How to Holiday in London: By a Londoner – 5 Days Travel Vlog & Guide 2019


It’s odd how after 18 years of living in
London this is the first photo I’ve ever taken in front of Buckingham Palace. Funny
how we take these tourist hotspots for granted when we actually live in that place. To a
tourist this red phone box is fascinating. For me, I’m concerned if they still actually
work, if I ever lost my phone. To the tourist, Elizabeth is a queen, a ruler of lands and
the star of a Netflix Original. But to me, she’s just my friendly old lady neighbour.
Since starting this travel channel, I have mostly ignored my own home town, not because
it wasn’t great, but because it was just normal for me. So about a year ago I thought
it would be a good idea to do a travel vlog about my own city. But not as a local, as
a tourist. How, would my wife and I holiday in our own backyard. So over months of filming
various days out, I have created this travel vlog which will masquerade as being shot over
5 consecutive days in order to show people what I think is the best of London, to act
as a suggested guide for future visitors and perhaps a different view of a place I’ve
grown to love. This isn’t just about hitting the famous landmarks, and it isn’t just
about visiting places no one’s heard of, either. It’s a splash of both and what I
personally would recommend. If you’re new to the channel, we aim to make travel movies
where the location is king, hoping you might just find your next holiday inspiration. This
is Suitcase Monkey being a local tourist in London. (STRONG DRUM BEAT) So let’s zoom out a second and take a look
at what we have in store for us. Over the week, we will mostly focus on specific areas
each day to cover as much as possible in as little time. To begin, we started in this
area which broadly speaking covers the City of London. Under its original name Londinium,
2000 years ago, it was here where the the city’s first Roman settlers inhabited so
what better place for us to start. The Tower of London is one of London’s oldest
buildings, with the White Tower in the middle being almost 1,000 years old. (DRAMATIC MUSIC CONTINUES) What I love
about the Tower is how it sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to its surroundings
but also seems to feel right at home at the same time. (DRUMMING CONTINUES) I’d really recommend waiting for a Yeoman
tour which is included in the price of admission. Lasting around an hour, they vividly paint
stories of the Towers past I’ve seen
a few different tours over the years, and they have always been of a high standard,
with a sharp, dry British wit, not dissimilar to the humble narrator that you’re enjoying
right now. (DRUM MUSIC CONTINUES) Along with pretty much everything else I am
about to discuss in the video, I will put all important links in the description below,
along with our social media so you can follow us live while we do whatever London throws
our way next. Please do come along and say Hello (RAVEN CROWING) (UPBEAT HAPPY GENTLE MUSIC) Somewhere that isn’t as well known is St
Katharines Docks. Literally hidden across the road from the Tower of London, this little
gem is great for a tea or coffee, a lunch, a beer and occasionally a mini festival. Again,
I’ll link below, but they have sporadic dates where they will host really cool international
food festivals. But outside of those busy dates, it’s a really quaint, quiet, closed
off harbour where you can watch people with more money than you park their boats. Next, we headed into the heart of the City
of London, known as The Square Mile. It might seem odd to suggest the financial district
as a place to visit but especially on weekends when the streets are empty of the usual business,
there is some great architecture and history to discover. OK, so if you’re in the area and have a
spare 30 minutes then The Monument is worth a cheeky look in. It’s only £4.50, there
is never a wait and it gives you a nice simple view of the City. But you do have to be fit
enough to tackle the 311 steps it takes to climb to the top. The great fire of London in 1666 left 13,000
houses burnt to the ground and The Monument was erected as part of the effort to rebuild
the city. Along with the Tower, St Pauls Cathedral is
one of my favourite historical buildings in London. During the second World War Blitz,
it somehow miraculously missed all London bombings and stood as a beacon of hope. A
short walk from The Monument, it’s an impressive sight. If you want to get an elevated perspective
beforehand, I’d recommend going up to the roof terrace within the One New Change building.
