Bildschirmfoto 2023 12 15 um 08.22.13 - Insider's Guide: London Partner James’ Top Tips for Christmas Magic in London

Insider’s Guide: London Partner James’ Top Tips for Christmas Magic in London

As a London local, what are the absolute highlights and hidden gems that you believe visitors must see and experience in the city?

I’m not from London originally, but having lived and worked there for many years I feel like an adopted citizen of the UK capital.

My highlights, especially for visitors:

  1. Borough Market: an eclectic mix of stalls, restaurants, bars, and shops near London Bridge; wonderful all year round
  2. The Tower of London: arguably the most historic building in London
  3. The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben: they’re iconic for a reason and you might bump into a Prime Minister or two

Narrowing down the hidden gems is harder as London is full of twists and turns that would take weeks to explore. Personal favourites though:

  1. Postman’s Park: a public park that many of the public don’t know about!
  2. Leake Street Arches: street art, food, events, and more in a space that feels like a well-kept secret
  3. Little Venice: Charming canals and waterside cafes make for a real change of pace

London is renowned for its unique architecture. In your opinion, which building or structure has the most significant cultural and historical impact on the city and why?

This could easily be a long list, from St Paul’s Cathedral, to the Gherkin, to the Lloyds Building. The British Museum stands out though, for its cultural and historical impact. Its vast collection showcases global history and culture, making it a symbol of London’s multicultural ethos and historical depth.

What English dishes or culinary experiences do you recommend to visitors to fully enjoy the local gastronomy? Which restaurants would you highly recommend?

It would be easy to say fish and chips, or a roast dinner on a Sunday. But London is the most diverse and cosmopolitan city in the UK.

To get the best mix possible therefore I’d recommend:

  1. Dishoom for an Indian twist on breakfast
  2. Cockney’s Pie & Mash Shop for a very local experience at lunch
  3. Hunan for your evening meal and some of the best Chinese food outside of mainland China

How has London evolved in recent years, and what changes have you observed regarding tourism, culture, and the city’s lifestyle?

In recent years, London has become ever more cosmopolitan, while retaining its historical charm. The city has seen a rise in sustainable practices and a shift towards more pedestrian-friendly spaces making it better than ever for visitors. Experiences and events cater for young and old, families and singles. Public transport is exceptional, but it’s also a city you can spend many hours walking around in a leisurely fashion.

Are there any special events, festivals, or local traditions that, as a London local, you would recommend tourists to experience during their visit to the city?

There’s nearly always something memorable going on, so depending on when you’re visiting and of the below are worth your time:

  1. The Notting Hill Carnival: A vibrant celebration of Caribbean culture
  2. The Lord Mayor’s Show: A historic procession that dates back centuries and is truly unique
  3. Trooping the Colour: No visit to London is complete without embracing the tradition and pageantry of the monarchy and Buckingham Palace

What must one definitely visit during the Christmas season in London? And why?

If you’re lucky enough to visit at Christmas then you have to find your way to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park; a festive extravaganza with rides, markets, and seasonal activities.

What do you value the most about working with EMA Global?

The collaboration and cooperation is a hugely satisfying part of working with EMA Global. Coming together in person regularly allows us to compare our situations and explore best practice. What’s most interesting is that quite often the challenges that we are individually facing are the same country-to-country and region-to-region. There is far more in common globally than I think people would expect, and so we can truly work together to solve problems and enhance our service to clients.

After all this years of collaboration with EMA Global, what was your most memorable experience working with EMA Global?

My most memorable experience with EMA Global came at my first ever global conference, in New York. I walked into the bar that we were meeting in the night before the conference, having not met anyone from the group in person before, and was immediately surrounded by friendly faces all wanting to introduce themselves and find out more about me. