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Raahat C.

London, United Kingdom Guide by Raahat C. Status: Currently live here (since 10 Sep, 2007)

What are some of your favorite memories of London?
The Saturday Church Street market in Marylebone is something I'll never forget. With vendors from at least 15 different countries selling everything from kebabs to strawberries, to galangal, it's a veritable trip around the world! If it's variety you're after, there'll never be another melting pot quite like London.

How would you spend 36 hours in London?
36 hours would definitely be too short! But if I had to narrow it down, I'd head to a local food market in the morning, walk around Hampstead village and picnic at the Heath, and definitely spend the evening bar-hopping in Shoreditch ! The next day I'd grab brunch at Brixton Village and then catch a play at one of the smaller, independent theatres.

What kind of practical information should first-time visitors know about London?
Be warned that the Tube does not run for 24 hours!! If you're out late you'll either need to get on a night bus or take a cab home. Cabs can be fairly expensive if you're on a tight budget.

During the day, use the buses. They may be a little slower but you really get to see the city a lot more!

If you're mainly in the centre, walk! Central London is smaller than you realise and quite pedestrian friendly.

What are some precautions that people should take while exploring London?
ALWAYS carry a light cardigan and an umbrella. Even if its bright and sunny in the morning, it may begin to drizzle by the afternoon and get fairly nippy in the evening. Best to be prepared, especially if you're going to be out all day.

If you're moving to live here, beware of housing scams on Gumtree where you might see gorgeous looking flats being marketed cheaply. London rents are NOT cheap. Especially not in Central London. Do your research and above all, use your common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Any other indispensable pieces of advice to share?
Central London is the most expensive part of London and also the most touristy. If you really want to see what regular London life is all about, do try venturing outside the centre.

Just pick a neighbourhood and explore. You'll be thrilled to discover quirky galleries, live music acts, fantastic artisan delis and tiny secret gardens along the way.

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  • Pera Restaurant, Shoreditch High Street, London, United Kingdom

Cheap and delicious. Satisfy your late-night, post-drink hunger pangs with (what is hands down) one of the best kebabs in London. At 5 quid a pop, your tummy and wallet will both be purring contentedly! My insider tip - definitely opt for lamb over chicken - it's gorgeously smoky and succulent.

  • Roti Joupa, Clapham High Street, London, United Kingdom

A fantastic blend of Caribbean and Indian influences, Roti Joupa definitely stands out from your regular high street takeaway. It is also one of the few places in London where you can find deliciously tender mutton! Try it curried with their soft, pillowy rotis.

  • Nightjar, City Road, London, United Kingdom

Inspired by the speakeasys of the 1920's, Bar Nightjar's ticking every box. With tasteful decor, live jazz and some genuinely creative and beautifully presented cocktails, this slice of old-school glamour has really got it spot on!

  • Sushi Of Shiori, Drummond Street, London, United Kingdom

Small but perfectly formed, Sushi of Shiori is run by husband and wife duo Takashi and Hitomi. The tiny restaurant only seats up to 6 but part of the experience is watching chef Takashi create your meal with incredible artistry. The freshest ingredients served with genuine attention to detail, this is intimate dining at its best.

  • The Windsor Castle, Campden Hill Road, Kensington, London, United Kingdom

Dating back to 1835, this historic boozer is a local favourite. With cosy booths, fireplaces and a pretty garden on offer, this little gem oozes bags of charm.

  • Westfield London, Ariel Way, London, United Kingdom

Oxford street under one roof! Skip the frenzy and the cold (and possibly the rain too) and just jump in here for all your shopping needs.

Westfield London (the other one in the East is Westfield Stratford city), also have a great cinema (Vue) and a brilliant food court inside.

If that isn't enough, there are top rated restaurants right outside in what's known as the Southern Terrace.

  • Tabard Theatre, Bath Road, London, United Kingdom

If you're looking to go beyond the musicals at London's West End, spend an evening at the Tabard Theatre in Chiswick. It's an intimate local venue that showcases new, and often promising, talent.

The theatre shares its name with a pub downstairs, which offers up a warm atmosphere, a great selection of ales and a genuinely interesting mix of people.


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