Hi, my name is Nicole (@nicoledeslandes) and I’m a Content Writer and Travel Researcher for Don’t Be a Stranger. I’m based in South London, which is where I spend a lot of my time. London is such a big, yet condensed city that you can really spend all your time in one borough of it and feel no need to venture to other parts of the city. It’s nice to save this for fun day trips and nights out,which is really special, and you can almost feel like a tourist in your own hometown! London is best described as one big melting pot of many different cultures, and in this city each one of them thrives in their own unique way.
What is a typical breakfast and where would you go?
A typical, everyday breakfast for me is tea and toasted fruit bread. However, if I’m out for breakfast it has to be a classic full English (AKA a fry up) which I usually have at my local café. If I’m feeling like making an event of it though, then The Ivy is an experience not to be missed and Hawksmoor are well known for their quality fry up.
Favourite place to grab lunch?
I love a good burger; there was even a time where I made it my mission to find the best burger in London. Admittedly, this was quite a big challenge I set myself, but right now, I know I can count on Meat Liquor for when I’m craving a perfectly cooked patty.
What is the ideal afternoon activity in a city like London?
A lot of major museums in London are free. The Tate Modern won’t let you down, but I’d also go look for pop up exhibitions to visit – there’s always something new and unique happening. Banksy even did an art instillation in my hometown of Croydon.
Where are the best places for dinner?
There are so many restaurants and cuisines to choose from in London that my friends and I always depend on the outdoor street food markets as they suit everyone. Box Park is a popular spot in Croydon, Shoreditch and Wembley where you can grab a seat amongst the many different restaurants (all based in converted shipping containers) and you can choose a cuisine of your choice – whether it be Greek, Taiwanese, or Italian. Brixton also has a couple of the best places for this such as Lost in Brixton, a pretty rooftop bar above Brixton Market, where you can order food straight from your phone and the runners will collect it from one of the restaurants in the market below. Pop Brixton has even more to offer in a cool, colourful,outdoor venue adorned with fairy lights. I always get my Greek Gyros fix here!
In the evening, what is the city like and where do you find yourself?
London is lively at night and there’s always something to do, you just have to know where to go. For me, my favourite thing to do is find a picturesque bar and grab some cocktails with my friends. Tonight Josephine and Peckham Levels are a couple of my friends and I’s favourite places to go. We also love to have a boogy at The Piano Works where a live band plays songs requested by the crowd.
In a busy city like London, is there anywhere to chill?
I would recommend travelling a tiny bit out of central and heading to Richmond. It’s one of the most beautiful places in London, with cute cafes to sit outside at along the River Thames. I love wondering along in the summer with a 99 Ice cream straight from the Ice Cream Van. Richmond Park is also a really nice day out, with lots of deer and wildlife to see, and if you’re there at the right time go to the Isabella Plantation and see and smell all the blooming flowers.
What is there to do for something fun and different?
London is a capital full of novelty experiences, you can book yourself into puppy yoga, kitten yoga or even bunny yoga. For a fun time with a big group of friends I would recommend booking yourselves a slot at an activity bar (read up on my favourite activity bars here!). And, if you are in London over the summer, lookup outdoor cinema experiences before your trip- this is a super cute thing to do in the evening after dinner and they are usually held in some very pretty venues such as Somerset House. Rooftop Film Club always holds the best screenings, with films like Dirty Dancing being screened on rooftops in the middle of the city.
Where is the best area to stay/sleep for young travellers?
Shoreditch is the perfect in-between of staying central and towards East London where there are many trendy restaurants and bars to go to.
What season would you recommend visiting?
London thrives in the summer, your options are endless. We British don’t get a lot of hot weather, so when we do, we take full advantage of it. This means al fresco dining on buzzy streets, pop up riverside bars, and hundreds of outdoor events.
Is London best for a family holiday/friends holiday or a couples holiday?
I think London is made for a young and energetic groups of friends. There’s so much to do and fit into a trip here, that if you don’t end your trip exhausted you didn’t do enough.