LONDON CITY GUIDE

London

As a major financial centre, and with a thriving tourist industry, London is one of the most popular cities in the world, famed for its cultural delights, landmarks, education and international business standing. London is big enough to have everything you could hope for from a city, with a wealth of world-class attractions for fun days, evenings and weekends.

In terms of getting around, London is surprisingly walkable, although the various different hubs of activity are even faster to access via the London Underground and bus network. Popular tourist and shopping areas include Covent Garden, with its bustling Piazza and plentiful restaurants, cafés and shops; Bond Street, Mayfair, Savile Row and Jermyn Street for exclusive shopping and men’s tailoring; Knightsbridge and the King’s Road for upmarket fashion stores; and the central Regent Street and Oxford Street area for flagship stores and iconic department stores such as Selfridges, Hamleys and Liberty – some of the best places to while away your retail time.

Just outside Liberty is Carnaby Street, birthplace of the 1960s fashion and cultural revolution, and Kingly Street, worth checking out for its welcoming bars, some with live music, and with an appealingly-laid-back vibe.  
Nearby Soho is a den of culture, quirk and the place where the hottest new bars crop up. Expect a heady mix of Japanese cafés, Italian coffee bars, Beatles paraphernalia, restaurants from the coolest names in cooking, neon-lit shops, and pubs with the last of the international smokers spilling out onto the streets with pints in hand after a day at the office. Other shopping hotspots include Westfield London, the Royal Exchange and Camden Market, where you can browse cool indie stalls and sample some of the most exciting fresh street food.

On the other side of the river, the South Bank is a cultural and tourist hotspot. The London Eye is a great way for visitors to experience one of London’s landmarks while getting a bird’s eye view of all of the others, and the unbeatable Southbank Centre is the throbbing heart of London’s cultural scene, with an imaginative calendar packed full of exhibitions, performances and unmissable exclusives. The South Bank is also home to the British Film Institute, Tate Modern, the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Nearby in Waterloo, along The Cut, you’ll find The Old Vic and The Young Vic theatres – great places to see the latest productions and surrounded by pubs perfect for thespian-spotting. Also in this area is the wonderful Borough Market – hectic, pricey and like a middle-class foodie’s version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Back over the river, on the other side of London Bridge, check out the Monument, after which the Tube station is named. The construction of this impressive Christopher Wren structure was begun in 1671 to commemorate the Great Fire of London, and juts skyward from its base amongst the surrounding offices; a classic example of London’s fascinating history mixed in with the glass and chrome of the business world. Visitors to London should make a point of paying the few pounds they charge to climb up the spiral staircase and emerge at the top in what feels like a precarious cage on the pinnacle, where the panoramic views are simply breathtaking.
If heights are your thing, The Shard is, contrastingly, one of London’s newer attractions, giving you the highest London view, with high-end restaurant dining also an option while you’re up there.
Back at ground level, be sure to plan St Paul’s Cathedral into your walking tour, and venture further west along the river for the political heart of the city; Westminster, where Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are an unmissable sight.
If the crowds are too much, London’s parks are a welcome retreat. Explore the expansive Richmond Park with its deer, the much-loved Hampstead Heath and the Royal Greenwich Park, a World Heritage Site marking the site of the Greenwich Meridian.

Speaking of nature, the Natural History Museum in South Kensington is a must-see. You’d need at least a fortnight to explore all of London’s museums, but some of the key attractions are the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Science Museum. Galleries, too, are plentiful – try to factor  in The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, The Wallace Collection in Westminster and the Barbican Centre.
The West End is famous for its theatre, musical theatre and shows.  The West End also has many places perfect for a pre-theatre dinner, from celebrity-chef restaurants such as Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche or Restaurant Gordon Ramsay with its three Michelin stars, to quirky restaurants such as Les Trois Garcons in Shoreditch, a deluxe French bistro filled with outrageous objects.

