London is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
And for good reason.
No matter how many times you visit or how long you stay, there's never enough time to see, do and experience everything that this vibrant 24 hour city has to offer. There's literally something for everyone.
Quintessentially British Experiences
It's true that London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world however, it's still possible to experience the traditional British vibe. You can of course pop into a local pub for a pint or grab a portion of fish and chips with a side order of mushy peas. But there are more unique ways to enjoy a typically British experience.
You don't really get more British than a cup of tea or anything more iconic in London than a red double decker bus. And B Bakery has put the two together to give you a traditional afternoon tea whilst touring the city on one of London's famous buses. You'll see sights such as Big Ben, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall and Nelson’s Column whilst enjoying a selection of sandwiches, cakes and of course a lovely cuppa.
Cahoots aims to take you back in time to post-war 1940s Britain with it's vintage Underground station design and quirky themed interior. It's essentially a bar with an extensive cocktail list but they also offer a picnic experience every Saturday which is accompanied by live music.
You can read every guide available on London and there'll still be thousands of hidden gems scattered across the city for you to discover. There are countless experiences you can try from kayaking along the Thames to a trip on the London Eye and they're all unique in their own way.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit was created for the London 2012 Olympic Games and is the UK's tallest sculpture. Not only do you get a panoramic view of the city, you can also take the ride of your life down the world's longest tunnel slide! This one is not for the faint-hearted but is guaranteed to be an unforgettable memory from your trip.
London Zoo is one of the capital's top tourist attractions. But let's be honest, there's nothing unique about walking around a zoo. However, what is unique is spending a night with the lions at the zoo. Ok, so obviously you don't sleep with the lions but you do stay at the Gir Lion Lodge which the zoo says is within roaring distance of the big cats. Included in the experience are after-hours tours of the Zoo, animal feeds, breakfast, dinner and a complimentary drink on arrival.
Food-wise, if you have cash to splash, you can rub shoulders with celebs and dine at a Michelin star restaurant. If you have limited finances or prefer something more casual you can opt for a street food market.
Either way, in London, whatever your budget, you can sample cuisine from every corner of the world whether you fancy a chicken tikka masala, crispy duck pancakes, falafel drizzled in tahini sauce or a London classic, pie and mash.
And if the variety of food isn’t enough, your actual dining experience can be just as diverse as the food itself.
Dans le Noir is a restaurant like no other. Here diners are served by visually impaired waiters and eat in the dark. It is a culinary adventure like no other. You cannot see anything, not even who you're sat next to. Eating here gives you a completely unique dining experience and because you have no idea what you're eating, it forces you focus on other aspects of your meal such as smell, taste and texture rather than how instagrammable the dish is.
Food and entertainment are always a winning combination and Circus London doesn't disappoint. Enjoy dishes from their pan-Asian menu whilst being entertained by skilled performers, including fire-eaters and burlesque dancers.
Museums & Galleries
London has over 200 museums and more than 100 art galleries.
Many, such as the V&A, the British Museum, Tate Modern and the National Gallery, are world- renowned. However, the aforementioned attractions are all huge and you can easily lose a day of your vacation in each one. It is true that they may make a welcome retreat if the London weather lives up to its reputation and you need shelter from the rain. But, if you're looking to maximise your time in the city, you may want to consider one of the smaller museums and galleries.
Besides, they often have more eclectic collections and exhibitions for you to explore.
The Wellcome Collection is described as a "destination for the incurably curious". It offers a number of galleries as well as events that explore the impact of medicine on our lives as well as what it means to be human. Their exhibitions promise to be interesting, often intriguing and always thought-provoking.
The Black Cultural Archives is a national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the history of African and Caribbean people in Britain. In addition to their growing archives, they host exhibitions, public programmes and events, many of which are free to visit. And as it's a small centre, it can be easily slotted into a busy day of sightseeing.
London has countless must-see tourist attractions, which I do encourage you to see, especially if it's your first visit. However, for a more unique stay, definitely add some of these experiences to your itinerary.
Leanne Lindsey is a freelance blogger, qualified careers adviser and certified life coach who loves inspiring and motivating women to live happy, healthy lives they love by sharing simple and practical insights on self-care and wellbeing. She is a native Londoner who is currently trying out life the beautiful island of Tenerife. You can connect with her in The Self-Love & Wellness Lounge, at her website and on IG @leanne__lindsey.