The Blog

11 Books Based in London and the UK to Read During Lockdown

By London Planning Tips

Books are the most amazing form of escape: turn the pages and you can be transported into an entirely different universe, dimension or world. Of course, you don’t have to go quite that far, if you don’t want to. If you’d rather travel a little closer to home, books can also whisk you away to another part of our world, showing you the streets of another city, or the landscapes of a country far from home.

Right now, when our regular travel options are a little bit limited, one of the best ways to get a taste for a new destination is through the magic of books. No flight required, no visa needed, and absolutely no jet lag to contend with. And if it’s London you’re looking to explore, there’s no shortage of books based in London (& beyond) that you should read in lockdown.

Here are a few I think you’ll love:

Originally a serial published in monthly instalments in a magazine, Oliver Twist has now become a classic novel, depicting London in the mid-19th century.

1. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Originally a serial published in monthly instalments in a magazine, Oliver Twist has now become a classic novel, depicting London in the mid-19th century. Oliver’s tale begins in the rough workhouses of the fictional town of Mudfog, but when he escapes, he travels to London, where he meets the Artful Dodger.

Through its many twists and turns, Oliver Twist offers an insight into 19th century London, and the struggles of the working class under the harsh new ‘Poor Laws’. But it also offers a literary tour of London, with no fewer than 90 references to specific locations in the city!

Get the Oliver Twist book at Waterstones and Books a Million

Frances M. Thompson’s London Eyes is a brilliant collection of London-themed short stories.

2. London Eyes by Frances M. Thompson

If you’re having trouble concentrating right now (I mean, there is a LOT going on in the world), short stories are the perfect way to escape for very small chunks of time. They offer all the fulfilment of a full-length story in bite-sized pieces, and if they’re well-written, they’ll have you thinking about them for days and weeks to come.

Frances M. Thompson’s London Eyes is a brilliant collection of London-themed short stories. I read them years ago, but there are a couple that I still think about to this day. And the sense of place in them is fantastic – you’ll be taken from Shepherd’s Bush to the London Underground, Angel, Elephant & Castle, and plenty more.

Get the London Eyes book at Books a Million

Set entirely on the 392 bus in the space of just 36 minutes, The 392 offers a peek into a quintessential slice of contemporary London life: the London bus.

3. The 392 by Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Set entirely on the 392 bus in the space of just 36 minutes, The 392 offers a peek into a quintessential slice of contemporary London life: the London bus.

The cast of characters travelling from Hoxton to Highbury on the fictional 392 route is as varied and diverse as you’d expect to find on any East London bus, and each is beautifully portrayed in their own words. Author Ashley Hickson-Lovence says of his incredible debut, ‘The 392 is a voice-driven, tension-building text, which hopefully explores themes of ‘other-ness’, perception and prejudice.’

Get The 392 book at Waterstones and Books a Million

Londoner James Bowen once struggled with homelessness and addiction, busking on the streets in the day to support himself. When he eventually moved into a flat of his own, he met Bob, an injured ginger tomcat, who he took under his wing - despite a pet being the last thing he needed.

4. A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

Londoner James Bowen once struggled with homelessness and addiction, busking on the streets in the day to support himself. When he eventually moved into a flat of his own, he met Bob, an injured ginger tomcat, who he took under his wing – despite a pet being the last thing he needed.

Bob and James formed an unlikely friendship, and soon Bob was joining James as he busked on the streets. The pair became inseparable, and their adventures together are told in this heartwarming true story. Since it was written, A Street Cat Named Bob has been adapted into a film, which stars the late, great Bob himself!

Get the A Street Cat Named Bob book at Waterstones and Books a Million

Opening on the day of the UK’s historic (and controversial) Brexit vote, we meet Darling, a Black British woman, who begins a whirlwind romance with Thomas. She soon meets Thomas’ daughter Lola, and the tension begins to unfold between the two women. Within six months, one of them is dead.

5. Darling by Rachel Edwards

Darling isn’t actually set in London (which is why I added the ‘and beyond’ bit to this list) but it’s so relevant to Britain today (Elle Magazine called it the ‘first Brexit thriller’) that I absolutely had to include it here.

Opening on the day of the UK’s historic (and controversial) Brexit vote, we meet Darling, a Black British woman, who begins a whirlwind romance with Thomas. She soon meets Thomas’ daughter Lola, and the tension begins to unfold between the two women. Within six months, one of them is dead.

Exploring themes of race, love and post-Brexit Britain, Darling is a twisty, shocking thriller that will leave you reeling.

Get the Darling book at Waterstones and Books a Million

My own debut novel was set in London, a city I’ve lived in for a decade, and which is such a joy to write about. Big cities offer a certain amount of anonymity, which I wanted to explore when I wrote this book.

6. The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft

My own debut novel was set in London, a city I’ve lived in for a decade, and which is such a joy to write about. Big cities offer a certain amount of anonymity, which I wanted to explore when I wrote this book. Could you murder someone in a massive city without anyone knowing? And could someone conceivably make it look like you’d committed murder if you hadn’t?

With scenes set in South Kensington, Hyde Park, Canary Wharf, Battersea Park and Knightsbridge, The Guilty Wife follows photographer Bethany Reston as she tries to prove her innocence after being framed for the murder of her secret lover.

Get The Guilty Wife book at Waterstones and Books a Million

If you love the writings of Sally Rooney, Dolly Alderton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, you need to pick up Queenie, the Sunday Times Bestseller that was also shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award.

7. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

If you love the writings of Sally Rooney, Dolly Alderton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, you need to pick up Queenie, the Sunday Times Bestseller that was also shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award.

Following the life of Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London and trying to work out her place in the world, Queenie explores themes of cultural and personal identity, relationships, family, race, and anxiety, through the eyes of the sometimes self-destructive, often funny and extremely relatable Queenie.

Get the Queenie book at Waterstones and Books a Million

Set in the 1940s, The Jane Austen Society follows an unlikely group of Austen enthusiasts as they unite to preserve the legacy of their favourite author before it’s gone for ever.

8. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Another one that’s not London-based, but just outside (day-trippable, for those keen to explore Austen’s old stomping ground when you do visit London), in the village of Chawton, Hampshire.

Set in the 1940s, The Jane Austen Society follows an unlikely group of Austen enthusiasts as they unite to preserve the legacy of their favourite author before it’s gone for ever. Each character has their own quirks and troubles, and seeing them work together, overcoming their own obstacles, makes this a joy to read. Heartwarming and oh-so British, fans of Jane Austen won’t want to miss this wonderful tale.

Get The Jane Austen Society book at Waterstones and Books a Million

London is a strange new world for Nazneen, who doesn’t speak any English, to navigate, but as she learns more about her new home, she also learns more about herself and what she truly desires. Brick Lane beautifully and powerfully portrays the life of an immigrant arriving in London, and it explores the role of fate in our lives.

9. Brick Lane by Monica Ali

Nazneen arrives in London’s East End from Bangladesh when she’s still just a teenager, to enter into an arranged marriage.

London is a strange new world for Nazneen, who doesn’t speak any English, to navigate, but as she learns more about her new home, she also learns more about herself and what she truly desires. Brick Lane beautifully and powerfully portrays the life of an immigrant arriving in London, and it explores the role of fate in our lives.

Get the Brick Lane book at Waterstones and Books a Million

About a Boy follows 36-year-old bachelor Will as he forms a reluctant relationship with twelve year old Marcus (whose mum he met when he was trying to pick up women at a single parents’ group). Set in North London in the nineties, this novel is at times heartwarmingly funny, at times heartbreakingly sad, but always dripping with dry English humour and clever dialogue.

10. About a Boy by Nick Hornby

You may have seen the film (starring Hugh Grant, Toni Collette and Nicholas Hoult), but the book is still absolutely worth a read.

About a Boy follows 36-year-old bachelor Will as he forms a reluctant relationship with twelve year old Marcus (whose mum he met when he was trying to pick up women at a single parents’ group). Set in North London in the nineties, this novel is at times heartwarmingly funny, at times heartbreakingly sad, but always dripping with dry English humour and clever dialogue.

Get the About a Boy book at Waterstones and Books a Million

This historical thriller, set in London’s Docklands in the eighteenth century, opens with the discovery of an unidentified body hanging from a hook at Deptford Dock, branded with a slaver’s mark. What follows is the investigation by war hero Captain Harry Corsham as he seeks to uncover what happened to the man, identified as passionate abolitionist Tad Archer.

11. Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

This historical thriller, set in London’s Docklands in the eighteenth century, opens with the discovery of an unidentified body hanging from a hook at Deptford Dock, branded with a slaver’s mark. What follows is the investigation by war hero Captain Harry Corsham as he seeks to uncover what happened to the man, identified as passionate abolitionist Tad Archer.

Blood & Sugar explores a dark side of British history, showing the horrors of the British slave trade, while also describing the details of London at that time – with all of its sights and sounds and smells. It’s been nominated for, and won, a handful of awards, and for very good reason!

Get the Blood & Sugar book at Waterstones 

 

There are so many other amazing books based in London that I haven’t mentioned here – the city has been a haven to (and no doubt a muse for) countless writers throughout the decades – but if you start with these ones you’ll get a good idea of London past and present, from a variety of perspectives and in a wide range of voices.

Have you read any books based in London that I haven’t included here? Which ones would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below so I can add them to my reading list!

Read Next:

Pin this to your London Pinterest board…

London and UK-based books to read to cure your London blues

10 Hidden Gems to See with Three Days in London

By 3 Days in London, London Food and Drink, Things to Do in London

Back in 2013, I moved from New York to London. Since then, I’ve spent so much time exploring the nooks and crannies of this city, beyond the typical attractions most travel guides talk about. So much, that it became my job (as explained in this video), and I’m now considered a London expert.

I love sharing my favourite local gems with my followers, so that you can experience the side of the city that you’ll never see if you stick with the most touristy attractions and characterless areas.

So in this article, I’m telling you the local, hidden gem spots that I love and I think you’d love too if you’re visiting for three or more days in London.

I won’t lie, it was really hard to narrow this list down to just ten… but luckily all of these gems, plus tons more, are part of the 3-Day London Itinerary, so you can easily hit them all in just three days.

If you prefer to watch instead of read, you can see each spot mentioned in this article in the below Youtube video. Otherwise, keep scrolling to read.

1. Leake Street Tunnel

Leake Street runs under Waterloo station and used to be where the Eurostar taxi rank was, back when Eurostar trains left from Waterloo. When the service moved to St. Pancras station in Kings Cross, the tunnel was left disused.

Then in 2008, world-famous street artist Banksy proposed to revitalise the tunnel with a street art festival. Since then, it’s been an authorised area for street art, and is constantly changing.

The tunnel is managed by The Vaults, a group that promotes art, culture and revitalisation in the area. This is done via the tunnel project as well as theatre shows, live music and events, all held within the tunnel and railway arches. Just check their website to see what’s on when you’re in town.

You’ll visit Leake Street Tunnel on Day 1 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

Lyaness is on the ground floor of the Sea Containers hotel and was named as one of the 50 best bars in the world.

2. Lyaness

Lyaness is on the ground floor of the Sea Containers hotel and was named as one of the 50 best bars in the world.

Mr. Lyan, world-famous mixologist, together with his team has developed a menu of cocktails designed around seven signature ingredients, like vegan honey, infinite banana and onyx. If you like unique, special cocktails made by some of the best bartenders in the city, Lyaness is a must-visit.

They also do a boozy “fancy tea” that’s centered around those special house ingredients, and they also have small plates to eat while enjoying your drink and looking out onto the River Thames with a view of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

When you visit Lyaness, make a reservation if you can– even just calling ahead a couple of hours before could help. However you should be fine to walk in during the week before dinner time.

You’ll visit Lyaness on Day 1 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

For other unique and local-gem bars to drink at, watch this video…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgPLJ8_DkPU&t

3. Flea at Vinegar Yard

On Saturdays and Sundays, Vinegar Yard hosts Flea, a pop-up flea market, where you can find almost anything your vintage-loving heart desires. Londoners set up shop here to sell homemade jewelry, vintage brooches, recycled glass jars, handmade jackets made with leftover fabrics, and much more.

During the week, Flea is still at Vinegar Yard with a reduced market, so you can pop by and do a little shopping even if you can’t make it on a weekend.

For anyone not into shopping, still stop by for something to eat or drink at Vinegar Yard. It’s a very cool spot for food and a tipple, made complete with crazy art installations from artist Joe Rush of Mutoid Waste fame. A favourite vendor of mine is the Prosecco truck that offers bubbles with (optional) CBD drops.

There are both outdoor and indoor areas at Vinegar Yard, so you can visit all year round. The vibe is the best around meal times and on the weekends, but it also gets very busy on lovely summer evenings as Londoners love to eat and drink here once work lets out.

You’ll visit Flea at Vinegar Yard on Day 1 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

If you find yourself in Covent Garden before the shops open-- or heck, even if they are open-- pop into the Royal Opera House.

4. Royal Opera House Piazza Terrace Bar

If you find yourself in Covent Garden before the shops open– or heck, even if they are open– pop into the Royal Opera House. It’s free to walk around, and the building itself is absolutely stunning. You’ll see models of how the Opera House has looked over the centuries, costumes on display from historic performances over the years like Swan Lake, and more.

Here’s something most Londoners don’t even know– if you head to the top floor, there’s a stunning restaurant, cafe, and a terrace that looks out over Covent Garden Piazza. The terrace is completely free to use, you don’t have to buy anything, but of course, purchases made at the cafe bar support the arts and the maintenance of the building.

There are a few tours that the Opera House offers throughout the day. You can sometimes get a last-minute spot on the day, but try to XXbook ahead onlineXX if you can, especially during the busy summer months.

You’ll visit Royal Opera House Piazza Terrace Bar on Day 1 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

It’s a somewhat funny coincidence that two incredibly famous musicians lived in the same building right here in London, separated only by a couple hundred years.

5. Handel and Hendrix Museum

It’s a somewhat funny coincidence that two incredibly famous musicians lived in the same building right here in London, separated only by a couple hundred years. The Handel and Hendrix Museum shows you what their homes were like (they’re replicas of course, but with some originals intact), while also giving you a history lesson on the artists and their lives in Londontown.

You’ll visit the Handel and Hendrix Museum on Day 2 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

Check out more museums you should visit in London but haven’t heard of…

6. Atika London

Atika London, located in Shoreditch, is Europe’s largest vintage shop, so if you want a one-stop shop for all things vintage, this is a great place to go. There are two floors of clothing and accessories for both men and women. Despite being so large, the selection is super neat and organised, making your shopping experience less overwhelming than other vintage shops in London.

You’ll visit Atika London on Day 3 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

For more tips for where to go vintage shopping in the area, watch this video…

7. Broadway Market

Broadway Market is the name of this road in east London’s London Fields area. But on Saturdays, an actual market does pop up here too, with a huge and varied range of vendors selling fruit and veg, specialty meats, vintage clothing, handmade accessories, chocolate, vegan cheese, and a lot more.

Even if you end up in London Fields NOT on a Saturday, Broadway Market is a lovely little street lined with cafes, restaurants, book shops, boutique clothing stores, and more. The street and its vendors are moving towards being completely zero-waste as quickly as possible.

You’ll visit Broadway Market on Day 3 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

For more local markets to visit, watch this video…

8. Regent’s Canal

The lifeline of this area in East London, from Hackney to Haggerston, is Regent’s Canal. If you find yourself with decent weather, I’d recommend heading south on Broadway Market (mentioned above) until you hit the canal, and then head down the steps to the waterside and make a right (west), towards Haggerston.

You’ll see lots of Londoners cycling, running, and walking along the canal, admiring the houseboats and just enjoying the journey. It’s really lovely!

You can also go the opposite direction (east) and hit Victoria Park, which has been voted the best park in London for many years. Watch our guide for Victoria Park below…

You’ll see Regent’s Canal on Day 3 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

The Bike Shed is a motorcycle shop, restaurant, cafe, and barbershop all rolled into one venue under four Victorian railway arches.

9. The Bike Shed

The Bike Shed is a motorcycle shop, restaurant, cafe, and barbershop all rolled into one venue under four Victorian railway arches. The food at the restaurant is really good (try the vegan burger!) and it’s a pretty unique experience seeing bikers ride up to the shop for repairs while you’re chowing down and having a pint.

You’ll visit The Bike Shed on Day 3 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

Founded in 2003 by fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, anyone even just slightly interested in fashion or art will enjoy a visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum.

10. Fashion and Textile Museum

Founded in 2003 by fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, anyone even just slightly interested in fashion or art will enjoy a visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum. There are no permanent displays, but rather, the entire museum is made up of one temporary exhibition at a time that changes every few months, so no matter how often you go to London, you can also go back and see a completely new museum.

Check the Fashion and Textile Museum website to see what’s on when you’re visiting. You’ll visit Fashion and Textile Museum on Day 3 of the 3-Day London Itinerary.

