Choosing a Restaurant in London

London is one of the top cities in the world for entertainment and culinary experiences, so finding somewhere good to eat shouldn’t be a problem in the capital city. London is a complete melting pot of cultures; you can honestly find any kind of cuisine that you are looking for. So, with so much to choose from in the sprawling metropolis, where do you start?

Decide on your dish

Whatever type of cuisine you want, you’ll find it on a menu somewhere in London. If you have something specific in mind, then this is a good start. Whether you fancy Indian, Thai, Chinese, traditional British, family-friendly, Greek, Mexican or even something more obscure, there’s bound to be plenty of options to cover a variety of styles, tastes and budgets.

London-Hotels-2

But if you don’t have something specific in mind this can be a dilemma and it can be hard to narrow down so many choices. Whether you just want to try something different, you’re looking for a unique atmosphere or for eating on a budget, if you don’t know where to go you might be missing out on some real gems that might be just the types of places you will love and enjoy.

Do your research

One of the best ways to find a restaurant of your choice is to ask around for recommendations. Somebody you know is bound to come up with a decent tip or two worth considering.

But if you’re not from the area, or don’t know any locals, then consider looking on the internet for reviews and recommendations. Websites such as TripAdvisor offer candid, no nonsense advice, which can help sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to restaurant choice in London.

London-Hotels-1

Aside from website reviews, consider looking in local publications which list restaurants in particular areas. Newspaper supplements often give a guide or insight into what’s hot on the capital’s culinary scene.

Different communities or ethnic groups often live in certain parts of London, and it’s sometimes in these areas that you can find good food specific to that particular group.

London-Hotels

If you’re looking for something that is perhaps a bit more exclusive, websites like Secret London give tips for the lesser known establishments that offer great food and service.

Consider your budget

In an ideal world money wouldn’t be an issue when it comes to dining out, but for most of us, it is an important factor. And London is no exception. If you decide to dine in the more affluent or touristy areas of London, then expect to pay higher prices. Often, you can find excellent, good-value food in areas the further away from zone one that you go, but that’s not to say you can’t find great places on a budget anywhere in London. With so much competition, restaurants need to attract customers.

Consider other options

As well as finding great food in restaurants, increasingly award-winning dishes are being served up in the capital in places such as hotels, pubs, bars and even within stores or shops. So, if you are looking for something specific, then consider other eating venues aside from restaurants.

Hotels in London

One of the best things you can do is simply wander around different parts of London and get a feel for the vibe of each area. Check out the different eating venues – consider what they look like from the outside, what the interior is like, how busy the restaurant looks, etc. Stumbling upon a backstreet gem can be as rewarding as eating out somewhere on the basis of user reviews, so be open minded and adventurous in your search.

Philippa is often travelling to and from London and her life is pretty much on the go. As there is so much choice in London when it comes to dining out, she has decided to put together this guest post to help others. This article was written in consideration of the guys at Restaurant Choice.

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London- City of Heritage, Luxury and Tradition

When you think of London it’s easy to picture the iconic landmarks that served as a backdrop for last year’s summer Olympics; Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and the MillenniumWheel. But London has more to offer the discerning visitor than sightseeing alone and is the ideal location to experience a traditional and luxurious break steeped in history, culture and fine dining. The city is also home to many of the world’s best shopping districts including Bond Street renowned for its extensive range of high class designer shops and Savile Row, home of the best bespoke tailoring since the 17th century. If you want to discover a traditional and truly British experience the capital city has something to suit everyone’s tastes.

Timeless Traditions

The Royal Wedding in 2011 and the Queens Jubilee last year reminded everyone about the pomp and ceremony which is an intrinsic part of the traditions of London. The unique and spectacular ritual of the Changing of the Guard happens on a daily basis in the summer as does the Ceremony of the Keys, the nightly lock up of the Tower of London.

Luxurious London

Staying in central London offers you the convenience of having everything at your doorstep and there’s somewhere to suit all tastes and budgets. For a real treat splash out on one of the luxury hotels in London (http://www.guoman.com/en/index.html) where you’ll enjoy first class service. The Royal Horseguards hotel has a stunning location on the banks of the River Thames and lets you experience a truly British way of life.  The hotel was awarded membership of the esteemed Tea Guild in 2012 so taking a traditional afternoon tea in The Lounge should not be missed.  If you fancy a drink stronger than tea you might consider visiting one the capital’s fine whisky bars -Boisdales on Canary Wharf has a reputation for being one of the best. It serves a selection of over 1,000 malt whiskies in a luxurious and vibrant setting.

