Visiting London Guide
I live in Hackney, and I really enjoy it. This guide is divided into two parts. A general guide of some things I recommend in London, and a guide if you are staying in Hackney. If you want to be by the cool bars and nightlife, you should stay in or near Shoreditch. I leave the choice of hotel or hostel up to the reader.
If you’re flying in, this short, 1 minute video covers off all of the ways to get to central London from the airports.
Best tip of all - set up Apple or Android pay
You can now use Apple and Android pay everywhere you can use a card in London, but the nice thing about electronic payment is that you don’t need to sign a receipt for it. It makes things like paying for a pint at the pub a snap
Sort out your cellphone service
Are you going to have or want a sim when you get to London, or are you going to be using your cellphone plan?
Don’t bother with a London pass
They are more expensive then just going into the museums you want to visit
Things to do
Visit a rooftop near Liverpool street
There are a few of these, thanks to a law that was passed that required some of the buildings to provide rooftop access. The most popular one is the Sky Garden, which is cool, but you have to book in advance and since the pandemic things are really getting booked quite quickly. Instead, you can try out another one like the garden at 120 Fenchurch Street, which you don’t have to book ahead. I have never waited in a queue there!
Go to an offbeat museum
The museum of London Transport (dedicated to the underground trains and bus system), or the Tower Bridge museum (located in Tower Bridge) are two very cool places.
Karl Marx Walks London
Karl Marx walking tour - very interesting, takes you through Soho and shows you what Marx’s soho was like, and what other revolutionaries called Soho home
Jack the Ripper Tour
Went on this Jack the Ripper tour and it was fantastic - a great walk through Whitechapel with a good mix of history of the time and history of the murders
Self guided walks
Tower of London to Buckingham Palace
On this walk, don’t miss the free view from the top of 1 New Change, where you can see St. Pauls and the Southbank.
Also consider stopping by the Tower Bridge Museum instead of going over London Bridge, The viewing platform has a glass bottomed walkways and the view itself is really nice.
Moko Made London
A Japanese coffee shop. Very cute!
A coffee and pastry stall at the entrance of a photography studio. Very convenient if you’re going to catch the overground from Haggerston.
Both All Press coffee shops do great coffee and the one in Dalston has a large outside area.
Usually quite busy but does a good veggie/vegan brunch. You can see the coffee roaster from the entrance way.
Pubs and bars
The Stags Head
A cozy traditional pub with a large beer garden that is less than 5 minutes from the flat.
Howl at the moon
A pub with an Irish/American theme going on. They do their own beer on tap too.
A cosy bar. The music is never too loud so you can actually hear one another talk. They also do lots of snacks during the day and sometimes hand out free popcorn made with their retro popcorn machine. Occasionally they do comedy nights in the downstairs area.
A Bar with Shapes for a Name
Trendy cocktail bar that is bauhaus themed, and the wait staff all has jump suits. Really nice spot and it’s right next to our flat!
A family run Vietnamese place with lots of veggie options. Their tofu Bánh mì is my favorite.
Black Cat Cafe
A vegan restauraunt in Hackney Central that has excellent sandwiches and plates for reasonable prices!
Temple of Hackney
The best vegan fried chicken I’ve ever tasted.
Sutton Sons Fish and Chips
Despite being a traditional fish and chip shop they have lots of vegan ‘fish’ options! Last time we went they were cash only just FYI.
A dry bar that serves non alcoholic cocktails and healthier dishes. The concept was to help alleviate the effects of Sunday hangovers.
A London veggie restaurant chain. Very tasty ‘chicken’ tikka! The Dalston branch is light and airy too.
A vegan cake shop that made a Black Mirror cake for Miley Cyrus. Their rainbow cake is vanilla flavoured and is delicious! Would recommend having it with an espresso.
Very popular so might have a line out the door, but they have a fun interior and pretty good veggie options with a few vegan options too.
Dalston Eastern curve garden
A community garden with a cafe that serves coffee, beer and snacks. (Wrap up warm if it’s cold as it’s all open air).
Stolen Space Art Gallery
I love a dose of low brow art so I go here to check out new and sometimes established street and underground artists that it showcases.
A usually busy park in Hackney that you
can used to be abe to BBQ in.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Open on Sundays only, great for cheap plants.
A very interesting place that you can never fully look around because there’s so much to see.
What brutalism was supposed to look like. A very interesting piece of architecture that you can enter and walk around. There’s a large garden inside that’s sometimes open to the public and a cinema that shows indie films and documentaries.