London is one of my favorite places in the world! I have probably been here about a dozen times in the last couple of years. I love the feel of the city. It reminds me of NY in many ways, with great restaurants and the worlds best theater, but everyone has British accents! If you come here, I would recommend a few things to make your trip memorable and easy. First I would fly into LHR (Heathrow Airport) and take the Heathrow Express train into central London at Paddington Station. From there you can take a taxi or the Tube (their great subway) to your hotel. The Express only takes about 20 minutes instead of an hour or more by taxi, and it is much cheaper too.
It is £34 for a round trip ticket in standard seating, or £52 for a first class seat….as opposed to over £200 round trip for a taxi. There are many different sections of the city that are great to stay in. My favorite is in the Park Lane area. I normally stay at the Grovesner House or The Intercontinental when I am in that area, but there are dozens of great hotels there. I have also stayed at The W in the Piccadilly area. That is a very cool hotel. The rooms are very unique and the location is right in the middle of everything. Theater is a must for me. The theater district is referred to as The West End. It is a bit spread out compared to. The Broadway theater district in NY, but everything is still relatively close. What’s great about London theater compared to NY is that there is very little mark up on the seats when you get them from local ticket brokers. A few years back, I was booking a summer trip to NY or London to take my girls to 2 or 3 shows. The price for great seats at just one good show in NY was about $400 a seat ($1,600 for all 4 or us) We ended up seeing 4 shows in London (Phantom, Le Miserables, Dirty Dancing and Oliver) for less than the $1600 one show would have cost in NY through the brokers! And we had great seats for every show! What a joke! Even with airfares added in, it was cheaper to come to London! DO NOT buy on line in the USA…..even through what looks like a UK website….Trust me on this! Wait until you come to London, or even better, contact your hotels Concierge and they will get you good seats at a price that will not break your bank account. There are so many great restaurants in London, and virtually every cuisine imaginable. Some of the very best Indian restaurants in the world are here. Tayyabs is my favorite, but there are many of them to choose from.
Anchor and Hope Pub at The Cut in Waterloo is my favorite English Pub by far! My buddy. Mike Putman turned me on to it a few years back and it is the one “must do” on every trip here since! The lamb is to die for! They only cook enough food for the day and when they are out of an item, that’s it….so get there early for the lamb. They don’t take reservations either so it really is first come first serve. All the other food is great too and there is no shortage of choices for downing a few pints of beer. In any pub you should eat the local favorites like Bangers and Mash, Shepherds Pie, or Fish and chips! just to name a few. Pimms is a refreshing local adult beverage and you can’t go wrong downing a Guinness or a Black and Tan. In the theater district, I am a big fan of Barums. It is right across the street from Her Majesty’s Theater where Phantom of the Opera plays. It has great food and a wonderful ambiance. The other place I love is Sketch. It is a very elegant fine dining restaurant until about 10pm, and then it turns into a club. It is another must do as often as I can get there. We always take the tubes to get around the area. They can take you right into town if you stay by the airport, or anywhere in the area for that matter. They are simple to use, clean and very safe. The buses are very good too, but I prefer the tubes. You will have to pick up an Oyster card at the station, and you will be in business. And as an added bonus, you will learn how to, “mind the gap”. Taxi service is great too, but it is very expensive. The O2 arena is an excellent place to see a concert. It has the best acoustics of any arena I have ever been in. It is in the east part of town by The Docklands. For sight seeing, thee is so much to do its a bit overwhelming if you are only here for a few days. I would prioritize seeing the Tower of London. That’s is where they house the Crown Jewels and it’s really a great place to get a feel for ancient England. We also enjoyed the tour of Buckingham Palace, complete with watching the changing of the guard. We also checked out The Tower Bridge area and the Parliament building complete with good old Big Ben. Those are the most iconic things in the city. Then there’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (actually they rebuilt it as it was…..it burned down a long time ago), Abbey Road for all The Beatles fans….or Liverpool for the big time Beatle fans….Wimbledon for the tennis buffs…and on and on and on. Sun and warmth are not very common in London, but it doesn’t matter. The city is perfect damp and chilly and if you get an occasional burst of sun and warmth, it just makes everything a little better. That’s about it for now. Hope this is helpful. I’ll tell you about another great city sometime soon. Cheers, Marc