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Taking Pleasure Seriously


London is certainly one of those cities that is always fun to visit over and over again, but the truth is that I never planned to fly to London this year.

It all began with Taylor Swift, or rather, the current tour of one of the world's biggest pop stars in the last few years.

I know miss Swift is not everyone’s cup of tea, and some even really dislike her,  but I happen to have a serious crush on her since her song White Horse was released back in 2008. A decade has since passed, and one of my dreams was to see her live in concert at least once in my lifetime. You might find this a bit silly, but one of my biggest regrets was not having the chance to see one of my all-time favorite musicians, Amy Winehouse, in concert, before she unexpectedly died of an overdose at the age of 27. Ever since, I decided there is no way that I will miss a chance to be at a live performance of my favorite {living} musician.

As soon as Taylor's last album, Reputation, was released at the end of last year, I knew it was time to finally realize that dream. I fell in love “at first sound” with the Album, and as soon the first tour dates were made public, I began driving Daniel mad like a broken record about how we must order tickets to her show ASAP. That’s right… Daniel was my “plus one” to the concert. You see, none of my girlfriends would have gone to a Taylor Swift concert, especially if it involves flying abroad, and beyond that – there's no one I like to travel with more than with my other half 🙂


So after after a pretty thorough scan of the first tour dates to be released, we were left with two options – to travel to the United States or London specifically for the concert. Since we couldn’t commit to a trip to the US so far in advance {because once you go there, you might as well make a long trip out of it}, the more sane option was a flight to London.

More sane, yes; cheap? definitely not…

I began to get cold feet because I felt a bit exaggerated about dragging Daniel on a trip that was not part of our plan, for a show he was obviously not interested in. But then, instead of agreeing with me and completely letting go of the idea of the concert, Daniel insisted on fulfilling this dream of mine now ?. He entered the website to order concert tickets and insisted that we buy the best tickets left for the show!! Karma was on our side… and a few days after ordering tickets to see Taylor Swift, Daniel found out that the Foo Fighters, one of his favorite bands, will be performing in town too {after they cancelled their show when we went to see them a few years ago at Rock Werchter}. Although tickets for both concerts were sould out almost immediately, Daniel succeeded at buying 2 tickets to their first show, which was exactly the day before Taylor’s concert! What are the chances….

Our original three-day trip quickly turned into six days, because if you’re going to pay for an expensive flight, you might as well make the most out of it and enjoy the destination…

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

At first, I was wildly excited about the concert, but as the time passed and we got closer to the trip {six months had passed} suddenly it seemed that I was enthusiastic about the destination more than the concert {of course that changed the moment we stepped into the outstanding Wembley Stadium!}. The more time I spent on planning our trip, the more I discovered how much London has changed since my last trip to the city in 2007 {which, by the way, was for musical reasons as well 🙂 }. The Culinary scene has insanely developed over the past few years, and London is also one of the most tagged cities on Instagram, so every other photo I saw made me want to reach another one of the city’s magical little corners.

To make a long story short, there was work to be done, and suddenly I felt crazy for thinking about ordering flights just around the days of the concerts.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have come across the story I posted a few days before our flight to London, where I shared my meticulously planned itinerary I put together for the six days we were about to spend in the city. This time, I really outdid myself, allowing my OCD to endlessly burst out of me. The plans were made in detail and I succeeded at perfectly arranging, for each day, everything that I wanted to see and taste.

The excitement was of course at its height, and increased with every tiny change made in the schedule to make it even better. Daniel kept trying to reassure me and explain to me, logically, that there was no point in planning such a precise trip because there would be many things that would spontaneously come up, and that schedule changes would be unavoidable, but even though I knew he was absolutely right I was determined to make the most out of our time in London.

In this post you will find tips for getting around the city, and information on the areas of London that made it into our tight schedule. Shall we? ?

{P.S. I wrote a separate post dedicated entirely to food – you can read it here ?}




Airport to City Center  We landed in Heathrow, London’s primary airport, at noon, and decided to take the Heathrow Express so we would arrive at our hotel as quickly as possible.  The fast train, which leaves from Heathrow and stops at Paddington, is a only a fifteen minute ride {compared to 40-50 minutes via taxi or the underground}. The comfortable seats, air-conditioning, and free wi-fi make it a very pleasurable ride. To take the fast train does cost more than riding the underground {although less than a taxi} and it is worth buying a two-way ticket to save on costs. The tickets can be purchased for a lower price on the train’s website, but take it from me, you won’t want to commit to a specific time, and it is always better to get a ticket from the machine inside the terminal. We were sure we would be on the train right after we landed and we ended up getting stuck at passport control for over an hour(!) and according to the clerk it wasn’t a one time thing… so make sure to consider the long wait when planning your first day.

