Tips from 35,000 Feet: Enjoy London like a Local

By: Katie Manning

January 9, 2013

View of the Houses of Parliament across the River Thames in London

London is known for having some of the most glamorous (and famous) hotels in the world so we always find it hard to pick just one. Thankfully we’ve recently discovered St. Martins Lane on, you’ve guessed it, St. Martin’s Lane! Not only do the floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the bustling Covent Garden below, but we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to their bar, celeb-strewn restaurant and cool Light Bar. Everything is just so sleek and sophisticated, we never want to leave!
London 35000 Feet | Double Decker Bus
A red double-decker bus, London © Lindsay Wilson/Flickr

When we finally emerge from the hotel, we’re perfectly placed to visit one of our favourite London haunts – Circus. We can’t get enough of this beyond-quirky carnivalesque restaurant, where you can enjoy burlesque and aerial shows unfolding around you while you eat. The glitter balls and the Alice in Wonderland décor all add to the atmosphere, and the food is pan-American at its most comforting. We always get the slow-roasted beef short ribs – they’re beyond decadent.

The Serpentine Lido | London
Taking a dive into the Serpentine Lido © London Tourist Board

One of the easiest ways to get around London is via the underground system, known as the Tube, but if you fancy travelling around the city above ground, London taxi drivers always know the quickest routes and they can help you avoid most of the peak time congestion – and they’re usually happy with a £1 – £2 tip. When we have a lot of time, we hop on one of the red double-decker buses for more of a scenic route.

London 35000 Feet | London Underground
The Tube, London © Vadim Timoshkin/Flickr

If we’re fortunate enough to get some good weather in London, or even if we’re not, come to think of it, we always head to the stunning Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park. A dip in this portion of the Serpentine Lake is an essential part of our visits to the city (between mid-June and mid-September), followed by a lazy afternoon sunbathing (or shivering) on the deck chairs surrounding the water. We always feel like true Londoners afterwards.

Madame JoJo's | London
Madame Jojo’s, London © Madame JoJo’s

When we’re planning a night out on the town in London, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to bars – but Soho is, in our opinion, one of the best places to start the night. Madame JoJo’s on Brewer Street always has a fun crowd, the vibe is always upbeat and the best part? The music is always different. Some people check the website before going but we love to be surprised by Cabaret one night, then a live band the next.


Where are your favourite things to do in London? Any secret spots we should know about?


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places