There is a free observation deck as well as a trendy bar if you want to take your time
before visiting the impressive Cathedral. (LIGHT PIANO MUSIC) Whilst The Monument is great for a quick stop,
and without a booking, The Sky Garden is my favourite free viewing space in London but
usually requires a reservation. Nicknamed the Walkie Talkie, I’d always recommend
going just before sunset so you get the daylight turning to night. (LIGHT MUSIC CONTINUES, BUILDS WITH STRINGS) If they’ve run out of
free observation tickets, then I’d suggest booking a table at the Sky Garden’s Darwin
Brasserie instead. The food here isn’t cheap but is good enough with an even better view,
making it a great way to end your day. For lots more restaurant suggestions, I’d check
out our assortment of best London dining videos we’ve already made, which I’ll link to
above and below. (PIANO MUSIC FADES) UPBEAT INTENSE MUSIC) London is best discovered on foot and I think
there is no better way to relax into the city than with a long walk along the South side
of the River Thames. We started at Borough Market, with the aim to fuel ourselves up
for the rest of the afternoon. Being London’s oldest food market, its 1000
years of experience means you will be test tasting, smelling and eating some of the best
local and international flavours around. This is an energetic, bustling space open Monday
to Saturday with Wednesday to Saturday having the most traders. Whether you’re here for
breakfast, brunch or lunch, you are guaranteed to find something you’ll enjoy and hunting
for that goodness is often half the fun. (UPBEAT FUNKY MUSIC CONTINUES) (MUSIC ENDS, SILENCE, EATING NOISES) (GENTLE PIANO MUSIC) Walking along the Thames going from Borough
Market to the London Eye can take anything from an hour to a whole afternoon. Representing
the bottom part of an official walking route known as the Jubilee Walkway, it was opened
by the Queen during her Silver Jubilee celebrations. Along the way are dozens of pit stops that
may or may not grab your attention but the scrolling north side view of the Thames are
worth the walk alone. (GENTLE PIANO MUSIC CONTINUES) (MUSIC ENDS) (FASTER STRING MUSIC) This whole area of Westminster has been the
home of government and royalty for centuries. Westminster Abbey being the initial seed,
it was established in 960AD and has been the home to every royal coronation since. Acting
as an open air museum, this whole area is a who’s who within history. Much like the
Jubilee Walk, your time here can vary massively depending on how deep you want to go but an
hour or two can easily be spent wandering around. Whilst views of 10 Downing Street are not
possible for most, the closest view is around the back next to Horse Guards Parade. Just
next to this, is the Churchill War Rooms, where you can go inside the underground bunkers
where Winston Churchill planned through the Second World War. (FAST STRING MUSIC ENDS) (SLOW GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS) As we pass Trafalgar Square, we are now entering
the tourist hotspots. Let’s hang out in Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square, said
no Londoner ever. They should certainly be on every holiday makers list however, especially
Piccadilly Circus with its famous curved signs. Next, we head into Soho, which is the perfect
place for evening drinks and dinner. Catering to literally every single taste known to man,
there is literally something here for everyone. Chinatown is a great stop if you want either
authentic Chinese food or even the English/Chinese version I’ve grown up with. For the sake of this day, we went to Barrafina,
an authentic Spanish Tapas Bar right in the heart of Soho on Dean Street. Be prepared
for a wait since it is incredibly popular but the food here is always great. Our eyes
got very large as we tucked into Chorizo rolls, Ham Croquettes, Prawn Tempura, Deep water
Mussels, white fish, an incredibly juicy slab of beef, and the classic coffee and chocolate
tart to finish off. Soho covers a pretty large area altogether so I’m saving 2 of my favourite
Soho hotspots for when we return here on our final day. (SOFT GUITAR RIFF) After a busy few days, we wanted today to
be a relatively relaxing one, venturing out into South East London for a more local feel.
