Sunday, November 19, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to London (伦敦), England (英国) 2017).

The capital of England and UK- London is one of the world's most populated cities, the people within the Greater London speaks more than 300 types of languages and it is a great melting pot for cultures. The city has a lot to offer, not only in terms of tourist spots but shopping, entertainment as food & beverages as well. The international food scene is very exciting here but the classic British cuisine is worth-exploring either. The public transportation system is very convenient and tourist-friendly, simply purchase a Tourist Oyster Card and recharge, you will be able to go around without hassle. The daily usage is capped at £6.60 for Zone 1 and Zone 2, which would be more than good enough to explore most tourist attractions. More information can be found here.

Malaysians traveling to United Kingdom need not to apply for Visa (3 months on arrival) and Malaysia Airlines offers direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to London daily. The Airbus (A380) was spacious and we strongly recommend you to pay more to get to the upper deck. It's less-noisy and the washrooms are shared by less people. Despite the long-haul flight, we had a comfortable 13-hour journey. The leg space is huge and the in-flight entertainment is extensive, there will be 2 meals served during the journey but unfortunately, we did not enjoy the food. But the overall experience was okay, good service from the crew. For your bench-marking, we bought our air tickets at promotional rates (from Penang to London)... a little less than RM 2,500. You may now get good prices from Qatar Airways too, soon to be flying out from Penang International Airport.

Luxury Afternoon Tea @ The Georgian, Harrods
Address: 4th Floor of Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL, London, England.
Afternoon Tea Available Hours: 11:30 am to 8 pm every Monday to Saturday, 11:30 am to 6 pm on Sundays.
Contact Number: + 020 7730 1234
Price: £55 for Luxury Afternoon Tea Set/ £42 for The Georgian Afternoon Tea; subject to 10% Service Charge.
For full menu please refer to the website.
Tube: Knightsbridge Station (Piccadilly Line)

The Savory- Finger Sandwiches and Quiches

Freshly baked Scones, Clotted Cream, Lemon Curd and Rose-petal jam

The Sweets


Harrods Trifle

Fresh Strawberries with Pimm's No. 1 Syrup

Fresh Strawberries with Cream

Rose Champagne

Harrods' Fine Tea

Harrods' Still Water (£6.25)

Luxury Afternoon Tea (£55)

The custom of drinking tea and having Afternoon Tea dates back to at least a few centuries ago and it all started with the upper-class society in England. For the quintessential English Afternoon Tea experience, make your way to Harrods, one of the oldest premium shopping malls in London. Its restaurant on 4th floor- The Georgian, offers the opportunity for visitors to indulge the exquisite offerings. There are a few packages available, the basic one goes as low as £42 while those with a deep pocket could go for the luxury package priced at £55 (subject to 12.5% service charge). The latter one offers additional items like Amuse-Bouche, Champagne, Trifle and Strawberries; the savory and sweets are refillable. When we were running low on the trays, the server immediately asked if we could love to have some additional ones. The Sandwiches were outstanding but the most impressive item was the freshly baked Scones with clotted Cream. We recommend the Luxury Afternoon Tea, more variety to try and you get to celebrate the occasion with a booze. Superior quality, top-notch service and elegant setting, definitely an experience of a lifetime. 

Jamie's Italian 
Address: 11 Upper St. Martin's, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FB, London, England.
Business Hours: 11:30 am to 10:30 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: + 0203 326 6390
Prices are nett
Tube: Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line)

Prawn Linguine (£14.95)

Beef Burger (£11.95) with Chips (£3)

1 Meat Plank (£7.50)

Celebrity Chef- Jamie Oliver needs no further introduction, if you happen to be in town, make a point to visit his restaurant. There are several branches across the city. We visited the one at Covent Garden, a short walk from Leicester Square and the shopping district. It was a Sunday and the restaurant was packed to the brim! Being an Italian restaurant, the Italian menu is extensive and can be overwhelming for first time visitors (like us). We were blown away by the Prawn Linguine, we love how al-dente was the Pasta and how delicate the flavor was. The Beef Burger on the other hand, was a little underwhelming and disappointingly average. If you need a booze to go with the antipasti, the list of wines would be able to satisfy your needs.

