After having lived in London for (nearly) a year and a half I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of this amazing city. Without sounding like a walking, talking cliche’, there’s so much to do here, so little time (and money). After having done my fair share of London-based activities I thought I’d try my best to impart some wisdom and create this Ultimate London Bucket List for those of you who plan on visiting or living in this fabulous city. Expect some of the expected (I mean, what’s a London bucket list without a Big Ben appearance) but also the unexpected. Ready? Here we go!
P.S If you’re looking for a list with items like Westminster Abbey on it, this may not be the list for you. You’ve been warned.
Have High Tea at the Shard
It may come at a price (£60 per head to be exact) but the memories you’ll make over herbal tea, cucumber sandwiches and the thames will be, you guessed it, priceless.
Climb the Shard to See Panoramic Views of London
If you’re not up for paying £60 for a one off afternoon tea, it’s still worth catching the lift up the shard to see unobstructed views of London. Grab a cocktail and enjoy watching the world go by.
Admire Bags You Can Never Afford in Harrods
Make it even more fun by playing ‘Guess how much this costs?’ and keep a look out for a celebrity spotting. One of my friends once saw English royalty (well, sorta) Victoria Beckham perusing the stores in Harrods.
Play Putt Putt at Junkyard Golf
Mini golf with a second hand theme complete with a bar? What more could a girl want?
See Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Because if you went to London and didn’t take a photo with a Buckingham palace guard did you really even go to London?
Enjoy Brunch at an Independent Cafe
Independent cafes are a must! Some of my favourites are Friends of Ours in Shoreditch and Vinoteca in Kings Cross. Stay tuned for a blog post of my favourite brunch places in London, coming soon!
Grab a Coffee and Walk Around St James Park
I went in Winter and I must say, it was glorious. Set right in central London, sights such as Buckingham palace and Westminster Abbey are only a short walk away.
Sip on an Expensive Cocktail in a Swanky Soho Bar
If you don’t spend £12 on a cocktail in Soho, you’re not doing it right. Granted, this should definitely be something you don’t do on the regular (unless you’re rich, then kudos to you) but if anything it’s fun to sip on a fruity drink and people watch.
See a Show on the West End
The West End is London’s equivalent to Broadway and is a must see if you’re a fan of musical theatre. Admittedly, I’m not into musicals but I have seen a fair few in my time, The Lion King being my absolute favourite.
Take in the City Views at Primrose Hill
Walk to the top of the hill, have a picnic and a glass of wine (or two) and make an evening of it.
Even after having lived here for a while I never get sick of going to Southbank. It has everything quintessentially London aka Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, The Thames and The London Eye that you can’t help but feel giddy.
Get Grungy in a Brixton Bar
Perhaps my idea of grunge is tamer than others (I am after all, very white girl) but Brixton’s nightlife is eclectic, vibrant and definitely worth a visit.
Shop Till You Drop at Shepherd’s Bush Westfield
I don’t normally like shopping centres; they can be quite grim at the best of times but not this one. You want options? Look no further than Shepherd’s Bush Westfield that have everything from top end designer to the high street. I mean, how many shopping centres do you know that have a champagne bar?
Go to a Rooftop Bar
This is definitely one for the warmer months of the year but a visit to a rooftop bar should be right at the top of your list. Watch out for a blog post all about London’s best rooftop bars coming to TRD soon!
Treat Yo’self to a Sweet Treat at Hummingbird Bakery
There are quite a few Hummingbird bakeries dotted around London and based solely on the fact that they’re well known means they’re worth a visit. I mean, a cupcake’s a cupcake but Hummingbirds is iconic.
Rub Shoulders with London’s Elite in Mayfair
Some of my favourite nights out have taken place in Mayfair mainly down to the fact that I’ve seen and met some interesting people! Mayfair isn’t cheap (I’ve paid £20 entry to a club here!) but it’s an area that you should definitely check out at least once. One of my favourites is Tiki themed bar, Mahikis.
Take a Photo Inside a Red Telephone Box
Granted they may smell like urine but a trip to London simply isn’t complete without a snap with one of these bad boys. Hold your nostrils, smile and step right in.
Have an Instagram Shoot in Nottinghill/Kensington/Chelsea
We’ve got to make our followers on social media green with envy, right? Right. What better way to do that than to strike some ‘candid’ poses in front of London’s prettiest streets. Watch out for a blog post for the most Instagrammable streets coming soon to TRD.
Find a Bargain in Bricklane Market
Bricklane market is hands down one of my favourite London markets to visit, especially in Summer. The music is pumping, the drinks are flowing, the food is delectable and the beards are a plenty (we are in Shoreditch after all).