All of my top spots mentioned in this article are in my 3-Day London Itinerary, so if you have it, you’ll hit all of these spots in a really cohesive itinerary, plus many more, without having to do tons of research and planning. A local has done it for you.

For more tips for what to do when in London, read these articles…

Pin this to your London board…

10 Cookbooks from Beloved London Restaurants You Should Definitely Get

By London Food and Drink, London Planning Tips

Three months of living in a closed-down London, and it’s official. I am well past ready to have a delicious meal outside of my own home, prepared by someone else. I say this with every safety caveat required—I’m not rushing to run out and breathe on strangers! I just could use a real change of pace while I stuff my face, and I live for the day where we can dine in instead of take out.

But until that day arrives, I, like we all, must settle. I must settle for food that merely tastes like it was prepared by someone else, because it comes from a cookbook written by a professional so renowned in their field that they also own their own restaurant.

It’s safe to assume, if you were dreaming of a London adventure that’s now TBD, that you, too, could use a change of epicurean scenery at home. Fortunately, inside the stunning pages of some of London’s best cookbooks, detailed below, we’re finding ways to bring London restaurants into our homes… and not just via delivery. I mean, we’re doing that, too. But one cannot live on our local’s chicken tikka masala alone! (My 4-year-old insists that is not the case, no matter how many times I try to convince her otherwise).

10 cookbooks from beloved London restaurants that will dramatically improve your interior aesthetics, your kitchen tables, and your lockdown food game…

Dishoom: From Bombay With Love

Chances are high, if you’ve been to London in the last five years, you’ve eaten at Dishoom. The black daal is on nearly every must-eat list, and, much to my queue-hating chagrin, for very good reason. (“How to eat at Dishoom without waiting outside for 3 hours and filling up on chai” is another post I’d like to write, call me, L&L editors).

This cookbook is less of a straightforward guide to mastering this London staple’s staples, and more of a stunning coffee table book that takes you on a journey through Bombay, plus recipes. The one possible downside? Many of the meals require ingredients that, depending on where you live, might take some legwork. Use it as an excuse to familiarise yourself with and support your local Asian market, or do some online research on where to order things like deggi mirch chilli powder, amchur, and garam masala. It’ll be worth it.

Get the Dishoom cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

Monica's Kitchen Exciting Home Cooking for All Occasions

Monica’s Kitchen: Exciting Home Cooking for All Occasions

If you’re a MasterChef fan, then it’s likely that Monica and David Galetti’s French and South Pacific-inspired restaurant, Mere, is on your list of must-visits in London. But since this Fitzrovia hotspot is temporarily shuttered, Monica’s cookbook is an extremely suitable substitute.

While Mere is best described as contemporary and upscale, Monica’s Kitchen offers a more relaxed take on her signature style, inspired by her Samoa and New Zealand upbringing. The photography alone will have you drooling, and with a section literally dedicated to leisurely weekend dining, your new at-home menu will be in very good hands.

Get the Monica’s Kitchen cookbook at Waterstones 

ed Rooster is a Harlem staple, and calling it a London restaurant is somewhat of a stretch.

The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem

Ok, ok, so first thing’s first: we’re well aware that Red Rooster is a Harlem staple, and calling it a London restaurant is somewhat of a stretch. Yes, they have a Shoreditch location, but its heart and soul is purely New York. Having said that: we love that Red Rooster has introduced American-style soul food to our fellow Londoners, and its nearly instant status as a London icon really represents just how open to outsiders London truly is.

Now! Alexa, please play a gospel playlist while we attempt to recreate our dream Shoreditch Sunday brunch plans at home.

Get The Red Rooster cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

The Incredible Spice Men - After a successful run on the BBC with a TV show of the same name, they released a cookbook that takes signature British meals and, quite literally, spices them up.

The Incredible Spice Men

Cyrus Todwala and Tony Singh are two restaurateurs with one joint goal: to spice up Britain. After a successful run on the BBC with a TV show of the same name, they released a cookbook that takes signature British meals and, quite literally, spices them up. Think roast fish with spicy butter, ginger chicken escalopes, and bread & butter pudding with orange cardamom. CHA, YEAH.

And whenever your London trip is back on, you can have a visit to Cyrus’s Café Spice Namasté or Tony’s intimate and exclusive The Supper Club to look forward to.

Get The Incredible Spice Man cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

If any part of your London trip planning has come from Instagram scrolling, then it’s safe to assume you’re familiar with Monocle Cafe’s black and white striped awning in Marylebone, situated just around the corner from their shop.

The Monocle guide to Drinking & Dining

If any part of your London trip planning has come from Instagram scrolling, then it’s safe to assume you’re familiar with Monocle Cafe’s black and white striped awning in Marylebone, situated just around the corner from their shop.

Like the café, the shop is tiny and charming and a living embodiment of the word “curated.” Their Guide to Drinking & Dining stays impeccably on brand, and honestly, you’ll feel worldlier just opening the front cover. Along with global recommendations from some of the most discerning voices, you’ll also find some extremely upscale recipes. Think pea-and-panceta croquetas from the Oldroyd, and solomillo pork with pobre potatoes from Lurra.

This is the book you need if everything else I’ve written about seems like culinary child’s play.

Get The Monocle Guide to Drinking & Dining cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

For our plant-based foodies, Ella Woodword’s eponymous brand is here for you. The Deliciously Ella deli is the perfect pitstop for an Oxford Street shopping break, and there’s no reason you can’t recreate the calming, zen vibe she promotes in your own home.

Deliciously Ella

For our plant-based foodies, Ella Woodword’s eponymous brand is here for you. The Deliciously Ella deli is the perfect pitstop for an Oxford Street shopping break, and there’s no reason you can’t recreate the calming, zen vibe she promotes in your own home.

If you’re not normally a plant-based eater and don’t want to splurge on a full cookbook right away, her website and app offers tons of free suggestions to get you started.

Also of note: her website tagline might be the best we’ve seen in a while. “Live better. Be useful. Make vegetables cool.” SOLD.

Get the Deliciously Ella cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

Strolling Portobello Road with a Gail’s coffee in one hand and one of their decadent chocolate chip cookies in another might be the best possible way to start a London day.

Gail’s Bakery

Strolling Portobello Road with a Gail’s coffee in one hand and one of their decadent chocolate chip cookies in another might be the best possible way to start a London day. (Yes, in Gail’s world, cookies for breakfast are totally fine). The cookbook is chock full of their best baked goods, but you’ll find plenty of recipes for lighter fare to get you through the rest of the day, too.

This is the book to buy if you want a sourdough starter that didn’t come from a late-night Google.

Get the Gail’s Bakery cookbook at Waterstones and Barnes and Noble

Ideal for summer, Martin Morales’s first cookbook is full of the types of recipes meant for balmy evenings in your garden, pisco sour in hand. Bonus points if you live somewhere that is not London and actually has balmy nights.

Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen

Ideal for summer, Martin Morales’s first cookbook is full of the types of recipes meant for balmy evenings in your garden, pisco sour in hand. Bonus points if you live somewhere that is not London and actually has balmy nights.

The star of this book is, somewhat expectedly, the chapter that highlights 10 different ceviche recipes, each revolving around a different main ingredient. But you’ll also find stunning photography, personal tales from Morales himself, and a general desire to zip off to Peru ASAP. (After your trip to London, of course).

Once you’ve cooked your way through this one, pick up his next book—Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food, which offers recipes and stories from the Andes, and visually complements Ceviche particularly perfectly.

Get the Ceviche cookbook at Waterstones and Amazon

Nadiya isn’t technically a London restaurateur, but if you’re a Great British Bake-Off fan, then you know why this made the list. The book offers 120 recipes that can best be described as comfort food with a twist—they all rely on local ingredients, and you’ll spot an occasional nod to her Bangladeshi roots.

Honourable mention: Nadiya’s British Food Adventure: Beautiful British recipes with a twist

Nadiya isn’t technically a London restaurateur, but if you’re a Great British Bake-Off fan, then you know why this made the list. The book offers 120 recipes that can best be described as comfort food with a twist—they all rely on local ingredients, and you’ll spot an occasional nod to her Bangladeshi roots.

Really, what better meals to cook while you binge GBBO once more?

Get Nadya’s British Food Adventure cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

This Caribbean-inspired cookbook was written by London-based brothers Shaun and Craig, of Jamaican descent. There are tons and tons of small, mom and pop shops all over London that serve incredible Caribbean and West Indian food, and these authentic dishes will give you a good idea of what makes these pockets of London and their local spots extremely special.