London’s underground  The right, comfortable, and most inexpensive way to get around London is on the tube {Although most trains haven’t heard yet of the greatest invention called the air conditioner}. It is very recommended to buy yourself an Oyster card at the beginning of your trip sold at every underground station in automatic machines or at the tourist information counter. It is actually a smart-card that can be recharged with money in two ways: The first option is Pay As You Go otherwise known as PAYG, a plan that has you charge up your card with a certain amount of money, and when that money is used up according to a maximum daily fee, {and then you may continue to ride freely for the rest of the day}. The second option, the one we opted for, is to charge the Oyster card according to a certain amount of time {we did seven days because it was most worthwhile 🙂 }. The card itself costs £5, which is a deposit, and will be refunded to you with the balance of the money you have charged on the card when you return it {if you chose PAYG}. The deposit can only be received 48 hours from the time the card was bought. By the way, the card allows you to ride all the public transportation in town {including buses and the tram}.

Uber vs Taxi  In my opinion, the only kind of ride that would allow giving up a ride on London’s underground is one that includes heavy luggage. During our entire trip we got around the city using the trains only, and the only time we gave it up was when we wanted to go to Paddington Station from our Airbnb apartment, and from there we took the Heathrow Express back to the airport. After many inquiries, I discovered that the Uber fare is a lot cheaper, there is no need to leave the driver a tip and their availability is excellent.




If you’re a regular reader here on the blog you must know how much I like alternating between a hotel {the touristy option} and an apartment {the less touristy option} when I travel to an urban destination. This trip to London was no different, and also this time we chose to split our time between the pampering hotel The Lalit London {read all about my stay here}, and a charming Airbnb apartment in the prestigious Belgravia neighbourhood.

First time booking an apartment on the Airbnb website? You’re welcome to use my link and receive a coupon code worth $42 for your next trip.




Soho and Oxford


The Soho neighborhood and its bordering Oxford street is the perfect area for a day filled with shopping, excellent food, and even a successful night out. Soho is designed like a grid of streets and alleyways filled by crowded restaurants and bars, and although it is very touristy area, its got lots of charm. I especially liked Chinatown which is in the southern part of the neighborhood and is filled with wonderful Asian restaurants of all kinds.

The plan was to focus on shopping around Oxford street on the final day of our trip, but I quickly realized the street is extremely too much for me, and I did not want to spend more than an hour in its craziness. There were lots of sales going on and the stores were bombarded, but to be honest I have a feeling Oxford street is pretty much crowded like this all of the time.

There is no doubt that those who love to shop and especially do not mind waiting in long lines, will fall in love with this street, which houses more than 300 stores of the best brands. But I was not in a shopping “mood” on this trip so that is not where I wanted to spend my entire last day. If you do happen to meet the above criteria – don’t give up on a strategically located hotel near Oxford street {because as good as the underground may be, it is a lot less nice to be crammed into them during rush hour with hands full of shopping bags 🙂 }

Tip #1  If you’re planning on getting a local sim card in London, or you’re into Electronic appliances, don’t miss the ‘Currys PC World' located in the center of Oxford street. After passing through so many shops and stalls we found the largest selection there of sim cards for great prices and that is also where I bought my new camera {read about it here} after we discovered its price in London was way lower than in Israel {because of the currency rate and also thanks to tax returns!}.

Tip #2  Since I already mentioned VAT, note that the tax in London is 20% so if you’re planning on making any big purchases you should read this article which explains in detail how to best get your tax returned.

  מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide


Like in many big cities around the world, London was not spared the growing trend of gentrification {the development of neighborhoods that were once identified with distress and immigrants}. One of the hottest areas in London these days is Shoreditch in East London, which has become incredibly hipster. Shoreditch offers a great combination between colorful street art, old brick warehouses turned into galleries and unique designer boutiques, cool coffee shops and lots of ethnic restaurants that’ll make you forget, if only for a minute, that you are in London.

