I recently had a full day in London with no plans other than to explore areas I had not been to before. The city is a wonderful spot to visit and I have been there about 23/24 times before (not really sure to be honest).
This time I wanted to see parts of the city I had not seen so I started with a walk.
What to Do in London
I had been to Hyde Park before but this time I entered from the Queensway side and on this entry you get to see Kensington Gardens. It is a really nicely laid out house and gardens, with cafe and a tour of the house. At times you would hardly believe you are in London or for that matter a capital city as the pas is very much reduced. The gardens with fountains are well worth seeing as they would be in full colour during the summer, even in Mid April they were impressive.
A friend told me about the cafe at Harrods, saying that they served Arabic Coffee (something I have only had once but wanted to try again). I entered Harrods and was bombarded by an air of opulence and I could feel the money in my wallet shake with nervous tension. I made my way to the first cafe I could find, on the 5th floor, couldn’t see Arabic Coffee so ordered a cake and a cappuccino. It was only afterwards I found out that there are 5 cafes in Harrods and the one I was looking for was called the Mezzah Lounge … so maybe next time!
What and Where to Eat in London
London has many fine eateries, with thousands of restaurants to choose from. Below are 3 of my favourites which I tried on this trip.
Joy King Lau
Located just off Leicester Square this authentic restaurant is normally full of local Chinese families enjoying lunch. The selection of Dim Sum and authentic Chinese dishes is excellent. Note that Dim Sum is only served until 5 pm and after that, there are 2 dim sum platters only available. The service can come across as abrupt but in reality, it is just the level of efficient service required with the level of business they get. If you are going, try the grilled Cheung Fun or the Steamed Pork Buns – delicious.
I discovered this place by accident on the way to a West End show. The menu is very authentic and covers everything from ramen to sushi and sashimi – if you are enjoying a meal here, ask for the recommended plum wine which is all the way from a small town in Japan.
I last tasted good Vietnamese cuisine in Melbourne and finding Pho was a really enjoyable experience. The dishes are very enjoyable whether in a broth or as a stir-fry. Before you leave you to have to try a Ca-Phe (or Vietnamese coffee) it is a real eye-opener and now my absolute favourite coffee.
This restaurant is located in a really trendy part of town, James Street just off Bond Street. Cocochan serves Asian fusion and has a wide range of Dim Sum and main courses. if you are eating here, try one of the amazing cocktails or cocktails as they really compliment the food. I love the duck spring rolls here.
Located near seven dials in London, this pizza spot is amazing. Prior booking is probably needed on weekends. Without a booking, you may need to wait for anything from 60-90 minutes at peak times. It is worth the wait. The pizza is very good and you should try the half and half.
The Emirates Greenwich Cable Car Experience
The Emirates Greenwich Cable Car is an exciting new attraction in London. The cable car flies between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. The relaxing cable car trip takes just over 10 minutes, however, during peak times it’s a bit faster. The gondolas accommodate ten people but at less busy times you can usually get one for your group. A new gondola arrives about every 30 seconds. You can use your Oyster card (best way to do it) a contactless payment card to pay for the trip. It cost me £7 for the return trip. Note, you must get off and re-queue on the other side when paying by Oyster or contactless Card.
After 7 pm, enjoy extended ‘Night Flights’ are a bit slower and more relaxed. There is a music backtrack as you watch the sunset over London, during the day there is a commentary.
Emirates Air Line Cable car is accessible to wheelchair users and cyclists and is open seven days per week. Don’t forget to arrive early and try the Emirates exhibit at the Greenwich side which does much about the airline industry.
Where to Stay in London
Finally, if you are looking for a nice spot to stay for a few days, I recommend the following London hotels;
- Mercure Bloomsbury, London – Excellent Service & Staff
- Hilton Doubletree London Victoria – Nice Hotel, Excellent Service & excellent Location 3 minutes from Victoria Station
- Park Plaza Hotel, Victoria – Similar location to the Doubletree
- Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria – Really plush high-class hotel with good value rates in low season
I find Victoria a great location as I usually arrive via Gatwick and the Gatwick Express terminates at Victoria, so I like the convenience.
I have outlined all the places in London which are mentioned above on this interactive map.
Joy King Lau
Joy King Lau
Pho, Covent Garden
Pho, 65A Long Acre, London WC2E 9JD, United Kingdom
Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, London
87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, UK
38-40 James St, London W1U 1EU, United Kingdom