London: a melting pot of food and fashion, history and culture

London’s calling – a melting pot of food, fashion, culture, history and shopping recognised as among the best in the world. 

 

Here are the best things to see and do in London; the great places to grab some grub; the perfect places to pitch up for a pint; and where to head for some retail therapy. Plus we reveal the secret spots you might not have heard of.

Things to do in London

London’s calling – a melting pot of food, fashion, culture, history and shopping recognised as among the best in the world. 

Here are the best things to see and do in London; the great places to grab some grub; the perfect places to pitch up for a pint; and where to head for some retail therapy. Plus we reveal the secret spots you might not have heard of.

Things to do in London 
The great Romantic-age rivalry between revered painters John Constable and JMW Turner has been brought back to life with simultaneous shows at the V&A and Tate Britain.

At the V&A you can see how the rural landscapes of Constable took shape at Constable: The Making of a Master, with sketches placed alongside the finished masterpieces. You’ll learn how Constable’s fields, meadows and streams shaped our view of rural England. 

At Tate Britain landscapes of a more abstract nature hold court.

Known for his use of radical painting techniques and materials, Turner created swirling oil and watercolour landscapes dominated by dreamlike seas and skies. You can view the fascinating works of art at Late Turner: Painting Set Free.

Delve even deeper into history at the British Museum, where artefacts spanning 2 million years will captivate visitors young and old.

The Ancient Lives, New Discoveries show introduces the people of ancient Egypt. Meet mummies such as priest’s daughter Tamut and learn the story of her life and death – including how she came to be preserved. You can also take in the breathtaking porcelain, paintings and silk produced under ancient China’s Ming Dynasty. 

Even on a winter’s day, the Tower of London is worth braving the wind and rain. With tales of grim executions to glistening Crown Jewels, it has the lot. Breathe in its 900-year history – from the swords and poleaxes of the Royal Armoury to the story of the Tower’s brooding ravens. 

Shopping in London

London is one of the world’s top three shopping cities, according to CNN Travel. With vintage, high street, designer and heritage brands, London excels at all fashion varieties.

Beyond Retro is essential for vintage-loving boys and girls, with stores on the vibrant Brick Lane and hipster capital Dalston selling everything from duffle coats to Christmas jumpers. Blitz in Shoreditch is another vintage treasure trove for those who love a bit of a rummage. 

More of a high-street fan? London’s Oxford Street is the perfect place for you. You could spend an entire afternoon wandering this shopping capital – from the vast department stores of John Lewis and Selfridges to the hipster fashions of American Apparel and Topshop. 

Looking for high-end heritage labels and independent boutiques? Head to central London areas such as Bond Street and Regent Street. From the quintessentially British trench coats of Burberry to the wax jackets of Barbour, Regent Street is high-fashion heaven. You can also check out All Saints and Reiss for knitwear, denim and winter coats. 

On Bond Street you’ll find fashion houses Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Dior. 

Food and drink in London

Eating in London? The capital is a true melting pot of cooking styles, cultures and cuisines. Here are a few of our favourites.  

If you like excellent food with minimal fuss you’ll love 10 Greek Street in Soho. Regularly named among London’s best restaurants, this intimate eatery has built a reputation on its less-is-more approach and laid-back atmosphere.
 
The short menu is filled with rustic seasonal dishes such as sea bass with crumbled celeriac and salsa verde and spiced prawns with piquillo peppers and paprika aioli.

Looking for a light lunch? Fleet River Bakery near Holburn Tube gets our vote. The menu is seasonal and changes daily. Expect hot cheese and pesto toasties and rocket and feta quiche
Leave room for cake though – the peanut butter shortbread is worth lingering over.

Fancy a roast? At the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale you’ll find the official Best Roast In Britain. The Sunday lunch menu includes 35-day-aged beef rump with Yorkshire puds, roasties, onion gravy, smoked lamb shoulder and braised leg – heavenly. 

Hidden London

Here are three spots in London you might not have heard of

Beatles Walks and Tours: The Beatles may have formed in Liverpool but London is where they recorded their music and grew into true cultural icons. You can join London Beatles Walks and Tours to visit:

  • where the famous opening scenes of movie A Hard Day’s Night were filmed
  • where Lennon and McCartney wrote I Want To Hold Your Hand
  • Abbey Road studios, where the Fab Four cut their records  

Queen’s Head: Craft beer is currently bang on-trend. Enjoy a pint of some of the finest to be found in London at the Queen’s Head near King’s Cross. This charming Victorian pub will captivate you with its old-fashioned interior and range of cask and keg beers and ales. We loved Kernel’s Table Beer; a rather hoppy pale ale. 

Big Apple Hot Dogs brings a touch of New York to London. This street food stall on Old Street serves hot dogs but not as you know them. With sausages made from free-range pork and prime beef and freshly baked buns sourced from a local baker, these are as posh as hot dogs come.

Enjoy your trip to London.