Honourable mention: Original Flava

This Caribbean-inspired cookbook was written by London-based brothers Shaun and Craig, of Jamaican descent. There are tons and tons of small, mom and pop shops all over London that serve incredible Caribbean and West Indian food, and these authentic dishes will give you a good idea of what makes these pockets of London and their local spots extremely special.

Get the Original Flava cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

Fortunately, thanks to these books, our quest for more culinary adventures in quarantine is not lost. It just starts, as all good things do, with closing Instagram and opening a book instead. Let everyone else debate whether Alison Roman is cancelled while also making their eighth batch of her shallot pasta! Other people can name and nurture their weird little sourdough starters! We’re going a more refined route, and we hope you’ll join.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, I personally, am exhausted thinking of all the food I want to make as a result. If you do decide to splurge on any of the above and whip up a feast, do us a favour and let us know. Feel free to tag us on Instagram @loveandlondon and @lazytravelers and make our bellies jealous.

Read Next:

Pin these to your London Pinterest board…
10 Cookbooks from Beloved London Restaurants10 Cookbooks from Beloved London Restaurants

10 Cookbooks From Beloved London Restaurants You Should Definitely Get
10 Cookbooks From Beloved London Restaurants You Should Definitely Get
11 Movies and TV Series Set in London to Watch While Stuck at Home - I had to start with Luther because it’s one of my all-time favourite TV series set in London.

11 London-themed Movies + TV Series to Watch While Stuck at Home

By London Planning Tips

Even after living in London for ten years, it still never fails to thrill me when my city appears in a movie or TV series that I’m watching. You’d think the novelty would have worn off by now – especially because there are so many movies and TV series set in London – but it’s a spectacular city that makes for a stunning backdrop to all kinds of storylines. And whenever I see a location I know, I still shout ‘I’ve been there!’ at the telly.

Seeing London on the screen has also given me a new appreciation for the English capital, showing me corners of it I’m yet to discover on my own. And now, more than ever, my screen is a way for me to explore my city’s far-reaching corners while I can’t get to them myself.

So if you’re looking for a (virtual) escape, these movies and TV series set in London all offer a taste of what you’ll see when you can visit in the flesh:

11 Movies and TV Series Set in London to Watch While Stuck at Home - I had to start with Luther because it’s one of my all-time favourite TV series set in London.

Luther (TV Series)

I had to start with Luther because it’s one of my all-time favourite TV series set in London.

The award-winning BBC crime drama follows DCI (that’s Detective Chief Inspector) John Luther, played by the incredible Idris Elba, as he brings his own brand of policing (i.e. obsessive, and often not by the book) to London’s worst crimes.

The best part about the show is Luther’s love-hate relationship with psychopath Alice Morgan (played by Ruth Wilson), which plays out like a dark and messed-up game of cat and mouse. Addictive, thrilling, and with plenty of iconic London scenery to enjoy throughout!

28 Days Later movie: you’ll get to see some pretty iconic London scenes (which may look eerily similar to the city over the past few months – hint quarantine).

28 Days Later (Movie)

I know, I know: a post-apocalyptic horror film might not sound like the best way to get a virtual tour of London, but hear me out. If you’re happy to watch something about a virus right now (I understand if it’s just not the time – I don’t know how so many people are watching Contagion on Netflix, to be honest), you’ll get to see some pretty iconic London scenes (which may look eerily similar to the city over the past few months).

You’ll be treated to deserted shots of Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament, the Mall, the City of London, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus, and plenty of other landmarks, both well known and slightly more obscure.

Visually, it’s about as close to a London walking tour as you’re going to get in a film – and it’s pretty spectacular!

A classic British romantic comedy, Notting Hill is as much a declaration of love for the area of Notting Hill as it is a quirky love story between Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts’ characters.

Notting Hill (Movie)

A classic British romantic comedy, Notting Hill is as much a declaration of love for the area of Notting Hill as it is a quirky love story between the hapless bookseller William Thacker (Hugh Grant) and American megastar Anna Scott (Julia Roberts).

Portobello Road, which is given plenty of air-time in the film (although it’s admittedly been whitewashed – the area is known for its diversity in real life), is still one of my favourite streets in London, and if you know the film well (I may or may not know the entire script word-for-word), it’s possible to spot many of the locations as you walk along the bustling market street.

Some cameo appearances include The Ritz Hotel and the beautiful Kenwood House in Hampstead.

If you’re looking for non-stop action, the thrilling miniseries Bodyguard is a must-watch!

Bodyguard (TV Series)

If you’re looking for non-stop action, the thrilling miniseries Bodyguard is a must-watch!

The story follows Police Sergeant David Budd who, after stopping a terror attack on a train, is given the responsibility of protecting an ambitious politician, Home Secretary Julia Montague. There are only seven episodes, but each one is charged with drama, intrigue and action, all set in and around London.

Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot the city’s skyline from the fictional police headquarters (actually the Tate Modern), Number 10 Downing Street (actually filmed on a street about a mile away, outside a building with an identical facade), streets of St Pauls, Islington, Battersea, and Ham House in Richmond. It’s an adrenaline-fuelled tour of the Capital, in hour-long instalments.

Attack the Block, based on a council estate in South London (said to be Brixton, but filmed throughout the city)...

Attack the Block (Movie)

John Boyega made his film debut playing Moses in the London-based sci-fi comedy Attack the Block. Based on a council estate in South London (said to be Brixton, but filmed throughout the city), the story focuses on a teenage street gang who have to defend their home against an alien attack on Guy Fawkes Night (a very British event that celebrates, with fireworks, the failed attempt of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament).

It’s something of a cult classic, and it’s loads of fun to watch!

EastEnders (TV Series)

Love it or hate it, no one can deny that EastEnders, the soap opera that’s been running since 1985, is a British institution.

Following the lives of local residents in a fictional part of London called Walford, the show airs every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (unless filming is interrupted by, say, a global pandemic) and is watched by millions of Brits a week.

Although almost all of the filming happens in a studio, many of the locations are inspired by real places around London – for example, Albert Square, where most of EastEnders’ action takes place, was inspired by Fassett Square in the trendy area of Dalston, and the market in the show is based on Ridley Road Market in Hackney.

An oldie but a goodie, Bend it Like Beckham was a hit when I was in high school, and it remains a brilliant teen comedy to this day, it’s officially a romantic comedy.

Bend it Like Beckham (Movie)

An oldie but a goodie, Bend it Like Beckham was a hit when I was in high school, and it remains a brilliant teen comedy to this day. It’s officially a romantic comedy, but it’s really about friendship, football (the English kind!), identity and culture.

The main character is 18-year-old Jesminder (Jess) Bhamra, brilliantly played by Parminda Nagra, who is obsessed with football (and, of course, David Beckham), but whose conservative Indian family won’t allow her to play the sport she loves. Jess finds a way to join a team, but in doing so, must lie to her family, causing all kinds of conflict.

Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers also star in this film based in Hounslow (which also happens to be the home of London’s Heathrow Airport), with scenes also set in Carnaby, Soho, and a stunning Sikh temple in Notting Hill.

Paddington 2 (Movie)

Who doesn’t love Paddington Bear? The loveable English teddy bear created by Michael Bond stars in a live-action sequel to the 2014 original film, with scenes set all across the city.

As any Paddington Bear fan would expect, Paddington Station, the location where our fluffy friend was discovered by the Brown family, is featured. But you’ll also find Alice’s Antiques (located on Portobello Road) standing in for Mr Gruber’s Antique Shop, as well as The Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral and even Tower Bridge – some of London’s most iconic landmarks, all in one fun-filled film!

BBC released its long-awaited adaptation of Philip Pullman’s incredible fantasy adventure series, His Dark Materials.

His Dark Materials (TV Series)

At the end of 2019, BBC released its long-awaited adaptation of Philip Pullman’s incredible fantasy adventure series, His Dark Materials.

The story centres around Lyra Bellacqua, an orphan who has been brought up in Oxford’s Jordan College, protected under the scholastic sanctuary rule. The world Lyra inhabits is similar to our own, except everyone has a Daemon, an animal representation of their spirit, which remains with them at all times. Lyra’s thrust out of the world she knows and on an exciting and terrifying adventure when her best friend Roger is kidnapped by The Gobblers.

Although the show is not set entirely in London, some of its pivotal scenes are, including some beautiful (albeit not completely real) sweeping shots over the Thames. Look out also for The Magisterium building, which looks suspiciously like the location of Buckingham Palace!

The Crown tv series, many of the interior scenes of Buckingham Palace were actually filmed down the road, in the opulent Lancaster House...

