London Loves: My Top Places to Visit

Zelie Kasten
December 20, 2016

Now that my time in London has come to a close I wanted to give you a list featuring some of my favorite places that are scattered around the city. It's in no particular order because it would be impossible to rank my favorites among the favorites.

1. Walk along Regent’s Canals: I did this walk with my architecture class as we looked at the buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods of Islington and Finsbury. The canals are nothing compared to those in Venice but they are a peaceful change from the bustle of the city. A number of houseboats, warehouses turned into office spaces, and modern apartment buildings line the canal. If you get here at dusk the water reflects the light so beautifully you would think it was a painting.

2. St-Dunstan-in-the-East: The church, designed mainly by Sir Christopher Wren, was largely destroyed in the Blitz and the ruins have now been converted to a public park. St-Dunstan-in-the- East is a welcome oasis in the middle of the finance and banking buildings that occupy the City of London. You could almost miss it if you didn’t know it was there, but make sure you scope this beauty out because it’s worth it.

3. Sketch: I had a drink in the Parlour, which is the bar at the very front. If you’re a Bloody Mary drinker I highly recommend the Yellow Snapper cocktail, however the spice level is not for the faint of heart! I was quite hungry and looking for something to munch on with my drink but unfortunately it was 11:00 pm and the kitchen had already closed. Even if you don’t go for a meal or even for a drink (the drinks aren’t exactly friendly to the student budget), walk with a purpose and make a beeline for the futuresque bathrooms. Take a selfie...or ten, and walk slowly through the Gallery restaurant dining room. Everything is decked out in the plushest of pink, with fun but slightly creepy sketches plastered on every inch of the dining room walls.

4. AQUA at the top of the shard: Go at dusk and watch the sunset from the highest point of London. Just taking the elevator up to AQUA made me have to de-pressurize my ears. Guests certainly pay for the view and ambience, but I think the price is more than worth it. The views are phenomenal and the ambience is a delicate mix of romantic and playful. I opted for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, but the cocktails on offer looked wonderful.

5. Free alternative- The Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie: If you don’t have the chance to visit one of the restaurants in the Shard (or don’t want to throw down the big bucks) please promise me you’ll at least go the Sky Garden. The garden is situated at the very top of the Walkie Talkie and has panoramic views of the city. There are a couple of bars and a restaurant in the garden, but an appointment just to visit the spot is completely free when booked in advance.

6. Bike Around Hyde Park: This is admittedly one of the most touristy things to do on the list, but I promise you there's a reason the tourist love this one. Wrap up (if it’s a chilly day), grab a few friends and a few Santander bikes, and cycle around the park. Just make sure to stay on the bike path, because it merges with the busy road at certain points.

7. Pubs Pubs Pubs: Pay a visit to your neighborhood pub. Buy a pint of beer or cider (or a glass of wine/mix drink if you have to) and settle in for a casual and fun night with friends. I truly wish pubs were more prominent in the United States, they’re incredibly welcoming on a cold day and they’re pretty much the reason I’ve converted to a beer kinda gal.

Places to visit in the future (Places I never had the chance to visit but really wanted to)

1. Primrose Hill (on a good day) I climbed to the top of Primrose Hill on my second to last day in London, but unfortunately it was so foggy out that my friend and I couldn't see any of the city skyline view. We still had a good time, but it was more so due to the great company than the fog-covered cityscape view.

2. Tower of London

3. Dishoom

4. Jack the Ripper Tour in Spitalfields/East London

5. Winston Churchill War Rooms

6. Ice Skating at Somerset House


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Zelie Kasten

<p>Global nomad. Lover of sunshine and the outdoors. Foodie. I&#39;m a senior at American University in Washington D.C where I&#39;m studying International Relations with a specialization in Global Health and Environmental Sustainability. When I&#39;m not studying or working I&#39;m usually planning my future travels or cuddling with the nearest dog. Join me on my journey to prove that the sun does indeed shine in the City of Old Smoke!</p>

2016 Fall
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International Studies
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