Ever wish you knew the inside scoop before visiting a new destination? Now you can! We’ve reached out to our favorite locals and tour guides from all over the world for their insider tips. In the City Insider Q&A, they’ll let you in on the spots that should be on your must-see and do list!
Occupation: Tour Guide
YouTube: BritMovieTours’s channel
Short Bio: Hi I’m Val. I’ve been a London tour guide for a few years and like to tell people that I have one of the best jobs imaginable: I’m paid to talk about things that I’m interested in. I love being able to chat with a diverse array of people and share little known secrets about London. The best way to describe me is as a talkative, enthusiastic nerd (in his Father-of-the-Bride speech Dad said that if there had been an Olympic event in talking, I would have found a place on team GB!). My main passions are history, literature and films, so you can see why working for a company that specializes in TV and film location tours keeps me happy.
Best way to get to/from airport: On the fastest train with the least amount of changes.
Best way to get to/from train station: The underground. As much as Londoners like to complain about it, it’s by far the best way to get around London.
Favorite 5-star hotel: The Rookery. This is a 4-star hotel, but trust me on this.
5 places visitors must see:
Best local newspaper/recommended reading (for finding out what’s going on about town): Time Out London
Favorite fine dining restaurant: Roast (Borough Market)
Favorite casual restaurant: La Lanterna, SE1 2BH
Best place to get a coffee: Monmouth Coffee, Borough Market or Covent Garden
Favorite bar/lounge: The Angel Pub, Rotherhithe, SE16 4NB (go upstairs or onto the balcony and you’ll see why)
Best music venue/place to see live music: Shoreditch area.
Favorite museum: Wallace Collection
Most popular local food: Fish ‘n’ chips—eaten with fingers out of the paper
Best “locals only” spot: Postman’s Park, Little Britain, EC1
To live like a local, you must have this experience: Buy an Oyster card.
Local/native fruit or dish to try: Jellied eels (once is enough!)
Most popular local drink: London Pride (beer)/Pimm’s with fruit (only in summer)
Best souvenirs to buy/ goods to bring home: An umbrella (you’ll probably use it whilst you’re here)
Biggest tourist trap/places to avoid and when: Leicester Square—most of the time; Oxford Circus/Oxford Street—Saturdays
Best smartphone app(s) for your city: Tube Buddy
Best travel tip: Instead of walking down the main, busy street, use the side streets (as long as it’s safe/not night). They aren’t crowded and that’s when you find most of London’s secret spots and hidden gems.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.