Welcome

đź‘‹ Hello, I’m Tom. I work four day weeks (I encourage you to hate me for that) and so spend my days off wandering around London visiting museums, taking bad photos and buying coffees.

All the descriptions of areas and attractions are written by me. The event summaries are AI generated as alas there are just too many. If only I could work three day weeks…

Explore by area

Bermondsey

South of the river and east of London Bridge, Bermondsey is an area of London stock brick  , arched windows and wrought iron.

I’m a fan of Bermondsey Street, a friendly feeling - albeit highly gentrified - road running southeast from London Bridge lined with cafes.

Photo of footbridges over Shad Thames
Photo by me, this is Shad Thames.

Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a nice change of pace from the chaos of Kings Cross to the North, being mostly quiet residential streets.

It features the University College London and the British Museum - all grand, classical buildings - but also lots of nice human-scale Georgian shops and terraces.

I was particularly taken with Lamb’s Conduit Street - a leafy partially pedestrianised road with many good coffee & lunch options.

Photo of a residential street
Photo by me, a house neither you nor I can afford.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden can be thought of as the more genteel neighbour of Soho, consisting of cobbled streets lined with charming Victorian shops now selling nice things that I can’t afford.

The centrepiece of the area is the Georgian former fruit, vegetable and flower market. When the market was moved out to Nine Elms in 1974 the building was saved and has been redeveloped as a shopping destination.

Photo of Covent Garden Market
Photo by Lorenzo Gerosa on Unsplash

Embankment

The Victoria Embankment (usually just called Embankment - London is awash with things called Victoria) makes up the north bank of the Thames between Parliament and Blackfriars bridge.

It isn’t as nice to walk along as the south bank because a multi-lane road runs along it but it does still offer some good views, and if you’re on a bicycle then a great cycle path too!

Photo of Waterloo Bridge from the north bank of the Thames.
Photo by Alexander London on Unsplash

Greenwich

With its long association to the Royal Navy, Maritime Greenwich feels like an island in South East London, completely different to the surrounding areas (Sorry, Deptford fans).

It is a little way out of the centre but the density of things to do means you can easily spend the entire day exploring.

As well as all the famous museums there’s a lot of nice, small shops and Greenwich Market is worth looking round.

Photo of Greenwich, with the cutty sark in view.
Photo by me, I got so sunburnt that day.

Holborn

Holborn - the centre of London’s legal system - is a serious place populated by sensible people, even if they perhaps don’t look it as they flounce around in wigs and gowns.

Pedants will thank me for reminding you that it is traditionally pronounced ho-bn, though even some of the automatic announcements on the tube forget this.

Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice in London
Photo by Dana on Unsplash

Kensington

Kensington High Street, at the centre of the borough, is further west than South Kensington and perhaps less visited by tourists.

Honestly the street itself isn’t fantastic, four lanes of luxury SUVs and busses do not make for a relaxing stroll. Fortunately you can retreat into Holland Park for some peace and quiet.

Close-up of a brightly coloured, traditional drawing of two figures.
Photo by me. I know, I just liked this tiny building.

Lambeth

Lambeth covers a lot of South London - I’m sticking around Waterloo and Vauxhall here.

It is much less touristy and more lived-in than many of the other areas I feature but it has its charms, I like Lower Marsh Street, and Leake Street has an amazing collection of street art.

Photo of lambeth bridge with a lamp in the foreground
Photo by me - Lambeth Bridge.

Marylebone

Marylebone is one of the few areas of London that approaches the density of European capitals like Paris, replete with Mansion Blocks  .

Marylebone’s most famous road is of course Baker Street, fictional home of Sherlock Holmes. Inevitably he’s got a slightly dodgy sounding “museum”, memorably described on Reddit  .

I know I usually like to tell you how to pronounce place names but Marylebone is such a linguistic disaster zone that you’re on your own.

Photo of a Ferrari parked at the front of a Palladian building.
Photo by me. They're doing alright on Harley Street.

Mayfair

Mayfair is the most expensive place on the UK Monopoly board, so we’ve all been conditioned to see it as the epitome of luxury.

I was expecting to be sniffy about the relentless vulgarity of the rich but I did actually like New Bond Street and the shopping arcades.

Still, I got caught in the rain and it was all a bit Rime of the Ancient Mariner  - surrounded by shops selling umbrellas but doomed to be soaked thanks to my limited means.

Photo of a Cartier shopfront with a red K6 telephone box in the foreground.
Photo by me, I am actually proud of this one!

Notting Hill

Famous for the Portobello Road Market, carnival and a fictional second-hand bookshop.

Notting Hill was once the centre of the Caribbean immigrant community in London but its streets of stuccoed Georgian terraces have returned to being a playground for the extremely wealthy.

It is outside the city centre but well placed for the royal residences of Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace, which can be reached through Hyde Park.

Photo of a terrace of large Georgian houses
Photo by me, on a rare sunny day.

South Bank

The south bank of the Thames has an enormous concentration of cultural venues - many of them brutalist icons built for the Festival of Britain in the early 1950s.

The Thames Path along the South Bank is one of the best ways to admire the city, lined as it is with tempting shops and pubs to ensure you get nowhere quickly.

I’m focusing on the area betwen London Bridge and Charing Cross here, but you can continue east through Bermondsey to see Tower Bridge.

Photo of a boat on the Thames taken from the South Bank
Photo by me, well artistic.

South Kensington

South Kensington is most famous for Exhibition Road, a strangely striped   affair running up to Hyde Park. It lives up to its name, being the home of London’s most famous free museums.

The area is also something of a French exclave - home to the Institut Francais, French Consulate and the very elaborately named Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle de Londres - a French school.

It is fitting therefore that (at the time of writing) one of the first shops you see outside the station sells giant croissants weighing 1.5kg  .

Photo of trains at South Kensington Underground station.
Photo by me, perhaps I should say photo de moi.

St James's

St James’s feels a little besieged, sandwiched between Piccadilly, The Mall and Trafalgar Square. Some of the backstreets around Piccadilly can be a bit, um, pungent. 🤢

Nevertheless the centre is nice, with a garden square that is open to the public on weekdays.

The area is insanely wealthy - all high end art galleries and tailors - so isn’t exactly buzzing at weekends. Pall Mall was the liveliest street when I was there - well, there was an ice cream van.

Photo of a red tour bus crossing Pall Mall, a wide street.
Photo by me, if only it had been sunnier.

Westminster

Westminster is where you’ll find the majority of the famous London landmarks and activities, all packed together within walking distance.

The area is strongly associated with royalty and the Mall (which rhymes with pal, not ball!) and surrounding areas are where events such as the coronation and platinum jubilee were held.

Photo of Westminster Bridge and The Houses of Parliament.
Photo by Aswin Mahesh on Unsplash