school appeal where you can transport yourself back to the 17th century for a public execution.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is on everyone’s list of course and you should see it for sure. You may be disappointed by how bland it is from the outside but f you’re into the changing of the guard then you’ll like seeing that each morning. Sadly the Queen never shows up!

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Primrose Hill

The Royal Parks are perhaps my favorite thing in London. Green Park, Hyde Park, St. James Park, Regents Park and Kensington Gardens are excellent urban parks and keep the hustle and bustle of Central London at bay. I especially love Primrose Hill in Regents Park and the pond in St. James and the serpentine in Hyde Park.

 

The Churchill War Rooms is the best museum in London hands down in my book. They do an excellent job or showing modern history making you feel like you’re living Winston Churchill’s life during World War II.

 

Abbey Road Studios and the zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles Album cover of the same name are cheesy but very popular. It’s very fun if you’re a Beatles fan, like going to the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Take your token photo crossing the street, check out the studios and be gone with you.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Abbey Road, zebra crossing, Beatles

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are classic London stops. While I’m not a big fan of the Tower of London, I still smile every time I see Tower Bridge. To me that’s the quintessential London site.

 

Museums like the Tate, Tate Modern, National Gallery, V&A, Natural History are all worth seeing if you’re really into art and history but none are better than the British Museum in my opinion. If you have to choose one museum to see, that’s the one.

 

St. Paul’s is a tremendous cathedral and even with all the great cathedrals in Europe, to me, it’s as good as any of them save St. Peter’s in the Vatican. I highly recommend checking it out to see the inside for yourself. Then head up to the top of the dome for great views of London City.

5 Awesome Things to do in London. Notting Hill

Finally, just walk along the embankment of the River Thames. It’s a great walk, nice river and you’ll basically all of London if you just walk along the Thames. Also be sure to check out pretty neighborhoods like Notting Hill and Chelsea for great street photo opportunities.

Sports

Where do I begin with sports? London is a sports mad town and has a ton on offer from small venues to the biggest in Europe, whatever sport you like you can find it in London. Here are a few worth checking out.

 

Wimbledon at the All England Club is the crown jewel of tennis each summer. Head out to SW19 and see the best in the world go at it for a fortnight. Even if you can’t score Centre Court tickets, get a grounds pass and watch from Henman Hill.

 

Emirates Stadium, Stamford Bridge, the new White Hart Lane, Olympic Stadium and Craven Cottage all currently host English Premier League teams although Fulham will soon be out. Nonetheless, these stadiums are worth visits and even if there’s not a game, you can usually get in for a tour of the grounds.

 

Twickenham is the home of Rugby. If you’re into Rugby and occasionally an NFL game is held here, then Twickenham is your Mecca. It annually hosts 6 Nations and other big tournaments. It recently hosted the last Rugby World Cup final and is a great place to take in some global sports.

 

Wembley Stadium is called the home of football although it’s not the old stadium, it’s still the host of all the top national football team games and has beent eh host for Tottenham the last few years as their new stadium has been long delayed in opening. Take a tour of Wembley even if no games are in town.

 

Lords is the best place to watch Cricket, if that’s your thing. I’ve been and it’s not my thing but it’s still fun to watch other people get into it while you enjoy an adult beverage while watching a game that is impossible to understand.

 

O2 Arena hosts lots of events throughout the years but has also been the host of the year-end ATP Finals featuring the top 8 tennis players of the year. It’s a fun event that may start moving again soon but for now the O2 is still home.

Markets

London is flush with restaurants, many amongst the worlds best. However, I love eating and strolling through the many markets that London has daily or on weekends. Here are a few that I like.

 

Borough Market has excellent food everywhere you look. Whatever your taste you can find it here.

 

Old Spitalfields Market in East London is another vibrant London market that is really popular for lunch during the week.

 

Portobello Road Market is a classic Saturday market that offers just about everything imaginable under the gray London sky. It’s very crowded but fun to walk around Notting Hill and see what there is to see.

5 Awesome Things to do in London, Portobello Road, market

Camden Market is a big conglomerate of markets all adjoining to make one massive market. It’s very popular on weekends and you can get whatever you want for reasonable prices. Also great people watching.

 

So that’s 5 awesome things to do in London in a nutshell. There’s so much more to write but that’s the beauty of a place like London, we all make our own city and our own trip. It’s nice to have a guide but London is a city for the world and the ages. Enjoy one of my favorites, London!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the bar recs!

  2. Nice post! Thanks for sharing!

  3. northern railway tender says

    Nice article, thanks for sharing.

  4. Cricket Impossible to understand, I thought you were a smart bloke! Guess not!!

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