London - Travel Without a Travel Guide

Soon it's time for me to travel to London. Only a weekend. So, preparation must be all the more effective. Because I want to see as much as possible, as stress-free as possible. Ha, which is already a contradiction in itself. This time, I will look for places that are as close to each other as possible.

I have already seen the typical sights, of course, but now I would like to get to know the corners. It may not attract so many tourists but are interesting in any way.



Sky Garden - Grandiose View


You want to look at London from above? This is easy. You can take a ride on the London Eye or "The Shard". But both are not very favorable. How about a free alternative? Visit the Sky Garden.

The Sky Garden is London's tallest public garden. It is on the 35th floor of the Walkie-Talkie Building (20 Fenchurch Street). It is a three-minute walk from London's Tower. There is the botanical garden at 155 meters high. There is an open-air terrace, a restaurant, a brasserie and two bars. The Sky Garden remains open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm.

You can only visit the Sky Garden by prior registration, which is easy on the Internet. You should expect a lead time of two weeks.



Streetart in Brick Lane


As a street art fan, I found my Eldorado in London's East End, in Brick Lane. Street Art has always fascinated me. The Street Art in Brick Lane is honest and always up-to-date. Unfortunately, the artists are much too rarely appreciated.

In London, the Streetart Artists have found a screen. In the former neighborhood of the legendary Jack the Ripper, there is a huge open-air gallery. The streets around the Brick Lane of the same name are stuck with Streetart. Here artists like PEZ, Banksy or Ben Ein.

Artists from all over the world travel. So the chance is great to catch a "work". I had the good fortune to look over my shoulder to one of my favorite artists. Always colorful and also suitable for current topics.

What's special about Streetart? You never know what you're going to see. What is still on Instagram today may have disappeared tomorrow. An exception in Brick Lane is the Mural of ROA. One of my favorite artists who travel around the world. Always in the typical and classic ROA style.



London's Wild East


My favorite corner in London is the East End. Here, visitors will not expect classic sights, shopping, food and street art. The streets around Brick Lane are now one of the hippest areas in London. I am particularly fascinated by the multicultural flair. Shoreditch and Whitechapel get influenced by South Asian influences.

It is particularly colorful on Sundays when countless markets open their doors. So on the grounds of the Truman Brewery, six markets are luring their offer. My favorites here are the Sunday Upmarket and the Backyard Market. On both, you find individual pieces. Curios and Vintage offers a few steps further to the street flea market Brick Lane Market.

On no account should you miss the exotic foods! I've been halfway around here, from the Netherlands and Brazil. And then through Myanmar to Ethiopia. There are countless good restaurants. On the Brick Lane itself, the South Asian cuisine predominates. Not for nothing is it also called "Curry-Mile".

I am a bit too offensive for customers. So we enjoyed our curry at the kebab restaurant in Whitechapel. There is the atmosphere of a fast food restaurant but the food is very good and cheap. You can not miss the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake.



Cruise across the River Thames


I do not know exactly whether my insider's tip is so secret. Most of you have heard of a cruise over the Thames. I want to recommend you the short ferry trip from Greenwich to the center of the city.

Begin the day with a good English breakfast and a large cup of coffee. Then stroll with the Tube or car or bus to the Docklands and let the charm of the old harbor district enchant you. Follow a daring walk through the tunnel under the River Thames to Greenwich. Here you can walk over the great Greenwich Market and spend a lot of your money. It is definitely worth it provided you have already seen all the important sights in London.

In the afternoon you can board a ferry and take you back to the city via the River Thames. You will pass all the important landmarks of the British capital. And, as in my case, you can listen to an enthusiastic ferry captain as he thrills his cockney accent. Especially in the summer, the trip over the Thames is an absolute highlight of every London visit.



A walk in the charming Notting Hill


You want to get out of the hectic center of London? Then I can only recommend you a detour to the charming Notting Hill district.

