I recently had a full day in London with no plans other than to explore areas of London I had not been to before. London 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 London 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.
Kensington Gardens is one of the Queen-related places in London. The Kensington Gardens was first opened to the public in 1733, every Sunday night. The chief gardener, Samuel Milward, was appointed at St James’s Palace and Kensington Palace in 1738. At the moment, Kensington Palace houses the offices and residences of the Prince and Princess of Kent, The Duke and Duchess of Kent, and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. It is also the London residence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
You don’t need an admission ticket to enjoy and explore the Kensington Palace Gardens. There, you can take selfies all you want, which you can post with Instagram hashtags for travel photography. However, if you want to explore the palace, you’ll need to get one so you could walk its royalty footsteps. Walking through the Kensington Gardens is safe at night. You can take the road that goes from the legendary Royal Albert Hall towards Lancaster Gate.
A friend told me about the cafe at Harrods, saying that they served Arabic Coffee (something I have only had
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. (I have new additions for this list which will come in late April 2019 or early May)
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 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 on the Greenwich side which does much about the airline industry.
Good London Hotels… 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 London, 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 into London 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
Pho, Covent Garden
Emirates Cable Car Terminal
Fun Things To Do In London
1. Take a ride on the London Eye
It’s a 30-minute ride wherein you experience seeing London’s unparalleled views, overlooking the Big Ben and Parliament.
2. Explore the Houses of Parliament
Get to see the Parliament‘s iconic architecture. Also, you can attend the debates held at the House of Lords or House of Commons.
3. Shop and dine at Covent Garden
You can shop, eat, and drink at the Covent Garden, which is a district in the West End. Get to watch street performers and visit shops.
4. Take on the Millenium Bridge tour
The Millenium Bridge was built in 2000, which is a pedestrian bridge crossing the Thames River. This place was featured in Hollywood movies, such as the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Harry Potter. ‘
5. Visit the British Museum
The British Museum is one of the world’s best museums that contains a vast collection of historical artifacts. Get to see a portion of the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon, and Egyptian mummies.