Unless you’ve been under a rock lately, you’ve heard the news of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. While the decision has bigger implications, for everyday travelers like us, it means travel to the U.K. has never been more affordable. If a trip to London has always been on your bucket list, now is the time to do it, and London native Pamela Ibe is here to show you how.
It’s taken me traveling the world, living abroad for over two years, and finally coming back home to really appreciate all my home city, London, UK, has to offer. Here are some of my top recommendations to help you make the most out of your trip.
If you love to view a city from a high, The Shard, will probably be on your list of places to visit when in London. However, instead of paying anything from £26 (around $34) for a panoramic view of London, I always advise visitors to walk 5 minutes from The Shard over the London Bridge to The Monument. Not as high as the Shard, but you get spectacular views of the city, a mini history lesson on the great fire of London, and a lovely view of The Shard. Even better, a ticket up the Monument is only a fraction of the price of the Shard at £4 (about $5.25).
Cautionary warning: You have to walk up 311 stairs to get to the top – but it’s worth it!
London is a melting pot of cultures, so not surprisingly, the food scene is reflective of this. Being of Nigerian descent, I do appreciate some good old Nigerian food, and I need not look any further than Restaurant 805, hailed as one of the best West African restaurants in London, and quite frankly I have to agree. I generally eat their fried fish or beef in stew with jollof rice, moi moi and suya, however, they are famous for their Monika fish, which is a whole fish seasoned and fried to perfection. 805 is in South East London, down one of London’s oldest and most historic roads, Old Kent Road. The nearest tube station is Elephant & Castle, from there it’s a short bus ride away.
For river views, strong cocktails, live music and delicious Thai food, look no further than Nakhon Thai. Situated near the once desolate and wasteland area, Docklands, it is now a thriving business and financial hub. This restaurant is five or so minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the business district, thus benefits being rather unknown, which adds to its mystique. Nakhon Thai is lovely place to go on a date, hang out with friends or celebrate a big occasion. Be sure to request a river view seat, and if you decide to take advantage of their extensive cocktail selection and head to the bar, the live music begins at 9 p.m. on the weekends.
Grown and Sexy
If you want to get your grown and sexy on in a historically Black, and now “IT” area of London, look no further than the Satay Bar in Brixton. The Satay Bar is a great place to start the evening if you’re looking to go out clubbing afterwards, or a place to mingle with others if you don’t want to go all out.
The Satay Bar brings you a mature crowd, extensive cocktail menu and fabulous Malaysian and Thai fusion food.
If you want to turn up to some hip hop, R&B, soul and party until late, then Club 10 is the place to go to. Saturday’s are the best night to experience the urban scene. Be sure to dress up, as people dress to impress here, however, there’s no standing against the walls – this is a place where people go to party!
Now the Southbank is rather “touristy,” but without a doubt one of my favorite places to hang out in London. It’s right on the bank of the River Thames, and has an array of restaurants and bars, my favorite being Las Iguanas. I recommend checking out the Southbank Centre, which is in the heart of Southbank, and walking down to the river bank, which usually hosts an array of festivals all year around. If you’re a foodie, the Southbank food market, which runs on Saturdays and Sunday, is one of the best in London.
Avoid black cabs like the plague! They extortionately priced, and you’ll more than likely end up stuck in traffic. If you’re in London for more than a day or 2, I would recommend buying an oyster card, and get a daily/weekly pass on it. Tubes and trains do not run 24/7 here yet, but buses do, and Uber is a great option as well.
-As told to Danielle Pointdujour
Danielle T. Pointdujour is a Brooklynite living the passport life to the fullest. With over 70 countries under her belt, you can always find Danielle traveling the globe in search of new experiences and the hottest luxury hotels. You can follow her writing, musings and global adventures on her blog Hotel Whisperer and on Twitter and Instagram.