If you’ve got an impending London trip just around the corner, no doubt you will now be deep in the throes of itinerary planning. With so many exciting things to see and do in the city, it can be difficult to narrow down the choices to just a few key places or areas that you’d most like to see. A top tip for a successful itinerary is to try to alternate big attractions, such as Madame Tussaud’s, with quieter activities such as visiting one of London’s Royal Parks for a picnic or simply going for a walk in one of the more urban districts of London. This will ensure that you get a good feel for the culture of the city, and will also help that all-important travel budget to stretch further.
So, you might have your hotel all sorted, perhaps you’re staying at one of the ultra-plush places that offer great accommodation in Paddington London at excellent rates, but what about travel? Getting to the city can be pretty stressful if you choose to bring your own vehicle, thanks to heavy congestion, toll roads and unexpected delays. It’s therefore a popular option to get to London by train- it’s economical, stress free, and also means that you are able to get in and around the city quickly too. If you use an Oyster card to pay for your fares, you can simply tap your card against the yellow ticket machine on London trains, trams, buses and of course, the London underground too. Using these pre-payable Oyster cards are popular not just amongst tourists, but with the locals too, as it takes away the need to carry cash around with you, and because using the card is quick and easy, it helps to prevent queues from building up too.
Once you’ve figured out how you’ll get to London, it’s time to think about the other aspects of perfecting your trip, and something that is often overlooked from any pre-conceived travel plans, is where you will eat. Breakfast is usually included (or bookable at a small cost) at the hotel that you’ve chosen, so do remember to take full advantage of that, as it will save you money when you’re out and about. However, lunch is usually just grabbed as and when you can whilst you’re exploring the city. This needn’t be the case though, with a little bit of careful planning, lunch can easily be drafted into your plans since there are some incredible places from which to get something to eat- you just have to know where to find them.
Of course there are plenty of sophisticated restaurants and bistros all over the city, but the real culinary treasures can be found in some of London’s well-loved markets. The many vendors offering food are passionate about what they do and handcraft their dishes with love and the freshest ingredients. Here’s where to head for some incredible world cuisine treats:
This large daytime market space is popular amongst tourists for lots of reasons, not least because its expanse is absolutely beautiful and has a fantastic array of stalls that offer shoppers lots of choice. Dotted between these stalls are great food vendors too. Be sure to sniff out the stall offering fresh rolls filled with chorizo, or for something a little more substantial, head to one of the nearby pubs for traditional British ‘pub grub’ and a well-deserved pint of ale.
This pop up market is open between Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the summer months, so if you’re in the city during peak season, be sure to squeeze a visit in. You’ll find ‘The Hawaiian Fish company’ offering smoked swordfish amongst other fresh seafood dishes and also ‘Nanny Bill’s’ whose signature dishes include croquettes with beef and ale. There are lots of other menu options available too, so you’re bound to find something to suit your taste.
If you’re opting to visit Broadway market, then make sure you arrive hungry! London’s largest collection of food stalls are situated there and many of these stalls also have permanent restaurant premises too, so you know that the food is just going to taste incredible. And, even if you fancy something light, you can purchase a makeshift picnic lunch and make your way over to the grassy area for an impromptu afternoon in the sun whilst nibbling on some delicious bread, cheese and whatever else has taken your fancy. Thanks to the big grassy open spaces, this market is also perfect for bringing the children along to as well, in fact you could bring along a picnic rug and chill out for a few hours and really make a day of it.
If you aren’t one for the hustle and bustle of the popular London markets, you needn’t miss out on the market culture altogether. If you head for Netil market, you’ll find market stalls sandwiched between permanent shops, and with park bench seating and less of a crowd, it should make for a very pleasant experience indeed. Look out for street food vendor ‘Lemlem Kitchen’ where you can purchase some delicious Afro-Tacos- soft bread and spiced toppings will ensure you’re left feeling full and satisfied.
Southbank Centre Market
This market is only open on weekends and is situated just behind the Southbank centre. With a bustling environment and a happy buzz about the place, it’s a wonderful way to lose a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Amongst stalls you will also spot food vendors offering wood-fired pizzas and homemade Indian dishes to name but a few, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll even be able to spot a bar selling a variety of craft beers to help you wash it all down.