London Travel Guide

Visitor Guide to Canary wharf in London

Visitor Guide to Canary wharf in London

Canary Wharf is built on the Isle of Dogs in London (not to be confused with the movie!) and it’s the concrete jungle of London, where a lot of the banks, law firms and the skyscrapers are located. It is very protected with security personal and CCTV everywhere and it always feels odd going there, but since it’s a comfortable commute for me, I go there to dine sometimes. It has really changed from when I first moved to London and now it is becoming a little more family friendly and it was even busy on a Sunday, which was very unlikely a couple years ago. In this post, I want to give you a quick guide into navigating Canary Wharf and what you would expect from that part of town.

How to get to Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf is connected by the underground’s Jubilee Line and the Dockland Light Railway, DLR, which makes it easy to access if you are coming from South and East London. To get the best travel route you can check Google Maps, City Mapper or the official Transports for London website.

Things to do in Canary Wharf

Enjoy all the sculptures

If sculptures are you thing, then you would love walking around Canary Wharf with a lot of the sculptures are on display around the squares and the buildings. You can follow the official art map and see them. I spotted a few that I liked, which I thought was cool, but I am one of the people who went all the way to the Sculpture park in Norway. My favourites are #21 and #23 in case you are wondering.

Can you spot the sculptures in this photo?

Can you spot the sculptures in this photo?

The Dockland Museum

Canary Wharf is the home of the West India Docks, which was an important port from 1802 till the late 1980s when it started declining. It was later taken by the government and sold to various companies and redeveloped to what it is now. If you want the detailed history of all of this, you can go see it and read about it in the Dockland museum. The building itself dates to 200 years ago as well! It’s one of the warehouses in the image below.

The Dockland Museum in Canary Wharf

Roof Garden

I really like the small roof garden in the Cross rail Place. It’s usually quiet and good place to walk to after lunch. It will take you 15 minutes max to go around it by the way. There are two bar restaurants there on either side, but you don’t usually hear any noise. They have a few nice plants and even some fern from New Zealand if you are into that!

roof garden in the Cross rail Place
Roof garden in the Cross Rail Place | Canary Wharf, London

Shopping

Canary Wharf has a few shopping areas and plenty of shops to choose from. You can find the usual high street brands and the upper scales ones. They also have one of the most expensive malls there with a lot of the luxury brands. Here’s their official directory if you want to look up a specific brand.

Christmas Activities

I would advice going to Canary Wharf during the day to be able to see the buildings and the riverside. It is too quiet and dark at night to enjoy unless you are just going for dinner and leaving straight away. My favourite time of the year to visit the area is Christmas because they have a nice Christmas market and a skiing rink that is quieter than most in London.

Canary+Wharf+in+Christmas

Billingsgate’s Fish Market

I know the fish market is random and I actually never wake up early enough to go because it’s only open from 4am to 8am. I heard amazing things about the freshness and the choices of the fish there. This is where restaurants go get their fish selection and one of those days, I will try to get there and do my fish shop!


Canary Wharf Restaurants

There are many restaurants dotted around Canary Wharf, but the three main areas I go to are: The Jubilee Park Mall, the Cross Rail Place and sometimes the river facing restaurants. I have not tried all of them, but there are a few that I like and go to often and are mentioned below.

Ps. Not all restaurants are open late or on weekends. The ones mentioned here usually are, but always check opening times if you are making the trip from a long distance.

Breakfast or Brunch in Canary Wharf

The Breakfast Club

If you are going on the weekend, be prepared to wait up to 40 minutes especially if it’s brunch time. It gets packed so quickly! But it’s a big space with upstairs area and they sometimes have evening events there too. The breakfast club is loved by tourists and locals, but it’s slightly hyped and they don’t always have great service there. It’s a safe option for food though with a lot of options for meat eaters (not halal) and vegetarians (that’s what I get!).

Chai Kai

It’s just next door to the breakfast club and is usually my second stop when I do not get a table at the breakfast club. The prices for mains are very similar to the one above, but they charge for everything! I even extra syrup for pancakes. It is a nice place still and their service is very good. Their chicken and lamb is halal so that’s a plus.