Heritage in London

London is a historically rich city and home to many of the finest buildings, gardens and museums that welcome visitors. Art Deco decadence can be seen first-hand at the glorious Eltham Palace, a medieval royal palace which was bought and extended by the wealthy textile Courtauld family in the 1930s. Set in beautiful gardens and featuring a gold plated bathroom and stunning original art deco interiors this really does transport you back to elegant days gone by. By contrast the Design Museum (http://designmuseum.org/) gives you the opportunity to glimpse the city’s future heritage and showcases contemporary design of all kinds; architecture, fashion, furniture and graphics.

Fashion Forward

The city continues to flourish dynamically and is today regarded as one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Cutting edge fashion and design are at the forefront but its roots are firmly placed in the past.  Savile Row, in Mayfair, continues to uphold its traditional design ethics and remains home to the master craftsmen of fine tailoring. No.1 Savile Row has been home to the luxury brand of Gieves and Hawkes for over 100 years but newer stores continues to open; Richard James at 29 Savile Row provides bespoke suits for David Beckham and Bryan Ferry. Most bespoke suits take 6 to 8 weeks to make and will cost upwards of £3,500 but their quality, fit and cut will be unparalleled.

London truly is a cultural feast where heritage, tradition and luxury merge together for an unforgettable experience. Will the capital city be on your travel itinerary this year?

Places You Cannot Miss, Destination London

London, the capital city of England and UK’s largest city is truly magnificent with many fascinating architectural marvels dotting the place. It’s truly a magical city whose charm can never fade. While there are several interesting and beautiful places here, there are places you cannot miss when if you have London as your destination.

Due to work reasons or because you have grown to love the city, you can apply for a new UK passport. There is an online application form available which after being duly filled, with photographs pasted and other documents in place can be submitted. Your eligibility for holding a new UK passport will be considered once the application form has been submitted. However, you could face circumstances where your application may be rejected too.

Places You Cannot Miss, Destination London

1. TRAFALGAR SQUARE:-
Visitors to London would never miss this and no visitor’s camera will be devoid of a picture of the Trafalgar Square! Located at the heart of London, the Trafalgar Square is the largest square and can be reached by the underground station in which ply the tube trains. Right at the center of the square, stands Nelson’s Column, a towering column in honor of Admiral Nelson. If a first-time visitor, you’d probably miss the pigeons that graced the photograph of all those who went there before you! That’s because in 2003, the erstwhile mayor, Mayor Ken banned public from feeding pigeons because their droppings made the place filthy. The fountain too which spouted water was stopped in 2102 due to a drought which London faced in the summer of 2012.

Trafalgar-Square

Trafalgar-Square

2. Thames River &the Tower Bridge:-
You will not be advised not to miss this, because it’s not possible to miss the Thames River! The Tower Bridge towering above the River Thames has been an iconic representation of London since eons. The bridge looks so majestic on the shimmering waters of the Thames, that most your photographs will be centered here. Ducks and swans are often seen gliding across the river and Coot and Kingfisher are frequent visitors too.

3. London Eye:-
What is a visit to London without a trip on the London Eye? Considered to be the ‘World’s Tallest Cantilevered Wheel’, this 32 capsuled wheel representing the 32 constituencies of London is a recent addition on the tourist map and can never be missed. Just adjacent to the Thames, the London Eye stands tall and gigantic, offering spectacular visuals of the city. It is indeed an experience never to be missed!

London Eye-A view form the inside

4. Westminster Abbey:-
Shrouded in mystery and spookiness, the Westminster Abbey is the place where the famous are laid down to rest. The pointed spires look alluring as much as they seem imposing across the skyline! Stories of apparitions and ghosts seen by the layman abound, making your visit here thrilling.

5. Palace of Westminster:-
The most wondrous and impressive of all structures in London, this palace today houses a collection of treasures and chronicles, revolving around Britain. The Big Ben that’s the most famous landmarks of London is a clock tower. A must see, this is!!

Westminster Palace-A view through the London Eye

6. Buckingham Palace:-
How can you miss the Queen’s Palace in the Queen’s land? One of the most lavishly decorated palaces in the world, the State Rooms are open to visitors and they’re a sight to behold with their opulent furnishings and ornate architecture. Adjust your timings so that you will witness the Changing of the Guard Ceremony too.

Buckingham Palace

7. St. Paul’s Cathedral:-
Built between 1675 and 1711, it’s considered to be Europe’s largest cathedral. The dome is 366 feet in height and weighs more than 66,000 ton! The baroque styled interiors and the sculptures outside make it a remarkable piece of architecture! The remains of Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington are interred here.

