Whether you’re a first time visitor or a seasoned London traveller, the capital city never runs out of ways to delight its visitors. Steeped in rich history and abundant with influence from numerous countries, London is brimming with breathtaking sights and inspiring hangouts for all to enjoy.
As a visitor to the English capital, you’ll want to get the most out of your trip - regardless of whether it’s your first, or one of many prior trips. So whether you’re looking for some tips on the best places to visit during your London trip, the best London restaurants where you can enjoy a culinary delight, what areas to look for accommodation in - or even if you’re on a quest to find romantic places in London - we are delighted to provide you with all the information you need to make your stay an enjoyable and memorable one.
Where to go in London if you’re visiting for the first time
As we’ve said: London is a fantastic city to visit. There are endless places to go and sights to see.
As a popular stop on a European trip, many first-time London visitors may only be in the city for a day or two. This section is written with these visitors in mind and contains everything you need to make a quick visit all the more special.
The British royal family is famous across the globe, and visitors to the capital city are likely to want to catch a glimpse of Royal proceedings wherever they can. Daily, around 11 am, Buckingham Palace conducts the iconic “Changing of the Guard” ceremony, lasting around 45 minutes. Get a front-row seat from the square in front of the palace, and be sure to have your camera ready!
A busy day out in the capital can work up an appetite, so why not treat yourself to an afternoon tea? Whether you’re keen for a traditional Earl Grey, with a splash of milk and no sugar (just like the Queen) or you’re more inclined to a delicious coffee and tasty pastry, there are ample coffee shops and restaurants you can enjoy across the capital city.
London’s skyline is surely on every traveller’s list of must-see attractions. A visit to the London Eye gives you access to unforgettable sights and sounds - like hearing Big Ben chime, and of course, the birds-eye view of the Houses of Parliament, London’s famous bridges - and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The London Eye is a great way to see the city from a different viewpoint - literally. We suggest an advanced booking, as this is a popular tourist spot.
Camden Locks is a great place to relax and soak up the London atmosphere.
With so much on offer at the array of markets and stalls, you could easily lose yourself for a whole day. When your appetite kicks in, why not indulge in one of the numerous street food options available? With a variety of global flavours on offer, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
Shoreditch – Box Park
The incredible Shoreditch Box Park street food market combines more than 60 carefully chosen fashion, art, food and drink brands and retailers. Constructed from shipping containers, this trendy attraction is right in the heart of trendy Shoreditch - making it easy to find when you arrive.
Shoreditch Box Park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, so be sure to look it up before you arrive. Events often include parties, comedy gigs, DJ sets and workshops.
London’s Traditional Pubs
London is brimming with historically rich pubs, many of which are neatly tucked away down elusive back streets. If you’re visiting over a weekend, a Sunday roast with a pint of ale is an absolute must to get the authentic British experience.
These tips will help you make your short trip to London one you’ll remember forever.
If you’re planning a slightly longer stay in the capital, the next section outlines some of the most captivating areas that are ready for you to explore:
Getting around in London
The easiest way to travel around London is via our amazing public transport system, which includes the iconic red buses as well as the London Underground rail system. You may want to purchase an Oyster travel card when you first arrive to make your commute even more convenient.
With your card in hand, London is quite literally your oyster, so make the most of your first visit by ticking these spots off the bucket list.
Best Areas of London to Stay on Vacation
During your vacation to London, you’ll get to explore a city packed full of world-class architecture and history, located within a multicultural metropolis brimming with unique experiences.
This section will highlight the best areas to stay in London during your vacation, from luxury Kensington to buzzing Covent Garden.
Pimlico is situated slightly west of the city centre. The area might be best described as a relaxed, neighbourly environment, within easy reach of all the must-see destinations. It also carries a far more affordable price tag, especially for the prestigious SW1 code it carries.
Pimlico is a great location that provides its residents access to the best of both worlds. Why not indulge in a full English breakfast from the well-known Regency Café, followed by a short stroll down the river? Simply board the tube or climb aboard a riverboat to reach all of London’s top destinations, without needing to navigate your way through the bustle the city is notorious for.
Staying in Westminster means unbridled access to the likes of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and 10 Downing Street. On the bank of the River Thames, you’ll have the most picturesque backdrop to must-have photo opportunities at every turn.
Westminster is a melting pot of global visitors, lending to it’s magic, evident on every street and in every building. If you prefer to have some peace and quiet, a trip to St James’s Park provides the ideal opportunity to take in the sights of Buckingham Palace and enjoy a relaxing moment in a truly incredible setting.
