This guest post was written by Yaya and Lloyd.
London town is one of the most vibrant, cultured and downright awesome cities in the entire world! It’s wide-ranging markets, fun-fuelled parades, delicious restaurants and quirky neighbourhoods make it a must see city whilst exploring the UK.
One of the best things about London is that there’s so much more than the main touristy sights to see. There’s a whole array of hidden gems that are hidden just beneath the surface of London life so grab your Oyster Card and go explore some of our very favourite places in London.
Everyone uses public transport in London. It doesn’t matter who you are; buses, the Tube and Thames Clipper are used by millions daily. The easiest and cheapest way to do this, of course, is to get an Oyster card from an Underground Station rather than buying a daily travel card.
A one-way fare on the tube paid in cash can be as high as £5 at certain times (depending on how far your travelling) whereas a whole day’s travel with an Oyster card is usually less than half that and is capped at the maximum of whatever a day’s travel card would have cost. You never spend more than you would have for a day’s travel card but if you spend less, you keep your cash.
Best fusion food: Clos Maggiore
This French fusion restaurant is nestled in the heart of Covent Garden. Book your table in advance and ask to be sat in the main concourse. Filled with flowers and vines, this area comes alive at night with tens of thousands of fairy lights.
Best shakes: Ed’s Diner
For the best milkshakes in all of London, head towards Ed’s Diner. Ed’s has a few joints across London, with our favourite being the one in Piccadilly Circus. Don’t forget to ask for their tasty peanut butter and banana shake that are made to order!
Unique venue: Tramshed
Based in the uber trendy Shoreditch area of London, Tramshed is a popular venue for us Londoners. Admire the Damien Hirst Centrepiece while chowing down on some of the best chicken and Bloody Marys in all of London.
Food Market: Borough Market
A foodies dream come true, Borough market is the best place to explore the diversity of fresh foods, gifts and even a little art right in the centre of the city. Work up an appetite and work your way through ALL the free samples before deciding what to eat (the salted beef sandwich is a good go-to if you’re not sure what to get).
Quirky: Camden Market
Camden Market is one place that every visitor to London should try once.
Hundreds of market stalls line the streets and old stables selling everything from Ethiopian coffee, North African leather goods, quirky jewelry, antiques to quirky anime gifts. There is literally something for every one here!
There are so many art galleries to visit in London, from the world famous Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery, to the lesser-known local haunts that house some of the most thought-provoking pieces in the city.
Yes, Tramshed again! The awesome Shoreditch restaurant houses a secret gallery in its basement! After eating your weight in Tramshed deliciousness, continue your evening with a tour of this intimate and mostly unknown art venue.
Hidden a mere 30 seconds from the bustling Regent Street is Blain Southern, one of London’s best-kept secrets in contemporary art. Take a wander through its many installations that change weekly – all with free entry.
Taking a step away from the hundreds of chains in London, there is a whole community of artisan coffee houses that send any coffee lover into overdrive.
The Watch House Coffee
This old Victorian watch house used to act a station for resident policemen over two centuries ago. Nowadays, they serve the most delicious coffee in this intimate environment, which even showcases and sells local artwork.
This tiny little coffee venue can often be found in Southwark (near the London Eye) or Camden Market. Wheeling its way around London, Cabbie coffee serves award winning coffee right from a traditional black cab.
There’s a whole array of festivals that we Londoners love to participate in, from; The Notting Hill Carnival, Pride, New Year’s Day Parade and Chinese New Year. If you’re visiting in summer, take advantage of the long summer days and enjoy one of these incredible festivals to get a true taste of how diverse our incredible city is.
Guest Bloggers: We are Lloyd & Yaya from Hand Luggage Only - We set up our site to connect with fellow explorers so that we can all get the most out of our travel experiences! We want to make inspirational travel posts that are accessible for everyone, whether; you're on an action-packed gap year, planning your log cabin ski-trip, taking a blissful honeymoon, or even daring to climbing Mt Fuji!