London Bridge/ London Tower Bridge/ The Shard
Station: Tower Hill Station (Tube)/ London Bridge Station (Northern or Jubilee Lines)

London Bridge

The Shard

Borough Market

London Tower Hill Bridge

River Thames

Plan your visit properly and you will get to visit all famous landmarks in London at one go. Alight at London Bridge station and you will get to visit London Bridge, London Tower Hill Bridge and Borough Market at one go. Not to be confused with London Tower Hill, London Bridge is in fact, different as compared to the "London Bridge" known by most Malaysians (refer to the above photo), so make sure you plan your trip right. Borough Market closes on every Sunday and unfortunately, we did not have the time to visit on other day so we'll drop by next time (hopefully). It opens from 10 am to 5 pm on Mondays to Saturdays, the de-facto food market you need to visit in London! For more information, please visit

London Eye & Big Ben
Tube: Waterloo Station

London Eye (£ 19.50 per adult if purchased online)

Big Ben (currently under renovation- from early 2017 and expected to be completed in 3 years time)

At Waterloo Station, visitors get to witness the beauty of London Eye and the Great Bell- Big Ben. We did not want to spend our time at the wheels but we did take the opportunity to take photo with the London Eye. As for the majestic Big Ben, it was a little unfortunate that it is still undergoing refurbishment until 2019 or so. 

Alyn Williams @ The Westbury
Address: Bond Street, London, England.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 2:30 pm, 6 pm to 10:30 pm. Closed on Mondays and Sundays.
Contact Number: + 020 7183 6426
3 Course Lunch Menu- £30/ 5 Course Lunch Tasting Menu- £45
Prices subject to 12.5% Service Charge

Rabbit/ Heritage Carrot/ Mustard Leaves

Devon Crab/ Shimeiji Mushrooms/ Dashi/ Marigold

Halibut/ Cauliflower/ Olives/ Brazil Nuts/ Taramasalata

Braised Cumbrian Beef Cheek/ Turnips

Palate Cleanser- Lime Sorbet with Panna Cotta

Chocolate Cremeux/ Orange Caramel Puree/ Orange Sorbet

Fig Leaf Ice Cream/ Preserved Fig/ Brown Butter Cake

Petit Four with Chamomile Tea


Housed in The Westbury, a luxury 5-star hotel in the affluent district- Mayfair London; Alyn Williams is a famous Michelin starred restaurant (one star). We opted for the more affordable Lunch menu, the 5-course Lunch Tasting Menu priced at  £45 (+ 12.5% Service Charge) is a meticulously designed menu that brings you to a sensational gourmet journey. We started off with an amuse bouche- a crisp, savory Choux Pastry with Blue Cheese and proceeded straight to a refreshing starter- Colchester Crab with Apple, Shimeiji, Dashi, Rice and Marigold. It was a playful combination, the first thing that struck the palate was the tinge of sourness followed by the mellow sweetness of Dashi and Crustacean, ended with a crisp texture. The Halibut came next was equally delicious, the seasoning was spot on and we love the firm, fresh texture of the fish. The main course- braised Cumbrian Beef Cheek however, did not sweep me off my feet. It was good but not something unique nor new to me. The meal ended with Fig Leaf Ice Cream with preserved Fig and Brown Butter Cake; a serving of Coffee/Tea with Petite Four. Good experience especially the well-thought through flavor and texture combinations as well as the top notch service.

Suggestion: always make advance reservation before visiting, we made ours via Open Table to avoid disappointment. Reservation through Open Table is free if you must know.