Take a Stroll Down Regents Canal and Broadway Market
Less a ‘stroll’ and more a ‘briskly-walking-to-dodge-cyclists-and-runners-whilst-trying-not-to-fall-into-the-canal’. Reward yourself afterwards with a drink and some delicious food at the markets.
Play Ping Pong and Get Drunk Simultaneously at Bounce
Where bars meet ping pong. Get some liquid confidence and play ping pong like you’ve never played before. Whether your hand eye coordination is left to be desired is besides the point at Bounce.
Smell the Roses at Colombia Road Flower Market
Open every Sunday, hoards of Londoners gather to stop and smell the roses. Make sure you arrive early to beat the rush as the crowds can be a little overwhelming for those that are prone to claustrophobia.
Ride Over the Thames in an Emirates Cable Car
A lesser known item to tick off the list in London, the Emirates cable car offers incredible birds eye views of London for a measly £6!
Have a Sunday Roast
There’s nothing better than winding up the weekend with a roast in a quintessential English pub.
See What’s ‘New’ at the Antique Shops on Portobello Road Market
Excuse the terrible pun but I just couldn’t not go there. Portobello Road and it’s surrounding streets are some of my favourite streets to explore in London. There’s plenty of cute trinkets to look at, great food to eat and there’s always an interesting colourful character or two.
Stuff Your Face at Borough Market
Foodies rejoice because this may just be the market for you. Food of all different cuisines are on offer here to cater to all your taste bud needs.
Soak up the Sun (weather permitting) in Clapham Common
Clapham is not only my home in London but it’s also one of my favourite areas to walk around on a sunny London’s day. Granted they may be few and far between but nothing compares to a Summers day on the Common with a picnic, friends and a bottle of cider in hand.
Visit Platform 9 and 3/4
Any Harry Potter fan would be a fool to pass up the chance to visit the place where Harry ploughed through the wall on his way to Hogwarts.
Pay Sky Gardens A Visit
With views to brag about, Sky Gardens is the perfect place to grab a drink and watch the sun descend over London.
Have a Drink at the Churchill Arms
I mean, just look at it! If you visit any pub in London, make sure its this one.
Trawl the Charity Shops in Hampstead Heath
Or any other places where rich people throw our their designer clothes. Think Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham.
Attend a Secret Cinema Event
A few times a year at a secret location, a Secret Cinema event is held in London. Tickets don’t come cheap (the cheapest usually going for around £70) but if you’re up for trying something different instead of dropping £100 on a regular weekend then this may be for you. A movie is chosen for each event; you’re given a character, information about what costume you have to wear and a time and place you have to be at and you’ll be taken into a complete immersive experience based on the film. Cool huh?
Peruse Brixton Market
Music, food and great people watching, what more could you want?
Spice Up Your Life with a Curry from Bricklane
Strangely enough this is still one I’m yet to experience myself but many have told me that if you want good quality Indian food at a very reasonable price, Bricklane is the place to be!
Borrow a Boris Bike (and try not to kill yourself in the process)
Did I fear for my life at multiple times throughout my journey? Yes. Did my life flash before my eyes? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Without a doubt.
Say ‘Hi’ to the Deer in Richmond Park
Richmond Park may be a little more out of the way of central London but it’s known as one of London’s most beautiful parks for a reason. Depending on the time of day you visit, deer can be seen roaming around freely. Bet you can’t say that for many other parks you’ve been to!
Enjoy a Bottomless Brunch
Let me talk you through exactly what a bottomless brunch is: you pay (usually at the most) £30 for brunch and drink UNLIMITED processco for 2 hours. Prepare to leave brunch half the person you were when you came.
Learn Some Grizzly British History at the Tower of London
If you’re a history fan, this is your kind of place. Here you’ll learn about the not so glamorous side of the royal family and uncover over 1000 years of English history.
Experience the Tube During Rush Hour
No trip to London is complete without a ride on the tube. Not only is London’s transport system amazing but it’s easier to use than you think. Don’t let that tube map fool you. If you’re super daring, try and ride it during rush hours for the full experience and remember the golden rules: Stand on the right of the escalators, have your oyster card ready and whatever you do, don’t smile at strangers.
Check Out Big Ben
You don’t really feel like you’ve been to London unless you’ve walked across Westminster bridge and seen Big Ben. Go on, take that nostril selfie with Big Ben in the background, I know you want to.
So there you have it, my ultimate London bucket list! Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments below.