London is modern, magical, and massive. A traveler could spend a year in the city and still not see everything. However, there are a few things that you MUST do upon your first visit here.
1. Take a morning walk past Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. The city architects were very gracious to tourists when they designed these beautiful structures in close proximity to each other!
2. Have a spot of tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace. The restaurant itself is magnificently light and airy. You will feel like a royal! It is near the castle itself and within the confines of Hyde Park, making a post-tea bike ride very convenient.
3. Spend a rainy afternoon wandering the galleries of the Tate Modern. From Andy Warhol to Salvador Dali, the museum offers a plethora of free exhibits that will delight your senses and spark your imagination.
4. Set your alarm clock early and eat the most delicious breakfast at Duck & Waffle. The view is beautiful at sunrise. It’s open 24 hours so it’s also perfect for the late night munchers!
5. Wander around Camden Lock Market. Tucked away in the fantastically grungy Camden Town, the market offers delicious food, vintage clothing, and a nostalgic atmosphere. Standout restaurants include The Cereal Killer Café and The Cheese Bar.
6. Enjoy an ice-cream cone from BoxPark’s Soft Serve Society while vintage shopping on Brick Lane. There is plenty to do in the trendy neighborhood of Shoreditch, but the BoxPark is a must with its tasty restaurants and unique boutiques.
7. Sample gourmet foods at Borough Market. Row after row of food booths will make your mouth water the minute you set foot in this market. It gets a bit busy on the weekends, so try to plan your outing for a weekday! The Tower Bridge is also a short walk away and worth catching a glimpse of!
8. Have a second cup of tea (you’re in London, why not!) at Sketch. The afternoon tea room is light pink with delightful artwork that creates a whimsical atmosphere for all who dine there.
9. Empty your bank account on Regent Street. London takes shopping to a new level with its multi-level stores and impeccable shopping experiences. Carnaby is just around the corner and provides more boutique shopping with the same amount of dazzle.
10. Take a spin on the London Eye at sunset. Make sure to go on a clear day, because the London clouds tend to shroud the beautiful city views.
Lastly, walk everywhere! London is a large city, but walking enables you to stumble upon local favorites and gain a broader perspective of the city! Have fun exploring!
Emma is a Fall 2017 SAI London student from Baylor University.