Places to Visit in London by a Londoner

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Too many choices in London. Print by me

London is great – if you know where to go! Otherwise it can be a horror of Leicester Square crushes, Oxford Circus queues and overpriced chain restaurants and coffee shops. I’ve lived in London since I was 11 and decided to write a brief list of restaurants, museums, and other places I’d suggest.

West London

The Physic Garden, Chelsea – amazing garden with a cafe in the Summer. This was historically where the apothecaries (traditional medicine doctors) used to grow their herbs in the 16th century to be made into drugs to cure Kings and royalty. It’s closed on Saturdays so plan your visit.

Holland Park, a lovely park in Kensington with a beautiful Japanese garden. Stroll down Kensington High Street and pick up some dates and other snacks at the Persian shops.

Retromania, the best vintage shop in Pimlico. Very reasonable. Pimlico is a lovely area to walk around in and visit pubs that aren’t too busy, and also you can walk across the river to head the Tate Modern or other places.

Central London 

Abeno, an amazing Japanese restaurant near the British Museum that makes okonomiyaki pancakes in front of you. Quite reasonably priced. Very small restaurant.

The Photographers Gallery, behind Oxford Circus. A haven from the busyness of the West End. It’s got great exhibitions some of which are free and the coffee shop is lovely to pop into.

Wardour Street, Soho, I love Soho particularly after working in film and running around the area. This street is fun to walk through and people watch.

South London

The Garden Gastro Bar, West Norwood, quality Italian restaurant very reasonable. The owners are from Italy and they cook very well. It’s an intimate place which is far better than many Italian restaurants in London.

Wimbledon Car Boot Sale, where the greyhound racing used to be. The best buys are on Wednesdays round middays where art dealers sometimes pop in.

Crystal Palace Park, amazing modern brutalist structures, greek statues, imposing steps, dinosaur models.

East London

St Margaret’s House, Bethnal Green. Great vegetarian cafe with an outside garden.

Lea Valley Park, amazing views, horses, walks, rivers.

Needoos, great Indian restaurant and quite near Whitechapel art gallery too.

North London

Carrots and Daikon, great Vietnamese restaurant in Kentish Town.

Alexandra Palace, amazing views over London.

The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead. One of the oldest pubs in London with really good food.

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