The Local Guide to London

LONDON'S BEST LOCAL GEMS...

RIGHT IN YOUR POCKET, 24/7

THE LOCAL GUIDE TO LONDON

You have a limited amount of time in London, don't waste it on boring attractions and bland meals. I've done it for you, testing the best (and worst) of London over the last five years.  

recommendations app for london

With The Local Guide to London, you’ll:  

  • Save hours of research time. No more Googling, bookmarking, and list-making
  • Have more flexibility to explore on your own, with the option to see what local-approved gems are nearby at any point in time
  • Save time and money by only visiting the best restaurants, bars, and things to do in London, even when you're on a time crunch 
  • Steer clear of tourist traps and know where the locals go to have a pint and enjoy themselves  
  • Get on the plane to head back home with that "I loved it so much, I could live there" feeling

What's in the guide?

There are two parts to The Local Guide to London: the Digital Map and the PDF guide. 

1. THE DIGITAL MAP

App for visiting London

I travel a lot, and one thing that grinds my gears about traditional guide books is that, when I'm in a big city, I can’t tell which recommendations are near me RIGHT THIS SECOND.

So, when it hits lunchtime, and I get hungry, I can’t be bothered to take out the guide book, go through multiple recommendations, find one that sounds good, and then be disappointed to find out that it’s a good 45 minute bus ride from where I am at the moment.  

UGH, what a waste of time!

That’s why I created this Digital Map, pinpointed with all of the recommendations mentioned in the PDF guide.

When you’re ready to eat, grab a drink, or just want something to do when you have some time to kill, you can just pull out your phone and easily see what’s nearby that is local-approved. 

You can also quickly get directions right in the map, so that you can save time, headaches, and data allowance. And if you ever need a toilet, I've marked off some of the public ones around the city.

*The map operates via Google Maps app, available on Android and iOS. 

2. THE PDF GUIDE


This instant-download PDF guide is 110+ pages of my best local recommendations.  

Find out some of the city’s best little spots for food, drink and fun, both in touristy areas and local neighborhoods. 

You'll feel like you have "a friend in London” that sent you a list of her favourite local haunts (although I doubt she’d send 110+ pages worth!) 

A digital guide means easy access, always in your pocket. No more lugging around a heavy guidebook. It's also environmentally-friendly.

Local travel guide for London

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COOL THINGS TO DO:

VIEWPOINTS

PARKS

STREET ART

MARKETS

SHOPPING

OTHER (museums, comedy clubs, and more)

CAFES & COFFEE SHOPS

AFTERNOON TEA

PUBS & SUNDAY ROAST

WHERE TO DRINK:

AFFORDABLE OPTIONS

 POSH DRINKING SPOTS

WHERE TO EAT: 

BUDGET EATS

MID-RANGE EATS

HIGH-END EXPERIENCES

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m Jess, an American who moved to the UK five years ago and loves nothing better than finding unique, fun and interesting things to experience in London.  

Over the last two years, I’ve helped tens of thousands of visitors to London to have the trip of a lifetime here in my city, through my Youtube channel.

The Local Guide to London is a compilation of my best recommendations. I only included ones that I really think you’ll like… I’ve tried MANY mediocre restaurants and experiences in London, and I’ve definitely left those out.

AS FEATURED IN...


WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SANDYMAKESSENSE


Sandy from the SandyMakesSense Youtube channel came over to the UK almost 10 years ago and fell in love with the country within the first few hours of being here. Recruiter by day and social media blogger by night, she loves it more and more every day.

Sandy has contributed to The Local Guide to London to help buff up the Camden area with the local gems she knows you'll love.

SNEAK PEEK AT WHAT'S INSIDE...


Aviary, Finsbury Square: 

This is a luxurious rooftop bar and restaurant at the top of the Montcalm Royal Hotel that’s bird themed (it’s better than it sounds). Sunsets can be stunning up here. In the winter, you can drink inside, or this year they had heated snow globes you can book. 

Hours: Mon - Fri 6:30am- 12am, Sat 7am- 12am, Sun 7am- 11am

What community members are saying...

When I travel, I enjoy seeing the popular tourist attractions, but always want to see some of the lesser known gems as well, and The Local Guide to London has really helped with that. For example, before reading the guide, I had never heard of the British tradition of Sunday roast, and I didn't realize street art was such a big thing in London. I’m a planner, so it’s also helped me to come up with some sample itineraries for my visit, incorporating some of the main tourist attractions with the lesser known spots mentioned in the guide— I’ve planned out a more well-rounded London experience. 

- Tracy, Nova Scotia

When planning my trip to London, I was struggling to find places to eat and drink that would make my visit unforgettable while at the same time fit within my budget. Also, I was hoping to find some great views of the city for romantic dates with my wife. With the information in The Local Guide to London, I’ve been able to schedule activities for us to do as well as make reservations at some of Jess’s recommended hidden gems that fit what I was looking for. I will be able to do it all, while staying on budget, thanks to The Local Guide to London.

- Guillermo, Ecuador

I'll be travelling to London this winter for my very first time, and it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information one can find online... online forums will say you MUST go to Place A; or Place B is a MUST TRY. Yes, those places are great; but our family would sometimes prefer a nice, 'less touristy' place. So this is where the Love and London Youtube channel comes in handy, as Jess explores almost everything a tourist needs to know about surviving London - from accommodation, to eateries, and even places to visit to spruce up your Instagram feed!  

