London is home to some of the best bookshops and libraries in the world, and there is nothing more enjoyable than diving straight into a new book. Finding something truly wonderful can sometimes, however, be a little bit difficult. This guide is designed to take you on a tour of London’s best Independent Book retailers, highlighting the places to find smaller known publishers and titles.
One of the most popular bookshops in Marylebone, Daunt Books is an amazing place and a must-visit for an avid reader. It has one of the biggest travel book sections but is also a very picturesque shop (great for the photographic tourist!). If you’re into travelling, which you probably are, then this is definitely worth a stop.
A pretty well known shop, Foyles is a massive bookstore on Charing Cross road and many people, locals and tourists alike, consider it one of the best places to go for small print books. They have a lot of foreign books as well for those looking to stretch their linguistic abilities.
If you’re into magic and mystery, then this is definitely the bookshop for you. They specialise only in this single genre, and it is one of the most unique bookshops in London, located in Bloomsbury.
Hidden just off King’s Road in Chelsea, John Sandoe is a blast from the past with much of the interior being the original. It has a narrow winding staircase leading up to a labyrinth of a library. The stacks of books make it a little more difficult to navigate and peruse, but it definitely has a good collection of books.
If you have visited any of these book shops, let us know your thoughts. If you know of any other great independent bookstores as well, feel free to drop us a message or comment!
Another quiet, cosy bookshop, Belgravia Books is located on Ebury Street and features some lovely little blue tables and chairs outside its shops (for an easy way to recognise it). The layout of the store is very efficient, packing in plenty of books to choose from as well as staff picks and new-to-me titles. The staff are also very helpful in offering recommendations, and so it can be a great place to go if you really do not know what to read next.
Having been in Piccadilly since 1797, Hatchards is the oldest bookshop and city institution in London. It is a really easy place to find and has floors and floors of different books, covering all sorts of genres. They also have special tables dedicated to themed picks and novellas making it easier to narrow down something great to read.
Carrying on our series of interesting and under considered activities in London, we’re bringing you another set of 10 amazing attractions to see in London away from the standard stops.
Lee Valley VeloPark
The London 2012 Olympics was an amazing feat for the city, and its managed to leave a lasting memory. The Aquatics Centre is open to the public to swim, or you can go cycle in the Lee Valley VeloPark! There’s options for both Track and BMX, depending on what you’re after. You can even get inside the real velodrome, but it is required to take an accreditation course for safety reasons. If you don’t have your own bike, too, it’s not a problem – you can hire one for the day.
Not an architectural feat you would probably consider to see in London, but there’s a windmill in Brixton. This adorable black-painted Windmill can be found in Blenheim Gardens, which also offers tours inside during the warmer seasons as well as storytelling days and food festivals. Whether you just want a postcard picture, or want a walk in the countryside, it’s worth a visit.
Dennis Severs’ House
This one terrace on Folgate Street can offer a glimpse into the colourful history of migrant populations and communities in London over the past 200 years. From room to room you are lead, in silence, to see a glimpse of scenes which look as if inhabitants have just left. Reflecting different times in history, the rooms take you literally through the past of London.
B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Whilst there are plenty of London Bus Tours available out there, not all of them come with Afternoon Tea. The B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour takes you through London’s most famous sites, as well as Brigit and her team offering you a wonderful selection of brewed tea (or champagne, if you fancy) alongside sandwiches, scones, cakes and tarts. If you have dietary concerns, it’s not a problem either, as they offer both gluten free and vegetarian options as well.
We’ve seen Buses and Boats, and now we take to the air. See London’s landmarks away from the hustle and bustle, and take it all in with a bird’s eye view. Jump in a fancy helicopter and see London from above – London Eye, the Shard, the O2 Arena. It’ll never look the same again.
Not quite as high up, the Sky Garden on Fenchurch Street is a beautiful high paradise in the centre of London. Fly up 35 floors in the Walkie Talkie building (London’s Ugliest Building?), and see these spectacular views. Entry is free, but you have to book a time slot at least 3 days in advance to see it. They have landscapes gardens with plants from all over the world, an open-air terrace, a bar, and two restaurants. What more could you want?
Image sourced from SkyGarden London
If you are visiting London in the cooler months, it can be a great opportunity to explore the surrounding areas of London, or take some short trips into the rest of the UK. These are some great ideas for short trips which are easily accessible from London.
If you’re an avid outdoor explorer then New Forest in Hampshire is a great trip. It has plenty of winding misty pasts and has plenty of great scenery as you amble through the forest, burning off those Christmas calories. When you get a little peckish, there are plenty of great restaurants nearby as well before you start your journey heading home.
Located in East Sussex, this little town is a wonderful place to visit. It has the true old British town feel you may not quite experience in London and will give you a stronger idea of British culture. Rye also has some amazing food, especially in the winter months, such as some great fresh fish stews and scallops caught that day!
Stonehenge is one of those sights that is often overlooked but is definitely worth the visit. Just a short trip away from London (and also with many tour groups arranging trips there), it is a sight of great historical importance and awe. If you’re around near the Solstice, you can experience a true pagan ritual as well, and of course it has plenty of great photo opportunities.
