As the eighteenth century writer Samuel Johnson famously mused “If a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life” – and we certainly don’t disagree. The UK’s capital city is constantly being refreshed meaning visitors will never be short of things to do, taste and explore. From world-renowned galleries to cutting edge street art, high-end cuisine to relaxed aperitivo spots, and from hidden oases to stand-out attractions, the UK capital really is bursting with life. You may want to kick off your shoes after a day out and about in London, but we can guarantee you won’t be tired of it.
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The Barbican Conservatory In the heart of the city you can’t miss the Barbican, London’s shrine to the 1950s architectural style of Brutalism. But deep inside this concrete monolith is the Barbican Conservatory, an unexpected oasis. With more than 1,500 species of plants as well as three ponds that are home to exotic fish, this urban jungle provides the ultimate backdrop for your photos. Just be prepared to reassure anyone asking that you are definitely in London and didn’t get lost and end up somewhere much more tropical.
Shoreditch street art Shoreditch is definitely one of the world’s greatest hotspots for street art. From giant murals to hidden gems, the neighbourhood is as rich in artworks as some national galleries. Artists from far and wide have made their mark here including the granddaddy of street art, Banksy – head to Rivington Street to see his protected “Designated Graffiti Area” mural or take a stroll down historic Brick Lane for graffiti galore. Keep your camera ready; with a canvas this colourful it won’t be hard to fill your Instagram grid.
God’s Own Junkyard Hop on the Victoria line north to Walthamstow for one of London’s quirkiest attractions. And bring your sunglasses – God’s Own Junkyard is jammed full of the best and brightest neon signs imaginable. Showcasing the work of the late neon artist Chris Bracey, this homage to luminescence features several of his best works, alongside 60s sex club signage and pieces that were used in films including Blade Runner and Batman. One thing’s for certain: you won’t need to use your flash to take pictures here.
Sky Garden Set atop the Fenchurch Street skyscraper, even acrophobics should make an exception for the city’s highest garden. Boasting panoramic views of London’s skyline from the floor-to-ceiling windows, Sky Garden is the ultimate place to watch the sun go down and the perfect backdrop for an evening of dancing to DJs and live music at the Sky Pod Bar. Order a feet-steadying Aperol Spritz and get into the groove… 35 floors up.
American Express BST Hyde Park Love festivals but not a fan of camping? Then look no further than BST Hyde Park. Set in one of London’s best-loved parks, the festival runs for three weekends and features an eclectic line-up of international artists including sultry songstress Lana Del Rey, K-pop trailblazers Blackpink and rock legends Guns N' Roses. We can’t promise it will be mud-free (it is the UK after all) but it’s certain to be a weekend to remember. Plus, the festival hosts a special Aperol Spritz space, so come and say hello for a cheers with friends!
Willows on the Roof If you are in danger of shopping until you drop, take a breather at this rooftop sanctuary on the top of John Lewis Oxford Street. High above the madding crowds, this is the perfect place to rest tired feet while enjoying an Aperol Spritz with your shopping squad. The rooftop also offers heated chalet-inspired cabins, so even if the evening is crisp, this is a great spot to savour your Aperol Spritz while admiring that perfect pair of kicks you just bought. So sit back, kick up your kicks, and forget about the chaos below.
D&D Fiume Set in the recently revamped Battersea Power Station, Fiume brings a taste of southern Italy to south London. Located opposite a Thames Clipper drop-off point, it is the perfect drinks break during a river adventure, which could also include Westminster and Greenwich. Take a break here and watch the river flow past while refuelling with an aperitivo. Aperol Spritz in hand, there is no better place to dip into a creamy burrata, Italian polpette or fritto misto.
Eataly Looking for the Italian experience, but in London? Then look no further. With a name that is a fusion of “eat” and “Italy”, Eataly is a veritable homage to all things Italian. This gastronomic hub boasts three restaurants and bars, including an Aperol Spritzeria Terrazza Eataly. Whether the British summer weather is obliging or not, this is the place to make a date with your friends. The outside terrace – which has a cover for when summer is a little less summery – is the ideal place for authentic aperitivo.
White water rafting The UK isn’t synonymous with extreme sports but the 2012 Olympics gave London a whitewater rafting centre that is truly world class. Located in the east of the city, Lee Valley’s White Water Centre is the perfect place to tap into your inner thrillseeker either by yourself or with a group of pals. Race over the rapids and paddle downstream in this 300m former Olympic course, all under the watchful eye of an experienced guide. Thrills and maybe even a few spills are all part of the adventure!