The Crown (TV Series)

I have a confession to make: I haven’t actually watched The Crown yet, although I’ve only ever heard great things about it (and it’s on my to-watch list). I couldn’t write a list about movies and TV series set in London without including it, though, because there are so many locations in the Capital that you can spot throughout the show’s three seasons.

Many of the interior scenes of Buckingham Palace were actually filmed down the road, in the opulent Lancaster House, or in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Eltham Palace, a manor house in Greenwich, is used as a stand-in for – among other locations – the Royal Yacht Britannia and the HMSS Queen Mary. And London’s Lyceum Theatre, now home of the magical musical adaptation of The Lion King, can be seen in an episode set in the 40s.

Killing Eve has sparked many a water cooler conversation in recent years, thanks to its high-concept, action packed episodes, with wardrobes that have left us all drooling.

Killing Eve (TV Series)

Now in its third season, Killing Eve has sparked many a water cooler conversation in recent years, thanks to its high-concept, action packed episodes, with wardrobes that have left us all drooling.

Although Sandra Oh (who plays Eve Polastri) and Jodie Comer (who plays the wonderfully dastardly character of Villanelle) are the official stars of the show, London definitely deserves a credit, as it’s the setting for so many memorable scenes.

Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End becomes a cafe in Moscow, Fabric Nightclub becomes a trendy club in Berlin where a murder takes place, an event space called Banking Hall Cornhill becomes a bank (where another murder happens), and a little-known area of South-West London, New Malden, becomes Eve’s home.

This last one is particularly cool for me, personally, because I worked in New Malden for a year (and can confirm that you’ll find the best Korean food in London there!).

So there you have it – around London in 11 movies and TV series! This is by no means an exhaustive list (I mean, I haven’t even mentioned Harry Potter), because there are just too many to mention in one article.

But I’d love to hear from you: which films and TV series set in London have you watched and loved? Share them in the comments so everyone can enjoy them (and so I can add to my watch list)!

Read Next:

Pin this to your London Pinterest board…

11 London-themed Movies + TV Series to Watch While Stuck at Home

11 London-themed Movies + TV Series to Watch While Stuck at Home
11 London-themed Movies + TV Series to Watch While Stuck at Home

How to Do London While You Can’t Visit London

By London Planning Tips

As a Londoner who quarantined outside of London and who now is living in a weird, quiet version of what the city used to be, I miss London just as much as you do! I miss meeting friends at the pub, trying the latest and greatest restaurants, and exploring new things to do (and sharing them with you on Instagram, of course.)

If you want some London in your life during lockdown, or just until you can make it back over again, here’s a (very) comprehensive list of things to watch, virtual experiences to take part in, books to buy, and drinks to make.

*Some of the links in this article are affiliated, which earns Love and London a commission if you make a purchase after clicking. Thank you for your support.

Virtual London Experiences

Let’s start with virtual experiences that are London-themed.

Virtual London theatre

Many of London’s world-famous and off-West End theatres are providing free show recordings to the public. Each theatre is doing this in different ways, but most are offering the recordings online for a limited time for you to enjoy.

For example, Shakespeare’s Globe has the live recording of Macbeth on its Youtube channel, that you can watch for free, until secondary schools reopen. There’s also an audio description version for those with visual impairments.

The National Theatre is showing free full-length plays every Thursday, available for one week only on their Youtube channel. Past shows included A Streetcar Named Desire and Coriolanus, starring Tom Hiddleston.

Like I mentioned, theatres large and small are sharing show recordings for you to enjoy for free, so check this What’s On Stage article which is updated daily to find something to watch.

PLEASE be sure to make a donation to the theatre or their associated charity when you watch these free pieces of art, as the arts need major support right now, and should be valued more than ever. You usually have to pay for tickets to see these shows so I’m totally going to guilt you into making a donation and not being a freeloader. Got it? Fab.

Virtual tours of London. What to do to visit London during quarantine

London virtual tours/ London history lessons

You can still have some London-y experiences virtually. There are quite a few tour companies that are offering virtual tours and experiences, in order to give freelance tour guides some work, and honestly, it’s being done in an effort to survive as the tourism industry has been hit so severely and will be for years to come.

So if you book in for a virtual experience, you get an hour or two of fun and education, while also helping to provide work and revenue to a business that really needs it. If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is.

Let’s start with our friends at Devour Tours. They have a ton of free and paid content and experiences to watch, led by knowledgeable tour guides and city experts.

Their free experiences are hosted on their Facebook page, and then go to their website to book experiences like “How to Pair Cheese and Wine like a Parisian”. For London fun, book into “Discover England’s History Through 10 Dishes” hosted by Shabby, head London tour guide. She’s a fantastic storyteller. You also get sent a PDF with recipes for some of the foods talked about, and a discount on the Devour Tours cookbook that I’ll mention again later.

Walks also has some experiences for London and other cities around the world. The London ones are very history and tourist-attraction focused, like a breakdown of the Changing the Guard ceremony, and a tour of the Tower of London. Plus if you book one of their very affordable virtual experiences, you get a $25 Walks voucher, valid for use over the next two years.

Virtual London Pub Quiz

Also, if you like trivia, we hosted two virtual pub quizzes that you can still watch on our Youtube channel. The second one is below, to get a taste of it, but it’s best watched on a TV so you and your quarantine buddies can play along together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PbGJy0SufQ

London-y artistic releases

I feel like this is a great time to do things you used to love, but usually never have time to do like painting, or colouring, or drawing, or sleeping…

You can combine your artistic preference with something London-y for extra fun and nostalgia.

London Colouring Book

I love colouring because it’s relaxing, keeps my hands busy so I don’t mindlessly scroll social media, and I barely have to use my brain to do something fun and creative.

Off of that love, and our community’s need for London-y things, I teamed up with London artist Jen Darr from Jen and Jennifer to create the London Colouring Book. The community fully funded it before it was made, so we made sure that people actually wanted it and that it would at least cover our costs to make.

Our goal had been to sell 70 but we pre-sold 120! It’s still available for you to buy now, and it’s digital, so you get it instantly in your inbox. Just print it or use your tablet and stylus to colour it.

Get the London Colouring Book

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8WH7X5fueQ

Painting and Drawing

I haven’t found any London-specific painting or drawing courses yet, but why not sign up to two free months of Skillshare Premium, do some of their art classes, and then paint or draw a London-y scene?

You’ll make something that you’ll hopefully cherish for a long time, or that you can give to someone as a gift.

Do something with your travel photos

Have you already been to London? I bet you have a ton of photos from your trip sitting on your memory card or phone, but you haven’t done anything with them besides post a few to Instagram way back when.

If you’ve got some free time during quarantine, use it to finally organise your travel photos and then do something with them besides occasionally peruse them on a teeny little screen.

Back up and organise your travel photos

Take this time to, first of all, back up your travel photos to a cloud service like Google Photos or Dropbox. This will ensure you have those photos forever, even if you lose your phone or your laptop goes bust.

But before you upload them to the cloud, take the time to organise and curate them. You don’t need 10 similar copies of the same shot, as it wastes cloud space and is honestly just annoying to browse through. So get to deleting those duplicates and less-than-amazing pics.

Order photo prints or canvases of your travel photos

Something I did back at the beginning of lockdown was FINALLY print some of my travel photos! Ugh, it’s taken me soooooo long, I’ve had empty frames sitting in my room for months. When I head back to London, one of the first things I’ll do is put those pictures in their frames and hang them on my walls.

While you’re organising your photos, I suggest adding your absolute favourites to a file called “to print” so once you’re ready, you can get them printed quickly and easily.

I printed mine with Snapfish, they were delivered right to my house, and Snapfish do this weirdly good deal that you get 50 free prints a month here in the UK, with Snapfish US having a similar deal. It ends up being so cheap since you only pay for shipping.

You could also get posters printed of your photos, or turn your favourite into a canvas, all through Snapfish too.

Make a photo book of your London trip

Another nice option for making digital photos into something tangible is to create a photo book. They make for a lovely addition to your coffee table, and it’s nicer to show someone your trip through a book than just showing them pics on your phone.

Snapfish also make (reasonably priced) photo books.

Add London to your home decor

Since I’ve been stuck inside, I’ve been going crazy with researching and thinking about interior decor (you’ll clearly see this on my Pinterest account). Are you the same? Well, since London is your happy place, then why not infuse London into your home decor, in subtle or not-so-subtle ways?

From Etsy shop ChinChinPrints

London pieces on Etsy

Etsy is a great place to start looking for London-themed home decor, as you can find very unique and mostly non-cheesy pieces. Plus, extra points to you for supporting small businesses and artisans.

