The London Guide
As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz famously chanted "There's no place like home."
For more than eight million people who have made London their home, the statement holds true. There is no place like London. It's one of the top three visited cities in the world, recording more than 20 million visitors in 2017 alone.
London for visitors
London is also home to the Westminster Abbey, the West End Theatre District, Covent Garden shopping, Buckingham Palace, the National Gallery, and so many landmarks that they would fill a series of books. Restaurants run the range of chip shops to a £90 three-course dinner at The Square in Mayfair.
But, let's be honest. The London experience for tourists is vastly different than for locals. The Underground can be exciting for newbies. The congestion is all part of the experience and they lean up against the left side of the escalator until their forced to the other side by rush hour commuters. Paying full price for a show or hopping in and out of taxis are included in their holiday budget.
London for locals
Many Londoners don't have the luxury of aimlessly wandering the streets or doling out 20 quid a pop to take a taxi instead of the tube.
While we're not going to neglect the sights and sounds of London that make it one of the greatest cities in the world, our focus with this city guide is to cater to the locals. We want to feature discounts, special offers, and hidden gems that even lifelong residents may not know about, but would certainly appreciate.
We're looking forward to posting as much timely information as we can get our hands on so that you don't miss out on a single opportunity.
London is all about "Things to Do"
Anyone who says that there's nothing to do in London must be joking as the list is seemingly endless. With 250 museums, nearly 40 West End Theatres and another 120 outside of the theatre district, that's enough to keep you busy every day for a year.
Theatres and museums are just scratching the surface, though. With the historical landmarks, music venues, comedy shows, casinos, shopping, and special one-off events, it would be impossible to do it all.
Theatre isn't just in the West End
While tourists may immediately head over to the theatre district and buy their full price seats at the Lyceum, the Dominion, Prince Edward or any of the premier venues in the area, residents may save that trip for a special occasion. But, that doesn't mean that a night at the theatre has to break the bank. Community theatres and companies are scattered throughout the city.
Have you heard of the Nursery Theatre or the Little Angel Theatre? How about comedy at the Top Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden, the Comedy Pub or the Museum of Comedy in Leicester Square? Do you know about the House of Burlesque East End, the Jazz Cafe, the Hippodrome Casino's Showroom, Aces and Eights, and Pop-up Opera?
These venues just scratch the surface of what you'll find, maybe even within walking distance of your home. We're excited to be featuring these kinds of events as well as the ones that take centre stage on the show calendars.
Hundreds of Museums in London
Not all museums have the size and scope of the British Museum, the National Gallery or the National History Museum, but they're working checking out anyway and are great ideas for family outings.
Unlike some other places like in the United States, where many museums come with a price of admission, plenty of London area museums are free. The Tate Modern, Museum of London, National Maritime Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum and the other three "big ones" mentioned above welcome you in, and you don't have to pull out your billfold.
London Area Sport
It goes without saying that football is the national sport and London has six Premier League teams, including Arsenal, the city's first professional club and winner of 13 FA Cups. Arsenal plays at Emirates Stadium, but Wembley is the national stadium.
Football is by far number one, but it's not the only game in town. Cricket, rugby, tennis, basketball, the list is long and includes professional and amateur clubs.
London Cricket Club at the Artillery Ground
Rugby Union - the Harlequins and Saracens
Rugby League - London Broncos
Basketball - London Lions
Greenest in Europe
London happens to be one of the greenest cities in Europe. It already has more than 3,000 parks, gardens, canals, and, of course, the River Thames. But, its status is about to be elevated in 2019 as London is being declared as a National Park City.
National Park City
The National Park City Campaign will inspire groups, businesses, and individuals to get involved in London's outdoor community. Its mission is to provide more green space and ramp up sustainability efforts.
When the sun is shining
Londoners make plans on the spur of the moment as they never know when the weather will cooperate. When it's warm and sunny, everyone goes out to play, and there are plenty of places to visit and activities with which to participate.
Open-air theatres, like the 1,200-seat venue in Regents Park, take theatre-goers out of the traditional setting and into a brand new environment. Regents Park has been offering performances since the 1930s with an 18-week annual calendar of events featuring some of the most beloved musicals.
Dozens of restaurants line the Thames for outdoor dining. When the weather isn't as cooperative, many of them have floor to ceiling glass windows to mimic that alfresco feel. Of course, you'll find other rooftop bars, sidewalk tables, and street vendors throughout the city if you're in the mood for food and fresh air.
Dining in London
In a city with eight million residents, naming the absolute best restaurant is an impossible feat. So, we'd like to focus, instead, on some locals favorites and unique options.
There are plenty of chains that deserve mention, though. Wagamama is one of them, although it feels more exclusive than chain-like with its communal tables and selection of Japanese cooking styles. Pizza Express has a name which prompts you to think it's fast food, but its Leggera menu provides a lighter option for pizza lovers, and it's hard to resist their dough balls.
A Full English
When it comes to breakfasts, Regency Cafe shows up on most of the top ten lists. It's full English is only £5.50 and gets rave reviews. The cafe is located in Westminster at 17-19 Regency Street, and its only downside is that it's closed on Sundays.
Top-rated Fish and Chips
When it comes to chip shops, you'll find all kinds of opinions as there are so many delicious options. Time Out London named The Chipping Forecast in Notting Hill as its number one pick. Trip Advisor users, though, chose Fisher's Fish and Chips, located at 19 Fulham High Street, near Fulham Palace. Many specifically mentioned the cod and the mushy peas.
The London Miscellaneous
Elizabeth not Ben
The famous clock tower that most people refer to as Big Ben, was officially renamed as The Elizabeth Tower in 2012, after Queen Elizabeth II. Big Ben remains, though, as it has always been the bell and not the tower itself.
A Half Million Employees
The biggest employer in London is G4S Secure Solutions. The company, which was founded in 2004, employes 570,000 people. The employee break room must be massive!
Not Quite a Snail's Pace
During rush hour in central London, traffic moves at the pace of horse drawn carriages. Score one for the 1800s.
It takes as long or longer to become a taxi driver in London as it does to finish uni. Drivers are required to master 320 routes that encompasses 25,000 streets. They also need to memorize 20,000 landmarks.