In Notting Hill, there are so many beautiful little boutiques. The antique dealers invite you to browse. If you want to stroll in peace through beautiful streets, see a few scenes from the film of the same name. Or spend your time in a good café, as this is the place to be.

In Portobello Road you will find bakeries, cafes and many small boutiques. There is a relaxed atmosphere. For me, Notting Hill has a very special atmosphere. No wonder this district is a popular backdrop for so many films. The Victorians and the cobblestone streets make Notting Hill one of my top spots in London.

Take the subway to Notting Hill Gate and walk in the direction of Portobello Road.



Kensington Gardens


When I visit a new city and get to know the city, I love to discover the parks and the green spots in the city. During one of my morning walks, which I started at an early age, I found the green oasis of Kensington Gardens.

While I walked through the park in peace, I saw many joggers and walkers. There are big and small cheeky dogs, other walkers or children who shared a football training. It is a good opportunity to experience the local people and take off everyday stress!

Kensington Gardens is also a perfect place to find a bit of peace in the noisy city of London. This heavenly silence gets interrupted by a wild chatter at the Round Pound, a small lake in the middle of the park.

At the edge of the water is a variety of swans, ducks, geese, seagulls, pigeons and coal trenches. A peaceful and at the same time very lively mood welcomes the Walker there. There is an excited mess of chattering, tearing, caressing, and eating. The chirpy birds make one sink deep into this moment! All the more so since the animals are not disturbed by the human observers at all.

This small place offered me as much relaxation, joy and recreation as a visit to Ally Pally. The Londoners call it Alexandra Palace. Ally Pally hosts events and exhibitions from different areas. Very recommendable are the visit of a darts or snooker tournament. I am fascinated by the fact that the Londoners can be enthusiastic about these two sports.

Both, Kensington Gardens and the Alexandra Palace, are an ideal opportunity. Immerse yourself in the everyday life of the city. Experience it from the perspective of the Londoners.



Eating out in London


London is a melting pot of cultures and this is also reflected in food diversity. There is hardly a court you can not get in London. The selection for vegetarians and vegans is great and no one has to worry about going to bed hungry.

There are some restaurant chains, which always provide me with good food. This includes where I go when I am after good Indian food. My favorite dish is Undhiyo & Lentil Khichdi. The vegetables get mixed with lentils, bananas, and potatoes and covered with rice. This is a pity because the Bhel and the vegetable samosas are also delicious. There are dishes with chicken, lamb, and shrimp.

At three locations in London, you can get authentic South Indian cuisine here. Here I prefer Masala Dosa, a thin crispy crêpe filled with potatoes and a coconut dip. But also the chickpeas are delicious and I have already eaten here only a collection of starters.

I like to try out small, independent restaurants and food carts.

If you want to try a Food Market, I can recommend the Southbank Center Food Market. Here on Friday, weekends and holidays, you will get a wide range of flavors at the various stands. The prices are cheap, the food delicious and the atmosphere relaxed. I have eaten excellent Indian food and drank delicious smoothies.

If you want cocktails in the evening, but you want to meet locals and not so many tourists, go to a cozy cellar bar. You will feel as if you are back in Victorian England. The atmosphere is special, and the cocktails are not standard.

For a delicious breakfast or a break with tea and cake, the Belgravia (near Sloane Square) is a good place. In the area, there are many bakeries. The almond chocolate croissants are the best. They are crisp, fresh and delicious.



Globe Theater


We recommend everyone in London at least an evening at the Globe Theater! The original Globe Theater was well-known in the 17th century far beyond London. Shakespeare grew up here, so it has a genuine piece of London history.

Today the Globe Theater is under the name Shakespeare's Globe. It is an almost perfect reconstruction of the famous Globe Theater of the 17th century. It, unfortunately, did not survive the last centuries. So, it was rebuilt in the 1990s about 200 m from the original location.

You can experience real classics of the London theater history live in the open. You can stand in the interior, exactly as 400 years ago. The atmosphere is incomparable. Since the theater is an open-air theater, it is only open during the summer months. You should book the tickets online in advance.