When you do a London search on Etsy, you’ll see tea towels, prints, mugs, book ends, signs, and lots of other cute options. The London prints are stand-outs for me, and some of them are digital, so you can print them yourself saving you some money and shipping costs.

How To Do London While You Can’t Visit London

We Built This City

You might have seen in a few of my videos that I recommend We Built This City as my favourite shop in London for souvenirs.

Well, they had to shut their physical shop, but you can still order their stuff online, and they ship worldwide and are also offering a 25% discount off their entire online shop at the time of publishing this.

Pick up some very cool and funky prints and other London-y items made by London artists.

Do some London shopping

I’m sure, if you’ve been to London already, that you have some favourite shops that you wish you had done a little more spending in. Or, if you haven’t been to London yet, I imagine you have a must-visit list for shopping (maybe some of the shops I mentioned in the 3-Day London Itinerary?)

A lot of indie shops in London are shipping their stuff worldwide, so do a little research and browsing so you can pick up some new, “this is from London” items while supporting a small biz too.

For example, Ragyard, a family-run shop in Notting Hill, takes vintage and old clothing items and upcycles them into colourful and unique statement pieces. Find out more about the shop and how they make their pieces in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceszefw9Ahs

See some other shops that are super underrated in London…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qpj-MIQieQ&t

Cook London-y foods

Whether you like it or not, I’m sure you’ve been cooking a hell of a lot more recently (for me, I do not like it.) So why not make some Londony meals? Whether you want to make some classic London or British dishes, or you want to emulate a meal you had at one of the city’s many amazing restaurants, there are quite a few cookbooks to help.

Devour Tours Cookbook

As mentioned before, Devour Tours have created a digital cookbook that will help you make London classics like Dal Tadka and Pea and Ham soup, as well as recipes from other cities and countries around Europe. You could choose one city to focus on for each meal, or have a European feast and make a smorgasbord of international dishes all at once.

Cook like London’s most luxurious restaurants

Some of London’s most famous and luxurious restaurants have one or more cookbooks to help you bring their cuisine home with you. These cookbooks are also beautiful, so if you’re like me and you love cookbooks but tend to never use them, just pop them on your coffee table for some aesthetic pleasure and to relieve the guilt of the money you’ve spent on books you’ll never use.

Get the Claridge’s cookbook from WHSmith or Books a Million

Get The Ritz’s cookbook from Waterstones or Books a Million

Cook dishes from London’s best mid-range restaurants

Below are cookbooks from some of my favourite mid-range restaurants in London.

St. John is an absolute London institution, as they really pioneered the nose-to-tail eating concept back in the nineties, making sure that no animal would go to waste if it was killed for food.

Get the The Book of St. John from Waterstones and Books a Million

Have you ever queued up for pasta restaurant Padella, near Borough Market? Chef Tim Siadatan heads up both Padella and Trullo, a north London Italian restaurant specialising in Pugliese cuisine and known for being one of the best Italian spots in the UK. Pick up his cookbook Trullo for both bold and authentic Italian recipes.

Get Trullo from Waterstones and Books a Million

Dishoom has been one of the most-loved restaurants in London these last few years, because they deliver unique-but-delicious Indian street food in a relaxed atmosphere with a not-so-crazy price tag.
If you’ve already dined at a Dishoom, I’m sure you’d be keen to have some of their dishes at home…

Get the Dishoom cookbook at Waterstones and Books a Million

One of the first restaurants I’ll go back to when the lockdown lifts and it’s safe to dine out is Ottolenghi’s Rovi. It’s a low-waste restaurant that, while not soley vegetarian, focuses on doing amazing things with veg. Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are known for having fairly difficult recipes, but for anyone with minimal cooking skills (like me) then pick up Simple and pretend you’re at one of his many amazing restaurants around the city.

Get Simple at Waterstones and Books a Million

Drink like a Londoner

In addition to eating like you’re in London, you can drink like you are too. Here are some easy, classic drink recipes that are common in London or were even invented here.

Gin and Tonic

Gin is the most favourite spirit in Britain, but you haven’t really had it until you’ve gone somewhere a bit more upscale, where you get a quality gin that’s paired with a speciality tonic and complemented by the correct garnish (it’s not usually lime).

To see how they make a proper G&T at Mr. Fogg’s in Covent Garden, up in their Gin Parlour, watch this video…

Pimms Cup

Londoners love a good Pimms Cup in the summer. It’s such a yummy, refreshing drink, and it’s the official drink of Wimbledon, the world-famous tennis tournament. Pair a Pimms Cup with strawberries and cream and you ma’am are experiencing a quintessential British summer.

The primary spirit in a Pimms Cup is Pimms, which is… well… an alcohol that’s uncategorised. It’s mixed with the UK version of lemonade, which in other parts of the world might be considered a lemon soda. Then you add a ton of fruit and pop it in a jug!

To find out how to make Pimms Cup, watch this How to Drink tutorial.

Espresso Martini

If you’ve watched our Youtube video with SandyMakesSense showing you some of the best coffee shops in London, you’ll know that the Espresso Martini was invented in London in the 80s, when someone famous asked the founding bartender to “make me something that will wake me up and f* me up”. Damn.

Although this drink is not a favourite of mine because I react to caffeine the way a four year old would, it makes for a sexy after-dinner drink or pick-me-up at brunch.

How to Drink has two great ways to make it without needing an espresso machine.

Keep planning your London trip

London will open up for everyone eventually, so take this downtime to do lots of research to help you see the more local side of London.

Our website is chock-full of info to help you plan your trip, as well as our Youtube channel that has hundreds of videos about London, like the one below.

We also have a ton of content about all types of London topics on our Pinterest account.

Or if research isn’t your thing and you’d rather a London expert plan your days for you (in a flexible way) then grab the 3-Day London Itinerary. If you get the 2020 version and your trip ends up getting postponed to after the 2021 version is available, you can just shoot us an email and we’ll give you the newer version of the itinerary.

Ok at this point I think you have quite enough options for how to keep London alive in your life. For some reading to help you with your trip planning, check out the articles listed below.

More London Planning Tips:

Pin this to your London Pinterest board….

How to Do London While You Can’t Visit London - things to do to bring London home

How to Do London While You Can’t Visit London - things to do to bring London home

Love and London moving forward: a note from Jess

By Uncategorized

Jess here, the founder of Love and London, sharing my plans for how we will better represent diversity in this business. I haven’t done this enough in the past.

The facts about diversity in London

London is the most diverse part of England and Wales, by a long shot. According to the 2011 census, 8 out of the 10 most ethnically diverse local authorities were in London.

London itself has a population that’s 13.3% Black, 18.5% Asian, 5% mixed. White people (British and other) make up 54% of London, and to give you perspective to how that compares to the rest of England, the area with the next lowest population of white people, the West Midlands, is made up of 83% white people.

In addition, London has by far the largest percentage of residents that are foreigners. 37% of Londoners are non-UK-born residents and 22% are non-British residents, according to this government study done in 2019.

When it comes to disability, it’s estimated that 1.2 million people in the capital are disabled, according to this government document from 2011.

The facts about diversity in travel and tourism

I wasn’t able to find exact numbers on the diversity of London tourists, but it’s estimated that the black community spends $50 billion a year on travel worldwide. Even knowing that, the majority of tourism boards and travel brands, including my own, often do not consider the black community when marketing and creating products and services. The same goes for other ethnic minorities and especially for travellers with disabilities.

Where we’re at, as a business with influence

As a white, able-bodied woman and the person who is in charge of everything that happens with Love and London, I haven’t done enough to 1 – consider non-white, non-able-bodied tourists when creating content and marketing and 2 – accurately represent how diverse London is with my hiring of freelance production team, writers, and on-camera talent.

I often talk to my community about how one of my favourite things about this city is how diverse it is, however I have failed to represent that diversity through my platform.

Since the end of 2019, I had been planning to use my influence and platform to better represent London, and to show a diverse range of on-camera talent, however I have not done enough to put this into action and will better implement this once travel picks up again and we have revenue to hire more people.

Next steps for me

This is the first version of my action plan for Love and London to do better. I absolutely know that it’s too vague and lacks measurement. I’ve intentionally left it like this because due to COVID we don’t currently have enough revenue or the physical ability to do much hiring, collaborating, etc. As international travel and revenue starts to pick up more in the next few months, I will add more detailed and concrete plans and measurements to ensure that I’m doing what is needed to make changes and better represent the diversity of London.

