One of the busiest and most culturally diverse cities in the entire world, London is ready and waiting for you to explore its well trodden paths as well as its secret cobbled corners! From museums, exhibitions, dozens of theatres, stunning outdoor spaces, streets full of unique character and restaurants with some of the world’s most decorated chefs at the helm, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. If you’ve never been before, you’re in for a treat if you think it’s simply a busy concrete jungle, for there are endless pockets of enchanting corners, charming streets and quiet cafes into which to escape and explore. So whether you love wandering around museums, adore the autumn colours of parks, enjoy ticking landmarks off your “to visit” list or simply like to get lost in a new city to get to know its true character, here at HIP Hotels we have put together a list of London’s best features, so you can make the most of a visit to this incredible city!
Probably the most traditionally touristy thing on our list is visiting the iconic landmarks of this iconic city. One of the most identifiable landmarks is the London Eye, a gigantic ferris wheel that was only supposed to sit on London’s Southbank for a year, to celebrate the millennium in 2000, but was so popular that it still stands twenty years later! Going for a ride in one of the pods is a fantastic way to see the city from above, with thirty minutes slowly rotating through the air with some of the best views of old and new London town.
A great way to get around to the iconic landmarks and learn a little about them along the way, is via one of the double decker hop-on hop-off tour buses that frequents London’s streets. On these you will visit the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral, the stunning Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the infamous Tower of London, and of course Oxford Street. For a slower trip to see some of London’s best landmarks, do your own walking route: start at the London Eye on the Southbank before crossing the river to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Then wander up Whitehall and pass the Cenotaph and the entrance to Downing Street, before ending up in Trafalgar Square at the foot of the National Gallery and Admiral Nelson’s Column!
A lot of people make a visit to London to do some shopping, but not everyone has the same shopping experience that they’re looking for… some are hoping to go wild on Oxford Street in the massive flagship stores of their favourite shops, whereas others are hoping to have a day shopping in streets and shops and markets unique to the City of London and this is where we can help! There are a few unique places for shopping in London, but our favourites have got to be the markets.
One of the most famous markets in the world, Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is a mile long burst of eclectic energy and unique stalls - from antiques, bric-a-brac and vintage clothing, to collectable stamps, jewellery and furniture, as well as fresh produce and stunningly delicious street food, there’s a reason it’s a hit with locals and visitors alike! If you’re after items with a little more of a unique character to them, Camden Lock Market is a great place to make a stop, as well as the surrounding shops. For a market rife with second-hand treasures, head to Brick Lane on Sundays before a short stroll to Columbia Road Flower Market in Hackney, where you can treat yourself to the best flowers in town, as well as the chance to snap a few beautiful photographs for the ‘gram! And of course for more central locations, Covent Garden Market and Carnaby Street are not to be missed!
Much like most world-class cities, London is filled with restaurants that serve heaven-worthy food, as well as food markets that will tantalise your tastebuds just as much! There are many sumptuous Michelin star restaurants around the city but especially in Mayfair, if you’re after something on the slightly more elegant and opulent side of things. Soho will surprise you with its variety of cuisines presented in the stunning downtown atmosphere, that can easily be followed by a visit to the indulgent cocktail bar next door!
Camden Stables is home to the food market that will knock your socks off and take your breath away in a way that you didn’t know street food could! Indulge in the rich comforting taste of France from The Patate, try some delicious vegan food at Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner, or enjoy Poké from Lords of Poké! Another way to experience London cuisine at it’s finest, and arguably most authentic, is in the traditional English pubs! Visit the Churchill Arms in Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes pub on Northumberland Street just off Trafalgar Square, or more-or-less any pub on London’s streets for an authentic English public house experience!
Despite being a city filled with almost nine million people, and thousands upon thousands of buildings needed for everyone to live and work in, London has surprisingly large open spaces in which to escape from the bustling city streets. The iconic Hyde Park sits close to the centre of the city, Primrose Hill gives stunning views of the skyline, and Hampstead Heath is a place full of woodland, meadows, ponds you can swim in, and of course, shows fantastic views over the city and more. Or if you’re looking for something a little quieter, the smaller pockets of green allow for peaceful moments of respite!
