If you’re looking for a city break, then we’ve got the perfect, affordable destination for you: London. Woah, woah, woah. We know what you’re thinking, but just hear us out. Yes, walk around Mayfair or Regents Street and you might bump into the odd Made In Chelsea star or two.
But London’s soul lies in curated cafés, picturesque pubs and spectacular sights, and they won’t have you running to the bank of mum and dad for a loan.
You’re sold but where to go? We asked city expert and University of the Arts London student Maya Jundi for her top tips…
1. Sky Garden
The best views of London are undoubtedly from the clouds, but how to get there? Sky Garden in Monument is your answer. Book free tickets in advance for the highest garden in London with uninterrupted views across the whole of the capital and beyond.
Experience the hustle and bustle of an Asian hawkers market in the comfort of Shoreditch High Street. Dinerama, a warehouse-like collection of independent food stalls, offers guests an experience they won’t forget with punters eating round huge sharing tables. It’s free to get in before 7pm and only £3 after… plus whatever you want to spend on food.
3. The Churchill Arms
This extraordinary pub in Kensington has to be seen to be believed. Its stunning exterior is completely covered in pots of flowers – making it the most Instaworthy pub in London. The best thing is, once you’ve ﬁ nished admiring the outside, you can pop inside for a pint or two.
4. God’s Own Junkyard
Head over to the one-of-a-kind God’s Own Junkyard for the biggest explosion of lights and sights you have ever seen. Founder and artist Chris Bracey put together the largest collection of neon signs in Europe for your viewing pleasure. Just wander around this paradise in Walthamstow and be amazed.
5. Brixton Windmill
No-one will ever believe you when you tell them there is a windmill in Brixton, but this recently-restored 1816 structure is a grade II listed sight to be seen. It doesn’t cost anything to visit and it’s a damn sight cheaper than flying to the Netherlands for some windmill action.
6. Palm Vaults
Palm Vaults in Hackney is probably one of the most picture-worthy cafés in London. This vegan-friendly haunt will make you feel like you’re in sunny Florida with palm trees, pink chairs and rainbow coffees everywhere.
7. Frank’s Cafe
Ever gone to a car park and thought, this would be a fantastic place for a drink? No, us neither, but thankfully someone did. Frank’s Café in Peckham Rye is a rooftop bar and restaurant on the tenth floor of a multi-story car park in the land of Only Fools And Horses. This rooftop only opens over summer, and is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
8. Borough Market
This one’s for the foodies. Take hours to wind your way around Borough Market, which is a short walk from London Bridge Station. There you’ll be able to sample some of the greatest food and drink in London. People watch in one of the cafés, listen to the patter of the traders or get full-up from testers if you’re counting the cash.
9. Neal’s Yard
Situated in a tiny alleyway in Covent Garden is the birth-place of the Neal’s Yard Remedies health and beauty brand. But that’s not the best thing about it. No, this beautiful alleyway is brightly painted, covered in cafés and the perfect sun trap for those sunny days. And you’re also in the perfect area for exploring. Plus a very short walk takes you to the stunning Seven Dials.
It is impossible to talk about London in a list like this and not mention Shoreditch. The area has now established itself as the ‘cool kid’ of the capital, with independent shops, sights and hipsters galore. Head down to the area to be wowed by street art, graffiti and creative minds. Wander between Fashion Street, Chance Street and Fournier Street for some stand-out sights.