I will ensure:

1. Diversity in who I hire, both on-camera and off
2. Diversity in who I collaborate with on-camera
3. Diversity in topics covered. What do non-white tourists want to know, to see, to eat, to drink? How does disability affect travel?
4. Listening to diverse tourists and experts to understand their needs while traveling that white, able-bodied people have never had to think about or experience.

Some of these actions will be visible to you and some won’t, but you can reach out to me and ask about progress behind-the-scenes.

Working with brands

We occasionally work with brands to promote their products and services. The way this works is that a brand, if we believe it’s a good fit for our audience, pays us money to promote them to our audience.

The sad truth is that many corporate and start-up brands claiming to be behind Black Lives Matter do not walk the walk in their boardrooms, co-founder partnerships, workforce, and/or supplier treatment. The same goes for their “green initiatives”, feminist policies, and more.

This is something that I’ve been conscious of for a while, which is one of the reasons why we don’t work with brands very much.

Karolina, our Head of Content and Brand Partnerships, and I will be having a continuous discussion for how we will navigate how we work with brands in the future.

I know I won’t get this right all the time, and I’m ok with that, and I’m happy to be held accountable. At the end of the day, I have always wanted this platform to be something more than just a travel guide, and I will work hard to use it for good.

Jess

London events in september - London design festival

Things to Do in London in September

By London Planning Tips 2 Comments

When visiting London in September, be prepared for a transition in the seasons. The summer is wrapping up and autumn is on its way. This can mean a mix of warm days and cool nights, and of course there is always a chance of rain. It’s London, right? The average high temperature is 19 C/67 F and the average low is 12 C/55 F. No matter the weather, there is still plenty to do in London in September.

Prefer to watch instead of read?

London in September - Open House London

Open House London

Open House weekend is a celebration of architecture in the city. Many buildings that are usually private are opened to the public – for free! Some venues require tickets, so book in advance as those ones sell out fast. It usually happens on a weekend in mid- September. Visit the Open House London website for more information and to order their guide.

Watch the video below for a preview of what you could see…

Open House London website | Mid-September | Free

 

September London events - Totally Thames Festival

Totally Thames

This festival celebrates the River Thames for the whole month of September. There are many events including shows, exhibitions, and boat parties. From the world’s oldest boat race to hip-hop inspired poetry, to musicians and storytellers, this festival has a ton going on. To see what’s happening when you’re in London, visit the Totally Thames website.

Watch the promo video below to get a better idea of what happens during the festival.

Totally Thames website | All of September | Free and paid events

London Fashion Weekend

If you’re visiting London in September and have an interest in fashion, the London Fashion Weekend allows you to shop more than 150 of the top British and international fashion brands at discounted prices, at the iconic Victoria House in Bloomsbury. You can also get tickets for industry talks and special events.

London Fashion Weekend takes place mid- September (check the website for this year’s dates) and is more accessible than London Fashion Week itself (which happens before the weekend festival). Tickets for some events sell out fast so visit the London Fashion Weekend website and order tickets early to ensure you get to check out whatever interests you.

Watch the video below to see more of what it’s like.

London Fashion Weekend website | mid-September | free to £££

London events in september - London design festival

London Design Festival

Similar to Fashion Week Festival, the London Design Festival happens throughout the city with a purpose to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world. There are many design events and exhibitions (both public and private) to explore during the week-long festival. Listings of the various exhibits are available on the London Design Festival website.

See the video below for a visitor’s experience going to the festival.

London Design Festival website | mid-September | Free and paid exhibitions

Things to do London Sept - Buckingham Palace Summer Opening

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening

The Buckingham Palace Summer Opening continues into September, during which London visitors can get access inside Buckingham Palace and experience that year’s special exhibition. Ticket prices, opening times, and directions are available on the palace’s website. If you’re into history and the royals, this might be worth the ticket price for you.

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening website | July – October | £££

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jess | London Travel Guide (@loveandlondon) on

Oktoberfest in London

Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest actually mostly takes place in September every year, and London likes to get involved as much as possible without having to deal with the massive crowds and jacked-up hotel prices they’d get in Munchen…

Lots of pubs and venues around the city will put on special Oktoberfest celebrations, and there are even a few “Oktoberfest-style” pubs and beer gardens that are open year round anyways.

You can find out events and parties happening around the city as it gets closer to Oktoberfest time by checking the listings on Time Out London and Design My Night. I personally love celebrating at German Kraft, a brewery located next to the Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. They have a German-style drinking atmosphere in their stunning beer garden all year round, but during Oktoberfest time, they do special treats like oompah bands and dancing on tables… you’ll feel like you’ve been drunkenly transported to Munich!

Oktoberfest in London | Most of September, weekends | £-££

BBC Proms

The BBC Proms finishes up in the first half of September. Each year, the BBC Proms host two months of concerts over the summer, aiming to bring the finest classical music to as many people as possible at affordable prices and in an informal atmosphere, with standing tickets or high-up gallery tickets from just £6.

“Proms” is short for “promenade concerts”, which tend to be informal and offer affordable tickets. The tradition of “promming” happens when you take part by buying one of those inexpensive tickets, with up to 1,350 of these usually being on offer for each BBC Proms show, which happen at the famous Royal Albert Hall.

If you want to get involved, you can find more info and tickets on the BBC Proms website. The promming tickets are usually sold online the morning before the show, and also at the door on a first-come-first-served basis. Check out Visit London’s guide on how to be a top Prommer so you can make the most of the experience.

Watch the video above for a preview of one act from the 2019 Proms…

BBC Proms website | July – mid September | £-£££

For more tips about visiting London, sign up for my free London 101 Guide. It has everything a first-time visitor to London needs, and you can grab it for free! You’ll get helpful tips about airport transportation, what type of power adapter you need, and how much to tip for all those pints of beer. You’ll be well prepared to make the most of your visit.

More tips for your London visit:

Important Things to Know Before Visiting Pubs in London

What to Pack For London: A London Packing List

Cool Things to Do When Visiting London in the Fall

Pin this…

What to do in London in September - a list of events in London in September. If you're visiting London in September, here are some interesting things to do.

What to do visiting London august

Five Things To Do When Visiting London in August

By London Planning Tips No Comments

If you’re visiting London in August, tourist season is still in full swing, and so is summer, if we’re lucky the average high temperature is 22ºC/72ºF and the average low is 14ºC/57ºF . Feel free to pack those shorts, yet still bring a light sweater or rain jacket (also check the forecast before you arrive, because we can get sudden heat or cold waves).

As for things to do, London is full of activities for adults and kids. Below are five things to do when visiting London in August.

Prefer to watch instead of read?

August Bank Holiday

The last Monday in August is a bank holiday– woohoo! This means that much of the city has the day off, and therefore, a three-day weekend. There are always tons of things happening, like music festivals, parties, pop-up markets and more. To see what’s happening around London during the August Bank Holiday weekend, check sites like Time Out London and Londonist, which are updated with more information and listings as the weekend gets closer.

One thing that I personally don’t recommend to visit is Notting Hill Carnival. It gets very crowded and I personally find it very unenjoyable… I prefer Hackney Carnival, which celebrates the same cultural values with a parade with colourful costumes, sound stages with live performances, and more. It’s just a bit more spread out and quiet 🙂 It happens just after bank holiday weekend, and you can find more info as it gets closer to August on the Hackney Carnival Facebook page.

Southbank Festivals and Events

There’s SO much to do along the Southbank in the summer, including some annual festivals of music, comedy, art and more. For example, check out the Underbelly Festival for live shows and performances, or the various shows that the Southbank Centre puts on. Visit the Southbank Centre website for more information.

There’s also a couple of things for kids, one year there’s a man-made “beach” as well as a water fountain that both children and adults were welcome to play in.

Check out this video for what you can expect at the Southbank Festival, including live shows till 1am, drag queens, and more…

Kids Week

This one is cool for your kids and your budget. During Kids Week, little ones get a free ticket to many popular West End shows with a purchase of one adult ticket, plus discounts for extra kids tickets. A show is a great way to cool off during a hot August London day or can entertain if rain is in the forecast.

Pin this, then keep reading…

What to do in London in August. Cool events and special holidays in London to check out if you're visiting London in August.

Summer Opening at Buckingham Palace

In July, the Queen goes on holiday, so if you’re visiting London in August, the lavish State Rooms are open to visitors, plus a themed summer exhibition is on each year. Book tickets in advance as they can sell out fast for the summer months.

See a bit of a preview…

BBC Proms

Are you into classical music? You can hear a wide range of classical selections in a season of informal concerts with the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and in venues across London.

Each year, the BBC Proms host two months of concerts over the summer, aiming to bring the finest classical music to as many people as possible at affordable prices and in an informal atmosphere.

