Travel to London: Top Spots to Relax

the city of london at night looking toward the Big Ben clock

Visiting a metropolitan capital like London is a great way to explore the city at your own pace without getting overwhelmed. "The City" - otherwise known as the 1 square kilometer that is central London - you will have a plethora of nightlife options to choose from. Here are the top destinations when you only have a few nights in London.

The National Theatre, South Bank
While the West End is London's Broadway equivalent, the South Bank is home to several historical theaters, including the National Theatre. Opened in 1963 with Hamlet, the theater company has gone on to produce over 20 shows per season. Sitting right along the Thames, this theater produces a range of work, from modern retellings of Othello to The Threepenny Opera. London is a city that demands art be accessible to everyone - as a result, its theaters offer standing room tickets for 10 GBP, which you can pick up at the window on the day of the show.

The Coal Hole, Strand
The Coal Hole - right on the main drag of London and a short walk away from Trafalgar Square - is a historic pub in London. It earned the name from its former role as coal storage for the Savoy Hotel, just next door. Actors and performers would sneak in to grab a pint, according to Frommers, a tradition that continued after it was rebuilt in 1904. This is a great place to escape the London crowds, especially during the summer months, and indulge in rich chicken pot pies and ale on tap.

The Ministry of Sound, Elephant and Castle
Die-hard electronic dance music lovers will find the trip outside of downtown London worth it. The Ministry of Sound underwent a renovation in 2013, according to Time Out London, revitalizing its four dance floors and multiple bars. Friday and Saturday nights feature popular DJs in the main space while smaller spaces like The Baby Box offer up-and-coming DJs a chance to break out.

Camden Market, Camden Town
A short tube ride from downtown, Camden Town is the posh city's punk sibling. Opened in 1976, this area reflects the punk rock history of London - rumor has it you could find Amy Winehouse grabbing a drink in one of the local dives like the Roundhouse. Artists - from painters to jewelry makers to photographers - come to the market to sell their wares, making it the perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind souvenir. You can also grab a bite from one of the many food stands set up in the center of the market.

Garlic 'N Shots, Soho
This alternative dive bar is a 10-minute walk from Covent Garden and begins serving at 5 p.m. What sets this dive bar apart from others? The chef includes garlic on every single item on his menu - including the beer and ice cream. Inside, the walls are papered with posters and tongue-in-cheek signs. Yet the devil-may-care attitude hides the truly delicious food you'll find here - including some of the best garlic bread you've ever had. Steal a few leaves from the parsley plant on your table and chew on them as you wait for your check: it's meant to kill garlic breath.

London is a city that takes months to properly explore - but it only takes a few evenings to discover some of the city's top spots.

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The information contained here is provided by Brafton. AIG Travel assumes no responsibility for the use, accuracy, or interpretation of the information contained herein.