One of the most exciting cities in Europe, you won't be bored in London!
Things to see
The least expensive way out of the airport is with the underground train. You pay 12 pounds for the full day train ticket, which allows you to come and go as you like on their public transportation. They also have an express train, which costs twice as much and it takes only 15 minutes to Paddington Station. From there, you will still need to purchase another train ticket to your hotel or a cab ride.
I like staying in the heart of the city, like close to Trafalgar Square. I stayed twice already for a few days each at Club Quarters Trafalgar Square. Although is no luxury, it's very clean, location is probably one of the best, They have the club you can grab a snack any time of the day, and even wine and some appetizers during the early evening hours. Staff is also so nice and accommodating. Another hotel I enjoyed my stay was at The Piccadilly West End. Location was perfect as well, delicious breakfast and staff was also super nice.
If you prefer a more quiet neighborhood, I would recommend staying at the Hotel Indigo Kensington. It's only a few blocks to the "tube" so you can go anywhere from there. The rooms are beautiful and I was so pleased that I stayed there.
The train (tube) connects you pretty much to wherever you need to go, the same as the buses. Make sure to buy a day ticket, so it’s much easier to come and go as you like, between bus & train.
You certainly have to see the main attractions… don’t miss them: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, London Eye (if you are interested in a ride, you can buy tickets online to avoid long lines), St. Paul’s cathedral, Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.
If you haven’t been to Madame Tussauds, this is certainly fun and it can take more time than expected. I would suggest buying the tickets online as well, you can save some money (pounds!).
A picture at Abbey Road like the Beatles album is also a fun shot. There is not much around there though.
I love walking around Camden. It’s fun; there are tons of shops, with a lot of eclectic shops and food.
I enjoyed walking around Broadway Market as well. It's located in the heard of Hackney, East London. I think they only happen on Saturdays. It's certainly a nice small market, if you enjoy visiting neighborhoods.
The most famous of the markets is Borough Market. Not far from London Bridge, this market is a great source for British and International produce.
After visiting the Borough Market, take the opportunity for a nice stroll along the Thames River, cross the famous London Bridge and explore the City of London area.
You will see/visit the Tower of London, and if you are craving for a break/drink, a great suggestion is to go to the Double Tree Hotel by Hilton and enjoy the rooftop SkyLounge: It’s gorgeous. It’s so nice to go there and seat outside and admire the amazing view of the bridge and the city. The hotel is situated only 150 meters from Tower Hill Underground Station and just a five-minute walk from the iconic Gherkin, Tower Bridge. Address is: 7 Pepys Street, London, EC3N 4AF, United Kingdom
Another area nearby that I really enjoy for a nice walk is the St Katherine Docks & Wapping. It's lovely.
If you are into art, a visit to Tate can't be missed. Entrance is free, except for especial exhibitions. This is an impressive museum for contemporary and modern art. It's pretty much on the other side of the famous St. Paul's Cathedral, which you can easily reach walking on the beautiful Millennium Bridge.
The city also offers many amazing plays that will make you feel you are in Broadway NYC.
For sport fans, don't miss the chance to visit some great stadiums and even maybe watch some game from the England Premier League.
Shopping and eating
I do enjoy shopping in every city I go visit. London won't disappoint. If you think you will spend tons of money, yes you can spend a lot shopping there, but in the same time, you can find amazing deals if you go in the "right" time of the year. Around the 2nd - 3rd week of January you will find the most amazing winter sales and the same for the 2nd -3rd week of July for summer sales. You can literally shop until you drop.
There are many great locations to shop. A few options are: for unlimited budget, go to the charming Old Bond and New Bond Street in the Mayfair area. Oxford Street, Regent Street and Convent Garden are also great and you will find easily the popular and cool brands.
If you have a very bad weather day in London and you plan doing some shopping, another great option is to go to the Westfield Mall. It can be easily reached by train and you will be able to keep yourself warm while you shop. This mall has great shops and restaurants, including Kidzania for kids. It's a fantastic option for the common rainy days.
The restaurants below are the ones that I can't miss every time I'm back in London.
Yummy Korean food. My favorite dish is the Jap Chae with Marinated beef and vegetables. If you are very hungry and enjoy meat, the Bulgogi was very nice. You can check their menu here.
Thai Square London: you will see it around town in many locations. Very nice Thai food and very affordable.
A great finding during my last trip to London was the restaurant Gaucho. For those who enjoy a nice steak, great atmosphere and fantastic service, don't miss the opportunity to visit it. They have 3 locations in London, so I'm sure you will find one close to you. I visited the one close to Piccadilly and I will certainly come back.
Another new finding was a restaurant called Wahaca, for Mexican food. I have to say: it's so good, I'm literally craving it now. They have a few restaurants in the city, I really enjoyed the one in Convent Garden. They had great service, food was delicious for a great price!