Covent Garden is situated just minutes from London’s most famous theatres in the city’s West End - a major drawcard for London travellers who have an appreciation for the performing arts. The variety of open-air restaurants and cafes is nothing short of spectacular, and the combination of these two elements is perhaps what makes Covent Garden so captivating and unique.
Kensington is synonymous with luxury and extravagance. Whether you’re interested in the allure of boutique shopping, the two Royal Parks that Kensington is home to, or perhaps some of London’s most famous museums, Kensington offers so much more than meets the eye. The Kensington Palace grounds offer a somewhat surreal environment to take in the opulence of the neighbourhood on an afternoon stroll. Might we suggest an afternoon tea at the Orangery restaurant located on these pristine grounds?
A celebrity haven, Chelsea has a reputation for glamour, cocktail bars and the luxury life. If you’re looking for a neighbourhood where you can dance the night away, and enjoy a culturally rich experience the very next morning without needing to change cities - Chelsea might be what you’re looking for.
Visit the myriad bars and restaurants on Kings Road for your glitzy and fun night out, followed by a breathtaking wander near Hyde Park - where you’ll have a staggering 350 acres to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Across the river from iconic Westminster, Waterloo can perhaps best be described as the hip younger sister. Ride the London Eye for breathtaking views of the city centre before enjoying a new piece of ground-breaking drama at the National Theatre. On a summer's eve, why not soak up the festive atmosphere of the Southbank with its outdoor cafés, restaurants and bars - overlooking the river Thames?
London is a magical city, full of exciting new adventures just waiting to be experienced and enjoyed.
But what happens at the end of a long day of sightseeing? With a city as rich and diverse as London, choosing the right place to stay can be a somewhat daunting prospect.
Below we will detail our most highly recommended neighbourhoods for couples visiting the capital city.
The Best Places to Stay in London for Couples
As a couple visiting London, you're going to want to find accommodation that suits both of your needs. Perhaps you’re on the lookout for a place to stay in London that brings your romantic side to life, while still connecting you to the broader city and giving you access to enjoy all London has to offer.
Here are some areas you might want to consider when you’re on the hunt for London accommodation as a couple:
Notting Hill is known as one of London's most charming neighbourhoods. This cosy location offers plenty to discover on your romantic trip. Why not lose yourselves in the Portobello Market stalls, laden with vintage finds, or spend a few hours hunting for famous movie spots? Top tip: if you’re on the lookout for Hugh Grants' Blue Door' - you can find it at 282 Westbourne Park Road.
Little Venice is the place to be for cosy pubs and canal strolls. This area offers a unique insider view of London’s waterside life.
Indulge in a delectable meal at one of the numerous canal-side cafés, pubs or restaurants. If the weather permits, why not take to the water on a leisurely boat ride along the canal to see London from a whole new point of view? You will be spoilt for choice for romantic spots in Little Venice!
For couples who find bliss in nature, a stay in Hampstead offers so much more than you could imagine. Pre-order a bespoke picnic basket from Hampstead Butcher and Providore and indulge in the finest British cheeses, bakery treats, and meats on a picnic up Parliament Hill. Be sure to pack your camera and capture the breathtaking views over the London skyline; you might even want to spread out the blanket and pop a bottle of fizz to truly savour the moment.
Kensington and Chelsea
Two upmarket neighbourhoods located next to one another in the west side of London - just a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace. Kensington and Chelsea offer couples an opportunity to be in royal company, and experience the buzzing nightlife they have become renowned for. These vibrant locations are juxtaposed with sprawling green spaces - striking a perfect balance not many other neighbourhoods can offer.
For a more relaxed neighbourhood that is still within easy reach of all the great romantic spots across the city, we highly recommend Pimlico. Located outside of the congestion zone, there are plenty of transport options to speedily and affordably get you around the city.
Pimlico offers beautiful garden squares that are perfect green pockets, ideal for a picnic amongst white stucco terraced streets. Dolphin Square serviced apartments, in the heart of Pimlico, offer a beautiful place to relax and unwind at night. Contemporary and affordable, you and your love will have your own open plan apartment complete with pantry style kitchen to create those cosy, memorable breakfasts in bed.
Our private, full-size swimming pool offers the ultimate relaxation area, and our on-site Moroccan inspired spa is the perfect accompaniment for a day of pampering. Treat yourselves to a romantic couples massage to unwind after an action-packed day of adventuring. Finish off your evening with a nightcap at our on-site bar, located just downstairs from your apartment.
Couples visiting London want more than just a nice neighbourhood to stay in. They want to savour as many romantic experiences as possible. The next section will help the romantic pair looking to visit London achieve exactly that.