These spaces are beautiful all year round, but the changing colours of the Autumn make for a stunning landscape that will make you forget you’re in a city at all. If you’re looking for something a little further afield, with some local deer maybe, or stunning rock gardens, walled flower gardens and poetry corners, head south-west into Bushy Park and Richmond Park, for a truly wonderful day out, and plenty of opportunities for wonderful photos. No matter what time of the year you visit one of London’s pockets of nature, there will always be something beautiful ready to surprise you.
One of the most lively and dynamic cities in the world, London is a place where old meets new in a beautifully vibrant fashion, and some of the best places to see that and immerse yourself in the city’s culture are within the walls of London’s museums. The Victoria and Albert Museum often has exhibitions of important periods of culture and fashion, the National Gallery is home to works by some of the world’s most influential artists and the Tate Britain and Tate Modern are spaces home to the cutting edge of modern art.
If you love learning about the past, the Imperial War Museum welcomes all who wish to immerse themselves in wartime vehicles and stories, and also hosts exhibitions of wartime memorabilia, work by photographers who captured the truths of those times, and engaging experiences for children to learn whilst they play. The Science Museum and Natural History Museum are also great places for days out with the family, or with friends, as they are home to interactive experiences for all ages and many special exhibitions.
Don’t forget when visiting London that it is also home to the world-renowned West End… With dozens of theatres now open and putting on performances once again, there is music and inspiration and comedy to be found down almost every street. If you’re not one to plan in advance, head down to the Leicester Square Ticket Booth for around 10am, for all the tickets available for shows on that very day, across the entire city!
London was first established as Londinium by the Romans almost two thousand years ago, and has grown, shifted and changed with each new generation as the centuries have passed. As you wander the city streets you’ll get a sense for that, for the people that came before and left their mark, from the Victorian and Medieval buildings, the trees planted, the heroes memorialised, the modern architecture and the art created that captures the city in a certain space and time to form photography, music, design, paintings, music and other new forms of art.
London thrives on its people, and its people are inspired by London; don’t miss the opportunity to be one of London’s people for a while and let the atmosphere, energy and character of this incredible city inspire you. Allow yourself to get lost in the old town streets, using smoother paved roads to weave amongst the hidden corners, and let your imagination run away with you as you consider those who have walked the ground beneath your feet before you… for there will have been hundreds of thousands already and there will be hundreds of thousands more. But on the day you purposefully lose yourself on those streets, it’ll be you making your own little piece of history within the centuries old streets of London, memories that you can take with you wherever you go next.
Converted from 13 Georgian Townhouses in 1851, Flemings Mayfair is the second-oldest hotel in the city, and is filled with quirky decor and ornate furnishings with a modern finish, inspired by 1930’s design. Stunning shades of bronze and grey merge together with pops of rich blues and reds in each of the beautiful rooms, designed to create a relaxing yet lavish space in which to unwind. An utter gem in every sense of the word, Flemings Mayfair is also host to a gorgeous restaurant with tantalising food and magnificent cocktails, so that you can dine in style after a day exploring the city.
For an extra taste of luxury, Flemings’ restaurant Ormer Mayfair is the perfect place to book into for a dazzling evening meal. Offering seasonal menus using local produce and ingredients, with the kitchen team lead by Executive Chef Sofian Msetfi who hails from some of the most well-respected Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK and Ireland, you are sure to have the ultimate sophisticated night with this delectable dining experience! With everything you could possibly need for a magical city break, Flemings is ready and waiting to treat you like royalty.
For a stay that feels like a secret hideaway in the centre of London, check into Mimi’s Hotel Soho, a gorgeous boutique hotel that is hidden behind a discreet townhouse façade in the heart of the city’s Soho district. With stylish decor, lavish fabrics and stylish finishings, Mimi’s oozes a chic yet elegant vibe that will leave you feeling as if you’ve stepped foot into a secret bijou paradise, and whilst visiting the big city of London, where else would you want to go to escape into blissful comfort?
