Suggestions for Tourists in London
Highgate | Westminster | The Thames | Whitechapel | Covent Garden | Greenwich
Take a tour of the West Cemetery, which is beautifully located on a wooded hill, and you are sure to know of some of the residents - scientists and writers pepper the landscape. Then wander freely around the East Cemetery, and be sure to find Karl Marx! After that, walk back down into the village to drink at the Flask, or across Hampstead Heath to Spaniards Inn for a rest.
Drink: The Flask, 77 Highgate West Hill. Dick Turpin is reputed to have hidden in the cellars here, and the old cellar area is now part of the main pub which makes for many nooks and crannies!
Food and drink: Spaniards Inn, Spaniards Road, Hampstead. Another old pub full of history. It's a 16th century building full of small corners. The food is good compared to usual pub standards, and the garden is great in summer (where kids and dogs are welcome).
Links: The Flask, Spaniards Inn, Highgate Cemetery
Exit the tube opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, then cross the river to the London Eye for some breathtaking views (and you can't even feel yourself moving!) The neighbouring County Hall contains the Dali Universe and Saatchi Galleries as well as the London Aquarium - a visit to any one of these will take an hour or two. Wander back to Whitehall and pass the Horse Guards and Downing Street on your way for a drink at the Lord Moon of the Mall. Don't forget your camera!
Drink: Lord Moon of the Mall, Whitehall. It's a JD Wetherspoon pub so part of a chain rather than being traditional, but it's well located and welcomes children.
Food: Simply Nico, 48A Rochester Row. Push the boat out and sample fine French cooking. Booking recommended.
Links: Saatchi Gallery, London Aquarium, London Eye, Dali Universe, Simply Nico
Take a trip down the river and see London's architecture from the water. Various companies operate cruise trips, or you can take a quicker and cheaper trip on a commuter route. All the services are detailed in the guide linked below. You can even travel on a Paddle Steamer, and watch Tower Bridge be raised for you to pass below. Depending on which trip you take, you could alight at Tower Pier and visit the Tower Bridge exhibition or the Tower of London, and stop for a snack. Or you could alight at Waterloo and follow some of the Westminster suggestions.
Waterloo Drink: Visit the Hole in the Wall pub, in the arches under the railway line. The beer is good and it's a unique location!
Waterloo Food: Pick from this restaurant guide.
Tower Hill Food and Drink: Liberty Bounds, 15 Trinity Square. Another JD Wetherspoon pub so part of a chain rather than a traditional pub, but the beer and food in this one is good and the view over the Tower is gorgeous.
Links: River Services Guide, Hole in the Wall, Tower Bridge, Tower of London
Drop into the Whitechapel Art Gallery for contemporary art, then stop off for a drink at the Blind Beggar - where the Krays shot George Cornell, and were finally arrested. Next, take an evening walking tour of Jack the Ripper country and see many of the original locations where murders took place as the streets remain unchanged. Finally, sample the culture in Brick Lane, where Bangladeshi curry houses and Jewish Bagel shops are plentiful. A real taste of the East End.
Drink: The Blind Beggar, 337 Whitechapel High Street. This is a traditional pub, with leather seats and a laid back atmosphere. Worth visiting if only because of its infamy.
Food: Beigel Bakery, 159 Brick Lane. Open 24 hours with excellent bagels at reasonable prices. Stars are rumoured to swoop by in the small hours after gigging. As for Curry Houses - there are more than twenty of them along Brick Lane, take your pick!
Links: Whitechapel Art Gallery, Blind Beggar, London Horror Tours, Original London Tours
Covent Garden is great for shopping, with lots of little shops selling luxuries such as Lush and Crabtree & Evelyn for toiletries, The Candle Shop and The Gadget Shop. It's also famous for its street performers and you are likely to encounter everything from busking musicians to people breathing fire. London Transport Museum is fascinating, with old trams, trains and buses, a trail for children to complete and interactive exhibits including a train driving simulator. If you don't have time for the museum, just pop into the shop for Tube-branded goodies. When you need to sit down, the Porterhouse is a great place to pause, or you can drop into Chinatown for a meal.
Drink: The Porterhouse, 21-22 Maiden Lane. A traditional Irish bar which brews its own beer, lager and porter, with music at various times. Serves bar food but not all day.
Food: Chinatown is full of restaurants! Pick from this restaurant guide.
Links: The Porterhouse, London Transport Museum, Covent Garden shop guide
Greenwich - pronounced "Gren-ich" - is full of history. Walk through the cobbled streets to the Cutty Sark ship, which you can explore. Take in the views across to the Dome and Canary Wharf buildings in Docklands. Visit the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, where you can stand astride the Greenwich Meridian - one foot in the west of the world, one foot in the east! To finish your visit, take a picnic into the oldest Royal park and enjoy great views. If the weather is bad, try Davy's Wine Vaults just along from the DLR and mainline station. If you still have time (and can catch a cab or came by car) drive to the Thames Barrier, which protects London from floods. It's tested monthly, so check the website for times when it can be seen in action.
Food and Drink: Try Davy's Wine Vaults for good food and a great wine list in a pub setting, or bring your own and enjoy a picnic in Greenwich Park.
Links: Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, Greenwich Park, Thames Barrier, Davy's Wine Vaults
This page last updated: 01 September 2022
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