House-baked Sourdough

Amuse Bouche- Choux Pastry with Blue Cheese sprinkles

Bicester Village (Premium Outlets)
Address: 50 Pingle Drive Bicester Oxfordshire
Opening Hours: 9 am to 9 pm on every Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays (certain brands may open from 12 pm to 6 pm only on Sundays).
Train: London Marylebone to Bicester Village (£25.40 per way/ off peak) *Last train runs until 11 pm or so*
Travel Time: approximately 46 minutes

A haven for season shoppers, the Bicester Village is the de-facto premium outlet in England, approximately 90 km away from London. The place is is larger than La Vallee Village Paris and houses more brands so expect to spend at least half a day at this place. Getting to Bicester Village is rather challenging- first you must take your train at Marylebone Station to Oxford and align at Bicester Village. Traveling in a group would give you advantage as far as ticket fare is concerned, otherwise, expect to pay £25.40 per adult per way (we paid around £28 for both ways in a group of 3). Not exactly the cheapest ride but you may get good bargains at the village.

We compared the prices of Burberry at La Vallee Village Paris and Bicester Village, we found that the former one is cheaper (399 Euros VS 399 Pounds) after currency conversion but it has lesser choices compared to the latter one (more options to purchase in country of origin). I've managed to grab a leather shoulder bag at £399 and after tax-refund, it costs £353... pretty good price I must say.

The Polo-Tees by Lacoste and Polo Ralph Lauren (around £50 per polo T) are cheaper in Paris due to currency conversion. Longchamp is more expensive, expect around £50 for the standard handbag. Cath Kidston is worth a look, there are quite a lot of options available but if you missed the opportunity here, you can always find some good bargains at Heathrow International Airport.

Another worth-looking brand is Fossil, most watches are on cheap sale at unbeatable prices (or at least at the rates that we could not get in Malaysia). I've managed to buy an automatic Fossil watch at a little less than £70 (after tax refund). 

Poppies Fish & Chips
Address: 6-8, Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR, UK.
Business Hours: 11 am to 11 pm. Closed on Fridays.
Contact Number: +44 20 7247 0892
Tube: Aldgate East or Liverpool Street
Prices are nett

Traditional Fish & Chips (£16.90/ Large)

Steak Pie (£8.90)

Sausage (£6.90)

How can you miss Fish and Chips when you are in London? If you share the same thought, make your way to Poppies, one of the oldest Fish and Chips establishments in town. Many netizens resonated with the Fish and Chips. It was our first experience and we thought the fish was great. It was fresh and the meat was firm with thin batter but it was not exactly as crispy as we would have hoped. We could not fault the Fries for being soggy but they were not entirely crispy either. Not too sure if they could provide refill on the ketchup but the one provided to us was too small in size. The Steak Pie was a tad too salty to our liking and the Sausage was overpriced. If there's one thing that we recommend, it would be their Fish and Chips only but do not set your expectations high... really. Takeaways are typically cheaper than dine-ins so if you are on a tight budget, you know how to make the call. 

Covent Garden Shopping District
Tube: Covent Garden Station (Piccadilly Line)

Street Performance

Covent Garden Market

Hippodrome Casino (Leicester Square)

Covent Garden is a popular shopping destination (Oxford Circus is another one if you are keen), during the day time, there is a market with a lot of stalls available but most of them sell craft-related products. In the evenings, there will be street performances around. 

A short walk from Covent Garden will land you at Leicester Square. This is the place to go to if you are game for some live entertainment or shows, there are a few theaters around. For social gamblers, you may want to try your luck at a local casino. Some of them open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so it can be a good late-night entertainment. First time visitors may sign up for their membership cards and you will receive unexpected deals (free chips, welcoming drinks and huge discounts for in-house restaurants etc).

Lan Zhou Noodle Bar
Address: 33, Cranbourn Street, London.
Business Hours: 10 am to 2 am on every Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 5 am on Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am to 10 pm on Sundays.
Contact Number: +44 02 07 8364 399
Prices are nett
Tube: Leicester Square Exit 4

Chicken Dan Dan Noodles (£7.90) + Braised Egg (£1)

Beef Noodles (£7.90)

Stir Fried Beef Noodles (£8.30)

Adjacent to Hippodrome Casino is Lan Zhou Noodle Bar, a place where we satiated our cravings for Asian food. The Chinese in us yearned for hot soup and noodles. The restaurant offers Lan Zhou Noodles, a place in China known for its springy Ramen-like Noodles. It has a large menu that offers many China Chinese delicacies, we had the signature Dan Dan Noodles and Beef Noodles... both did not disappoint. The stir fried Noodles came across on the sweeter side but the complimentary Chili Oil and Chili flakes did manage to balance the flavors and warmed our souls. We thought the portion was quite generous for the price.

