London is, by far, one of our favorite cities. If you can name a more Gal Meets Glam-esque city, I’d be amazed and would book our flights there immediately! Happily, we’ve spent lots of time in London over the last few years, and while we’ve shared dozens of posts documenting those trips, we’ve never put together a master London travel guide. When I think about going somewhere new, I get most excited about long walks through parks and beautiful neighborhoods, unique activities, shopping, delicious meals, and exquisite hotels. While there are still many more things we’d love to experience in London someday, this guide highlights the sites of our most memorable London moments from the last five years.
A great neighborhood has it all: beautiful homes and architecture, plenty of walkable streets to explore, cafes, restaurants, shopping, and most of all, its own unique character. Our favorite neighborhoods in London have all of these features and more.
Notting Hill- Our favorite neighborhood in London is the type of place that will have you dreaming of picking up your life and moving there. With pastel buildings, delightful shops and markets, and perfectly manicured gardens, every street is more charming than the last.
Primrose Hill- Almost as colorful as Notting Hill, Primrose has plenty of charm, nice restaurants, a beautiful park with great views, and a family-friendly vibe. Grab a bite to eat along Regent’s Park Road and then make your way over to the actual Primrose Hill for a relaxing afternoon looking out over London.
Marylebone- When it comes to hip neighborhoods, you’ll likely not find us anywhere nearby. Marylebone, with its interesting boutiques, hip restaurants and cool hotel, Chiltern Firehouse, is one exception. Chiltern Street is not to be missed. The Wallace Collection is a nice museum in the neighborhood. And Marylebone is on the edge of one of our favorite parks, Regent’s Park.
London has some of the best parks of any city we’ve ever visited. When we are in London, a stroll through a park is pretty much a daily occurrence. Here’s a list of our favorite parks in London.
Regents Park- This is an all-around great park that offers so much to its visitors. Our favorite spots in the park are Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, which is spectacular in full bloom, and St. John’s Lodge Garden, which is a little nook hidden from the rest of the park. Rent a lawn chair from one of the many rental locations and spend the afternoon simply lounging.
Kenwood House- On each of the two trips we’ve made to Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath, we’ve been blown away. On our most recent trip, we arrived to find peak rhododendron blooms that were absolutely stunning.
Richmond Park- When you visit Richmond Park, you’ll quickly forget that you are still in the city. Richmond Park is massive and pretty far removed from Central London, so if you are visiting, do so with a plan in place. One thing to be sure to include in that plan is lunch or a snack at Petersham Nurseries–while you’re there, you can drool over all of the amazing garden furnishings.
Kensington Palace Gardens- Located on the west side of Hyde Park are these beautiful gardens. While you are there, check out the nearby Orangery Restaurant for tea or a light lunch as well.
Kew Gardens- Kew Gardens is breathtaking. It’s the only park on our list that requires an entrance fee, but that fee is well worth it because you could spend an entire day there. We shot our July Gal Meets Glam Collection dresses at Kew Gardens!
Favorite Places to Eat
Our friend Rosie is the best in the business when it comes to London food recommendations. Luckily for us, she’s always willing to play tour guide when we come to town. Here are some of our absolute favorite restaurants that we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy.
Dishoom- Multiple locations across London for incredible Indian food. They don’t take reservations, so plan on arriving early so you don’t have to wait in line for too long.
Sketch- If you have an Instagram account, you’ve probably seen Sketch–its pink velvet tea room is a one-of-a-kind destination. We’re frequently asked if Sketch is worth going to, and if you want to do a tea when you are in London, this is the first spot we’d recommend.
Bob Bob Ricard- Much like Sketch, the fun elements of Bob Bob Ricard, such as the “Press for Champagne” buttons at the tables and the opulent decor, get lots of social media appreciation. We’re happy to report that the food matches the atmosphere. Everything we ate was delicious, especially the lobster mac and cheese, which hit the spot on a cool London day.
Granger- “Fresh” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this Australian restaurant that’s great for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Don’t miss the avocado toast.
Colbert- This restaurant is all about the Parisian-inspired ambiance, but the delicious food backs it up. It’s a great spot, especially with friends.
Maggy Jones- When you are visiting London, it’s possible that at some point, you’ll find yourself walking distance from Maggy Jones, which is minutes from Kensington Palace. The menu is full of hits that warm the soul.
Other restaurants we have our eye on, but have not visited yet, include Sabor, Gymkhana, Roganic, Hoppers, Quality Chop House, and Spring.
Where to Stay
We always want to feel at home when we’re visiting London, so we frequently book our accommodations through One Fine Stay. For traditional hotels, though, here are our top recommendations.
Rosewood London- We are big fans of Rosewood properties. The Rosewood London is gorgeous and the service is impeccable, so we always enjoy our time there.
Chiltern Firehouse- While we’ve never actually stayed there, we’ve been inside and like the elegant, historic vibe. It’s located in Marylebone, one of our aforementioned favorite neighborhoods.