Remember that post where I shared a few of the places I’m dying to visit? I have a few pretty big adventures in the works for the next couple months, the first of which is a trip to London! My brother Grayson is studying abroad there for the semester and I’m so excited to visit him for a week in March. Fingers crossed for warmer weather than we’ve had in New York!

I haven’t visited London since I studied abroad in Tours, France, five years ago (when I started this blog, ahhhh!) and I can’t wait to explore the city with a fresh perspective. I think I’ve made most of the touristy stops on previous trips but I’d love your recommendations on where to eat/shop/museum hop/frolic/etc.! I’m excited to have a few days to myself while he’s in class to wander the streets and get to know the city better. So tell me: what are your London recommendations?

notting hill london recommendations*image

P.S. This is becoming a favorite travel tradition of mine to ask for your recommendations and then share details of my trip when I return! Interested in my 2014 trips? Check out the Design Darling travel guide and reader recommendations for Atlanta (my recap), Austin (my recap), Dallas (my recap), and Saint Martin (my recap). Can’t wait to hear your London recommendations! So lucky to have such a stylish and well-traveled bunch to crowdsource travel tips from 🙂


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  1. Hi Mackenzie,
    I’m originally from Boston, MA, but I’ve lived previously in London for work and for vacations back to England. My favorite restaurants include Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea, Bea’s of Bloomsbury with three locations around the city, TwoTwentyTwo in Marylebone, Notes Cafe in Trafalgar Square, Troubadour Cafe in Earl’s Court, and Gordon’s Wine Bar in Embankment.

    I highly recommend taking a walk through Regent’s Park in Marylebone and Hyde Park in South Kensington with the best shopping area north of Hyde Park in Notting Hill. It will be much quieter than the touristy Oxford or Regent Street with many of the same large shops and many more smaller boutiques. Enjoy your trip!

  2. My favorite markets are Borough Market, Spittalfields and Portobello Market. Hope you have an amazing trip!

  3. Coming at ya from Edinburgh, Scotland!
    I was just in London during my half-term break, and while it was only my second time in London, I’ll still offer up my fave places. As for museums, my favorites were the Tate Modern, and the Museum of Natural History- crawling with kids but SO fun! In terms of food, I’d recommend Franco Manca for some of the most incredibly delicious pizza you will ever have- plus organic wine! Also, the Saatchi Gallery is a great and fairly affordable stop for un-fussy (but definitely not unstylish!) high tea. For Indian food (not the most glamorous but an absolute must for London) Masaala Zone was to die for good. My friends and I talked about how amazing the food was afterwards.
    Hope you have a lovely trip! (and if you have the time, I’d definitely recommend hopping on a bus or a plane for a quick trip to Edinburgh- we’re definitely not the most talked about destination, but we have a lot to offer!)
    xxx Leda

  4. Hi there! London is one of my favourite cities in the world and I recommend going to Little Venice, it’s really charming, and then have something to eat in a restaurant that used to be a greenhouse, Clifton Nursery if I remember correctly. Bon voyage! Best regards from Barcelona,

  5. Hi Mackenzie,
    I studied abroad in London several years ago, and went back about a year ago to visit. It’s one of my absolute favorite places and I am hoping to live there again in the next few years. I love wandering around an exploring, and one of the best things I found to facilitate that was the mini version of London A to Z, since London isn’t on a grid system, having a map of the whole city that fits in your purse was great for letting yourself get “lost” and then being able to find your way back or to the nearest Tube station. Other recommendations for things to do: I love walking along the South Bank along the Thames (but it may be cold this time of year), catching a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and seeing the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.

    Most recent favorite places to eat: Kazan in Victoria was an amazing Turkish dinner, and Oliveto was a delicious Italian restaurant. Have a fabulous time!

  6. Hi Mackenzie, I’m living in London now after being in New York the past five years. It’s an amazing city, and you’ll have a wonderful time! I live in Kensington, right near Notting Hill so that’s where most of my recommendations are centered. However, you have to try dinner at The Shed {make reservations soon!}, have tea at the Connaught, visit Liberty London for floors and floors of fun gifts {i second the comment from another girl below on this}, have brunch at Granger & Co {the ricotta pancakes are everything — show up early!}, and party on a Friday night at Piano Kensington where everyone dances and sings with the piano man. Here are a few other restaurant recommendations I wrote about yesterday {}. Have the best time! x

  7. you should have high tea, best somewhere fancy like the Dorchester! You’ll love it!
    and go shoe shopping at LK Bennett! They are stylish, affordable, wearable from day to night and what’s good enough for the princess is good enough for us :)!