I really like the shopping and food at BOXPARK, made of two freights designed with a cool industrial look. The ground level has mostly stationary and fashion concept-stores, while on the top floor you will find a food  stands selling a variety of ethnic foods {Israeli food too, duh! ?}.


מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

A short walking distance from BOXPARK are two markets – Brick Lane market, intended mostly for second-hand items and vintage shops {open only on Sundays so we didn’t get a chance to go} and the indoor Spitalfields Market, which not only has lots of second-hand stuff but also food, art, and chains such as trinket store Flying Tiger and makeup brand Bobby Brown.


מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

Notting Hill


If you ask me Notting Hill is the most beautiful neighbourhood in London. Lovely homes painted in pastoral pastel tones, cute little coffee shops, Portobello Market which offers the most fresh produce and a handful of stalls selling charming vintage things. Oh and of course it is encompassed by a Hollywood aura thanks to the classic movie “Notting Hill” filmed in the neighbourhood and starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

Tip #3  The most common mistake is the idea that Notting Hill should be visited on a Saturday in order to enjoy Portobello Market at its finest hour. In my opinion, it is much more fun to walk around the area and especially the market on a weekday, and mainly in the morning, to avoid all the tourists. The atmosphere is a lot more calm and easy, less crowded and still so much to see and buy 🙂 If you’re still not willing to give up the market on a Saturday, try to get there early in the morning.

Tip #4  If you are a fan of vintage clothes and accessories, plan to spend a great deal of time in the market area, just keep in mind that despite the word “market”, prices are not cheap.

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide



Southwark, which is on the western bank of the Thames River, has a different look and atmosphere than the other places we’ve been to in London.  It contrastingly combines the city’s history and modernization. Tall buildings made of metal and glass are built next to brick buildings and ancient cathedrals made of stone. In this special neighbourhood you can visit the city's famous attractions – London's famous bridges, famous modern buildings, and a variety of museums and art galleries. It is very fun to walk around the neighborhood and soak up the atmosphere by the river.

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

Tip #5  There are a number of ways to see the city from above {most famous being the London Eye and Sky Garden}, but after a bit of research we decided to check out the view from the Shard and it was really one of the best experiences on our trip! The Shard building is a prestigious building built in an impressive architectural style and is also the tallest building in Western Europe. In the building is the prestigious Shangri La Hotel, restaurants, offices and also the city's famous observation point located on the top floors. The price to enter the observation point is not at all cheap, but the atmosphere is wonderful and the fact that you do not have to wait in line is worth every pound. You should order pre-paid tickets on the website to save some money and if you’d like to enjoy the view with a cold champagne glass in hand, you should choose the Champagne Experience, a ticket that combines an entrance and a glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne. We arrived in the afternoon and were surprised by a free cocktail at Happy Hour! {By the way, the entrance to the observation point is also included in the London Pass card, so if you plan on visiting more expensive attractions in the city, it is very worth considering buying of the card}.

  מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

Covent Garden


Covent Garden is one of London’s most important and most famous markets. It is a beautiful indoor shopping center, adorned with special boutiques, stalls and trendy restaurants. In the market area and in the main entrance to it there are street performers, jugglers, mimes and live music shows.

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide



The Westminster neighborhood is one of London's most famous neighborhoods because within it are some of the city's most important and famous landmarks – Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, London Parliament Palace, Big Ben and The London Eye. We planned on spending half a day in this area, but on the day we were there, there was a huge demonstration against the Brexit which made it almost impossible to be in the area. Eventually we were happy to walk along the river near the London Eye, and were disappointed to find that the Big ben is under construction until 2021 and is almost completely covered up! Oh well, there’s always next time…. 🙂

  מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

מה יש לעשות בלונדון / מדריך ללונדון | Things to do in London / London Guide

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If you’ve already been to London – which area did you like best? And if you haven’t yet been to London – what makes you want to go most? Leave me a comment below!



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14 Responses

  1. I’ve found your article about London accidentally and I think that was fate! I am happy totry your tips- thanks a lot for the great descriptions 🙂

  2. Gracious, such a large number of spots to look at in London on my next excursion there in january ! A debt of gratitude is in order for the tips! Additionally, true, the color is amazing!


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