1. Tower Bridge
The iconic bridge epitomizes London with its Gothic towers overlooking the River Thames. Named after the Tower of London which it mirrors in style, it was built in 1894. Even though it is an iconic tourist spot, many Londoners, some 40,000 of them, cross it everyday. The 800-foot long bridge was repainted its current blue and white in 2008.
2. St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The Gothic facade of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel right by the Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations is exquisite. Originally opened in the 1870s showcasing all the Victorian splendor of the time, it was closed down in 1935 when it became too expensive to maintain. It was re-opened in 2011 after massive renovations, restoring it to its old-world grandeur. Once inside, the grand staircase, a spectacular sight all its own spirals up to the high vaulted ceiling. Grab coffee at the cafe and marvel at the audacious old-world glamour of this hotel.
3. King’s Cross Tunnel
The 90 meter-long passenger tunnel in King’s Cross not far from St. Pancras Hotel has an LED lightwall that makes it crazy fun to walk through. Opened in 2014, this is one of Europe’s longest light walls and makes you feel like you might be walking through a sci-fi movie. The tunnel is open Monday through Wednesday from 7a-8p.
4. Peggy Porschen Cakes
Originally from Germany, Peggy Porschen started her namesake bakery from her home in Battersea. Now this adorable bakery in the chic Belgravia neighborhood is a must-go for cake lovers. With its bubblegum pink exterior and deliciously decorated interiors, you will find yourself as in love with this adorable cake shop as you will with the strawberry and champagne cupcakes there. Right by the Victoria station and walking distance to Westminster Abbey, it’s a perfect place to fuel up for a round of sightseeing. If you find yourself inspired by her picturesque cakes and want to try your hand at it, check out Peggy’s books on Amazon for culinary and design inspiration!
5. Alice in Wonderland style bars
While in the country where Lewis Carroll was born, why not partake in some Alice in Wonderland themed fun? Callooh Calley in Shoreditch is a quirky cocktail bar taking the A-in-W concept to fun heights with hidden rooms behind a closet door and friendly bartenders mixing up sumptuous cocktails. Equally eccentric is the Looking Glass Cocktail Club which I loved so much I went there two nights in a row. Innovative drinks are served with addictive popcorn and the looking glass door leads into a back room with a DJ and dance floor. This converted warehouse turned speakeasy is a perfect spot for some some whimsy and good times.
6. Dishoom Shoreditch
Modeled after Bombay cafes that were all the rage in the 60’s, Dishoom was not just one of my favorite restaurants in London, it was also an Instagram dream. With vintage details, Indian flair and upscale ambiance, it truly was worth all the hype. The daal makhani there was to die for and the drinks were inventive and nostalgic; be sure to reserve a spot way in advance so you don’t miss out on this experience.
7. Neal’s Yard
Accessibly only through 2 pedestrian alleys, this colorful courtyard is hidden in plain sight right by one of the most happening areas in London, Covent Garden. With brightly painted walls and murals, it houses Neal’s Yard remedies where you can stock up on organic beauty and wellness products and other ethical stores.
8. Clapton Country Club
We might never have found this venue if not for our awesome Airbnb hosts who happened to own this place and were hosting a New Year’s eve party that we were invited to. This unique, converted tram shed venue in Hackney can be rented out for weddings and other events but they also host a weekly Sunday roast dinner. Check this place out for a truly unique industrial-chic space with recycled decor in a much less touristy part of London.