  8. I spent 10 days in London last summer and did a TON of research! Mentioned in other comments, I’d definitely recommend:

    – Borough Market (like NYC’s Chelsea Market but so much better and only food!)
    – Churchill Arms in Notting Hill. Great pub and there’s a hidden thai restaurant in the back. it’s won top prizes at the Chelsea Flower Show ….I mean, just look at it:
    – Any of the Ottolenghi restaurants

    I also had a really great meal at the Salt Yard (amazing tapas). Have so much fun!

  9. London was one of my favorite places to visit when I was abroad! I’m hoping I can find a job and work there sometime in the future! My favorite place to eat when I was in London was a Mexican food place called Wahaca. Now I know Mexican food in London sounds really weird by this place was amazing and sustainable! My favorite thing to do was just walk around! London is such a gorgeous city to just get a cup of coffee and take a nice casual stroll! The parks there are amazing and so is the walkway on the Thames!
    Can’t wait to hear all about your trip!

    Sarah Jessica
    The Laws of Beauty

  10. leave time and room to shop at heathrow. it’s like a mall and best yet, everything is duty free (including chanel and hermes!), which is much more lucrative than applying for tax back. you can also reserve items on the phone ahead of time.

  11. Hi Mackenzie — The River Cafe is incredible – I have only been for lunch, but it was one of the best meals I have ever had. Duke’s Bar at the Duke’s Hotel has the best martinis – it’s a fun experience – supposedly it’s the place that inspired Ian Fleming for James Bond’s martinis. Also recommend the “food hall” downstairs at Harrods. Berry Bros & Rudd liquor store is on St. James Street and is where the royal family gets their wine and liquor – pretty cool place to check out even if you don’t purchase anything. It happens to be next to a fun hat store as well!

  12. Hey Mackenzie! Well, I LOVE London and actually studied abroad there for a semester last year. Needless to say, it has my heart. My top recommendations are: Borough Market (its a necessity, no matter how many times you have been), Milk Bar for amazing coffee, Bea’s of Bloomsbury for afternoon tea (not as touristy), Courtauld Gallery of Art at Somerset House (favorite place in London), and visit Cambridge for the day! Here is was my blog while I was traveling and would love for you to check it out: Have so much fun!!!!!

  13. Hey Mackenzie! Well, I LOVE London and actually studied abroad there for a semester last year. Needless to say, it has my heart. My top recommendations are: Borough Market (its a necessity, no matter how many times you have been), Milk Bar for amazing coffee, Bea’s of Bloomsbury for afternoon tea (not as touristy), Courtauld Gallery of Art at Somerset House (favorite place in London), and visit Cambridge for the day! Here is was my blog while I was traveling and would love for you to check it out: Have so much fun!!!!!

  14. You HAVE to go to Ottolenghi for lunch or dinner. I’ve been to England twice and eating there was hands-down the best culinary experience I ever had in London. It’s an incredible Mediterranean place with all sorts of fresh salads and yummy desserts. There are several restaurants throughout London, but I’ve only been to the Nopi and Notting Hill locations. I would absolutely go back, so you should try to check it out!

  15. If the weather is nice definitely take a stroll through Kew Gardens. The Wallace Collection is stunning (and free) and it’s also a stones throw from Selfridges for some shopping. Harrods is always a delight especially at night when it’s lit up. For brekkie/brunch stop in The Breakfast Club, best burgers are at Honest Burgers (the Tribute Burger at their Kings Cross location is to die for as are their rosemary fries). V&A, History Museum, and The British Museum are worth peaks in too. Try an Full English Breakfast if you can. The markets on Sunday are wonderful, my favs are Columbia Road Flower Market, Camden Market, and Borough Market. There’s also a great little hidden food market called Acklam Village Market they have amazing food vendors, free music and outdoor wifi. Also try to see Hoxton Street Monster Supplies a cute shop with a great cause. xx

  16. You have to go to Liberty of London. It was built from the lumber of an old sailing ship. You can’t get more British than this store. You can get the most beautiful scarves and soaps there. Or grab a meter of some beautiful fabric and make your own creation. It’s close to the Oxford Circus tube station.