St.Paul's Cathedral

8. Madam Tussauds:-
Get clicked with your favorite star or leader and, none back home would even know the truth! Such is the beauty of the wax mannequins that grace Madam Tussauds! You have an array of personalities to choose from. From the Beatles to Kate Winslet, Martina Navratilova and David Beckham, you can meet the Queen and catch sight of Prince Williams too! After relishing your date with these, you must enter the Chamber of Horror which is the worst nightmare come alive! There’re dungeons, caves, guillotines, prisons and tunnels all displaying horror practices. The ‘blood-splattered’ walls and the eerie music that follows you throughout, is sure to cause a chill down your spine!

9. Kew Gardens:-
Listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kew Gardens is unquestionably the world’s most famous garden. From peering into rare herbs, climbing trees and having a rain-forest experience, you’ll find all these and more here.

Your visit to London is incomplete without a visit to these places, for these are laces of a shoe branded LONDON!!

Top Five Destinations from Stansted

Stansted – London’s faraway airport. While it might seem like an outpost to other more “central” airports like Heathrow, Stansted is nothing to be sniffed at.

The express train to and from central London runs every 15 minutes, it has great amenities – we’re talking Krispy Kremes here people – and is a hub of budget airlines that fly to top destinations all over Europe and beyond. While many of the cheapest flights have an early morning departure, a Stansted airport hotel will sort that right out and get you to the gate on time. So tell us – where would you go, if you were flying from Stansted?

Paris

Ah, the city of love. If you’re looking to take your special someone off on a romantic mini break, it’s hard to get much better than Paris. The city boasts art and culture in abundance, and its most familiar landmarks have been celebrated by countless travellers from around the world. Still, for all that’s said about the French capital, it’s impossible to do the enchanting city justice without seeing and experiencing it for yourself. You can dine in decadent restaurants, do some afternoon philosophy in a sidewalk café, or shop French designers along the Champs-Élysées. If you’re looking for a more bohemian experience, Paris has that too – off the beaten path you can find local bars filled with artsy types who thrive in that shabby-chic environment.

Stockholm

The city on the water is one of the most beautiful in the world, the sparkle of the blue waters that surround it only matched by the crisp blue skies. Stockholm’s old town – Gamla Stan – is a particular favourite with travellers, and the cobbled streets and old architecture only add to the city’s charming appeal. Don’t be fooled though – Stockholm has a lot more to offer than just a quiet weekend away staring at architecture. The city is a vibrant hub of sleek design and cutting-edge fashion, attracting both young and old travellers who come to rub elbows with some of the most stylish residents in Europe. By day, the city’s cafes, boutique stores and art galleries are buzzing with activity – and when the sun sets Stockholm’s world-class nightclubs open doors for business and serve up sweet cocktails with unique local flavours.

Amsterdam

A city of canals, Amsterdam is so much more than just the red light district it’s famous for. Venture outside of seedy Amsterdam and you’ll find world-class galleries and museums, picture-perfect streets and mouth-watering restaurants and cafes. It’s a city unlike any other – Holland’s bicycle culture has helped eliminate congestion on Amsterdam’s roads, and even in the centre of city you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the rural countryside with all the benefit of an exciting urban playground.

Berlin

History and culture collide in the cosmopolitan city of Berlin.  In its post-war life, Berlin has emerged to take its place as one of the most culturally diverse cities in all of Europe. Here, the posh and the punk each have their place, and an influx of creatives from around the world is leading the movement to make Berlin one of the most fascinating and exciting centres of fashion and design in the world. Museums, galleries and war monuments each tell another chapter of Germany’s history, while trendy bars and secret nightclubs offer visitors the chance to live like a local. The city is one that appeals to all ages, but is particularly popular with young travellers who come to absorb all that’s cool in the heart of Germany.

Copenhagen

Denmark’s capital city is locked in a head-to-head battle with Stockholm to rein supreme as the coolest city in Scandinavia, and the scales might just be tipping in Copenhagen’s favour – the Danish city is buzzing with activity, celebrating its historical and architectural roots while still embracing the cultural revolution that’s taken hold in the last decade. The city is clean, safe and easy to navigate – the locals are friendly and the transport is accessible even for the most cautious tourist. Throw in buzzing cafes, shops and restaurants, and you’ve found yourself a winner.

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Image by Karl-Martin Skontorp via Flickr

Bio: Ralph Cohen is a freelance travel writer on a mission to visit a new country every three months. Follow his adventures on Twitter