London, the bustling heart of the UK

London what to do uk

London is the bustling, multicultural, never-sleeping heart of England, and is one of the ‘must visit’ cities in Europe. Whilst London isn’t our favourite ‘big city’ we’ve visited, it definitely is one of the most interesting with so much to do! We visited London on four different occasions and feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface. Read on for some recommendations of our favourite neighbourhoods in London, some ‘must do’s’, great coffee, cheap eats and more!

Areas we loved in London:

London has so many top sights and places to see, with tourists flocking to locations like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and more. Whilst these places are great to see, the areas below are some of the neighbourhoods in London that we particularly enjoyed exploring.

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of the most aesthetically beautiful neighbourhoods in London and definitely worth visiting. Home to some of the locations from the famous movie ‘Notting Hill’, this area is also one of the most ‘Instagrammable’. Brightly coloured houses line the streets, while cafes, shops and markets sit along Portobello Road. Tess particularly enjoyed checking out the Notting Hill Bookshop!


The area of Fitzrovia reminded us a lot of some of some of Melbourne’s gentrified Northern suburbs. You don’t have to look far to find a glamorous boutique hotel or trendy coffee shop. After doing a bit of a deep dive into the area however we learned of the diverse class disparity that exists between those who live there. Sadly this means many small business that have previously called Fitzrovia home for decades are now being priced out. Be sure to take a turn down Newman passage to get a feel of what the back streets of London would have been like in the mid 1700’s. You could also stop by the pedestrian lane of Colville place to take in its brightly coloured doors and overgrown pot plants out on the street.


We only spent a few hours exploring Soho however we easily could have spend a few days. We particularly loved the chaos of Berwick Street market selling seasonal produce and vintage clothing/local wares. To our delight, we also noticed an active LGBTQI+ community with pride flags being proudly displayed in shop windows. Just south of Oxford street this is the perfect place to stop for a coffee after a spot of shopping.


This area of London is tucked away just adjacent to Fitzrovia, and shares similar characteristics of cute streets, quality cafe’s and welcoming parks. If you head down to this area, you should definitely check out Lambs Conduit Street. Filled with local independent cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants and shops, there’s lots to see, eat and do.

Bloomsbury is also home to Great Ormond Street Hospital. With both of us being physiotherapists, and Tess in particular working in the area of paediatric physio back home, she was very excited to check out Great Ormond Street Hospital or ‘GOSH’, one of the top children’s hospitals in the world.


Kensington is one of the ‘well off’ neighbourhoods in London, boasting beautiful streets and colourful old English houses. We enjoyed wandering through here on our way to the nearby Kensington Gardens. Don’t check the prices of houses for sale or rent in the real estate offices.. your eyes will water!

Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens sit adjacent to one another in the centre of London. These parks form an oasis in the city, and are perfect for walking, picnics, running or cycling. We loved wandering through the greenery, and stopping to enjoy nature. You can also check out Kensington Palace whilst you are there!


Southbank sits along the River Thames, and is a vibrant promenade of cafes, bars, restaurants and events. We found Southbank great to wander, have a take-away meal by the river, or pop in to at a bar for a drink. It is also in a perfect location for photos of some of London’s top ‘sights’ (without the entry fee!).

camden town

This neighbourhood is home to the famous Camden Market (see below). Bursting with energy, colour, shops and food vendors, Camden Town is worth exploring. The key attraction here is definitely the Camden Market!


London’s Chinatown is full of vibrant colours and flavours. Offering some top spots to grab a ‘great photo’ and even better cheap eats. Stop by here for a quick bite to eat on your way around exploring the city!

A few MUST DO things when you visit London:

Check out the different areas of the city (see above)

London is made up of many different areas, all with unique sights and flavours. If you have the time, we think it is worth visiting and exploring a number of these. We have listed some of our favourites above!

Check out the street food markets (see below)

London loves a good food market! They are all around the city, ranging from on the street, to built into the brick institutions. During your time in London you should make sure you get to at least one of the markets and sample some multicultural street food.

Go to a Musical

West End is famous for the muscials, and we couldn’t go to London without visiting one! We saw ‘Come From Away’ at the Phoenix Theatre and had a great night! Look out for cheap last minute tickets like we did to save money!

Watch the EPL Soccer

Ky is a sports lover and the EPL Soccer (Football in the UK) was high on his bucket list. Whilst sourcing tickets can be tricky due to the demand, the atmosphere and standard is high! We definitely recommend trying to get to a game if you can!

Visit some of the English Pubs!

The pubs are amazing: Honestly, some of the best pubs in the world. You need to head to a pub, enjoy the food, and if the weather allows, enjoy a drink outside like the locals! You will find many of the pubs shrouded in flowers, brightly painted, and offering great beers and food!

go on a day trip!