  17. I was in London for the first time in September. Loved it. I was struck by how happy people seemed to be. I thought just walking around was really great but extra special for me was going on a tour of the Globe Theater and seeing a Shakespeare production as well. Tickets are tough to come by so try now if you can. Also visit Liberty of London. The building is a beautiful old Tudor structure with the most beautiful fresh flowers outside! If you can stop by the Hamyard Hotel you would die for their design aesthetic. Go for a drink and check out their library. When I stayed there, I took as many pictures of the room as I did touring. You’ll love it. I am so jealous. Great tips from your readers. They are going in my file for the next trip.

  18. The Wallace Collection at Hertford House in Manchester Square then Tea The Connaught at Carlos Place,
    Mayfair. My two favorite things to do. Lovely small museum and elegant British tea. Have fun!

  19. Hi Mackenzie, on saturday mornings there is the wonderful flea market of Notting Hill, you would be able to sea the bookshop of Hugh Grant there. And if you go to Borough Market you will also see Bridget Jone’s building.
    Have fun there !

  20. I’m so excited you decided to travel to London! I’m currently studying abroad here and I can’t believe it’s already been two months, there’s so much to do!
    For tea you definitely have to go to sketch or Bea’s of Bloomsbury. sketch is the most instagrammed afternoon tea spot if that puts things into perspective!
    When it comes to museums and monuments it’s really your preference of what you want to see, but every museum is free. The Victoria and Albert is a must for fashion though!
    You definitely have to go to the markets, I suggest Borough Market, Camden Market, Portobello Road market and Brick Lane.
    And you MUST go to Harrods!

  21. Hi Mackenzie!
    I am so jealous that you’re visiting London again! I went in November with a friend for 10 days, and it was exceptional; I absolutely loved it. Like you, we had already visited before so we didn’t do much of the touristy stuff. My must dos in London are:

    – Go to Granger & Co in Notting Hill. The ricotta hotcakes are out of this world. Try and get there as early as possible, because it tends to fill up pretty quickly. It’s open all day (we went twice in one day for breakfast and dinner), but I would recommend breakfast as a priority.

    – Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. It’s a bit out of the city but easily accessible by the Tube. I went in 2008, and again last year, and both meals have made it to the ‘best meals of my life’ list. I would recommend making a reservation now, because again, it books out pretty quickly. We got there about half an hour before our reservation and enjoyed cocktails at the bar before our lunch. We then stayed for about 4 hours; it was just too good! Rose, violet & chocolate cake, duck fat potatoes and parmesan and spinach pasta = heaven.

    – Others have already recommended it, but definitely visit Sketch! Any of their eateries or bars are awesome, but definitely try to see the Pink Room!

    – Bike riding through Hyde Park.

    – Kensington Palace: when we went there was an exhibition on called ‘Fashion Rules’, which was a collection of dresses that were worn by the Queen, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. Even if you don’t see the rest of the palace, this exhibition was incredible.

    – If you can see a show, definitely go. We saw Matilda the Musical and it was phenomenal. It’s coming to Sydney this year and I have already booked tickets to see it again.

    – The Dorchester: we originally went in for a hot chocolate and to escape the cold, but we couldn’t leave. It was divine! We ended up having lunch and doing a spot of celebrity spotting. It’s an amazing place to just sit and soak up the atmosphere.

    – Daylesford is a café (in Pimlico and Notting Hill), organic bakery, deli and grocer. It’s gorgeous and is also right near the Kate Spade store in Sloane Square!

    – We also spent a day in Cambridge, which was freezing, but worth it.

    Hope that helps!

  22. This is totally random, but one of my favorite pubs that visit every time I go to London is Bunch of Grapes in Knightsbrigde. I wandered in with my dad one year and just loved it. It isn’t touristy and is a great place to kick back, relax and get a flavor of real life in London.

    I always start thinking of how I can move to and work in London after spending time there. It is great!

