Make no mistake about it: London is a spectacular, energetic metropolis with far more to offer than you might first suspect. This place is so vast that you could spend a lifetime exploring it and still not get bored. In addition, the greatest things to do in London are dispersed across the city's many charming neighbourhoods, making it easy to walk the streets of our wonderful capital city. In fact, there is so much to do, it can become a bit overwhelming, so with summer on its way, let us guide you round some of the best experiences to be had.
Visit a gallery. London is renowned for having some of the best art galleries in the world, such as the National Gallery, but there are many other fine art galleries dotted around the city too. Why not try the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, or the Tate Modern on the banks of the Thames, but if you prefer your art a tad less contemporary, why not try a smaller gallery, like White Cube near London Bridge Station.
Eat good street food. If you are out visiting White Cube in Bermondsey, you are just around the corner from Borough Market and its array of tasty food and ingredients. London doesn’t have as much in the way of general street food vendors as some other cities, but dedicated sites like the ‘Market’ more than make up for it. You could also try the International Street food Market – it’s open 24 hours a day – located in the Trueman Brewery building.
Relax. Despite its hustle and bustle, London can be a very relaxing city. There are all manner of ways to take it easy, from a stroll around one of the many public parks or Kew Botanical Gardens to cruising the river Thames. If heights aren’t an issue, why not spend an hour going round the London Eye and taking in the scenery of the city. If you really struggle to relax, why not visit an flotation tank and disconnect from everything for an hour of bliss – or terror – depending on your reaction to being stuck in a tank of buoyant water in perfect darkness and quiet.
Take in some music. Music can take on many forms in London, and whether you want to see great pop music at a venue like the O2 or Wembley Arena, or prefer some classical music performed in some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, you will find plenty of it. If you fancy something a little racier, you could head over to Ministry of Sound for some heavyweight beats.
Visit a Speakeasy. Bars are one thing but a Speakeasy has a kind of special quality that makes them a cut above the rest. Some of the best of them are now appearing in the regenerated area of Shoreditch. You could try the imaginatively-named Callooh Calley bar, or the Cocktail Trading Company for a start and find others in this fast-gentrifying area. Take care though, as many of these establishments tend to be a little, um, experimental in their cocktails so if you find a lobster in your Tequila Sunrise, don’t blame me.
Have a coffee. Yes, so you can have a coffee anywhere, but aside from coffee cities like Milan or Morocco, nobody does it better. The rise of London coffee shops stems from the city getting more of a taste for Columbia’s finest (yeah, we do mean coffee, btw), and has led to a rise of artisan coffee shops. With a massive list of gourmet coffee concoctions, Kaffeine is a truly exceptional experience, and even run Barista course. Over at Covent Garden, Coffee Island offer the full Milan coffee experience. There are also plenty of other establishments dotted around town for aficionados, and some really quirky ones too like The Attendant in Foley Street, which is a converted below-ground Victorian toilet. If tea is more of your thing, you could visit the 300-year-old Twining’s tea shop on the Strand.
Do a Treasure Hunt. Becoming an increasingly popular way to discover the city, treasure hunts are a fun way to test your powers of observation and ability to work out progressively complex clues until you finally crack the last one. A good treasure hunt will also allow you to swing past plenty of historic drinking establishments, reducing your chances of actually completing the hunt, but making it much more fun.
Visit a market. Kensington or Camden are both excellent, eclectic markets with a huge mix of bespoke shops and great street food establishments. Some of it is tacky, some of it is weird, but all of it is an experience. If you want to go further afield, Greenwich also has a wonderful market.
Discover. Because of its age and background, London has some really outstanding discoveries that will make you gasp. How about The Painted Hall in Greenwich, which has been called the Sistine Chapel of London, or go behind the scenes of the iconic Tower Bridge with the Behind the Scenes Tower Bridge Tour (naturally). If you don’t fancy those, how about staying overnight at London Zoo? Akin to waking on the Serengeti – if you managed to sleep in the first place - your alarm will be roaring lions, chattering monkeys, and whatever parrots do in the morning.
Get sporty. You could Kayak the Thames, or do paddleboarding at the serene and scenic Kew area of the great river. How about a spot of running around with Virtual Reality Zombie shooting in Camden? If not, London is renowned for its sporting events, and depending upon the time of year, you could be watching football at Wembley, tennis at Wimbledon, cricket at Lords, or rugby at Twickenham.
Grab some culture. With museums catering for just about any subject you could spend weeks experiencing everything from Natural History and British History to something a tad more quirky such as the rather disturbing House of Dreams or The Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, which holds the Guinness record for the World’s longest museum name…probably. In between these two extremes is a whole host of magnificent establishments that cover almost anything that you can think of.
Dine out. London has close to 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, just in its centre alone, and if you have the pocket for it, you can be treated to some truly fantastic food. You could try Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, or Michel Roux Jr.'s Le Gavroche. Meanwhile over at Belgravia, you’ll find Marcus Wareing’s “Marcus” restaurant, and if you fancy the potential for being yelled at while you eat, Gordon Ramsey’s “Pétrus” is just up the road from Marcus.
Cycle. London now has over 300km of cycle routes that spread right across the capital and allow the cyclist to literally get from one side of the city to the other, while passing some of the most iconic building in the world. You can hire so-called Boris Bikes at roadside sites all over the central city, so enjoy. There are also a host of private bike hire shops dotted around.
Visit some attractions. How can you possibly visit the city without taking in some of the historic sights? London has a history spanning over two centuries and in that time, history has literally been built. Why not visit some of the most iconic sites like Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, or St Paul’s Cathedral. If you are feeling a bit morbid, or are trying to connect with your internal poet, there is always Highgate Cemetery for an afternoon’s stroll.