The rooms boast classic wooden panelling, meticulously chosen antique furnishings and dreamily soft bedding, to create a space that you won’t want to leave. Believe us when we say that you’ll want to put that “do not disturb” sign on your door as you snuggle up and rest after your adventures of exploring this wonderful city! If, on the other hand, you’d like to enjoy a cocktail or two after arriving back, or on your way out again for an evening on the town, Henson’s Bar at the entrance of Mimi’s Hotel has you covered; with classic cocktails alongside specially created contemporary concoctions, the staff at Henson’s Bar will welcome you like family and make sure to give you the best cocktails in Soho!
If you have a love of art and plan to visit as many museums as you can during your stay in London, NYX Hotel London Holborn is a place where art doesn’t sleep and a place in which you can sleep surrounded by art! A sleek, contemporary stay in one of London’s hottest neighbourhoods, art is at the heart of this glamorous destination. One of the city’s newest hotels, NYX Hotel London Holborn has taken the city by storm with its eclectic design, quirky atmosphere and stunning events that have been enjoyed by hundreds since it’s opening.
Each of the 213 uniquely designed rooms and suites is filled with magnificent local art, bringing the best of the city inside for its guests to enjoy. The rooms are designed with bespoke modern furnishings, sleek colour palettes and cosy details to create the ultimate urban-themed stay; and with Nespresso machines, fully-stocked Smeg fridges and luxurious robes, be sure to make the most out of your stay here in between your excursions out into the city! And with one of the most glamorous Bar and Restaurants in town, and stunning Rena Spa complete with pool, sauna and steam room, what else could you possibly need?!
Founded in 1971 and converted from two stunning Victorian townhouses, Portobello Hotel has made a name for itself as the hotel for rockstars and movie stars alike. Some of its more famous residents and stories include Alice Cooper and the day he decided to let his boa constrictor loose, Robbie Williams and his love of the circular bed he slept in that prompted him to try to purchase it (the hotel refused and it is still there!) and of course the then-couple Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, famously filling a clawfoot bathtub with champagne and bathed in it during their stay! To say Portobello Hotel helps to bring out your inner rockstar, would be an understatement.
With only 21 rooms, individually and uniquely decorated to create stunning eclectic spaces each with their own stories and characters, this hotel oozes eccentric charm alongside the sophistication that it matches from the chic surrounding area of Notting Hill. Don’t forget to enjoy the 24 hour Honesty Bar and try a Portobello Road gin and tonic, chocolate cocktails and a selection of liquors from local breweries! Whatever you decide to do during your stay here, know that the spirit of Portobello Hotel will inspire you to release and embrace your inner creativity. Don’t just take our word for it… Tina Turner loved it so much, she bought the house next door!
Within the frames of an old Victorian schoolhouse, The LaLit London was created to bring the opulence of India to the banks of the River Thames. British Royals have flocked to the Indian States for centuries, consistently in awe of the food, fabrics and vibrant design of the culture, and at LaLit you will find a pocket of the best of India in the heart of London. Nestled not far from London Bridge, this enchantingly restored schoolhouse has been meticulously designed and crafted to provide each and every guest with the best experience possible - considering the basis of Indian hospitality is “Tithi Devo Bhava” meaning “Guests are God”, there’s no surprise why!
Bringing the elegant tastes of India to one of London’s oldest streets, creates an eclecticism shaped like the rarest of gems. With stunning Indian embroidery adorning the walls and opulent pieces of furniture, combined with contemporary pieces and the exposed original brickwork of the old grammar school, The LaLit London is a truly unique place that combines the best of British and Indian design. Be sure to indulge in the delights of the in-house restaurant Baluchi and its delicious pan-Indian dishes and the extensive collection of world teas, as you enjoy a stay at this stunning hidden hotel!
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