    Laura | Surf & Hydrangeas

  23. Visit the National Portrait Gallery. It sounds SO boring I know, but I was forced to go on a field trip while studying abroad one summer in London and I LOVED it. It’s funny to see all the old painted portraits of older historical people AND the new historical people (Kate Middleton??) !

  24. Have brunch, lunch or just cocktails at any of the Firmdale Hotels. (The Crosby Street Hotel in New York is theirs too). The Charlotte Street, the Hamyard, the Soho, etc. I thought the Liberty print scarves were like Britian’s version of Hermes. And of course it was a little weird to stop in JCrew and see all the same great styles miles across the Atlantic! Hakkasan reminded me of a bit higher scale Buddakan. And download Goop’s London guide – definitely good suggestions in there.

  25. I spent a year living in England, and I ventured down to London a lot! Everyone has already suggested some fabulous places to visit. One restaurant that you MUST go to is Bodean’s in Soho. Its’s an American BBQ joint (I know, I know you’re England…but seriously – it’s amazing. The best bbq I’ve ever had). My friend who is a native Londoner took me there last year…and then I went back another three times that year because it was just so good. If you go, make sure you go downstairs and put your name in for a table to eat downstairs – it’s much better, trust me. Also, unless you go to dinner very early, expect to wait about an hour for a table. When you put your name in, they take your cell # to text you when your table is ready! So, you can explore Soho or pop into a pub for a drink while you wait.

    Have such a blast in London! I’m jealous – I miss it so much! I suspect you will have fun shopping on Regent St. 😉

  26. You should absolutely visit the Sir John Soanes museum! There is usually a queue but its so worth the wait. Its located near Lincoln Inn’s Field (closest tube is Holborn) It’s truly one of my favourite museums (and as some who works in & visits a ton of museums its saying something!) The V&A is aways a good bet too. If you like museums the British Museum is worth a look but set yourself a time limit or you’ll be in there for days! Worth checking out if only for the Parthenon Marbles

  27. Tate Modern is one of my favorite modern art museums in the world; walk across the Millennium Bridge to and from for an amazing view of the Tate Modern Tower and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
    Harrods for sure!
    The Eye is absolutely worth it for the amazing views, especially at sunset.

  28. bea’s of bloomsbury
    london eye at sunset
    ye old cheshire cheese pub
    neal’s yard cheese
    taking the bus versus the tube – such a fun way to see the city
    last minute show
    indian food
    the british library if you didn’t go last time
    and this might sound odd, but the whole foods on kensington high street – coolest whole foods and some of the best to-go food!

  29. I’m going to London in 2 weeks as well for spring break! 🙂 I’m going to have use some of these recommendations for sure! Have a great time, I know that I ABSOLUTELY cannot wait!

  30. Geales in Notting Hill for the best Fish and Chips in the city! Don’t miss the mushy peas, too. You will remember this spot for years, it’s that special!

  31. You must go to Sketch for afternoon tea or a fun cocktail! Make sure you visit the loo for a strange design experience!

  32. Window shopping and walking around Sloane Square is great fun. In the 80s, the “Sloane Ranger” was the British version of the Preppy, named for all the young professionals living around Sloane Square. For shopping, Joules is a fun store (blue and white sailor shirts and variations!). I also love Franchetti Bond boots (Duke of York Square) and Moloh (Pimlico Road). You should also check out Patrick Mavros on Fulham Road. He’s a Zimbabwean silversmith who does fantastic african-inspired silver. I love his jewelry but its great just to go in the store just to see the great sculptures. Fulham Road has some really fun shops.

  33. Tea and macarons at Laduree are too die for! I recommend the Marie Antoinette tea. The Thirsty Bear Pub is also great!

  34. I was in London for my last semester! It was incredible. Don’t miss Notting Hill (such pretty houses! so many vintage shops!) and the Portobello Road Market – it’s huge and full of so many different things! Primark is a fun way to stock up on some cool fashions, Itsu is a great asian food place, the Victoria and Albert museum is in sanely beautiful and amazing, and don’t miss out on afternoon tea!

    Hope you have a great time!! I wish I was there too!

