From park walks at dawn to sunset cocktails by the river, visitors can enjoy many memorable London experiences. Sometimes it’s the simple things that endear us to a city, whether it’s breakfast in a produce-packed market or coffee in a buzzy neighborhood. Here are 10 inspiring activities in London that will create lasting memories. Our chic London Perfect vacation apartments are the icing on the cake!
A Sunrise Walk in Hyde Park
Surrounded by greenery, with dawn light gleaming on the glassy water, a sunrise walk around The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park is hard to beat. “Early birds” can pick up coffee at Serpentine Lido Café and watch serene swans glide by. It’s a perfect way to begin a London morning (you can even brave an open-water swim in summer). The Round Pond in nearby Kensington Gardens also attracts feathered friends. Hyde Park, London, W2
Breakfast at Borough Market
Start the day right with breakfast at Borough Market. Established in 1786, London’s premier food market is an atmospheric place to shop for quality seasonal, local produce, from fresh fruit and vegetables to bread, cheese, meats and specialty groceries. Covered stalls and street food stands fill the lofty halls and passageways, fringed by cafés and restaurants. Takeaway a latte from The Colombian Coffee Company and a pastry from Artisan Foods, or sit down at Roast for a full English or vegetarian cooked breakfast. Open daily from 10am (from 8am Saturdays), the market is busiest at weekends. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1
Art with a View at Tate Modern
Explore international art at Tate Modern, a striking gallery in the former Bankside Power Station. After admiring the free permanent collection, an exhibition or installation in the vast Turbine Hall, culture vultures can check out the inviting shops and then refuel. For spectacular Thames views, Level 6 Kitchen and Bar offers pleasing panoramas over the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1
Coffee Alfresco in Soho
In any bucket list of London experiences, it’s worth making time to watch the world go by. Locals love Soho, once the city’s red-light district but now a vibrant neighborhood that’s home to cosmopolitan cafés and bars. Sociable 1949-born Bar Italia (22 Frith Street) has a cult following, especially when the Italian soccer team plays. Score a sidewalk table for a coffee outdoors or perch inside the intimate bar, which stays open until late. Contemporary Italian charmer Bar Termini (7 Old Compton Street) serves espressos and cocktails (try the Negroni). For coffee and French cakes make for beloved Maison Bertaux (28 Greek Street).
Sunday at Columbia Road Flower Market
For beautiful blooms head to Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. This open-air Sunday morning fixture attracts passionate locals keen to snap up flowers and plants (8am to 3pm). Cute shops also dot Columbia Road’s Victorian streetscape and adjoining laneways, stocking pretty homewares, fashion, garden accessories and vintage finds. Arrive early to beat the crowds or swing by towards 1pm to shop for bargains as the market wraps up. Afterwards book a table at Campania for Southern Italian delights (23 Ezra Street). Columbia Road, Bethnal Green, E2
Antique Shopping on Portobello Road
Dating from the 19th century, Portobello Road Market is one of London’s oldest markets, selling glass, silver, ceramics, books, memorabilia and curios. Saturday is the main trading day for antiques and vintage collectibles, with dealers’ stalls, arcades and shops clustered around the upper end of the street as you walk down from Notting Hill station, near treasure trove store Alice’s (86 Portobello Road). Friday is good too but less crowded. On Sundays preloved fashion is the focus down towards the Westway overpass. Food stands occupy the middle of the market, while at the bottom Golborne Road has bric-a-brac plus eccentric antiques emporium Les Couilles du Chien (no 65). Portobello Road Market, Portobello Road, W10
A Pub Lunch in Notting Hill
Notting Hill may be famous for its colorful terrace houses, antique stalls and dazzling carnival, but it has great pubs too. Right up there with the best London experiences is savoring a relaxed pub lunch here with friends, whether indoors at a cosy table or outdoors in a sunny garden. Think steaks, fish and chips, oysters, pies and sticky toffee puddings. Notting Hill’s top pubs include The Westbourne (101 Westbourne Park Villas), The Cow (89 Westbourne Park Road) and Walmer Castle (58 Ledbury Road), or head to nearby Kensington’s The Windsor Castle (114 Campden Hill Road) for lavish Sunday roasts. Take a stroll down Kensington Church Street, not far from the Notting Hill Gate Tube station, to the flower covered Churchill Arms (119 Kensington Church Street).
Culture Fix at the V&A
If you could bottle the spirit of London it would be whiling away an afternoon in South Kensington’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The world’s leading collection of art and design, the V&A began life in 1852 and boasts magical Victorian and contemporary spaces. Discover global fashion, furniture, craft, jewellery and photography, or lose yourself amid Buddha figurines, Greek sculptures or Iranian carpets. Alongside permanent displays are temporary exhibitions covering everything from Alice in Wonderland to designer bags. The shops are cabinets of curiosities, the opulent cafés are ideal for tea, and there’s a courtyard garden. V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7
Sunset Cocktails on the South Bank
London experiences don’t come more iconic than a sunset stroll on the South Bank near Waterloo. Take in the glittering river and city skyline, then relax at the Royal Festival Hall, where Skylon restaurant teams contemporary British food with modernist architecture and 50s style touches. It’s ideal for a pre-concert bite or three-course meal. Alternatively, take a seat at Skylon’s stunning cocktail bar, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame river views which can be toasted with a Skylon Martini. Shaken or stirred? Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1
Catching a Show in the West End
London’s theatre scene is world famous and catching a West End show is a classic night out. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” based on Baz Luhrmann’s romantic film about the legendary Paris cabaret, is taking bookings at Art Deco Piccadilly Theatre (12 November 2021–28 May 2022, 16 Denman Street, W1). Already on now are “Mamma Mia!” (until 2 April 2022 at Novello Theatre, 5 Aldwych, WC2), “Matilda The Musical” (until 13 February 2022 at the Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, WC2) and sassy “Six The Musical” about Henry VIII’s six wives (until 1 May 2022, Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, WC2). Find the latest shows and book your London theatre tickets here.
And Finally… Sleepover with London Perfect
Top off your unforgettable London experiences with a sleepover at one of London Perfect’s glam vacation rentals. Wake up refreshed after a peaceful night and set out to explore your local neighbourhood or spend a leisurely morning enjoying tea and baked delights from a local market. Enjoying London like a local is our favourite London experience. Contact our team for help planning your next London holiday!