Chai Kai Breakfast in Canary Wharf

Lunch or Dinner in Canary Wharf

Sticks n Sushi

This is one of my favourite Sushi restaurants in London and this branch is much easier to find a table than the rest of the branches in London and their service is always fantastic. I usually get their sea food or vegetarian/vegan options, but if you don’t drink alcohol double check their ingredients because even their regular soya sauce contains it.

Stick n Sushi Canary Wharf
Sticks n Sushi Canary Wharf

Franco Manca

I always forget it is there! But if you want a nice, reliable Italian pizza, then that is where you need to go! Their prices are reasonable and the pizzas are always delicious.


Is Canary Wharf a good location to stay while visiting London?

Well it depends. If you are there on business and your time is limited it’s better to stay there, but if you have flexibility and you want to see a more authentic part of London then no. I personally would not stay there if I am in London for a short time because it is a very modern and built up part and I like the other quirky side of London that has more culture and heritage.

Canary Wharf Hotels

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The unspoken etiquette of the London transports

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I am writing this post because of sheer frustration with some of the commuters I meet on a daily basis hence the angry tone of this post. I actually wrote most of this on a number of frustrating train journeys. After getting annoyed with others on the tube, I express it all by noting how courteous people need to be. Mastering the art of London transports needs time, practice and care for your fellow Londoners. 

The London transport system can be very confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it then your understanding of the city gets much better. This little guide will give you few pointers that you should be reading before you even get to London. I am hoping this guide will make you a pro London commuter. 


Nine Unspoken Etiquette of the London Transports

1- Know your route

Before you set off to use the public transports, make sure to actually know the route you will be travelling through as in check Google Maps or City Mapper and TFL. Get a clear idea and go. It might help taking a screen shot of the route or right down the stop names if you get easily confused and you probably will be if it’s your first few times. I think it took me a month to understand the system. I still make mistakes and get lost, but it’s only the odd time every few months when I am distracted. 

2- Scan & get a green light

Make sure you have money on your Oyster card and have it in a separate sleeve away from any other magnetic cards so you get a green light when you scan it and Wizz through the barriers. If you get a red light, the army of people behind you won’t be happy. Sometimes even when you get it all right, you still get a red light but these errors are beyond our control. 

3- Stand on the right, walk on the left

I don’t know how many times do people need to hear the poor automated message getting replayed over and over before they fully understand this. To be fair most people adhere to this, but you still get the odd people who do it anyway. I don’t mean the  tourists who might not get it yet, but I am talking about some locals who like to challenge the little rules that ease life. 

4- Don’t cause traffic

Using your phone while you walk isn’t a reason to slow down, but if that happens please stand on the side. Finish your text or whatever then carry on walking. The path is for serious walkers and if you want to stroll and have a chat the underground is not the place for you. Being slow because you are on your phone is super annoying to the people behind you who might miss their next train. Thoese little seconds here and there add up!

5- People can’t pass through you

Ok. I am sure you all learnt about body mass in physics class back in school, so if you stand in the middle of the door, people won’t be able to go pass through your body. You aren’t a gosht so stop acting like one. If you want to get in, stand on either side of the door to let people out of the tube FIRST then you can get in. It won’t leave without you. Pushing everyone to get on first before people get off is just bad manners. 

6- Just sit down or get out of the way

This is not a fun bus ride from school days. It’s a transportation system and everyone getting on it is probably tired and grumpy. Under no circumstances would anyone wait for you to reserve a seat for your bestie who is riding with you. Just grow up and let everyone sit in the available place and if your friend is quick enough she will get her seat too. I got the death stair for sitting when another girl was trying to hold the seat for her friend. The tube isn’t the place to bond & as girls they should understand that I might have been on my period and not able to entrain their behaviour physically or emotionally. 

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7- Move along the carriage

This is another message that every train driver has to announce about 50 times a minute. Just do it. When it’s busy people want to pack themselves in like sardines & you just standing in the middle and not moving along the carriage is inconsiderate. I sometimes have to jump over people who aren’t willing to move so I get some space. 