Nightlife is also extensive and ranges from old-fashioned London boozers such as The Pineapple in Kentish Town to wine bars, gin palaces, riverside pubs, members’ clubs and luxury hotel bars. Then there are quirky cocktail bars such as the Victorian-themed Mr Fogg’s in Mayfair, the popular underground Happiness Forgets in Shoreditch, or the chic Paramount in New Oxford Street, with amazing vistas of the city.
For later nights, every option is available: enjoy globally-renowned clubbing at Fabric in Clerkenwell, relax in sophisticated Babylon at the Roof Gardens in Kensington, head to KOKO in Camden for live bands and club nights, or hang out in Notting Hill Arts Club for a trendy West London night.

Of course, if you’re in London for New Year’s Eve this year, you can expect some fantastic firework displays along the Thames. The event will be ticketed again this year and you can  get further information at www.london.gov.uk.

House of Bols

Take part in a sensory experience in the House of Bols, where you can test your sense of smell, learn about the history of this Dutch liqueur, create your own cocktail and taste different flavours of brightly-coloured Bols shots.

Anne Frank’s house

Don’t miss out on visiting this important museum. It will be busy with visitors, but it’s worth it for the insight into the suffering that the Frank family, and so many Jewish people, endured.

Rijksmuseum

See world-class art in the famous Rijksmuseum, where works displayed date from the 15th century to the present day, and include Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (one of 40 pieces by the Dutch painter) and Vermeer’s Kitchen Maid, amongst many, many others.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ

Pay a visit to the artisanal brewery that has been producing craft beers since 1985. You can taste the beer (be rude not to), whether their pale brew or the darker, stronger Columbus.

Get your guide

Golden Brown Bar

This chilled-out bar specialises in cocktails and it is a great place to go if you fancy going somewhere with luxurious, retro style and that ‘see and be seen’ atmosphere.

Bar Bukowski

Named, as you may be able to guess, after the writer Charles Bukowski, this cool bar provides breakfast, lunch and drinks whilst celebrating its namesake’s motto of “There is always a reason to drink!”

Chicago Social Club

This two-floor music venue is located near Leidseplein, one of Amsterdam’s main squares. The mix of music at Chicago Social Club is eclectic and contemporary and the cocktails flow until 4am.

Paradiso

If you want to experience Amsterdam’s large-scale dance music venues, this place has a great reputation. It opened in 1968, so has built up quite a legacy since. Public Enemy, Damien Jurado and Kurt Vile & the Violators are just some of the acts on the bill for June.

Puri Mas

Try a Dutch tradition – the rijsttafel, or rice table, at Puri Mas, a family-run restaurant serving authentic Indonesian food. With a table full of delicious dishes, you’ll definitely go home smiling.

The Toren

This charming four-star boutique hotel offers 38 uniquely-styled rooms and suites with lush interiors and is situated at the prestigious Keizersgracht.

Hilton Amsterdam

This is the hotel that John Lennon and Yoko Ono used for their ‘Bed-In’. It offers five-star canalside accommodation and is a 15-minute walk from Museumplein.

The Hoxton Amsterdam

We stayed at this hip hotel on the Herengracht, which wowed us with its quirky, design-focused rooms. To top off the trendy ambience, we were lucky enough to have windows overlooking the Singel canal, perfect for watching the boats and bicycles go by.

Hotel de Windketel

What could be more romantic than a stay in your own private tower? This free-standing octagonal brick tower in the middle of the Watertorenplein contains a luxury apartment for two, the perfect city base.

The Toren

This charming four-star boutique hotel offers 38 uniquely-styled rooms and suites with lush interiors and is situated at the prestigious Keizersgracht.

Booking

London City Airport LCY is at the heart of the CityJet network. Offering flights to 20 European destinations from London's only truly local airport.

Website
www.londoncityairport.com

General information
+44 (0)20 7646 0088

Distance
-16 km to West End
-10 km to the City
-5 km to Canary Wharf

Check-in
CityJet passengers can check-in 15 minutes before the flight is due to depart with hand luggage and 20 minutes before with checked in luggage.

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