  35. I’m studying in London now as well, and I think my favorite spot to go is Sketch. I’ve been twice and it is perfect for a special night out or a special afternoon tea! Franco Manca has the best pizza (with the best prices) and Gordon’s Wine Bar is always a hit. If you want a good pub with better food and a history to match, head over to Hammersmith and try the Dove! It also contains the world’s tiniest pub room which works well for a picture with a plaque. I hope you enjoy your time in London, it is, in my humble opinion, the best place on Earth! If you want to see photos of Sketch/their tea/their dinner menu I put some up on my blog! (The tea is the best. You can refill the tier!) Oh and if you’re in the mood for lunch while perusing Oxford Street go to Smack Deli. It’s on the end closest to Primark/the Marble Arch tube stop and has excellent lobster rolls and my personal favorite, courgette fries! Perfect to refuel before trying to handle Primark’s racks and racks of merchandise. I hope you have the best time, and I hope your brother is enjoying his studies as much as I am!

  36. London is the best! Harrods of course! Also the ethnic food (i.e. Thai, Indian) is amazing….and you should totally meet up with Rosie of the Londoner (; eat some fish and chips for me! xx

  37. Victoria Gardens along the Embankment are beautiful and serene! And for food, Bumpkin in Notting Hill is a fantastic little gastropub. Hyde Park is a personal favorite as well!

  38. martinis at DUKES Bar at the Dukes Hotel (this place is legendary)
    scones from Bea’s of Bloomsbury
    tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace
    Janet’s Bar in South Kensington (owned by an American woman, Janet! also, Pippa Middleton allegedly used to frequent this place)
    shopping along the King’s Road in Chelsea
    the department stores: Harrods, Peter Jones, Liberty (the food hall in the basement of Harrods is cool to explore)
    Victoria & Albert museum and/or Churchill War Rooms are my top museum picks
    Tower of London (touristy yes, but I still love it!)
    Gordon’s Wine Bar
    Portobello Road for antiques/collectibles on Saturdays
    going for dinner & quiz night at a local pub – obviously there are hundreds of pubs all over the city but my favorite is the Cadogan Arms in Chelsea
    Bibendum Oyster Bar for oysters and drinks (South Kensington)

    Hope you enjoy your trip! I lived in London for a summer and wish all the time I could be back there!

  39. I’m so jealous you’re going to London! I spent a semester there as well during my study abroad. I studied at Regent’s College which is in Regent’s Park. The park is perfect for a stroll even on a gray day, its really beautiful. If you have time you should definitely take the train to Bath! Its such a cute little town and thers’s loads to do. The Jane Austen Tea House is a favorite of mine, but I have a feeling you’d love the Fashion museum as well. 🙂 You should also check out a Cath Kidston store while in London. They have such adorable accessories and I really love their sneakers. Have an amazing time!

    Also, thought you should know I used to work at Bucknell!

  40. I loved the Victoria and Albert museum, riding the train, walking through all the parks, and checking out the palace guards. I also love Agatha Christie so went to “The Mouse Trap”, If I went again I would head out to Cornwall, Dover, etc and try to experience life like Christie’s characters, Marple, and Poirot and have high tea plus check out all the shops. Have a great time! Just got back from a train ride from Seattle, WA Whitefish, MT, we went skiing for 2 days and had a blast.

  41. For shopping I would definitely check out Carnaby Street (Liberty!) and Covent Garden rather than sticking to the tourist trap of Oxford Street itself. Covent Garden has a beautiful Laduree macaron store, Pineapple dance studios and a dinky Kate Spade. There are so many quirky food options hidden around London and I can’t possibly post them all here (the fun is in the discovery!) but check out Patty&Bun/Meat Liquor (watch out for the queue!) just off Oxford Street, Camden Market’s Chin Chin Lab liquid nitrogen ice cream bar, Soho’s tiny sushi shops and Bubbleology branch, or even Cereal Killer Cafe in Brick Lane (you guessed it, they only serve that staple breakfast food). South Kensington is my home from home (so I’m biased!) but they have an incredible set of museums all along Exhibition Road and when you’re finished you can wander along Knightsbridge, through Hyde Park or just visit the cafes galore – need I say Hummingbird? For activities, Prince Charles Cinema is something a little different (they even do sing-a-longs) and it is just off Leicester Square. If you fancy heading out of the centre, try Greenwich for the cross-Thames cable car or walking along the Southbank after a day soaking up the atmosphere and samples at Borough Market. Columbia Road is pretty unmissable too for your Sunday peony fix! Hope you have an amazing trip xxx

  42. The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square is my favorite London museum! Also the Victoria and Albert Museum is a can’t miss – go to lunch at the food halls in Harrod’s after!! Both of those museums are large and a bit overwhelming, but great to wander and just soak it all in. Also- Borough Market. THE BEST. SO much delicious food! And take an afternoon to wander through Kensington Gardens, and go see the Princess Diana fountain in Hyde Park! Have fun- such an amazing city!

