Hand poured martinis. Epic high teas. Real life dinosaurs. London is a city that never disappoints. Here, three Qantas Frequent Flyers share the best places they visited on their recent getaway so you can start planning your next adventure now.
“Travelling to London with a toddler was the highlight of our Euro trip” – Mark Brandon, Bronze Frequent Flyer
"I wasn't sure what to expect when my partner, Lucy, and I booked our first trip to London as parents. Would we still love the Big Smoke if we swapped long lunches and late-night dinners for playgrounds, early nights and midday naps? Flash forward a few days and not only did we absolutely love London-for-kids, we both agreed it was the highlight of our big Euro summer trip.
"We stayed in West London so we could be close to all the main kid stuff and looked for a stay that was affordable and cool. Sonder Chelsea Green was perfect: a spacious gem in a great location with a separate living room for our son's cot. The Natural History Museum (see real-life dinosaurs) and the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens (hello, pirate ship) were a short stroll away and we still got to eat, drink and do all the fun stuff, too. Villa Mamas was just down the street from our hotel for great Middle Eastern food and bars like Bluebird were right around the corner.
"We ventured east side – so many tube rides, seriously a toddler's dream – stopping for an iconic Beigel Bake on Brick Lane (worth the queue) and drinks at the Mondrian London Shoreditch. A friend recommended Maltby St Market, which I'd say is a smaller, cooler version of the Borough Market and just a five-minute walk south of Tower Bridge.
"Before we jumped on the QF2 home to Sydney (where the staff were wonderful with Milo), we had one last hurrah: a long lunch on the terrace at Chiltern Firehouse. It's pricey for delicious American-style classics (gooey-cheesy pizza, chicken and fries, cookies and ice cream) but worth every penny for the people watching alone."
“People were just drinking beautiful martinis and having good conversations” – Alana Baird, Bronze Frequent Flyer
“My trip to London was the perfect reset after a crazy few years. My friend and I stayed at the Zedwell Piccadilly Circus, which I paid for with my Qantas Points. It was fantastic. It’s super small but quiet and it’s perfectly located, so you could walk everywhere.
“Hands-down the best bar we went to was Dukes Bar – they do the best hand-poured Martinis in the world (according to me!). It felt very old school; you’re encouraged to not use your phone, so people were just drinking beautiful martinis and having good conversations.
“We tried to stumble across places to eat at organically and not do too much research. BiBimBap Soho was delicious. It’s just a local spot serving delicious Korean rice bibimbap bowls. I also loved the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms exhibition at the Tate Modern (above right) – it felt like we were suspended in a moment in time.
“I’m not a big football person but that was one of the highlights of the trip, for sure. We saw West Ham play Manchester City – I’ve never experienced anything like it. You can’t take drinks into the stadium, so everyone was just so focused on the game. And then at the end, everyone sang the team song while bubbles were being blown into the air. It was just such a cool experience.”
“We caught up over glasses of Champagne Pommery and carrot cake” – Emily Ryan, Bronze Frequent Flyer
“My partner Roland and I visited London in November at the start of our European holiday. I lived in London 15 years ago so it was a great chance to catch up with old friends that I hadn’t seen since then.
“We stayed at the Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge hotel, which is in the perfect location. It’s right near Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Borough Markets and Spitalfields. You could just walk everywhere.
“A highlight was dining at Yauatcha London, City, which is just behind Liverpool Street Station. My friend works in the food industry so we knew it would be good – and we weren’t disappointed! You must order the prawn and beancurd Cheung Fun and venison puff, they are both outstanding.
“You can’t go to London and not do high tea and the one at The Orangery at Number Sixteen Hotel in Kensington was lovely. They serve Champagne Pommery alongside earl grey and english breakfast teas, and the carrot cake in particular was delicious. My friend and I were there on a rainy day but in summer, it would be such a fantastic place to sit and spend the afternoon in their cute little courtyard garden.”