I subsequently bought the The Local Guide to London and just like the videos, it did not disappoint. Every single attraction and eatery is painstakingly curated from Jess' years of experience living in London. Not only does it recommend the less touristy areas in London, but it's also going to be your wallet's next best friend, as Jess also recommends quite a number of free alternatives to the usual tourist attractions and eateries. The customized Google Map that came with the guide was a nice complement too, and it was incredibly beneficial for my trip planning! I already can't wait to get onto the plane to Heathrow. 

- Aaron, Singapore

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

“How is this guide different from what’s online or in the bookstore?”  

Well, I’ve never seen anything else that offered a digital map, which is a major time-saver. Besides that, I often feel like a lot of what’s on the internet is created by people who’ve only visited London, not LIVED here, or that cater to the obvious top tourist attractions. Personally, I don’t think this is how you experience the real London. So this guide includes only the spots I think will help you to see London’s character and charm, beyond the obvious, like the Tower of London and the British Museum.

"Why do you charge money to find out what you recommend?" 

There are a couple of reasons. The Digital Map and PDF guide take weeks to create. If I didn't charge for them, I simply couldn't provide them to our community. I also spend anywhere from £25-200 per week trying out new things around London. I will never recommend something to you that I haven't tried myself, but of course, all of those meals, drinks, and tickets cost a lot of money. But by me testing them out and only telling you about the best, you won't have to waste your time and money too, because only the best of the best go in the guide. If I save you from one not-so-good moderately-priced meal, you've already paid yourself back for your purchase.

“I really want to know which of the popular tourist attractions you think are worth it Jess. Is that included?”  

Afraid not. I wanted to share the local tips with you in this guide, things you might not hear about anywhere else. It’s easy to find that kind of information online, and I wanted to give you something you CAN’T find easily-- a curated list of local recommendations.  

“Does the digital map work offline?”  

It has very limited capabilities offline, but if you won’t have any data on your phone when you’re out and about, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to find wifi in cafes, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, some underground stations, and other places. You could also pick up a SIM while you’re in London, so that you can use data on a Pay As You Go basis-- that’s what I would suggest, for ease. Finally, check with your cell phone provider to see what international roaming options you have.  

“Can I print the guide?”  

Please don't, because it’s harmful to the environment, plus that’s a lot of paper to carry around! Because it’s digital, it’s super easy to save it to your phone or tablet, for easy reference. All locations are pinpointed on the digital map.  

“I’m on a budget. Will this guide work for me?”  

Totally. Many things mentioned in the guide are completely free to do, and the biggest section is the “affordable eats” one!  

"Are your recommendations family-friendly?"

During the day, almost everything in London is family-friendly. I personally don't have children, so I can't say from experience if my recommendations will suit kids, especially as they all have different interests, energy levels, and of course can vary in age! But if your kids are adventurous and curious, or at least well-behaved (for the most part... travel days can be LONG, I get it), I think you'll find value in The Local Guide to London.

“Can I share the guide or map with friends and family?”  

To keep it fair for everyone who purchases the guide, I’m afraid not. You’re allowed 3 downloads of the PDF, so you can download it to your personal computer, phone and tablet, and then add the map to your own phone. Once it’s all on your own devices, you of course can then share it with your travel companion by passing your device to them! Sharing beyond that is unfair to me and everyone who’s purchased the guide, and also is against the law. You'll also get an email once you purchase your guide that will tell you how you can purchase additional map access at a discounted rate.

“Jess, I have a restricted diet, do your recommendations suit it?”  

The 2018 edition of TLGTL has a brand-new veggie/vegan section, listing some places that serve veggie or vegan-only dishes (I've recently turned vegetarian so I know the best spots!) For other restrictions, I've tried to indicate as best as I could when a food spot is diet-restriction friendly, such as vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free friendly, etc. But many restaurants in London are able to accommodate for such things but don’t advertise this, so there’s no way for me to know. Your best bet is contact the restaurant to ask about what they offer before you decide to visit, and sometimes, even if they don’t usually have something, if you give some notice, they can gather up some ingredients to make you something that will suit your diet. London is very diet restriction-friendly :)

"How is this different from your 3-Day London Itinerary?"

The itinerary gives you a set plan on how to spend your first three days in London, bringing you to some of the city's most famous attractions while also giving you options for a more local experience (plus tips on how to eat well even in the tourist-y areas.) The Local Guide to London is for those who don't want a set itinerary, or already have a few things planned for their visit and just need to fill in the free time around them, without being committed to anything. It's also for people who just want to ensure they're always finding the best food, drinks, and things to do, wherever they end up while exploring London. Some people have bought both guides.  

SNEAK PEEK AT WHAT'S INSIDE...

Local guide to London - Stumper and Fielding

STUMPER & FIELDING, NOTTING HILL: 

This shop sells super traditional British jackets, clothing and accessories, much of which is made right in East London. It’s not particularly cheap, however, if you want a high-quality trench coat, pea coat, or other item that will make you feel especially British, this is the place to go. Tell Darren, the shop owner, that Jess from Love and London sent you, he’s a nice guy and a proper Londoner! 

Hours: Mon - Fri 10am- 6pm, Sat 9am- 7pm, Sun 10am- 6pm

What's new in the 2018 edition?

Forty additional pages of recommendations

A section dedicated to vegetarian and vegan-only food spots

Public (and secret) toilets marked off on the Digital Map

More recommendations added to "Cool Things to Do" and around the Camden area, as per feedback

Operating hours for each recommendation are included in the PDF guide and on the Digital Map

Click above to get the guide instantly.