Another historical British town, Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, one of the most important British Linguists. You can watch a play in the Royal Shakespeare theatre, or head down to a local pub for some great hearty British food. This can be a perfect little weekend getaway, or a fun historical day trip.
If you plan on visiting any of these or any other places in London during the winter months, there are a few extra things to consider. Definitely make sure that you check the weather forecast before booking, and packing appropriate clothes. Rain is always a possibility.
Look at coach and train tickets as sometimes one or the other can be considerably cheaper. Also check opening hours as some places may close earlier or on certain days during the winter months.
Also, during the winter the days are very short in the UK, from around 10am-5pm of sunlight, so make sure you plan your day accordingly and do indoor activities early or late in the day, and outdoor activities whilst you still have the sun!
If you are planning for a romantic break, you can impress your loved one with the top attractions and sights in London for a memorable couple’s getaway. Enjoy a romantic break in London with its itinerary taking in some of the most intimate experiences, most seductive sights, and most decadent dining. There are lots of fun and romantic things to do for couples in London.
See a show
Get your romantic London break started by enjoying the panoramic views of the city of London while sipping cocktails from the Radio rooftop bar at ME London hotel. You can spot the best landmarks like the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Shard. From here, the hit shows of the West End are right on your doorstep. You may set the mood with the feel-good musical Mamma Mia, enjoying Phantom of the Opera’s epic love story, or securing tickets to a ballet performance or opera in the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. On the other hand, you can have a sample of some Italian delicacies for less before the show starts at Spaghetti House with branches in St. Martin’s lane and Cranbourn Street. You can also book into one of the most romantic restaurants in London – Clos Maggiore, or combine theatre tickets with a meal.
It is now time to be pampered by enjoying a lunch of Italian and Spanish-influenced small plates at May Fair Hotel and May Fair Kitchen before you spend some time to relax in its opulent May Fair Spa. Be refreshed and whisk your lover off for a retail therapy at the Burlington Arcade and shop for vintage watches, handmade gloves, and jewellery at specialist artisanal shops. You should not miss the opportunity of browsing the top boutiques at Bond Street and chocolates at Fortnum and Mason, along with other foodie delights.
Exploring historic palaces
After having a breakfast at your romantic hotel, you can treat your partner like a queen or king with a visit to one of the historic royal palaces in London. Regardless if it is seeing the sparkling Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, wandering the gorgeous gardens of Hampton Court Palace, or being sedate majesty of the Kensington Palace, you have many historical tales and love story to uncover, and you are going to find lots of secluded spots where you can steal some kiss.
Greenwich or Galleries
You can keep your romantic getaway intimate by exploring one of the smaller galleries or museums of London. When you have taken in the exhibits, you two can enjoy the light refreshments at the charming Wallace Restaurant or you can even escape into the Royal Academy Restaurant and its tranquil Keeper’s garden.
You may round off your perfect romantic getaway in Kettners with a meal or in the Dean Street Townhouse with elegance and class before going to one of the cocktail bars of the area. There are many more reasons why London will be a perfect romantic getaway.
You have booked your flights and ready to cross the Atlantic to visit the little island that is Great Britain. Travelling across the pond is no cheap feat, so it is important that when visiting you manage to see as much as you can – and London is the perfect place for that.
Whilst often it is called the rainy city, or people always complain about the weather, there is still plenty to do! These 6 amazing sights are just some of the top attractions that will help you understand and learn about the relationship between America and England.
1. Visit Benjamin Franklin’s House
The only remaining home of Benjamin Franklin can be found in London, dating back to the 18th Century where he stayed for several years. One of the founding father father’s of America, his residence in London can be found at 36 Craven Street.
2. See where the Liberty Bell was constructed
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is a world-renowned foundry, owned and run by the same family for over 500 years. They have been commissioned with creating some of the world’s most heritage bells, including the bell in Big Ben and, of course, the Liberty Bell.
3. Discover where the Mayflower started
The Mayflower Pub is an olde English tavern with a great view over the Thames. One of the many Pubs in London, it is also one of the oldest and where the Mayflower ship actually began its long journey to the USA.
They serve some amazing British classics, such as Fish and Chips and Roast Dinners, as well as a range of local ales. It is also one of the only pubs legally allowed to sell both US and UK postal stamps.
4. Visit Abraham Lincoln
Whilst the famous Abraham Lincoln memorial stands in Washington, there is a smaller lesser known memorial in London’s Parliament Square.
5. Visit the Home of the first Female Member of Parliament
Nancy Astor was the first woman to join the UK Parliament, and was also an American that had immigrated to London to be with her husband Waldorf Astor. The home can be found at 4 St James’ Square, and picked out by its Blue Plaque.
6. See where the Harvard family ran their Pub
Whilst they may have founded one of the world’s greatest universities, the Harvard family also had a thriving tavern at 103 Borough High Street. Nowadays the pub no longer exists but a blue plaque remains as a heritage to the family.