8- it’s probably safe not to smile

Ok, I am joking. You can smile if you want, but everyone just looks awkward if you even catch their eye. I like to always have a book with me and just read it to avoid awkward moments. I do politely smile sometimes because I think my London commuting face is a bit scary lol. 

9- Everyone wants to get somewhere

No one rides the tube just for the sake of it and everyone one is in a hurry to get home for dinner or whatever commitments that people have, so, please be nice to your fellow commuters. There is no reason to be rude. You can make the journey pleasant for yourself and others by being considerate and polite. 

Happy tube-ing everyone and God help us during rush hour in this heat. 

Over to you: Do you have any more advice to make the London commute more pleasant? 

Interesting Books about the London underground: 


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10 Islamic Art Activities in London 

10 Islamic Art Activities in London 

You might not associate London with Islamic art, but surprisingly there is a booming Islamic art scene in London. I love the art community in this city and there is always an event happening related to this art (and other types of art). If you are new in London you might not know some of these. I only knew about these places and activities a year after I moved London! That is why I am sharing

10 Islamic Art Related Activities in London that you might enjoy! 

Ps. This post is NOT sponsored! I just love these places, organisations and people! :D 

1- Visit the Jameel Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum

This is one of the most remarkable collections in London and no visit to London is complete without going into the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Islamic collection in the Jameel gallery space is my highlight. Additionally, it's free to go in, so don't miss the chance! 

2- Immerse yourself in patterns in Leighton House Museum

The Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) had a huge interest in Islamic art, very much so that he made an Arabian hall decorated with Islamic ceramics and calligraphy in his house that is now a museum that is open to the Public for an £8 entry fee. It's a small museum and will take you an hour maximum, but it's worth visiting. I would advice to go there during on of their free tour times or late Jazz nights just to make the most of your visit. 

Jameel Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum

3- Illuminate your trip with an Islamic Illumination Workshop

Islamic illumination is a specific type of Islamic art and usually means the use of gold in painting a traditional patterns. Illumination was used for Qurans and Islamic manuscripts. There are a few people around London that teaches this skill, but you can attend some of the regular Islamic Illumination workshops or organise a private session with Islamic Illumination that fits in with your London trip. 

4- Learn the secretes of Islamic Geometry

Just like the suggestion of the Islamic illumination workshop, you can learn more about the art and get close and personal with Islamic geometry that is the basis of most Islamic arts. You can do that by attending one of Samira Mian's regular and short geometry workshops or by booking a longer session with the Art of Islamic Pattern.    

Islamic Art Workshops

5- Bid on Islamic treasures in one of the Sotheby's open auctions

An Islamic art auction at Sotheby is not a usual occurrence, but it happened a few time since I moved to London. Usually the auctioned pieces are true treasures and are not really for the everyday user, but looking at them while they are getting auctioned can be a real treat. Sotheby is a famous art auction house, so there is always something going on. If you miss one about Islamic art you can try their other ones. 

6- Get as close as possible to Islamic manuscripts at the British Library

The British Library is the house to a big number of Persian, Turkish, Indian and Arabic manuscripts. If you make an appointment, you are welcome to go see a few and that is basically the closest you can be to such heritage. If you are a university student or doing research in the area, you get a quicker permission, but tweet them or email them for exact details on the process.  

Islamic Art in London

7- Awaken your mind with an Islamic art lecture

Many Islamic traditional artists have learnt their craft at the Prince's School of Traditional Art. It's a great institution. One of the amazing thing they do is their monthly lecture series about various art subjects and a lot of them are about Islamic art. By the way, the lectures are only during term times. SOAS university also has a lecture series related to Islamic art referred to as Islamic Art Circle Lectures

8- Explore Islamic art beyond the visuals

Although a lot of Islamic art is seen and appreciated visually, there are other types of Islamic art that speak to your other senses such the traditional music and theatre performances. They are not referred to as Islamic, but it comes from the same geographical regions, where Islamic art originated. It might be fun to attend some events that organised by Rich Mix Bagri Foundation and the Arab British Centre

contemporary art by Muslims in London

9- Get to know the contemporary art by Muslims

London does not only exhibit Islamic traditional art brilliantly, but it has contemporary art exhibition by Muslim and Arab artists. Stay up to date with Reconnecting Arts, Art Canteen and Shubbak Festival. They all have annual art events full of activities from art exhibitions to discussions and even concerts. 

