SINE QUA NON: LONDON

ONE: THE CLASSICS, AT NIGHT

A 360 view in the heart of London: The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, crossing Westminster Bridge, the Eye, the view up and down the Thames.

TWO: THE HIGH(EST) VIEW

London seen from above is more than extraordinary, is utterly dramatic and incredibly enjoyable, especially with a glass of prosecco to complement the view. Book your ticket to The View from the Shard (yes, it’s worth every penny and then some) or/ and to Sky Garden for a true show of wonder. Tip 1: Sky Garden is free entrance, but you need to book a week ahead to make sure you register for your favourite slot – you can alternatively queue to enter on spot. Tip 2: choose the best timeslot when you book either. Check weather for clear skies and sunset time and book one hour early, to make the most out of both views. Insta-perfect, checked
SKY GARDEN
THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD

SHOPPING AND PUB CRAWL IN REGENTS / CARNABY

COVENT GARDEN & WEST END

Yes, it’s all right to revisit Pygmalion and go to Covent Garden for the market, but do take your time. The pubs and the street artists are local legends, and the only right thing to do in the evening is “supper and a show”. Choose your fave from the West End musicals or simply pop at a show last-minute, the experience is really worth it. There are some – like me – who travel to see their West End Phantom of the Opera.

SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS: HYDE PARK, PRIMROSE HILL, KEW GARDENS

Relaxing in Hyde Park at lunch or picnicking on Primrose beats the touristy must of checking the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.

ONE DAY IN GREENWICH

The Cutty Sark is there, and so is the First Meridian, for a winner instapic. A trip to Greenwich is a delightful thing to do, because, on top of the great things to see, there’s that English village vibe that ‘s so comforting after the overwhelming rhythm of London downtown. The trip itself can be a nice experience: you can take a Thames cruise and navigate thru the famous wharfs, or you can take the tube, like locals do, and go straight through the famous financial district and alight at North Greenwich, on the Jubilee line.

LIVE LIKE A LOCAL: CHELSEA, MAIDA VALE, KENSINGTON

While there are some luxury hotels that are worth the sterling if you’re in splurge mode, true lovers of London have to experience the borough life – well, at least the “fashionable” ones. A premium Airbnb farther from the tourist traps can be the jewel on the crown, so to speak – so can the local avoshop, bakery or pub.

THE FOOD AND FOOD MARKETS

This one should be under continuous editing, like all foodie sections. One thing first: he who says you don’t go to London for good food is the one who stopped at a fish and chips that he read about in a guide or “dined” somewhere in the shopping district. Leave aside the glorious pub/ brasserie/ vegan heaven/ fine restaurant scene, do check the food markets; you’ll be happy.

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