May 14th, 2023, 02:00 PM

A Local's Guide to a Weekend in London

By Natasha Hersman
Image credit: Unsplash / Benjamin Davies

With London only a short train ride away from Paris, it is the ideal destination for AUP students to go to for a weekend. As someone who grew up in London, I believe it is safe to say I am familiar with the city. I'll walk you through the best pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and daily activities to enjoy during your brief visit.

Thursday morning, you board the Eurostar and arrive in sunny London....joking, it will most likely be raining. You'll probably be a little peckish after dropping your luggage at the hotel and freshening up. Depending on where your hotel is, you have two options for food markets, which you should visit regardless by the end of your trip. The first is Camden Market, which has great street food and cute little shops to explore. These shops range from vintage kiosques to places full of incense and small souvenirs. After wandering around Camden Market and eating fries covered in fondue cheese, there is a funky store called Cyberdog. This is a dark store with strobe and neon lights all over it. It sells everything from makeup to funky clothing and has an adults-only section on the bottom floor. You don't have to buy anything; it's just fun to walk in. Camden market can be found on Camden High Street—ask directions from there if you get lost.


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Borough Market is your second option; this place is all about food. If you've been craving something unique from your hometown, something so unique that you're convinced only your hometown has it, you're wrong! It will be at Borough Market. If you've been craving a dish you tried on vacation once and haven't been able to recreate or find it since that trip, Borough will have it, I assure you.


After hitting up the market, if you’re lucky and the sun is shining, a beer is a perfect way to wash down that food. Pubs are normally on every road in London but personally my favorites are Chelsea Farmer's Market (located on Sydney Street in Chelsea) where they have great cocktails. There are three pubs around Notting Hill where I would often go: The Union Tavern, The Earl of Lonsdale and The Pig and Whistle (which has a pool table and great pizza). The Churchill Arms, one of the oldest pubs in London, is another good pub to visit before you leave and looks beautiful from the outside as its covered in flowers.



Realistically if you’re coming from Camden Market and want a nice pub to go to, you can get on the northern line go to Covent Garden and wander around until you see a nice pub or indulge in the cute stores around this area.

Dinner plans await you after you leave the pub and return to your hotel. This restaurant serves the best lobster roll, which melts in your mouth and leaves you yearning for more the moment you leave. Burger and Lobster, with locations in Soho, Leicester Square and Finsbury, allows you flexibility depending on your plans after. 


The following day, there's no doubt that you'll be a tourist. So after seeing the Big Ben, the London Eye and all that jazz, I recommend that you visit Brick Lane for some vintage shopping. This location has the best vintage stores where you can find haute couture and much more. Brick Lane is also very cool because it is covered in street art. Dark Sugars is nearby where you can get a hot chocolate loaded with white, dark or milk chocolate.


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You have a few options for dinner. Dinner options include Good Earth (Chinese), Maroush (Mediterranean), Phat Phuc (Noodle Bar) and Da Mario (Italian), depending on what you're in the mood for. The evening and beverages are waiting after dinner. The Alchemist is a trendy bar where they serve additional cocktails made with test tubes, smoke and syringes. They offer a variety of drinks, but my favorite is the Pop-sicle, which has tequila, Passoa, lime, Cointreau, orange, mango and bubbly. Make your way to The Jazz Cafe to have a dance to close the night. The music there varies depending on the night, so be sure to check what activities are taking place. The club is enjoyable, inexpensive and filled with people who simply want to dance and have a good time. It even has a stage where people come up and dance if there's no entertainment going on. 


Brunch is calling your name before returning to Paris and boarding the Eurostar: Eggslut, Le Deli Robuchon for the viral square croissant, and Beaten by a Whisker for a fantastic cinnamon roll. This is entirely dependent on your cravings following a fantastic night out. 

Enjoy your trip to London!