10- Shop Islamic art in London

Since London is a city booming of all types of art, you can certainly buy Islamic art to take home with you. You can find Islamic items from Turkey and Morocco in the Camden market. Or you can buy from independent Islamic artists who are based in the UK such as Islamic Illumination,  Anita Chowdry, Jeea Mirza, and Islamic Art Gallery plus so many others that you can find on Instagram. 

Explore Islamic art beyond the visuals in London
1- Visit the Jameel Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum 2- Immerse yourself in patterns in Leighton House Museum 3- Illuminate your trip with an Islamic Illumination Workshop 4- Learn the secretes of Islamic Geometry 5- Bid on some Islamic treasures in one of the Sotheby's open auctions 6- Get as close as possible to Islamic manuscripts at the British Library 7- Awaken your mind with an Islamic art lecture 8- Explore Islamic art beyond the visuals 9- Get to know the contemporary art by Muslims 10- Shop Islamic art in London

Related Books: 

Arts & Crafts of the Islamic Lands: Principles Materials Practice
By Khaled Azzam, The Prince's School of Traditional Arts
Lonely Planet Pocket London (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Emilie Filou

Over to you: Which of these activities are you looking forward to the most?

Ps.Feel free to comment more Islamic art activities in London if you know any! 


Read More About London: 

Gifts Guide to London (What to buy from London?)

10 unique Gifts From London

If you are going to London for a visit, I am sure you are going to do a little bit of shopping either for yourself or someone you love. There are the trinket and souvenirs shops that have London on them that are probably made in China everywhere especially around touristy areas like Big Ben, Westminster and the British Museum. BUT if you want something different that is very London, but doesn't scream London then this gift guide is for you. If you already visited London and didn't get a chance to get anything for whatever reason most of these brands deliver internationally! 

1- Gifts from London: Umbrellas

The number one thing in London that you should be aware of is rain, so umbrellas are always a good reminder of London. You can find them everywhere, but if you want a very special one. There is not a better place to get it from like James Smith & Sons shop that has been in London since 1830! They have sun umbrellas as well if you want to take one to friends in the Middle East. They are also known for their walking sticks. I din't think you would want that, but maybe your grandpa does? 

Hand crafted umbrellas James and Sons

2- Gifts from London: Tea

Tea in London Tea Gifts

As you know London is big on afternoon teas (aka high tea), so getting tea as a present is PERFECT! They even sell some at the airport, but!!! if you want a special tea then here are my suggestions for you and I do love my tea! 

Yumchaa Tea. It's good quality tea with a big range of flavours. You can pop down to one of their cafes to sample the tea yourself or order it online. Since I know which ones I like (read caramel Tea), I just order it online. 

For another selection of yummy teas that are a bit more high end then try Good and Proper Tea. They started in a tea van around London until they opened two cafes in two different locations. The prices of their tea increased a bit with all the demand, so I only get it as a treat for myself. They are simple and not flavoured, but so spot on! 

If you want pretty packaging for tea then you would want some tea from Liberty! They have really pretty, floral packaging and they only have one store in the world and that's in London. There is also Whittards, which you will see in so many corners around London, but I don't actually like their tea. It disappointed me a few times. If you really want to get something from there then try their hot chocolate. 

If you don't care as long as you get some British tea then pop down any grocery store and grab some Yorkshire Gold Tea or Tea Pigs. Reliable teas and the staple of many English households (I sound like a Tesco advert lol) 

3- Gift from London: Biscuits and Jam 

I mean you do need something to have with your tea and London got you covered! When I go back home to visit the family in Saudi, I always get them a box of biscuits from Walkers, M&S or whatever is usually on my way. It's usually nice to get the British shortbread. I added a few options for you on here just to help you get an idea of what they look like. 

4- Gifts from London: Art Supplies

So this might not be an obvious choice for you, but if you are an artist or buying a gift for an artist then you must go to London's gorgeous old art shop: L. Cornelissen & Son that opened its doors in 1861. It's located near the British Museum and it's full of colour and fantastic tools. You or your artist friends would love this! 