The Most Romantic Places in London
These are our top romantic places to make sure you visit during your couples trip. Outdoors, indoors, luxurious and quirky - there's something in here for everyone.
Candlelit dinner for two
There are hundreds - if not thousands of fantastic restaurants to choose from when visiting London. We highly recommend The Paternoster Chop House - offering an incredible seasonal menu and a signature cocktail menu. Interestingly, this is the filming location for the British TV show, ‘First Dates’. Why not watch an episode or two to get you up to speed on your travels to the city?
Behold the London Skyline
The breathtaking London skyline is immediately recognisable, and you can spot it from various points across the city. A favourite of ours is the view from Primrose Hill. Surrounded by trees and green fields, you can relax for a peaceful, sunny afternoon overlooking the city.
Relaxation and rowboats
If you're feeling invigorated, we might suggest you head over to one of London's many green spaces for a literal breath of fresh air, and ample space to burn off your energy. Hyde Park is one of the most famous green spaces in the capital. To get the most out of your Hyde Park experience, why not hire a rowboat and read poetry to one another - a la Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Fun, fun, fun!
Some healthy competition is always good. Challenge your other half to a friendly game of mini-golf at Putt Shack. Claimed to be the best mini golf in London, Puttshack uses never-seen-before technology, adding in the odd surprise or two along the way to keep you entertained.
Part of a romantic getaway surely involves some quality time. However, finding time for just the two of you in such a busy city might seem hard. Fortunately, London has a plethora of historic pubs, full of cosy nooks and crackling fires for the two of you to savour.
Ye Olde Mitre is tucked away on a back street, and if you're successful in finding it, you'll be rewarded with a maze of intimate rooms, quiet corners and delicious ales at the bar; soak up a slice of London’s rich history while you sip.
A waterside walk
London trips are almost guaranteed to be action-packed, so if you're craving something a little more laid back, a relaxed stroll by the tranquil canals in Little Venice could be just the elixir you’re looking for. We’ve mentioned this little oasis already, but with plenty of beautiful waterside cafés and pubs to choose from, it’s a great spot to grab a relaxed brunch and enjoy the calming powers of water.
London is home to an astounding 67 Michelin Star restaurants. For that extra-special romantic meal out, surprise your partner with a dinner to remember. Whether you’re looking for a statement restaurant, a speciality dining experience - or something in-between, you’re spoilt for choice in the capital city!
At Dolphin Square, our goal is to make your trip to London unforgettable. The next section explains why Pimlico is the place to be during your visit.
Why Pimlico is the Best Place to Stay in London for Sightseeing
Beautiful architecture and leafy suburbs decorate the streets of Pimlico. Just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, Pimlico is a great location for your stay in London. A 30-minute idyllic stroll along the River Thames will have you gazing up at Big Ben, wandering the streets surrounding the Houses of Parliament or boarding the famous London Eye for spectacular views of the city's incredible skyline.
Take a 25 minute wander in the opposite direction, through the streets of neighbouring Westminster, and you’ll be tipping your hat at the Queen in Buckingham Palace - or admiring the beautiful green spaces of Hyde Park and St James’ Park.
Pimlico is home to some of the best transport links available. Pimlico Station connects with the city’s underground network via the Victoria line, where you can ride an iconic red London bus- the ideal backdrop for picture-perfect romantic photos. Pimlico is also conveniently located outside the congestion zone - saving you loads of money and hassle during your stay.
Architecturally, Pimlico has a ‘Mary Poppins’ type of charm to it. The area has also been home to many famous people throughout the years. Ebury Street is adorned with Blue Plaques marking its former residents - including Alfred Tennyson, Michael Caine, and Dame Edith Evans. You’ll also find the statue honouring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the streets of Pimlico.
Famous residents, luscious green spaces, incredible architecture and easy commuting; Pimlico truly is the best place to be on your trip to London.
Your London trip awaits
London truly is amazing. Finding the right place to stay during your visit to London, though, can make or break your visit.
At Dolphin Square, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality, modern, affordable accommodation in the heart of the capital city. Our serviced apartments are available to rent at highly competitive prices, and staying with us gives you unbridled access to world-class amenities without needing to leave the building.
If you’re looking to stay in one of London's most famous districts while enjoying an on-site gym, spa, and restaurant, then look no further. All of our apartments are professionally managed, thoughtfully and tastefully decorated, and proudly maintained by our expert teams.
Secure your London trip today, our team is at hand to answer any questions you might have.
We look forward to welcoming you to Dolphin Square!