  43. any of the ottolenghi restaurants or delis – everything he does is perfection and nopi is gorgeously designed to boot

  44. Oh Mackenzie I’m so excited to see where you go and what you do! Its indisputably the best city in the world. I spent a few months there last summer there and am moving back this September for a year long study abroad program (I can’t hardly wait!) Here’s a list of my favorites, that I also recommended to Katie on the NeoTrad– her post is a great resource if you haven’t already checked that out!
    -dishoom is a must for both the excellent indian food and the atmosphere (you’ll feel like you wandered out of London and into Bombay!)
    -jackson & rye is a favorite for brunch, and while it’s often busy there is usually space at the bar (don’t let them seat you in the basement! the upstairs decor is so chic and worth the wait for a table or a spot at the bar).
    -if you’re up for it, check out some of the bars in camden. the blues kitchen is a favorite of mine, and has great bbq if you’re craving a taste of the states.
    -my favorite g&t in the city can be found at graphic in soho, it’s very hip but rarely overcrowded.
    -the magic garden pub in battersea often has fantastic live music and is quaint and comfortable, decked out with plush couches and fairy lights if you’re looking to step out of the bustle of the city.
    -you should definitely stop by battersea park at night and enjoy the view of thames and the st albert bridge by the buddhist temple, it’s one of the most charming views in the city.
    -the v&a is by far my favorite museum in the world. be sure to grab a latte in cafe/garden as it absolutely gorgeous.
    -the churchill war rooms are extremely well done and had me wanting to redecorate my entire apartment in british wartime decor
    -i always love strolling kings road in chelsea as well, which you could make an afternoon or morning of. be sure to check out the satchi gallery in duke of york square and wander down to bluebird for lunch and shopping in their boutique (and rococo chocolates across the street is a dream come true if youre a chocolate lover!)
    -if you get a sunny day, it’s really nice to take a boat ride down to greenwhich and see london from the water. greenwhich is a lovely place for a picnic (you can grab delicious street food at the market) and has a fantastic view from the observatory.
    -notting hill is delightful (watch the Hugh Grant movie again before you go– I mean, I love all the Hugh Grants but Notting Hill Hugh Grant is on his own level) for strolling, shopping and pizza at Otto (lovely to sit outside on a warm night)
    -no trip is complete without a stop at liberty. be sure to check out the paper goods on the ground floor and stop for tea in the cafe.
    So looking forward to seeing your itinerary!!

  45. You HAVE to go to Fortnum & Mason for high tea at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Parlor!! The whole place is amazing, and the ice cream parlor also deserves a visit. It has upscale British brands for shopping, a whole food level that sells their teas and sweets, and a home level with to-die-for china. It is on Piccadilly and right near some awesome shopping. One of my favorite travel experiences ever.

  46. jealous! john soane’s museum – see if you can go at night; churchill arms in kensington for thai – really neat place tucked in the back of a pub; and the big liberty of london store!

  47. You’ll have a great time! Besides all the typical touristy stuff… I thought the Churchill War Rooms were by far the most interesting museum we visited in London. The National Portrait Gallery is also lovely to browse (and free!). If you can swing a day outside of London, driving through the Cotswolds for a day or two was amazing.

  48. If you find the time, you should definitely visit the Twinings Tea Shop. It is in the 216th Strand, pretty near to the Tower of London. (like 2-3 tube stations) I have visited London last summer and it was awesome.
    At the shop you can buy so many different sorts of tea and incredibly cute tea boxes. Furthermore there is a little museum about twinings history in the shop. So if you are near this area, it is worth a little visit.

    ps.: my favorite the is: twinings lady grey with 1,5 spoons of sugar and a bit milk. You should really try it, if you haven’t already!

  49. Ah, London! I studied abroad there for a semester in college and it’s still my favorite place in the world. For lunch while you’re out and about, Borough Market is an absolute must. It’s the biggest and best food market I’ve ever been to! Definitely go hungry, and you can walk off all the calories later :). It’s right near the London Bridge tube stop. Have so much fun! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures.

  50. I visited London last April and it was such a nice treat to have a preview of Spring while it was still freezing and gray in Chicago. If the weather is good be sure to visit some of the gorgeous parks and gardens, especially St. James Park near Buckingham Palace. I could have created a photo essay on the London townhomes and their window boxes alone! What Londoners can do with clipped boxwood and English ivy is truly amazing! has wonderful walking tours and the Churchill War Rooms museum is fascinating. Be sure to visit the Liberty flagship store. It’s beautiful. Have fun and please post lots of photos!

  51. Oh gosh, I studied abroad in London and could go on forever!! I was living in South Kensington, so this is a little skewed toward that neighborhood.

    The obvious things like Tower of London, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, etc are all awesome. But here’s a little more:
    -Museums are free, so it’s easy to pop in and out. The Victoria and Albert will for sure be your favorite so make some time to go there and then get lost in Harrods right down the road.
    -Borough Market is near London Bridge and is so fun for food, flowers, etc. See if you can spot Bridget Jones’s flat! If it’s nice out, the Old Thameside Inn is a cute pub right on the water with a big outdoor area.
    -Spitalfield Market is a cool outdoor craft/clothing market with some cute sweets shops.
    -Covent Garden has lots of cool galleries and shops to poke around in.

    If you want any more info, I’m happy to shoot you an email! If your brother happens to be in the the South Ken area, Cafe Forum on Glouscester Road (right near the tube stop) does free croissants with a beverage before 11 am!

  52. I studied in London five years ago and loved getting to know the city off the beaten path! One of my favorite hidden gems is the Sir Charles Soane Museum…he collected tons of antiquities, art and curios over a lifetime of travel, and it’s all displayed in his home now. Monmouth Coffee can’t be beat (their flat white is out-of-this-world good!), and The Golden Hind off Marylebone High Street serves the best fish and chips in London! Have fun!

  53. I studied in London five years ago and loved getting to know the city off the beaten path! One of my favorite hidden gems is the Sir Charles Soane Museum…he collected tons of antiquities, art and curios over a lifetime of travel and it’s all on display in his home now. Monmouth Coffee can’t be beat (their flat white is out of this world good!), and The Golden Hind on Marylebone High Street serves the best fish and chips in London 🙂 Have fun!

  54. Oh oh oh I am beyond envious! I met my family in London at the end of my semester abroad, but I had a whole day to myself in the city before they arrived, and just wandering the streets without a plan made it one of the best days of my entire semester! A tiny gem is Proud Central gallery:: When I visited, they had an entire exhibit on Marilyn vs. Audrey. Have a blast! xx

  55. Gahh so jealous! My recos below!

    Burger and Lobster
    Tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace (hey Will and Kate!),
    Harrods, of course
    Borough Market
    Radio Rooftop bar (haven’t been here yet but supposedly great views)
    Granger and Co in Notting Hill (Gwen’s favorite & it was so of life when I went last summer!)
    The Churchill Arms (the famous pub covered in flowers near Notting Hill – you will love it!)
    Hummingbird Bakery for cupcakes
    Liberty of London for shopping & the darling flower stand outside!

  56. London is the best! Don’t miss the Cortauld Gallery for the most beautiful Impressionist art in the most stunning setting (far from the crazy crowds at Trafalgar Square), the Borough Market (specifically the Brindisa sandwich stall), Ottolenghi in Belgravia for the best lunch (+ dessert) of your whole trip, the Wolseley for a posh breakfast or cocktail, the Saatchi Gallery for a bizarre (and free) museum stop, Fortnum and Mason for fancy food gifts, and Liberty for an hour of blissful window shopping (be sure to wander through the fabric, beauty, dinnerware, and interiors departments + don’t forget to Instagram the flower shop out front). Happy travels! x

  57. london is the best city on the planet!! you must go for tea — try the orangery at kensington palace and if you’re feeling fancy, go to fortnum and mason. exmouth market is a quaint street lined with great restaurants. find amazing cocktails at the london cocktail club near tottenham court road. as for shopping, you of course must hit king’s road in chelsea, and you would love portobello market in notting hill (go on saturday for the antiques). find amazing indian food on brick lane, and nearby is the columbia road flower markets, which are stunning! so many great museums as well– if you haven’t been, the V&A is worth hours, as is the national portrait gallery and the national gallery. for a bit of a city escape, go up to hampstead heath. also worth seeing is the camden markets and camden lock canals. and spend as much time as you can whiling away in pubs!! have a wonderful trip!!

  58. On my last trip to London, friends took me to Be At One (a bar) and I still think about the amazing, creative drinks! it has a very cool, relaxed vibe, and it holds great memories for me! I recommend the Rude Boy or the Curious Squirrel 😉

  59. Muriel’s Kitchen is a super fun brunch/breakfast spot! Not sure where you’re staying but it’s in South Kensington- a super fun area! One of my favorite things to do in London is just walk the length of the river. If your’e on the side with the London Eye you’ll of course get a great view of all the bridges, but also the Globe Theater, and tons of other fun shops and restaurants. Plus walking a lot makes you feel better about all the yummy indulgences that come along with a trip. 🙂 Hope this helps!

  60. I studied abroad in London and loved it so much! The Churchill War Rooms is my favorite museum–a very engaging way to learn about WWII in Britain. I also love the dress collection at the V&A. For a very “aspirational” shopping experience, Harrods is pretty amazing to explore. Borough Market on the weekends is a great place to sample tons of different food, and I loved trying random hole-in-the-wall Indian places. Have a great trip!

  61. I studied abroad in London for four months and hand down the BEST greek/med food I’ve ever had was at this place right off of Hyde Park in Bayswater called Halepi. The hummus was to die for!

  62. Try Borough Market in Southwark if you haven’t been. It’s a big food market and there are plenty of stands serving up food which smells amazing and it’s really hard to decide what to eat! Plus if you want somewhere for brunch, Ben’s Canteen in Battersea is pretty good. Also go and see Dippy the Dinosaur in the entrance to the Natural History Museum in South Ken now they’re planning to remove him and replace it with a skeleton of a blue whale – I think the diplodocus played a pretty big part in most people’s childhoods!! (The Victoria & Albert museum is just next door if you want some more British culture, the Wedding Dress Exhibition ends on the 15th March if you’re there before then)
    I hope this has inspired you slightly!!
    Charlotte x
    La Vie en Gâteaux

  63. Hi Mackenzie!

    When I went to London a few years ago I stayed at the Elizabeth Hotel, which is located at Elizabeth Hotel at 37 Eccleston Square, Victoria, London. It was a great B & B that overlooks the Eccleston Sqaure gardens and is a quick walk to Victoria Station. It was quite reasonably priced and the perfect location for us to just get up and go each morning.

    If you would like any other info I am happy to share 🙂


  64. Hi Mackenzie!

    I studied abroad in London last spring and it was the most amazing experience of my life!
    I highly recommend Afternoon Tea at the Criterion, it’s breathtakingly beautiful and by far the best experience/best tasting I had while In London. It’s also where a few popular movies were filmed.
    Go hungry because you will want to eat as many scones as possible.

    Definitely check out Borough Market, Brick Lane and Columbia flower market. They are all amazing and definitely not filled with as many tourists.

    The best fish & chips is at The Cat & Canary in Canary Wharf which is also a great place to explore. you can eat outside on the water which is nice.

    Greenwich is a beautiful place to explore outside the city and seeing the prime meridian is cool!

    As for museums, The National Portrait Gallery located behind the National Gallery is definitely worth a visit!

    The Breakfast Club and The Riding House Cafe are both amazing brunch places!

    Neal’s Yard is a beautiful hidden gem!

    Head to east London to Westfield Mall to see Olympic village and some other cool things from the London Olympics.

    Carnaby Street off of the popular Oxford street has a few great shops!

    Reagents park for a picnic lunch or just to walk around on a sunny day is A MUST!

    Let me know if you want any other recommendations, I fell absolutely in love with that place and could talk about it for hours!