Cornelissen-And-Son.jpg
Cornelissen-And-Son

5- Gifts from London: Stationary

I am really into stationary and it's something I usually buy when I am travelling. Paper chase has some great stuff and it's easy to find. Most train stations have a little one. If you want something more unique, head to il Papiro for really stunning handmade Italian marbled paper. You can also try to find stationary with some of the William Morris floral patterns since he is an important figure of the arts and crafts movement that happened back in the day in the UK.  

6- Gifts from London: Products from Neal's Yard

The first time I saw Neal's yard was when I went for some pizza IN (wait for it) NEAL'S YARD (the actual court yard space). I only went there to look and smell the lavender. I didn't use their products till a friend of mine got me their bath oil. I loved it so much and decided to get their face hydrating cream that was created in 1983! I felt like £30 was a bit much, but it lasted me for nearly a year now and I use it every day before my makeup. The brand is found internationally as well, but it all started in the UK. Kind of near London (Oxford..) 

7- Gifts from London: London Watches

I first saw the Olivia Burton brand in the huge TopShop in Oxford Street and I really loved how simple and chic they looked. Then I noticed the word London in there as well. That moment I thought to myself. What a good gift this would be! They are not cheap, but not too expensive either. The one I liked was £80 and I think that is decent for a watch. I still didn't get one, but possibly in the future!   

8- Gifts from London: Harrods Bags

I don't know about you, but in Saudi everyone knows that if you visit London, you have to go to Harrods to pay your respect! The first time I visited London, I had to go and get those cute plastic Harrods bags. After I moved to London I realised that I will never be using this bag ever especially that hardly any Londoners use it! It's a good gift though and the bags and wallets last for about a year. They start deterring afterwards. Plus, the Harrods brand is the only affordable thing in that whole store! 

9- Gifts from London: Perfume from Jo Malone

This might be a little mainstream since Jo Malone is sold in a few airports around the world, but their scents are lovely! AND their candles last for ages. Not the cheapest, but might be a good option. The body oil is the cheapest thing you sell and I sometimes I use it as a perfume and get so many compliments! 

10. Gifts from London: Something Quirky from the market

There a few crafty markets that happen in London around the year. If you are here Christmas time, then the markets are countless. Don't fret if you aren't though because there are lots of crafty markets that happen at different times of the year. There are the daily markets in Greenwich, Old Spitafield and Camden. There are also special craft ones such as the The London Artisan Market,  Crafty Fox Market and the Etsy made local events

Handmade London Market

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I hope you enjoyed this line up of London gifts and I wish you an awesome time in London. 

Over to you: Which gift would you be getting for yourself or your loved ones? :D

Ps. this post is not sponsored, but it does include some affiliate links, that if you use, will give me a little commission with no extra cost to you. 

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Four Days in London

Local Guide to London - Four Day Itinerary to London

I have been living in London for the past five year and now I consider myself a Local Londoner and I have a great itinerary for four days in London.

Previously when I visited London, I didn’t really love it and I was very overwhelmed with what the city had on offer, but now I have a list of favourite places in London that can make up the perfect four day itinerary to visiting London.

Now, I am very glad that I got to know this interesting and vibrant city. It's a city with a lot to offer and I have to agree with Samuel Johnson's famous saying: "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." 

Living here has shown me a whole different side to the city that I want to share with you in this post just to give back and share the love I have for this multi layered city. 

Most tourists go to well-known places such as Big Ben, The Queen's Palace and London Eye. There is nothing wrong with that. They are iconic sights of the city. This post however is going to be about less known places in London. It is going to be about what the places I personally enjoy and recommend to all my loved ones.

Best times to visit London

There are several things to consider when planning a trip to London, such as the time of year and the season, as well as British holidays. One of my favourite times is winter especially during the Christmas period. It is one of the most crowded times, but the city is full of life and activities that are only happening during that time of year like the Christmas lights, Christmas markets and ice skating.

This period is from 20 November to 24 December. On December 25th most things will be closed. December 26th, known as Boxing Day, is a day of shopping and discounts. Some sales are good but all shops are very crowded, so it's not always worth it. 