A couple of years ago, it would have been unthinkable to lease out apartments, which were fully furnished and provided amenities similar if not better than those found at hotels. Hotels were basically the best thing that occurred to travellers everywhere as quite honestly, where else could you have gone back then when looking for the full catered, luxurious service?
The development of Serviced Apartments occurred following the changes in cheap international travel and the preferences of travellers, the short term rentals turn out to be the next best choice to staying at hotels. What is more, they also provided more room and more privacy that hotels couldn’t. They became a hit with business travellers, who travelled with their loved ones and the fact that they can cook their own meals rather than ordering room service. They were seen as ideal for corporate stays.
Apart from the obvious benefits in living quarters and amenities, booking them online is particularly easy as you can search according to the number of rooms you want and the area you want to rent in. What is more, the fully equipped kitchen, bedrooms and living rooms all come as one to make you feel you are at your second home. Even the best 5-star hotel rooms could feel uneasy with its formal decoration, but Serviced Apartments will make you feel all the expediency and ease that you have to be capable of relaxing especially after a stressful day of meetings.
You can also find anything perfect for overnight stays to something that could accommodate business personnel from 6 to 9 months. They also make sense for entrepreneurs who travel back and forth. Also they save businesses from needing to rent a function room in hotels to hold conferences and meetings since the room is normally enough to accommodate from 6 to 8 persons at a time.
Another great thing regarding Serviced Apartments is that they come in various kinds which will suit your accommodation needs. Though they all serve similar purpose there are many distinctions that make every one different from the rest. Nevertheless, they all provide 24-hour reception and are normally situated in city centres. They could also range from budget to luxury types and studio type apartments to those with 2 or 3 bedrooms with individual living and dining areas and kitchens.
Another popular kind of Serviced Apartments is corporate housing that is really residential properties upgraded for temporary renting. The rental expenses for these types normally include cleaning services, local taxes, utility charges and rentals for television, phone and internet services for 1 month or more. Some are situated in city centres but most are normally situated outskirts of town only a short distance from city centres. Serviced Apartments get rid of the pressure of organizing business trips and essentially lessen the huge expense incurred during these events. Take benefit of the advantages serviced apartments bring as well as experience what it really feels like to have a comfortable place away from home without spending too much.
When it comes to cuisine, London rightfully deserves its title as the Cuisine Capital in the UK. Some people even consider the city as ‘The Gastronomic Capital of the World’. In the recent year, London has been held highly in the food industry.
Michelin star is an award given only to those restaurants, where the highest food and services distinction is met. 3 Michelin Star is the highest award available here. Indeed, London is a place spoilt with all those Michelin-starred dining restaurants you can choose from, and among them all, 5 restaurants definitely stand out from the rest.
Whether you’re looking for a secret bar, a chilled lounge, or a fancy restaurant for a meal, Fever’s got you covered. Their team of experts scour the streets to find you the best places to check out. They do the hard work, so you don’t have to.
Dojo is an app dedicated to giving you the best on the current happenings in London. From pop-up shops to fine dining, they highlight where the best places to visit in London are – right at that moment. They also offer the ability to buy tickets in-app, which is great too.
For those late nights, since the night Tube hasn’t quite settled in yet, Uber is always a great alternative. Much cheaper than using a black taxi, and a safe alternative to other cab services, Uber is a great way to split a ride with friends to get yourselves home.
Citymapper is probably one of the most extensive travel apps for London and various other cities across the world. It offers you a selection of routes, and you can filter according to your travel capabilities or what’s available to you; they offer bus-only routes, routes which have the fewest changes, and the quickest route. They also offer a variety of services which are available at night, as well as providing you with a rough estimate of cost.
It really is almost inevitable to get around London without using the Tube Map. The Tube Map is probably the most handy of tools, making sure you know which routes are best for you. However, whilst experience helps, sometimes the Tube Map can be a little misleading so it’s not always something to go solely by. For example, did you know Old Street and Liverpool Street are only about a 15-minute walk away from each other – on the tube map, it doesn’t look so easy.
If you are coming to London for a very short time, perhaps as a stopover journey or a business trip, you really want to try and make the most of your stay. In this article we will discuss some of the sites that should be seen, as well as the best way to spend those few hours you have in the city.
If you’re visiting London and looking for something a little out of the ordinary, the London Transport Museum are offering some more exciting tours alongside their main exhibitions.
Winston Churchill’s Secret Station
A tour of the ‘Secret Station’ on Down Street, which was used by Winston Churchill to host meetings and hide during the blitz. This mile-long World War II shelter in Clapham is definitely well worth a visit.
Photography Tour of Euston
Alongside this, there is also a photography tour of Euston Station which takes you through some of the disused rail lines, and it is a very slow tour to allow you to get some amazing photographs by the end of it.
Tickets for these amazing tours are available from today and can be booked from here. However, be warned – they’re selling out fast!
If you would like more information on the London Transport Museum, which is opening its doors this year, you can find out more on their website.
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