London can be (and majority of the time is) overwhelming. After all it is known to be the cultural, artistic, culinary and fashionable capital of Europe. So what to do not to be left dazed and confused upon arrival?
Starting from the basics – getting a roof over the head would most definitely be an advantage. I’d suggest researching by location to ensure you’re close to where it’s all happening. Victoria, Westminster, Mayfair or Kensington and Chelsea are the boroughs with some of the best and world class renowned London hotels, including The Connaught, Browns of Mayfair and The Fox Club. However those under a budget will find good quality hostels in King’s Cross, an up-and-coming hub already crowned ‘The Northbank’ for more and more quirky places and creative outlets. ‘The world is your oyster’ gains a new meaning in London – an oyster card will be the ultimate ticket to all the pleasures of city life so the closer you are to transport links the further it will take you.
Second basic need easy to fulfill in London and equally bedazzling is food. The capital, being as multicultural as a metropolis can be, caters for all tastes and preferences. Food on the go is easier than saying ‘take away’ and apart from massive chains; the city offers independent alternatives like Camden Food. However there are some real gems among the top rated London restaurants. 2 Michelin star restaurants The Ledbury in the heart of Notting Hill is definitely the place worth making your lunch reservations at. Popular among the Australians because of the head chef Brett Graham, the restaurant is famous for its sea food and for the heroic staff members protecting their diners during the recent riots. Carnivores will definitely enjoy the newest Jamie Oliver’s enterprise Barbecoa, run with Adam Perry Lang. The restaurant won’t please a vegetarian (unless they can settle for a starter), but will spoil taste buds of all the meat eaters.
If you’re craving artistic experiences, the south bank of Thames is the place that has it all. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, The National Theatre, The National Film Theatre, the list is almost endless! Southbank Centre will provide a list of events happening along the river – and every season there are plenty of them to choose from. London wouldn’t be itself without the West End. Early reservations are highly recommended for the selling out performances, and from my own experience – the good seats, even if pricey, are absolutely worth it! ‘The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ is one of the new award winning musicals with breathtaking costume design definitely worth seeing. Those yearning for true cathartic theatre experience I’d send to The Old Vic or to Almeida Theatre. The first one has the Oscar winning Kevin Spacey as it’s creative director and it’s been playing host to some incredible plays since, including the current run of Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’.
To complete the London experience, I suggest a bit of a vanity fair. Bond Street is where the high fashion is – a sure thing for those in need of a fashion fix. However there is one place that always takes breaths away and manages to contain all the ‘it’ fashion, beauty, art and food under one roof – Selfridges. Always greeting passerby’s with show-stopping window displays, Selfridges is a one-of-a-kind, iconic department store that might leave your credit card bill in serious debt and your hands full of yellow carrier bags. With that little guide in mind you should be able to reduce the amount of confusion while in London. If however you return to a frighteningly high credit card bill – remember you have been warned!