London Travel Guide

The London Travel Guide you’ve been asking for. | As is the case with many Americans, my first conception of London, as a child, was that it was the fancy place in which the Royal Family resided. My perception of the city was completely punctuated by its appearance in media and pop culture. It was where Cruella DeVil and Harry Potter lived. Where Stonehenge rested. And of course, where the Spice Girls were born.

Tea, crumpets, charming accents that oozed prestige and tradition. It all seemed impossibly aristocratic and utterly aspirational.

It wasn’t until 2023 that I made my first trip across the pond. And partially, writing this London travel guide seems almost like a fool’s errand because there is SO MUCH to see and do in one of the world’s coolest cities. But I narrowed down a few of Hamptons to Hollywood’s recommendations of where to go while you’re visiting London. I’m already thinking about a London Travel Guide, Part Two.


Where to Eat in London

Bad food in London? That is a stereotype of the past. When you visit London, you’ll eat well. It’s truly a city to eat your way through. Especially if the weather is miserable.

The River Cafe – Just west of Central London, along the River Thames, lies The River Cafe. The fine dining Italian restaurant (founded in 1987) is one of the most famous in London, known for its high-quality Italian food, made from the best ingredients. It’s pared down, almost pastoral in the foundation of its recipes, but complements everything with a delicious high-end flair: it’s the kind of high-low balance we love at Hamptons to Hollywood. They even have their own podcast.

Oblix Afternoon Tea – It’s tea time, dear! When exploring London, high tea (or afternoon tea, if you’re more chill) is a truly cultural experience. It’s pricy, but worth it. Located in The Shard, the tea at Oblix offers panoramic views of the London skyline in a modern atmosphere, mixing British tradition with a current flair.

The Ivy– Located just at the bottom of London Bridge, The Ivy is another wonderful English institution. I ordered a shepherd’s pie when I went. How British!? And it was good. This is a great spot to indulge in a nice lunch or brunch with wonderful views of the bridge.

Harrods – Its central location makes it convenient; its pedigree makes it chic. Busier during the holiday season for sure, Harrod’s is a London institution that offers world-class shopping and wonderful restaurants. Whether you want to pick up a quick snack in one of the store’s markets, or sit down for a high-end steak dinner, Harrod’s has everything you could ever want. Literally.

Duck and Waffle – Located in Central London, Duck and Waffle offers contemporary cuisine with killer views. The staff was wonderful here – some of the friendliest in London – and it’s just a short walk from public transportation. Hop on a train at a nearby Tube Station and you can be anywhere from South London to Oxford Street fairly quickly. Reasonably priced. Served small plates and mains.

J Sheekey – I think this was my favorite. Located on a side street in London’s West End, J Sheekey is VERY Hamptons to Hollywood. Serving up quality seafood and a comfortable, but elevated atmosphere, I instantly felt home here. Grab a seat at the bar and order french fries with fresh oysters and a great glass of Sauvignon Blanc, or make a reservation and have a full meal for a special occasion. I made friends at the bar who had just finished a play nearby; the vibe was like the Cheers bar, but chic. Great gathering for high-end creative types.

The Ned Brunch – Full disclosure: I have not experienced this, but Instagram made it look VERY cool.


Where to Go Out in London

Madison New Change – It’s a modern European venue with a rooftop restaurant and bar, and on the weekends, it’s definitely a party atmosphere. Located by Saint Paul’s Cathedral, it’s a prime location (with prime views).

The Globe Theatre – I was very excited to see The Globe; it’s the place where Shakespeare performed his plays! True history. It’s beautifully constructed, but this is a busy part of town, so the tourist crowds will be in full effect. There’s usually a long line (or queue!) to get inside the theater, but if you have time and are a theater or history lover, I say do it. It’s easy walking distance to other attractions on the South Bank, like the Tate Modern.

Tower Bridge – Another piece of the world’s iconography located right in Central London. Sure, you can catch several bus lines across the river, but I think you should walk across the bridge. It’s easy access and you can really appreciate the whole city from its views.

Heaven Nightclub – Ready to party in London? Heaven is a famous LGBTQ+ nightclub in the Covent Garden neighborhood that is MASSIVE. It’s labyrinth-like architecture makes you feel like you’re in this cool cave. They measure the drinks in London, so your cocktails won’t be super strong, but it’s a great place to dance and is open to anyone and everyone.

Tate Modern – This British museum on the South Bank, honestly, moved me to tears. I really loved it. London has so many museums, like the National Gallery and the Tate, but the Modern offered more contemporary global exhibits. It should NOT be missed.

Buckingham Palace – It’s one of the main sights when you visit London for a reason; it’s iconic! Right by Trafalgar Square and south of SoHo, the palace is wonderful. If nothing else, go for the marching guards.

Feel It at Omeara – Also on the South Bank, this LGBTQ+ hotspot offers fun parties in a maze-like venue. It’s pretty hedonistic, and the music is all house and techno, but it’s one of the better and most popular LGBTQ+ clubs in London.

West End – Located in SoHo, London’s West End is where all the theater is! The shows are incredible and draw in crowds from all over the world. It’s a really fun and bustling part of the city.

Vagabond – Though it’s a chain, this establishment has over 100 types of wine ON TAP. Just swipe your credit card, hold your glass under the tap, and your preferred wine starts flowing. It’s fun to go after work for Happy Hour and try new types of wine.

Walk Around – When you visit London, there will be something within walking distance, no matter where you go. Take an afternoon and explore distinct neighborhoods. Whether it’s the color and charm of Notting Hill, the fashion and entertainment-centric Covent Garden, the gorgeous and expansive Hyde Park (which borders Kensington Palace), Westminster Abbey, visiting a local pub, trying yummy street food, or zooming over to East London. There is so much to do!


Where to Stay in London

As always at Hamptons to Hollywood, we prefer a boutique hotel or AirBnB over anything else. Central London is a safe place to book something, because you can see so much of the city in a central location.

While there are many luxury hotels, like the Nomad London, there are cost-friendly options, too, like the Z Hotel in SoHo, which is perfectly central, albeit a little busy and not super tranquil. But fun.

Best Time to Visit London

In my opinion, the best time to visit London, and Europe in general, is in September. I headed to London in July, and it was fine. Only one rainy day. But to avoid crowds, try off-peak times like April and May or September and October.

Editor’s Note: Watch out for pickpockets when you stay in London. My phone was stolen OUT OF MY HANDS in London by a speedy man on a vespa – when I had two more weeks of travel ahead of me. KEEP YOUR PHONE IN YOUR POCKETS. Of course, I chased after him like Jason Bourne on a top secret spy mission, but my Vans sneakers tripping on cobblestone streets were no match for the motor on his moped.

What To Pack For A Trip To London

Layers! And an umbrella. Also, comfortable shoes. I would suggest a jacket – even summer nights can get chilly – and elevated basics. Good quality t-shirts and pants in neutral colors that can kind of go with anything. You want to look your best, but you don’t want to be ostentatious. Brits like subdued, quiet luxury.

Listen, you’re going to have a great time. Drink all the gin and tonics and pints of beer your liver can handle. Eat all the fish and chips. Go to a museum, make friends with the locals (everyone is SO NICE), and really just suck it all in. These are things you will remember for a LIFETIME. Even if some excursions seems a little pricey in the moment, go for it.



Founder & Creator of Hamptons to Hollywood, lifestyle blogger, entertainer, and all-around lover of life.

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