London is within touching distance of many great English towns. We visited a few close-by London, including Bath and Cambridge (twice). These smaller towns are often very cute and well preserved. Jump on a train (or bus) and be there in an hour or less. Perfect for a day trip!

Try some of the multicultural food

London was definitely more multicultural than we expected, and as a result, had a multitude of excellent worldwide food options. We particularly enjoyed some of the Asian cuisine options, something we have missed from Melbourne.

Go shopping along oxford street

Visit the busy and popular Oxford Street to soak up the atmosphere.. and go shopping! With many popular and boutique stores, you will have no problem spending your money. Oxford Street is also situated within touching distance of some of our favourite areas in London like Fitzrovia and Soho.

Street Markets of London:

Camden Market:

Set up in old horse stables, the Camden Market is a maze of good food vendors, interesting shops, and unique sights. We recommend you head out here for lunch and explore. We enjoyed the multicultural food and would definitely visit again.

Seven Dials Market

This upmarket food market is definitely worth visiting. Whether for food, or just for a drink, Seven Dials Market really comes to life particularly after work and into the evening. Keep your eyes open for a seat as it can be busy all days of the week!

Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden Market is in the heart of ‘Touristy London’, but is worth checking out. The food vendors weren’t our favourite, but the cute shops, street entertainers, and overall vibes were worth seeing!

Borough Market

The Borough Market is an impressive mix of artisanal food, cute market stalls and multicultural cuisine. Our visit to Borough Market came on our last of 4 visits to London, and we are so glad we made it! The MUST TRY at Borough Market is the famous Ginger Pig, delivering one of the best sausage rolls we have ever tried. Make sure you try the Spicy Lamb sausage roll for £5.50, it is definitely worth it!

Hatton Garden Leather Lane

Hatton Garden is the famous jeweller district of London, but also does a good street food market. This market was perfect for a nourishing take away lunch.

Berwick Street Market

The Berwick Street Market was another local market offering good take-away food. Located in the ‘happening’ Soho, it was fun to wander, with lots of food stalls. There seemed to be another local food market in every suburb, all offering good multicultural food at budget friendly prices!

We have written a full guide of the street markets here if you are interested in reading more (see here).

Best coffee in London:

London has amazing coffee culture, so much so, that at times, we felt like we were back in Melbourne. The thing that brought us back down to earth however was that unlike Melbourne, London doesn’t deliver consistently. To avoid a bad cup of coffee, check out a few of our recommendations below. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but offers some of our top picks:

  • Granger & Co: Starting with one of the best, but most expensive. This up-market cafe will serve a great coffee, but you will pay for it.
  • Flat White Soho: Located on Berwick Street, this cafe sells a top quality cup of coffee!
  • Happy Bones: One of our favourites, located in Euston, Happy Bones consistently impressed us with their coffee offerings.
  • Cable Co: Located in Portobello right next to the Portobello Market and Notting Hill Bookshop. This cafe is worth checking out if in the area.
  • Co. Simply named, but the coffee is anything but. Just off Hyde Park, this trendy cafe is a great spot to pop in.

A few things to know when visiting London:

There are a few things you should consider when visiting London:

  • London is Expensive! Infact, London is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. The fact the pound is very strong, combined with ridiculously expensive accommodation, means you aren’t in for a budget friendly trip. Be prepared for this when planning!
  • London rains a lot! You probably knew this one already, but London (and the UK), is often overcast and rainy. We had overall good weather during our stay, however still had a few rainy days. Make sure you have a jacket and are prepared!
  • Get a Train Rail Card: Trains are VERY expensive, however, we discovered that if you buy a rail card, they can be 30-50% cheaper. You need to apply and purchase a rail card through the ‘Rail Card’ app. If you don’t have the card, and purchase ‘rail card’ tickets, you will likely be fined as they do often check the tickets.

A few cheap eats in London we enjoyed:

London is generally quite expensive to eat out in. However, we did a little research to find some affordable and tasty options. See below for some we enjoyed!

  • Food Markets – see above: London has some great food markets which we sampled! Generally, food from the markets was relatively affordable and a high standard!
  • Japanese Canteen – Euston: This restaurant offered ‘no frills’ service, but the food was excellent. We love Japanese cuisine and this was cheap and tasty.
  • Nusa Kitchen: Offering a great range of soups, curries, and noodles, Nusa Kitchen is definitely worth checking out. We had some of the seasonal soups and weren’t disappointed.
  • Bibimbap – Korean near West End: This food was tasty, fresh and budget friendly. Whilst it was busy, turnover was high, and it was the perfect place for a meal before seeing a West End show.

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