I have a lot of family in London so it often feels like an extension of "home" when I visit because I would stay in their homes and they are my tour guides. Only recently I had the opportunity to stay in a hotel after a long time of visiting. The city has evolved. It used to be really expensive to eat out at restaurants for locals and visitors alike. Now, the city is overrun with amazing bars, restaurants, lounges and markets that offer everyone something delicious for a reasonable spend. I have found that AirBnBs can be just as much as hotels in certain areas so be sure to do your research on hotels as well.
- High Tea. I highly suggest booking a reservation before you go at one of the many hotels and cafes that serve high tea with tradition. Two that stand out are Sketch and The Savoy. Eat, drink and be merry. Make reservations as these do get booked up in advance.
- Trains. Trains. Trains. The train system in London is probably one of the best in the world to use as a visitor. It is pretty simple once you figure out which direction you need to go in. The traffic can be a nightmare and taxis quite expensive so repeat after me "trains, trains, trains..."
- Indian Food! The exclamation alone hopefully shows you how exciting this is for me. They have delicious ethnic food in general but Indian food in London is something else. I was at Dishoom twice during my stay there because it was the best Indian food I have had outside of India. The dishes are not standard Indian fare and everything I tried had complex flavor. I am still dreaming about those kheema pav buns.
- Venture away. City of London has many neighborhoods and it is easy to want to stay near Central London but venturing out can be worth it. I stayed in the Shoreditch area (north east London) and am so glad I did. My hotel, Citizen M, was the perfect stay and it was an area with some fun street art (pics below). They had unique restaurants, areas to walk and you were not competing with a lot of tourists in getting anywhere. The Central Line stops near by.
- A good hub. London is a great hub to jumpstart your European travels. A tip? Prices often drop from major US cities to London throughout the course of the year. If you book that ticket to London you can easily book European airlines (which are pretty cheap) to other destination cities or even hop on trains to Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam. Don't forget Scotland and Ireland are other close destinations which offer stunning scenery, scotch, brown bread etc.