The red double decker buses


For sightseeing in London, there are different possibilities. One of them is the red double-decker buses. These are available all over London. They are an inexpensive alternative to the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus. In the upper deck on the foremost place, you have a great view over the streets of London.

A further advantage is that the bus runs through streets you might not have discovered on your tour. To be able to use the buses in the city area, you should buy an Oyster Card. This is a prepaid ticket, with which you can use all public transport in London.

Another tip. So that the bus stops at your stop, you must give it a signal before. If you forget it, the bus goes on without holding. With the red double-decker buses to explore the area is fun and is a great way to discover London.



London Christmas


The choice is not easy for me. But this time the calendar helps me because Christmas is coming! I can only recommend you to spend a few days in the British capital during this most beautiful time of the year. The most beautiful Christmas lights glow in the Regent, Oxford and Carnaby Street. Also Covent Garden turns into a single pompous Christmas decoration. If you like it, you will find paradise. The shop windows at Harrods and Selfridges gets decorated and each tells its own story.

London is not exactly known for its impressive Christmas markets. But the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is an experience. Besides a market, it is the Ferris wheel and the ice rink with live music, which delight the visitors. Now only the Christmas songs are missing.

The best way to do so is to go to the Carol Singing on Trafalgar Square. It gets decorated every year by a Christmas tinsel from Norway. To get into the mood for the festive season in London, there is even the perfect film - Love Actually. One of my absolute favorite movies. I will be in London for four days in December and I can not wait to be in the madness!



What to wear in London during a theater visit?


For a long time, I made an arc around London. I was there in my early youth (for a day, on the way back from Middle England) and somehow not much remained with me. I had to be 30 to go back to London with a friend - and this time I was completely delighted.

In the meantime, I had also noticed that I am a real city man. The bustling metropolis of London was exactly what I liked! As a theater lover, we also went in a piece at the Westend.

But at the wardrobe hung a handful of coats. It was December, it was cold. Where were all the other coats? The theatrical visit was a cultural shock deluxe. For the Londoners to go to the theater is as normal as for us a café visit after a day in the city. They came, as they were straight, in jeans and sneakers. They packed with shopping bags in the theater hall. They stuffed the bags with their winter coats under the seats. They grabbed a trifle to nibble and waited for the beginning of the show.

And there we sat, completely overdressed with the little black man. It was obvious to everyone that some tourists had once again strayed into the theater. Even if it was so different from ours, theater belongs to London. And if you're already there, you should not miss it. But the little black man can stay at home in most cases.



London Football Stadium Tour


England has not been for quite a long time a soccer nation. But London lives the football and almost daily. Several top clubs from the English league come from the capital. They provide weekly fun and grief for their own fans. This is why it is perfect to look behind the scenes of the big clubs in London and make a guided stadium tour.

I will never forget the feeling of sitting in the same dressing room as the big stars. For me, it was, without the applause. To sit in the stands then still in the seat of the coach is, of course, the cherry on the cream on the cake of life! To do such a tour, I can recommend to every football fan. A more personal look behind the scenes is almost no longer possible. If you have the chance to experience a game with thousands of fans, you can not miss it! Your football heart will be very grateful to you.

Finding an insider's tip for such a popular city as London is a masterpiece. I have been there several times over the island and will definitely do it a few more times. But what is so fascinating about me? What is my secret tip? Is it a delicious restaurant, a good pub or the many wonderful sights? No!

The real reason why I always land in London and the joy does not get smaller is because of the people themselves. I am fascinated every time, how the locals go to strangers and address you. As if it were the most normal thing in the world. Wait - it's the most normal thing in the world!

I love how everyone talks to everyone and how colorful London can be. Despite the sometimes cloudy London weather. So I would like to give you the "insider tip", and definitely to go to the people of London and to get to know the diversity. Get into conversations and make new acquaintances. London is also fascinating, also off the beaten track.