1. London’s Public Transportation & Walking
I adore the fact that you do not need a car to navigate around London. With all the traffic, driving a car can actually be somewhat of a nuisance. If you can’t walk to your destination you can reach it via public transport such as a bus or the Tube. One of London’s most esteemed qualities is the ease of use of it’s underground system, also called the Tube. You can ask any world traveler and they will tell you there is no public transport more convenient than the London Tube. I am not the best with directions but I was able to find my way around London via the Tube, very quickly with no issues.
2. London Museums
London has over 170 museums with 11 national museums. I visited a few while I was there. They were so incredible that seeing more museums will definitely take priority on my next trip across the pond. My favorite London Museum was the V & A (Victoria & Albert). This London museum holds prized possessions from all over the world collected during the reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. If you do find yourself at the V & A, I would highly recommend eating lunch or at least enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. The food and treats in the cafes are delightful.
3. Recycling and Environmental Efforts
The city of London is quite far ahead of most of the world when it comes to their recycling and waste reduction programs. When I was first exposed to their systems, I was very fascinated. In many areas, household waste is categorized and collected in three categories. Waste, food waste, and recycling that is picked up in clear plastic bags provided by the city. I won’t go into too many details but you can visit here to read more.
With so many people per capita they produce vast amounts of waste with little place to put it. It’s no secret as to what is fueling these programs. Also, there is a loud initiative to make London a #PlasticFreeCity in which individuals and businesses alike can pledge to reduce single use plastics. This movement is gaining popularity in many American Cities while most have barely brushed upon it. If you’d like to learn more about it, you can visit this web page here.
4. English Tea Rooms
One of my favorite things about London is that everybody is always drinking tea! You can go out to a tea room for an afternoon tea or cream tea. I discovered an amazing delicacy called clotted cream. It gained a special spot on my food pyramid. You dress scones with it, alongside your favorite flavor of jam and it is heavenly. Read more about my English Tea Party Experience here.
5. Food of London
More specifically, the quality of the food in London is for the most part impeccable. I didn’t experience a bad meal. They take food quality in to great consideration in this country and it is nearly never acceptable (or necessary) to send a meal back to the kitchen. Being a cultural center, there are some of the best restaurants for cuisines of all different cultures. I savored in some London favorites like fish & chips and homemade Shepard’s pie. Aside from the English delicacies, I was exposed to the most delightful Italian, Thai, Indian, Chinese, and Mediterranean cuisine. That’s just brushing the surface of all that’s available in the city. Even the American food was outstanding.
6. Pubs of London
Two things about the pubs struck my fancy. Firstly, how cozy they feel. Generally wooden in structure, the classic London pub feels very warm and welcoming, as it should. I suppose with all of the terrible cold and wet weather, the local hangout spot should feel like a breathe of warm air. Many have couches and nice outdoor patio sections for the odd day the weather does comply. I noticed several pubs even had book shares.
Secondly, the availability of artistic craft cocktails, not every pub in London offers these but I noticed a general commonness of availability of fine craft cocktails. Not to say you can’t find a good craft cocktail in America, but in London they were just more commonplace, and fancier with uses of ingredients not offered in your standard American bar like egg whites and medleys of herbs and spices. I’ve been to fabulous cocktail bars in America, not to say they don’t exist, what I’m depicting is the prevalence.
Generally speaking, I’m not much of a shopper, but I could spend all day in Harrods. For me, it’s more like a museum than a store. There’s some baffling appeal to the elaborate 7 story shopping center where the only things I considered affording were a cookie and a keychain. That’s an exaggeration, but only slightly.
If you find yourself in London you have to experience the palace of a store that is Harrods. Walk in and be taken aback by the massive Food Hall with several fancy restaurants, bakeries, tea rooms and fine food markets. Not hungry? Keep walking and you’ll find yourself gazing upon pallets of fine cosmetics while recognizing the wafting aroma of either men’s or women’s fine perfume from the adjacent rooms. Navigate through either of these deliciously scented perfumery halls and you will discover cases of fine jewelry and watches. My fondest memory of Harrods is encountering a case of watches. In which, the price of each individual watch set significantly higher than the current value of my home. Moving on, your lungs will fill with the aroma of fresh leather and you must be in Luxury Accessories.
That’s just the ground floor, as you escalate onto the higher levels, You will find top of the line items in the departments of Beauty, Children & Toys, Home & Technology, Sports & Outdoors.
The Superbrands section was the most museum like of them all, filled with red carpet worthy fashion. I got to talking with one of the associates to find the dress I was admiring cost a mere £15,000 (that’s around $20,000).
Then, there’s the ever famous Harrods Shoe Heaven. They name says it all. Envision perfectly lit, comfortably carpeted, brand separated rooms decorated only with shoes of the highest fashion.
There are bars, restaurants and cafes on every floor throughout Harrods. There is also a salon, spa, florist, optician, pharmacy, clinic, fine art gallery, and various consulting services. All in all, what I’m trying to get at is that Harrods is a sight to see.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of my other articles!
These are just a few of the things I experienced in London, if you are interested in visiting the city, consider reading some of these more comprehensive and location specific travel blogs that helped me on my journey…