Travel Tip: London Guide: A three-month study

Thursday, August 06, 2015

I lived in London from late April to late July, 2015. Here is what I have learnt about the city whilst my three-month stay in London. I wrote this while in transit from Paris to Dubai to Melbourne to Auckland, so it's somewhat brief..:

When to go
  • While for the first week of my London stay the sun had uncharacteristically decided to cooperate, things start to really warm up around late June. Often the sun likes to rise early, waking you up around 5.30am, then take an early nap around 10.30ish until lunchtime. 
What to see
  • Markets! Broadway and Maltby markets are my favourite
  • Museums! V&A Museum is huge, is interactive, is one of the best museums in London
  • Musicals! I got to see two: Lion King has incredible set design and Miss Saigon has amazing singers
Where to eat
  • I love London for its cafes. I'd missed good flat whites so much. 
  • London for me equals good Indian curry, as much as its pubs and beers. 
  • British fish n chips are a little different from NZ - no aioli! - but it still reminded me home.
  • A new discovery - Salt beef bagels! Preferred the bagels over beef, though.
Where to shop
  • Fortnum and Masons is a dream, a treasure trove. I could, and did, get lost here, on a regular basis
  • Pop up stores around Shoreditch, and market stalls
  • Harrod's and Oxford Circus have too many people, honestly
Where to sleep
  • Shoreditch - Ace hotel, AirBnb - never tried it in London, but Shoreditch is a good area. Also Dalston, Hackney - where I stayed, Camden, ... this area in general. 
How to get in
  • Stansted - convenient because the bus goes to Liverpool Street. More for budget airlines.
  • Gatwick - has the trickiest transport options, but it's the airport I frequented the most, to get to Bordeaux, Milan,.. 
  • Heathrow - the second biggest airport in the world
  • St Pancras (Eurostar) - it's easy to get to, no need to go in hours in advance, and a direct route to Paris. 
How to get around
  • Bus then Overground then Tube. That's how I like the London public transport system. In that order. I don't even like buses. 
  • London is too spread out to walk everywhere, too scary to bike
  • For taxis, I prefer Edison Lee over Uber. I think it's cheaper and the app doesn't ask for your credit card details in advance. 
I miss the London markets :)

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