Bolney Wine Estate
Address: Foxhole Ln, Bolney, Haywards Heath, RH 17 5NB, UK.
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm on every Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm on Sundays.
Contact Number: +44 1444 881575
Taste Tour: £16 per adult (1.5 hours)

Harvesting of Grapes

Crushing and Pressing + Processes before bottling and aging

Wine Tasting

If you wish to escape the crowd, make a day tour down South of England. We rented a car one day and made a day trip down South. We stopped by Bolney to participate the Wine Taste Tour by Bolney Wine Estate, for £16, we got to look (with clear explanations) at the harvesting process, crushing and processing process and ended with a wine tasting session. The tour was joined by locals (except the 3 of us) and lacked the interaction. We were expecting to have a closer look but instead, we stood from far and listened to the explanations. The tour took longer than expected but it was a unique experience to have seen the countryside of England and to understand the English wines better.

Seven Sisters Cliffs/ Country Park
Address: East Sussex, UK.
Entrance: Free Admission

In a little less than a couple hours drive away from Bolney will land you at Seven Sisters Country Park... famed for its chalk cliffs near the coasts. The view was amazing but not mind-blowing, we have seen better ones in Scotland but it makes a good getaway from the city. Beware of the cliffs though, there were many incidents that tourists have lost their lives thinking to play a fool around... Entrance is free though and expect a long walk to the coast from the parking (probably around 40 minutes).

Evan Evans Day Tour
Address: 258, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1BS, UK.
Business Hours: 7 am to 7 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +44 (0)207 950 1777
Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath 1 Full Day Tour- USD 124 (purchased from Klook)

Changing The Guards

Windsor Castle


Roman Baths

For those who wish to explore beyond London but are pretty tight up with schedules may consider to join one of the day tours. We found Evan Evans Tour on Klook and later found out that they are one of the largest day tour providers in London. You may either purchase in advance online or purchase the tickets directly at any of their offices in London but the latter choice is subject to the availability of the tickets (good demand it seems like). All tours depart from Victoria Coach Station and you will be required to be there at least 30 minutes prior to departure. There will be a tour guide for every tour and the best part for joining the day tour is that you save a lot of time as you get to see the highlights of all in one go but of course, the down side would be the time given. We were only given 1.5 hours to spend on each destination, we spent most of the time sleeping in the coach.

We joined one of the best-selling day tours... the Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Roman Baths. Stonehenge needs no further introduction, it is one of the iconic landmarks of England, also a UNESCO World Heritage site. All entrance tickets are included so it was basically a hassle free day tour- just hop off the destination and when its done, just hop back on the bus. A good option if you are in short of time but wish to see everything.

Windsor Castle- Royal Residence and one of the oldest castles in the world.
Roman Baths- Historical site with well-preserved Roman site with public bathing (natural hot springs).

We were left to explore the city Bath, another UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its ancient architecture and natural hot springs. The central district is fun to explore and shop too (within walking distance from the Roman Baths). We started the tour at 8 am and ended at almost 9 pm. Perfect service and arrangement, nothing wrong with the tour but the destinations are less-interesting (you get bored after looking at bricks, boulders and waters whole day long). 

Caramel Fudge in Clotted Cream by Marshfield Farm Ice Cream (£2 per scoop)

Tiramisu Gelato from The Real Italian Ice Cream Co. (£4.95/ Medium)

When exploring Bath, we were told by the Tour Guide to give The Real Italian Ice Cream Co. a try. The ice cream parlor is known for its superior ice cream. We had our share and we thought it was alright. We would personally prefer the one opposite to the place... known as Marshfield Farm Ice Cream... particularly for its rich and creamy Clotted Cream series. 

Streets of Bath

Have Fun Exploring London!

1 comment:

  1. Oooo...English cream tea! Nothing like the real thing, having it there!