Another time I enjoy is the summer time, where the days are long and the sunset is between 9 and 10 pm. There are many summer activities that only happen in the summer period like outdoor cinemas, roof top restaurants and so on

Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons, especially between September and November, where the colours of the trees change and the gardens are coloured in wonderful autumn shades. 

IMG_3333.JPG

Best weather to visit London

The weather in London and the UK as a whole is very unpredictable. The day may start with a warm sun and end with cold wind and heavy rain. When I leave my flat, I take my umbrella with me whatever the season is.

I wear my leather shoes for three seasons so that my feet would not get wet when it randomly rain. Some days I take my sunglasses too. Usually the summer is rainy and the rain ranges from light to heavy.

Winter is relatively less rainy, but it gets much colder. The best seasons to visit London weather wise are Summer and Autumn, but whatever season you choose, be aware that it might rain. In addition, London gets very warm in the summer at times and it could reach to 30 degrees without air conditioning in most places. 

Walking around London (Muslim Friendly guide to London)

Booking a flight to London

London is one of the most famous cities and most airlines stop here. London has four well-known airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, London City and Stansted. The last two airports do not go directly to the Middle East. There are fast trains connected to the airports to make the trip faster to central London. A good price if you are coming from the Middle East is 350 GBP and a decent one from North Africa is 150-250GB unless you are coming from Morocco, where RyanAir goes and that will give you a ticket for 20-60GB. If you are coming from Canada or the US, there are budget airlines like wow air that would cost you $400, so there are so many choices depending on your location in the world (Read: How to find cheap flights on Skyscanner?)

Things to do in London in Four Days

One of the things to consider in London is the route of your daily program/schedule. London is a big city and some places are about an hour or an hour and a half away from each other. For example, my house is located a full hour from the famous Harrods shop, so I recommend buying a transport card, Oyster.

There are offers for a weekly or monthly options that you could buy on your oyster or you can just pay as you go with your credit card if you have the contactless function. Many touristy spots are located in zone 1, but if you want to find places further you should buy Zone 1 to Zone 2 or 3. To check the route or to plan your day make sure to check: Google Maps and TFL: Transports For London.

When planning your day or itinerary for the day, I would recommend staying in one side of London instead of going in all directions and everywhere. For example, when you visit East London, spend the day exploring the whole area instead of going to North London for a meal because your time may be wasted on the tube. 

The most crowded times are from 8 am to 10 am and from 4:30 pm to 7 pm, especially in public transport. During these times it is very difficult to find a place to stand. 

Greenwich London London Red Phone Booth

I am sure that you know the very famous places and you will find information about them in most of the site this post is about the places I personally love and enjoy

Must Visit Museums and art galleries in London

Victoria and Albert Museum Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the most famous museums, but some people still skip it!  The museum is very large and in the same area there is the Natural History Museum and other art spaces. My favourite places in this museum are the Abdullatif Jameel Islamic Art Gallery and the Tea Room, which was renovated a few years ago. Admission is free but temporary exhibitions have special tickets and usually last/change every few months. 

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery is in the same area is the V&A. It is a large exhibition spaces. Sometimes they host free exhibitions, but temporary exhibitions require a tickets. Check their website before I head there. 

Queen's Gallery

Although the Queen's Gallery is located in the Queen's Palace (Buckingham Palace),it is not that known to people. I went to visit an exhibition about the Queen's jewellery and books and enjoyed it. Exhibitions change every few months. The exhibition is small in size, so it wouldn't take longer than an hour to see. 

Design Museum
The Design Museum is a three-story museum located in West London and has everything to do with design. The building is also beautiful and you can spend two hours there. Two floors of the museum are free but there is a floor for temporary shows. The free section is great and just outside the museum is Holland Park. You can see all the details in the video below. 

Leighton House Museum
This museum was the home of the artist Leighton. During his life life time, Leighton was very intrigued by Islamic art, so he has a lovely room known as the Arab hall. It is designed in the old Arabic style and contains pieces of art and ceramics decorated with calligraphy. 

The museum is small and an hour is enough to see it. The admission fee is Eight pounds. The museum holds monthly events at night, where jazz is played, dates can be found here.