We would be spending most of our early afternoon in Greenwich but I think a nice add on is
its neighbouring town of Blackheath, especially if it’s a sunny day. Whilst no means essential,
Blackheath is probably the most local and unassuming place in this trip which makes
up its small town charm. Getting to Blackheath is just a couple of stops from London Bridge
and on that, a quick note to say that you should definitely download the app City Mapper
as it’s the best transport app for London. But the main reason I wanted to start in Blackheath
is that it is the best gateway into Greenwich itself. Entering from the south side of Greenwich
Park gives you The Flower Garden and The Pavillion Cafe but also a postcard view of London. This Prime Meridian line divides the earth
into the East and West hemispheres marking 0 Longitude on a map is also the reference
for Greenwich Mean Time. In the late 19th Century every town in the world kept their
own local time with no international standards. Greenwich was chosen as the centre of world
time and the Royal Observatory does a good job of telling this story. (FUNKY BASS RIFF) A great way to get back to Central London
is to take the Thames Clippers. The Thames by boat is a great way to see the city from
a different perceptive and whilst doing a slower commentary boat is also a great option,
this version provides sightseeing and transport at the same time. There are several stops along the way, but
we wanted to get off at Embankment since there are a few random things we wanted to show
you. The first being Victoria Embankment Gardens which is worth a drop in if you’re already
close and its a nice day. But also, one of my favourite London drinking spots is here
in the shape of Gordon’s Wine Bar. On a sunny day and evening, its a great place to
enjoy some crisp white wine outside and during the winter months they have a really cool
cellar underground. This also holds a special place for us since it was the place where
Chiaki and myself had our first ever date together. (GENTLE ROUND OF APPLAUSE) A few minutes from Gordons Wine Bar, and just
off The Strand, is Adam Street. Here, you will find a door that strikes an uncanny resemblance
to that of number 10 Downing Street. Which leaves you open for many a comical pose and
an Instagram post to impress your friends. And while I mention it, please do consider
following us on Instagram and Facebook so you can enjoy our London travels live as they
happen. Now, if you listen to nothing else I say,
then listen to this. If you’ve never done one before, you have to enjoy an afternoon
tea whilst in London. Going all out for an afternoon tea is one of our favourite dining
experiences and something we do at least a couple of times a year. I’ll spread my footage
here over 2 places we’ve visited recently but I’ve put a link in the description that
lists loads of different options for you. Generally speaking though, as long as you
see good reviews on Trip Advisor, you can’t go wrong. This tradition is said to have come about
in the early 19th century when it was normal for someone to only have breakfast and dinner.
When Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and now one of my personal heroes complained of
hunger during the long afternoon period, the idea of enjoying a snack was born and here
we are, a lunch, a brunch and an afternoon tea later. Generally consisting of a multitude of speciality
tea or coffee, a delicious selection of sandwiches, usually with the crusts cut off, thank you
very much, a marvellous mix of sweet desserts and then my personal favourite, the scone
with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Now, if there is one topic within England that
divides people more than Brexit, it’s how to spread your jam on a scone. Whether you
should enjoy it the Devonshire way; that is with jam spread on top of the cream or the
Cornish way with the cream on top. Whether any of this makes any actual difference once
it’s all in your mouth doesn’t seem to be the point but I invite you to try them
both and let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are. With an afternoon tea usually satisfying any
hunger for the rest of the day, what better way to work off all those calories, than to
sit still in a darkened room facing forwards. Something else that should be on everyones
to-do list, is to enjoy a West End show. Along with Broadway, London hosts the finest
selection of shows in the world and the scale and quality here is top notch. Three shows
that continue to run that I would recommend to anyone are Hamilton, Wicked and the Book
of Mormon. And we’ve also recently seen Aladdin, The Comedy about a Bank Robbery,
The Play that Goes Wrong, and Harry Potter which I’d suggest also. Tickets can be purchased
either at the actual box office or various ticket outlets around the city, with the main
one being in Leicester Square and unofficial ones dotted around. But I’d also recommend
the Today Tix app for a simple mobile option and I’ll link a few websites in the description
below also. As part of this hypothetical trip, I wanted
one of our days to take us away from London. When thinking what this day could be, instead
of picking my favourite child, I thought it better to give you a brief summary of a bunch
of different potential days away. So here goes… The furthest out on this list is a 90 minute
train ride taking you to the old Roman city of Bath. Located in the South West of England,
Bath is a great getaway and although it might be rushed, could be done in a day if you catch
an early train out with a late return. In fact, I recommend Bath so much, I’ve
already made a full length travel vlog on our weekend away, so make sure to check out
the full story. A little closer to home, and with about 40
minutes of travel time is the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, otherwise known as the Making
of Harry Potter. If you have any interest in the boy wizard or movie magic in general,
then this is a great half day activity. The moment where the Great Hall is revealed behind
its colossal doors is really well told and is a great start to your experience. Compared
to the world in Universal Studios, it’s a lot less theme park and more of the actual
behind the scenes, where you can interact with genuine props, set design, costumes,
and effects that made up the franchise. One of my favourite parts was where you get
to green screen yourself onto a frantic broom stick flight. Now as a little bit of background
on myself I had 3 years of drama school training and I think its clear to see those years were
certainly not wasted. (DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS) Just beyond this, you get to step inside the
original Hogwarts express that is contained within an impressive recreation of Platform
9¾. What followed was what my life had been leading up to. With a director yelling instructions,
I was finally given the chance to show the National Theatre why they were wrong during
those dark days of 2003. DIRECTOR SPEAKING: Now look out of the window and smile and laugh Great! Keep it up and look over at the camera. Big Smiles! Nice! You’re on your way to Hogwarts so you’re really excited, you’re happy, let me see some big smiles! And cut! Thanks for riding along (VOICE OVER AGAIN) For all bookings, please contact my agent. If you’d rather get a bit more in touch
with nature, then I’d recommend an early morning trip to Richmond Park. I say early
morning since this is the best time to spot the deer that roam freely around the park
and it’s a nice early scene in Jurassic Park moment when you do. (GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC) Not too far from Richmond Park is Kew Gardens,
which was one of my first videos on this channel so take a look at that in my pre voice days.