If you want to get involved, you can find more info and tickets on the BBC Proms website.

Here’s a preview of one act from the 2019 Proms…

Get my Free London 101 Guide

Will this be your first time in London? If so, sign up to get my free London 101 Guide. It’s everything a first time visitor needs in one easy to reference guide. Find out all the things you should know before you arrive in London, for free. Get helpful info on airport transportation, tipping, how to get and spend currency, and more.

More tips for your London trip:

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London

10 Things to do in London in the Summer

5 Reasons Not to Use a Free London Itinerary

london packing list

What to Pack For London: A London Packing List

By London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips 2 Comments

Love and London community members ask me all of the time for tips on what to pack for London. Beyond the obvious items (jeans, tops, underwear, etc.), these are the things most people visiting London don’t realise they need to have on their London packing list, plus some tips on how to choose the best items to bring.

Check the weather in London

Weather is an important thing to look into when figuring out what to pack for London. A month or so before you hop on the plane, check what the typical weather is for the month you’ll be visiting. This is as easy as typing “London weather in MONTH” into Google. See what the averages are, and you’ll have an idea of what you might be able to expect.

Unfortunately, London weather can vary SIGNIFICANTLY, so you’ll need to check the forecast 1-2 days before you leave for London, and then choose clothing according to what the weather is predicted to be.

Also have a watch of this video which covers how to figure out the weather for your trip.

You can get stuff here

Please don’t stress about what to pack! You can buy almost anything here in London if you need it. Or just make do with what you have, that’s the fun of travel 🙂 Also, use what you have, there’s no need to go buy a whole new wardrobe just for a few days in London.

What to pack for London: Clothing

A jacket

Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, what type of jacket will depend, but even in the summer, unless you visit London during a “heat wave”, you might want to have a light jacket with you in the evenings.

In the winter, the temps vary but you can expect to need a down jacket, something to keep you nice and warm between stops at restaurants and attractions. I recommend something waterproof.

You could choose to bring a rain jacket, but as long as your normal jacket is fairly waterproof, that’s totally fine.

Water-resistant shoes

Even if it’s not forecasted to rain, bring some water-resistant shoes, just in case. These can be leather boots, some durable tennis shoes, or you can go ahead and spray water repellant on whatever type of shoe you want. You won’t typically find Londoners wearing rain boots (aka “wellies”) in the city but if the weather gets really bad you can always just buy a cheap pair from a shop on Oxford Street.

Nice outfits for dinners and evenings out

I hesitate to tell anyone what to wear on their holiday, but a tip for Americans is that Europeans, especially in major cities, tend to dress nicer than we are used to back in the states. So depending on what you plan to do in the evenings, you might want to dress a little nicer than you usually would or you might feel a bit underdressed.

When going to a nice restaurant or bar, my husband typically wears casual dress shoes (pretty much anything but trainers), as well as dark jeans or trousers and a collared shirt. I would typically wear a nice blouse, dark jeans/trousers/a skirt, and shoes with a bit of a chunky heel.

My advice is to put a couple of nicer evening options on your London packing list, and see how you feel once you arrive. Then you’ve got them if you want them, or if you think dressing more casual works for you, then just leave them in your suitcase.

Layers

Because the temps can vary widely from day to night here in London, and because it can get so hot on the underground, even in the dead of winter, layers are important. Bring plenty of options for layering, such as scarves, sweaters/cardigans, tights, and light jackets or blazers.

Hats, gloves, scarves

In autumn and winter, you’ll need hats, gloves, and scarves to keep yourself warm while exploring the city.

What to pack for London: Everything else

Travel adapter

Don’t forget that there are different plugs here, so for your electronics that are dual-voltage, bring a power adapter. Find out how to tell if your electronics are dual voltage. Items like phone chargers are typically dual-voltage. Things like hair dryers may or may not be.

If you have an item that isn’t dual voltage, I recommend leaving it at home. You can technically use it with a power converter, however in my experience, they either don’t work very well, or damage the electronic.

Note that plugs are different in the UK from the rest of Europe, so you’ll need separate adapters. This all-in-one adapter will cover you for most of the world.

Compact umbrella

Even if it’s not meant to rain while you’re in London, it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella along just in case you get stuck in any unexpected showers.

Need links to specific items for what to get for your London trip? Check my London Packing Guide.

What NOT to pack for London

Sweatshirts and sweatpants

Londoners don’t wear these in public, except to the gym, so don’t bring them with you with the intention of wearing them around the city because you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
T-shirts with writing on them

I never noticed how much Americans wear t-shirts with writing on them, like college shirts, until I came to London and no one was wearing them EXCEPT Americans. Again, they make you stand out as a tourist pretty majorly and also aren’t fashion forward, in case you care 🙂 My dad is a big fan of college T-shirts, but when we comes to visit, he goes with simple t-shirts or collared shirts when we go someplace nice.

Sundresses and tank tops

Even if you’re visiting in the summer, there’s a decent chance that it won’t be warm enough to wear your teeny little sundress or tank top. This is why it’s so important to check the forecast right before you get here before you choose what to pack for London— it COULD be really hot, in which case, your dresses and tanks will be perfect, but it could be chilly and rainy too, and you’ll end up freezing your little butt off.

Let me know in the comments if this helps you choose what to pack for London. If this is your first visit, I’ve got a free London 101 guide that gives you all the basic things you need to know for your visit here, including info on where to get some currency, how to get to the city centre from the airport, and more.

These are the things you’ll definitely forget to pack for a London trip…

More London tips:

London Heathrow Airport Guide: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London

3 Great Areas to Stay in London For a Local Experience

 

*Some of the links in this article will earn a very small commission if you click them and then purchase something.

How to use your US phone in London

How to Use Your US Phone in London (or any phone really)

By London Planning Tips No Comments

If you’re visiting London and want to use your US phone in London so that you can get calls, texts and use data, here are a few ways in which you can stay connected when you’re here in the UK. These tips can also apply for London visitors from outside of the US!

*Some of the links in the article are affiliated and help support our free content.

1. Check with your provider about an international plan

Some cell providers have reasonably priced international plans for limited amounts of time. This is the easiest way to use your map, and to be as connected as possible. Even having the option to use a little data, for times when you get stuck without wifi, is helpful!

Call your cell phone provider to see what options they can offer for using your US phone in London while you’re visiting.

How to use your US phone in London (or any phone really.) Four affordable ways to keep your cell phone connected while visiting London. Great cell phone SIM card options for London tourists.

2. Use a SIM

When I travel outside of Europe, I usually end up buying a cheap SIM so that I can easily stay connected, for cheap. You can do this in London if you have an unlocked smartphone, just check with your mobile provider to see if you do.

When you arrive, visit a supermarket, convenience store, or a mobile phone shop to pick up a pay-as-you-go SIM. You can also get them at the airport, I’ve heard they’re more expensive but I don’t know if that’s true. It’s probably easier to wait until you check into your hotel anyways, I think, than to faff around with it before you get on the train.

Probably the easiest way to be able to use your US phone in London as soon as you step off the plane is to order a free SIM ahead of time from Giff Gaff. They’ll send it to you at home, just follow the instructions for set up and you’ll be good to go.

3. Use a wireless data device in London

If you have a few people in your travel party that won’t be splitting up much, it might be more economical to get a wireless data pocket device, as multiple people can connect to it at one time. It essentially acts as a wifi that you put in your pocket. Try TEP Wireless for this (I haven’t used it myself, just FYI.)

4. Find wifi around London

Wifi is fairly easy to find around London if you’ll need it to use your US phone in London. First off, you’re almost guaranteed to have free wifi in your hotel or Airbnb. I recommend mapping out your day over breakfast while you have the connection.

When you’re not at your home base, all coffee shops around the city will have wifi. Pop inside for a coffee or tea, rest your feet, and connect your phone.

On top of that, some restaurants, museums, shops, and other places around London will also offer free wifi. If you see a network pop up on your phone, just ask a staff member if there’s a password you can use.

Many tube stations also have wifi– if you’re not a Virgin Media or O2 customer/SIM user, you can get a week-long pass for £5. Finally, if you find yourself near an Apple Store, you can pop in there for some free wifi too.

Remember that if you have my 3-Day London Itinerary, that the digital map works best with a data connection when you’re out and about, so the first three options are the best for you.

So the above options mentioned are the best ways for tourists to be able to use a US phone in London. Which option will work best for you will depend on your situation.

More London planning tips:

How to Keep Planning Your London Trip (even if you don’t know when you’ll visit)

How to Prepare For Your First Three Days in London

5 Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Their First Three Days in London