Rich Mix Gallery
The Rich Mix Gallery is located in East London and has many art shows and activities. Many of them on Islamic art or other art from the Middle East and North Africa. I like their fun programs, which are sometimes comedies, plays and music.

William Morris Gallery
The artist William Morris is one of the oldest British artists who has left a big mark on British art in the UK and the world. Morris was not only an artist and a craftsman, he was one of the founders of the arts and crafts social and artistic movement. 

He was a social speaker, who respected the rights of artists and traditional art in particular. This museum is in a location far from the centre of London but worth a visit. You can spend two hours there reading information and enjoying detailed illustrations and textiles. 

Graffiti and Street Art in London

The Graffiti scene in London is great and I think my favourite areas are the ones with rich colours and art. If you are interested to find some cool street art. I have four areas for you:  

Waterloo Station - Leake Street - Graffiti Tunnel
Painting/writing there is legal as well if you want to leave your mark. Though, it's very changeable. 

Hackney Wicks
From the overground station you can walk around and see the cool art everywhere. It's such a shame that the area is turning to office blocks and getting gentrified, so catch it before it's gone.

Old Street and Brick Lane Graffiti

This particular area receives a lot of interest and there are regular street art tours that happen from Old Street Station . You can also just walk around if you want to do it on your own. I have noticed a lot near the Old Street station, Shoreditch High Street overground station, Brick lane market area and the Hoxton area. Just wander around and enjoy some art.

Camden Town

Camden also has a good amount of Street art though I am not a local to that area. I found two art Camden tours that you might like: Discover Camden with a Local Host and Camden Art Crawl Small Group Tour.

Best London Musicals to attend

London is famous for its theatres and year-round performances. Some shows are only seasonal and come during the Christmas period and some performances last several years. Going to the theatre is very enjoyable and I usually reserve it for special occasions. The tickets are expensive at times, so plan in advance. You can buy them from the theatre site directly or from Last Minute or Love Theatre

During the past couple years I was able to go to some musical performances on occasions and this is a list of the shows that I went to and loved. 

Aladdin the musical

Aladdin is the same Disney cartoon. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen. The costumes and set designs were fantastic. My inner child couldn't stop dancing! The set was very impressive. It was very stylish and luxurious. Genie was very funny too. 

The Lion King Musical

The Lion King is also a play based on the story of the famous Disney's cartoon, but the execution of it was very impressive. The way the animals were depicted with wooden figures and sculptures were very creative. The dances were beautiful too. This play is also suitable for children because Simba and Lana were represented by two children.

The Phantom of the Opera Musical

The Phantom of the Opera musical was beautiful and imaginative. It is also based on the film with the same title. The way they acted and sung was very moving. 

An American in Paris

An American in Paris play is a nice mix of singing and dancing. The vibe is old fashioned. The main dance is Ballet. The story is a traditional love story but I loved watching it all unfold on stage. It is a nice one to go to with the girls. 

The rest of the plays

There are lots of theatrical performances and you can read about them before going and booking online.
Note: Photography and recording is prohibited during theatre performances, so don't be that person they flash!

Four Must Visit Markets in London

London has distinct open markets in every area of the city. Here is a list of the ones I regularly visit. 

Borough Market

Borough Market is located in central London just outside of London Bridge station. It is distinguished by the multi-food shops there that have a lot of various international foods and products. If you want to explore it fully you can check out this Made in London Tour: Borough Market to St Pauls Cathedral .

Old Spitalfields Market

Old Spitafield Market has restaurants and food carts as well as a little market with a selection of clothing and accessories stalls. It is a good-sized market close to the centre of London and Liverpool Street Station. 

Greenwich Market

If you decide to visit this market, I recommend that you go to Greenwich University, Greenwich Park and walk near the river there. You can go all out and try a Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour . It's really easy to do it on your own with the help of Google maps though! On Sundays, they have the vintage/antique market. (Video about Greenwich below!)

Camden Market

Camden Market is a little strange and very crowded with things that are different from the rest of London. There you can see a huge dragon and a shoe above the shops. There are two markets there the Stables and Camden Lock. You can start from the station and walk around to the markets. There is so much food there too! You can try the Discover Camden with a Local Host as well . (Video about Camden below!)

