I know that traveling internationally can be overwhelming for a lot of people.  London is one of my favorite cities in the world (it’s tied with Barcelona), and I love sharing my favorite parts of it with others–both in person and virtually.

Dawson Place b&b (1 of 1)

Dawson Place, the best B&B I’ve stayed at in London

Dawson Place breakfast cart (1 of 1)

 Our breakfast was brought into our room on a cart, and we ate at a little table next to the fireplace in our room.  (We stayed in the pink room.) AMAZE.

Dawson Place breakfast (1 of 1)

I’ve been to London loads of times, and Dawson Place is absolutely the best place I’ve ever stayed. It’s reasonably priced (especially considering the delicious breakfast they serve you in your room–yogurt, cereals, bread, jam, cheese, tea, coffee & juice), and it’s right in the heart of Notting Hill, within walking distance to the Portobello Road Market and the Notting Hill Gate tube station.  It’s so close to the market that I paused my shopping to return to our room and drop off my bags and eat something, and then I headed right back to the market. It’s seriously like a 5 minute walk. Oh, AND it’s right around the corner from Nando’s, one of our very favorite places to eat.

Nando's Notting Hill (1 of 1)

Nando's Notting Hill 2 (1 of 1)

Hillsong dominion theater (1 of 1)

Each time we’re in London on a weekend we attend Hillsong’s Sunday service at The Dominion Theater, which is literally a few steps from the Tottenham Court Road tube station.  So awesome.

Hillsong dominion theater2 (1 of 1)

When you’re in London:

If you don’t want to stay at Dawson Place and you don’t mind spending more, check out London House Hotel.  Both places are near the Notting Hill Gate tube station, which is served by the central, district, and circles lines.  Being close to this station makes navigating the city super easy.

Eat at Nando’s. Cheap and delicious.

Chinatown is fun for a night out, and there are loads of legit Chinese restaurants to choose between.  It’s a short walk from the Leicester Square (pronounced Lester) tube station.

I highly recommend purchasing a Pocket Pilot Map of London before your trip.  SOOO helpful!!!!

Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.  You will walk more than you ever thought possible.  Ditto for travel days–airports are huge places.

ATMs are called “cashpoints.” This is the best and cheapest way to get cash abroad–places that exchange your money will usually charge you a huge percentage.

Make sure your bank/credit card company knows you’ll be traveling.  I’ve had to deal with my card being turned off because they thought it had been stolen, and it kind of sucked.

Watch your stuff–keep your bags closed and close to you.  Pick pockets like to work in crowded markets and on the tube by standing next to you and helping themselves to what’s in your bag.
Buy a full-day travel card for the tube each day (these can be purchased at machines in each station).  The tube is the safest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around London.
Make sure the back of your debit/credit cards are signed.  Most stores will check to see if your signature matches before they’ll check your ID, and they get pissy if it’s not signed already.  Also, make sure you tell cashiers that you have a “swipe card” and not a “chip and pin” card; they’ll know what you mean.  And carry your passport with you everyday.
Some Shopping Info (if that’s your thing):
Department stores:
Harvey Nichols: (Harvey Nicks to locals) There are some cool places here, too.
Harrods:  Super touristy and expensive, but also super famous.  They do a lovely afternoon tea (pricey though).
Debenhams: one of my favorite English stores
Marks and Spencer (called Marks and Sparks by my family): a classic English department store
Areas of town for shopping:
Oxford Street: A busy area packed with shops, department stores, and restaurants.  Brace yourself and dive in.
Covent Garden: a cool area of London near the theater district.  Lots of shops, restaurants, and street performers.  There are also markets here on the weekend.
Notting Hill: Of course.
Spitalfields Market:  my favorite London market. It’s covered, so it’s a good rainy day activity.  There are tons of vendors selling amazing, unique jewelry, clothing, purses, vintage fur coats, etc.  You could spend hours here.  There are also a lot of little boutiques and restaurants.  It’s kind of hard to find from the tube station (Liverpool Street) and a little bit of a walk, so either take a taxi or just ask people on the street every few minutes if you’re going the right way.

London Tube (1 of 1)

Have questions? I love to chat about this stuff, so ask away!

  • Leslie Lee

    Eeee you’re such a travel pro, friend! Jealous!!! :) I got to go to London for a week in college and loved it SO much. Can’t wait to go back someday. Thanks for the super helpful tips! Filing it away :) p.s. Cheese at breakfast is one of my love languages. That was one of the first things I noticed in this post, lol.

    • Caroline Grace

      Cheese at breakfast is the BEST!!! With bread, and butter and coffee…
      So glad you got to go to England–I think everyone should travel internationally at least once in his/her life!