We visited here on a cold January and it was still an enjoyable day out. But visiting in
the summer months and especially if you’re a lover of nature, then you’ll safely be
in plant heaven. Windsor is also another day that is easily
travelled to and from London in a day. I don’t have any footage of Windsor but wanted to
give it a shout out anyway. There is obviously so much more to Britain
than just London and I plan on doing some more UK destinations as and when we travel
there. I will definitely be posting a video soon about our time in Edinburgh which I’d
highly recommend for a longer trip and to see more of the country. (UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC) London has a great collection of free museums
so I wanted to start our final day with my favourite, the Natural History Museum. Before
you even arrive, I’d suggest stopping off at Exhibition Road which hosts a number of
great little stops for breakfast. The museum itself covers everything from dinosaurs to
present day animals, to natural disasters all with information and spectacle in mind. (JAZZ MUSIC CONTONUES) 20 minutes later via the Underground… and
we’ve arrived in North London, at Camden Town. With Chalres Dickens, Alan Bennett,
Dylan Thomas and Amy Winehouse all former residents, this list alone tells you all you
need to know about Camden Today it’s famous for its markets, and counter culture so gives
a tangible alternative to what we’ve seen so far. (JAZZ MUSIC CONTINUES) (JAZZ MUSIC STOPS, SILENCE) (SLOW GENTLE PIANO MUSIC (MUSIC BUILDS) (MUSIC FADES) (FAINT PIANO MUSIC STARTS) Heading back to central London, there are
2 final areas around Soho and the West End that for me, are both must visit. The first
is Covent Garden and its neighbouring Seven Dials area. Compared to say Regent or Oxford
Street which are great places for shopping, Covent is still shopping, but with a more
relaxed, polished, creative beat to it. Once referred to as the “Garden of Westminster
Abbey and Convent”, it later became known as Covent Garden. Markets of some form have
been here since the 1600’s and today it is a great mixture of sole traders, big name
brands and of course its famous performers and entertainers. One lesser known area within
Covent Garden is another church that goes by the name of Saint Paul’s. This is a small
secluded oasis and a perfect place to bring a takeaway sandwich or coffee for a quick
bite. A few minutes north of here via Neal Street,
and you arrive at a small roundabout known as the Seven Dials. Named because there are
quite simply 7 roads that run off the centre, each are worth a look in with a few nice surprises
along the way. My favourite stop from here is Neal’s Yard. For its Instagramable design
alone its worth a quick stop, but the cafes here are all worth a sit down and I can vouch
from experience that restaurant Homeslice serve a tasty pizza. Then, 10 or 15 minutes from here, and you’ll
end up at the famous Carnaby Street. Running almost parallel to Regent, its a pedestrian
shopping haven. Just off Carnaby is the excellent Kingly Court. This is a small square with
3 levels of restaurants and cafes all vying for your attention. There’s so much to recommend
here, a few we’ve sampled are Crumbs and Dollies for mouth watering treats, The Good
Egg for an amazing brunch, Jinjuu for some tasty Korean Street food, and Cahoots for
some underground cocktails to round off the evening and a jam packed tour of my home city. Now, I know there are still loads of things
I’ve missed so please let me know if you would like more London videos. If you haven’t
already, take a look at our Bath, Kew Gardens and London dining videos. Subscribe for our
upcoming Edinburgh vlog and check the notification bell since I only post every 6 to 8 weeks.
Please also give this video a thumbs up since it really helps us spread the word and come
say hi over on Instagram or your choice of social media. Thanks for watching Suitcase
Monkey.

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