Since the pandemic, rather than taking our travels abroad, many of us have been appreciating what the UK has to offer. So we’ve put together a STAY-cation series to help you find the best places in the UK to get away for some kind of break this year.
Type of Staycation: City break/Sightseeing
Best places to stay:
It is the place to go if you want to live like a local! It has amazing transport links with good tube and train links and is close to some amazing markets (like Borough Market and Maltby Street Market). You could walk over Tower Bridge and to the Tower of London, which are great to see and so beautiful up close and best yet, it’s free to walk around. London Bridge also has the famous pasta place Padella. It has been awarded so many times for serving the tastiest pasta and even though the queue can be quite long, it will be worth the wait!
The OG of cool places in London. This area is full to the brim with cool bars, restaurants, and things to do. Not far from Kings Cross, it is easy to get to and also a real hotspot for vegan diners and plant-based eating. You can listen to live music all night at The Blues Kitchen who serve incredible food, or Old Street Records where you can dance to an amazing singer doing live covers of absolute bangers! Or you can have a drink in a secret stashed away bar, hidden behind a wardrobe door at Callooh Callay. The list of places to drink and dance in this area are endless and a must-stay for those looking for a fun night out! Also, it is close to Brick Lane – if you like Indian food, this street is full of some of the best curry houses in London.
The tourist hot spot, but for a good reason. If you stay here, right in the heart of the city, you will be just moments away from the Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Oxford Street! Perfect for first-timers who want to go sight-seeing, shopping and to the theatre. Check out the delicious brunch at the Balthazar, have a wine at the famous pub the Punch and Judy that overlooks the square and make sure you visit the Seven Dials where you will find seven streets of boutique shop and cafes. You could spend a day just exploring because there is so much to see and find!
If you want somewhere outside of the main city, that is a bit quieter and more scenic, Richmond is the place. It is one of the greenest places in London and is close to Kew Gardens and the Royal Botanical Gardens (one of the largest and most diverse botanical gardens in the world – it is beautiful!). Richmond is peaceful yet not boring and has so many cute pubs that look out over the river. Very sweet!
Things to do:
If you love a market, Borough Market has to be top of the list. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets and has so much to see and eat. There is a huge selection of cheeses, bread, meats and sweet treats; you can just walk around and snap up all the free samples!
Afternoon Tea in a café in Little Venice
A colourful canal full of tearooms and cafes where you can have afternoon tea on a canal boat – very cool. A popular one is Darcie & May Green where they do a delicious Australian vibe bottomless brunch.
Not only gorgeous to walk around (for free) but you can hire out a rowing boat or a pedal-o, depending on how strong you are feeling, on the Serpentine (the lake in the middle of the park). It is a breath of fresh air in the busy city!
Buckingham Palace and St James’ Park
Go and visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and maybe see the change of the Guards. Then cross over the road to St James’ Park where a wild array of animals and birds roam around (you can feed them and they are super friendly!)
This bar and restaurant has given me some of the best memories of a night out. The concept is that there’s a live band and a singer, and you can make requests on a bit of paper for any song. One minute you are listening to the Spice Girls, then Kanye West, then something from a musical… either way you will be singing at the top of your lungs and dancing all night long!
Go up 30 floors to the top of the Sky Gardens and experience a sunrise over the city whilst doing yoga. Surprisingly cheap and an incredible way to start the day!
If you want a stunning view of London, head over to Primrose Hill and up to the top and stop off for a picnic. It is simply stunning and super close to Camden.
There are heaps of bars and restaurants near the lock, and a buzzing market that sells authentic food from little huts, and also an old horse stable converted into a café/bar. There is always something interesting going on, and a lot of alternative shops to look in. It is a hot favourite for tourists.
It is a pub crawl with a twist. Near London Bridge station, there is a long line of breweries tucked away under the railway arches. You can make your way along each one, one pint at a time! Then when you get hungry, not far from there is Bermondsey Street which is packed with amazing restaurants (and more bars if you want to carry on the drinking…).
A great place to take a date, Roof East is a rooftop open-plan games bar. It has an outdoor cinema where you can cosy up with popcorn on a deck chair. It has a baseball batting cage, curling lanes and crazy golf, as well as a bar and some food stalls. It is easy to get to and the perfect hang out for the day if you want something fun and a bit different.
A mouthful to say but this epic street food hall is open 7 days a week and has so many food stalls in one place that you will struggle to pick.
This hidden gem is a lovely woodland area, created initially as part of London’s Japan Festival, the little garden has traditional Japanese trees and plants and incredible water features – perfect for a tranquil and peaceful walk to bring you back into nature.
If you love Harry Potter, then this is a good one. The tour takes your around fun places and you get to discover the real Diagon Alley and it is a great way to see loads of London on foot!
London has some incredible rooftop bars and our favourites are:
Jin Bo Law – in the heart of the city, tucked away amongst other skyscrapers, the ultimate cosmopolitan destination for a cheeky cocktail.
Radio Rooftop – Super boujeee, perfect 360 views of London, fancy cocktails. What more do you want?
Queen of Hoxton – a favourite in Shoreditch, perfect in the summer, it always has a fun theme going on and dance-worthy music
3 fun facts about London:
1. The City of London has so many trees that it falls within the UN definition of a forest!
2. To become a London black cab driver, you have to pass a test that involves memorizing every single street in London!
3. The London bus system covers a lot of miles… it is estimated that the buses travel 12x times circumference of the Earth every year!