Spring finally arrived in Syracuse last week. The trees are now in bloom, the sun is shining, and my morning walk to work is a little less chilly.
Although it felt like winter would never leave us, I got my first taste of spring in London at the beginning of April. Temperatures reached 70 degrees, and the blue skies were barely recognizable. Despite one day of overcast and rainy conditions, the weather permitted us to go all over London.
We traveled both on foot and by tube throughout the city, and these are a few highlights I’d recommend to anyone planning a trip to England in the near future. If you go, add these 7 things to do in London to your bucket list.
- Head to London’s Chinatown for bubblewrap ice cream
London’s Chinatown was only a 20 minute walk from our flat in Fitzrovia, and it’s worth the trip simply to see the paper lanterns. While you’re there, head to Bubblewrap London for ice cream. The line will likely be out the door, so it will be easy to find.
2. Ride the London Eye
The massive ferris wheel situated on the Thames River known as the London Eye is easily one of the most popular tourist destinations. Although the crowds can be unappealing, the views atop the ferris wheel are worth the price and the wait. Standard tickets are around £23, but you can also purchase Fast Track tickets and additional attractions nearby.
3. Head to Piccadilly Circus
Known as the Times Square of London, Piccadilly Circus is a bustling public space in the city with shining billboards, shopping, and the well-known Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. Take a seat on the fountain if it isn’t too crowded and admire the statue of the Greed God Anteros that looks down.
4. Admire the colorful buildings of Notting Hill
Serving as the backdrop of the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant romantic comedy of the same name, Notting Hill is a charming part of West London you don’t want to miss. Walk down Portobello Road and shop at Portobello Market while you also admire the colorful buildings.
Bonus: if you’re a fan of the movie Notting Hill, you can also see the famous ‘blue door’ where Hugh Grant’s character lived.
5. Hang out in Neal’s Yard
Head to this small alley in Covent Garden and admire the Insta-worthy buildings that surround you. It’s tucked away enough to give you the feel that you’re escaping the city for a brief moment, and it’s the perfect spot to rest your legs after a long day of sightseeing.
Don’t forget to check out street artist Bambi’s mural in the alleyway leading to Neal’s Yard. The work pays homage to the late Princess Diana.
6. Mosey through Brixton Village Market
If you’re looking to venture a little further away from the typical tourist attractions, head to Brixton, the neighborhood David Bowie grew up in. Walk through the Brixton Village Market, and choose from quite a few restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat. Don’t forget to pay your respects to the David Bowie mural that can be found close by.
7. Take pictures in front of the Tower Bridge
Perhaps the most famous bridge in the world, London’s Tower Bridge is a must-see. It has since become a symbol of London, but don’t confuse it with the actual London Bridge situated a half mile up the river.
Although this is only a small handful of things to do in London, it’s a great place to start if you’re new to the city.