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Saturday, 16 July 2016

London - 5 Things To Do According To A Local

Dearest sweethearts,

Today it gives me great pleasure to let Lana take over the blog. So without any further ado, I will let her tell you the top 5 things to do in London, according to a local like herself :) 
Meet Lana :)
I am sure by now you all know that London is one of the greatest cities to visit. There is lots of things to see and do, many of which you already heard of. For example, there is Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abby, Tower of London, Sherlock Holmes Museum, London Eye, and the list goes on and on. Every guidebook will feature these top attractions but that’s not what this post is about. Today, I will share few suggestions from a Londoner’s point of view and things you may not have thought of. So, let’s start!

Markets: with so many high street shops and major brand stores all over the city, markets are a great and alternative way to see and experience London. I would recommend my top 4 markets. If you fancy trying different home-made dishes and buying fresh produce straight from the vendors, I would recommend Borough Market. It’s full of hassle and bustle with busy food stalls, mini shops and crowds of shopping Londoners and tourists. Also, this is where chefs from top London’s restaurants buy their produce so don’t be surprised if you bump into a cooking demonstration being filmed.
I would also recommend visiting colourful Portobello Road market. Set in the heart of Notting Hill, it is full of most amazing antiques shops, furniture and accessories shops, fruit and veg stalls, as well as contemporary wear and vintage boutiques. It can get busy during the weekend (Saturday is the main day) so prepare for a slow leisurely stroll while buying some cool knick-knacks!
Another Londoners’ favourite is Columbia Road Flower market which during the weekends turns into an exotic garden with the most amazing and beautiful flowers from around the world.

Cinematic London: if you love movies like me, you would have probably noticed that many of them have been shot in London. If you are a movies fan, you can check out filming locations in central London so you can boast to your friends later on. For example, remember Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant? Well, if you go to Portobello Road market mentioned above, you can swing by neighbouring 13-15 Blenheim Crescent to see the Travel Bookshop that Grant’s character William Thacker owned. Or who could forget Bridget JonesDiary? Did you know her flat was located above the Globe pub which is a real establishment in the Borough Market? Some of the scenes from the 2004 Harry Potter were also filmed around market. My personal favourite, 30 St Mary Axe building (also know as The Gherkin) served as a setting for quite few movies: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, A Good Year, Basic Instinct 2, and Match Point. For action movie fans, I would recommend heading to Vauxhall to get a glimpse of the MI6 which has been one of the main movie scenes in Skyfall and Specter. The whole city is a backdrop to the famous movies, just look them up ahead of your visit.
British afternoon tea: ok, if you want to experience British culture at its finest, you go have go for afternoon tea. You probably already know that tea is a big part of British culture and should not be treated lightly! Nowdays many London’s restaurants host afternoon tea, a old tradition of the high society to host tea in the afternoon served with small sandwiches, scones and cakes. Prices vary according to various budgets: from £20 to £70. My personal favourite place is Fortnum & Mason, a luxurious department store dating to 1707, which carries its own selection of fine teas, coffees and various sweets. Upstairs, they have an elegant and tranquil Diamond Jubilee tea salon, where you can enjoy afternoon tea while listening to piano played. Menu includes some of the finest teas and unlimited yummy finger size sandwiches and exquisite scones and cakes. Prices are a bit high (£44-48) but it’s one of a kind experience and is totally worth it.
Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum and Mason
View from the top - Shard: if you are interested in seeing London from bird eye’s view, I would recommend visiting Shard. I wrote about it more in detail on my blog, but here are several reasons why it’s better than London Eye. One, there are no long queues waiting for admission thanks to its great pre-booking system (advance tickets cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children), it’s all quick and well designed. Two, unlike London Eye, Shard provides better 360-degree views of the whole London from its 72th floor. What’s really cool is that there are audio-guides that provide the historical information on each of the top attractions and digital telescopes to zoom on any point of the interest. To feel extra special, you can also buy a glass of champagne while "sky boutique" offers a number of Shard-related souvenirs and mementos. If you get hungry, there are also superb fine dining restaurants, such as Aqua Shard, Oblix and Lang, located on different floors of this amazing piece of architecture.
Shoreditch, a flavour of British hipster culture: so this one is a bit of a topic of many a Londoners’ joke but here is why you should visit the Shoreditch area. Here you will see eclectic blend of local hipsters some of whom look like trendy nerds with beards, plaid shirts, beenies and thick glasses, while others, tattooed and in skinny jeans, motorcycle jackets and high-heel boots, look like wannabe rock stars. They usually cycle on fixed-gear bicycles, shop at funky designer shops and buy anything artisan. In terms of venues, you will find a great mix of cool burger joints and organic cafes, bars that serve crafts beers and cocktails in jars, small galleries catering to eclectic tastes and one-of-a-kind designer shops. The whole area is very culturally diverse and colourful thanks to graffiti everywhere, funky venue designs and local inhabitants themselves. So just hop on the underground to Old Street or Liverpool Street stations and immerse yourself in an urban cultural phenomenon, where everyone is on the quest to be different, yet ends up looking the same! 
About me
I am Lana aka the The Stylish Voyager. I am a fashionista, voyager, geek, wife, foodie, PhD graduate, cat lover, and part-time wonder woman, and I document my discoveries on The Stylish Voyager as I explore the world each day. For more about me and my adventures please visit my blog:

Yours sincerly,

The Twisted Red LadyBug That Reads The Stylish Voyager :)

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