Parks and Garden in London

The best seasons to visit parks and gardens are summer and spring. The fall is also good to visit to see the different colours in the park but the weather starts getting colder. The winter is very cold to enjoy the parks.

I enjoy visiting a few parks such as the Greenwich Park in South London, Victoria Park in East London, Holland Park near the Design Museum and the Regent's Park, where the big Regent's Mosque is located.

There are so many parks in London and each offers something new. Check the map and see what's close to you and go for a walk. 

Where to stay in London?

To choose a good hotel you should look at the map and see the places you would like to visit just to get an understanding of how much you will travel. London is very big and has so many choices. My main way of searching is to go to the map on websites like booking or Airbnb.

One of the most important things is to find a hotel near the station. Search in Google Maps from the place you want to stay in to the attraction to really get an idea of how far you will be travelling. I have a few suggestions for you below and all are based on the stations around them. I haven't stayed in them, but from my search for other family members and friends who visit, I think they will be good options. 

Baker Street Station

Holborn

Old Street

Paddington

Southwark

You can also try finding other hotels by looking at more options on booking

Booking.com

Muslims in London

London is a very diverse city and you will find many people from all religions and backgrounds. I am very thankful that I did not face any harassment about my headscarf (Read: Travel Blogger in a Headscarf Q&A). London is a safe place to wear a headscarf and I pray that it remains an accepting and loving city because diversity is truly beautiful. You should take the usual precautions, such as not going too late at night (Read: How to stay safe when travelling). By the way, there are many mosques in London, but for a specific list please check the directory. 

Halal Food in London

Halal meat is widely available in London and in all types of restaurants such as Indian, Asian, Arabic, etc. Even big chains would at least have halal chicken on offer. There are two halal food sites that I use frequently for the latest food recommendations in the city halal girl about town and Halal Gems. They both have a map, photos and reviews of all kinds of Halal restaurants and many of them are very tasty. I wrote about my favourite restaurants that I always go to as well; My Ultimate Favourite Food Guide for London (Including Halal)

Dishoom

Dishoom

Day Trips from London

London is a full on city and can keep you busy for weeks. There are also a lot of country walks from London that I really enjoy going onto. You can see my country walk outings on the Youtube playlist below:

If you want to go to other cities to explore the UK further, I recommend visiting the two university cities: Cambridge and Oxford. They are both near by and can be seen in a day or a weekend. The are is also Bath, a city full of architecture, but you have to pay to enter its museums. You can pair it with Stonehenge or Bristol. There are day-trip options such as Stonehenge, Windsor, and Bath: Day Trip from London or Stonehenge, Bath & West Country: Day Trip from London . I would advice to stay over night in Bath though because half a day there is not enough.

There is also the oceanfront city of Brighton. I haven't been yet, but once I do I will share a full video. I am waiting for the weather to be good first. There lots of tour there as well like the Brighton: Lanes & Backstreets Small Group Tour with a Local .

The second main city in England is Manchester, which is two hours from London by the express train. I lived there for three years and I would recommend it for a weekend. It might be fun to walk around with a local, Welcome to Manchester: Private Tour .


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Local Guide to London - Four Day Itinerary to London

Local Guide to London - Four Day Itinerary to London

Local Guide to London - Four Day Itinerary to London

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A walk in hackney wick

This week has been busy! So, I am using every minute of my Saturday to catch up on blogging! 

Last week, I attended an Islamic patterns intensive course (reviewed here). I took a walk in Hackney Wick. Since, I am still new to London, that part of town was new to me. I took a walk around and the place was full of creativity and loud expressions. 

Start of the walk!

When you get off the overground, this is the first thing you see. 

It felt like walking into an abandoned movie set

Loved the colours of this one! 

I call this piece sweet tooth! 

This sculpture is really small. Had to almost lay down to take a clear picture. 

I call this real love on the channel 

I saw a little sculpture of a CAMEL in the middle of Hackney Wick. I was really amazed!

Beautiful isn't it?

It's worth going there for a little walk, especially if the weather is nice. They have few nice small (pricey) cafes in the area too.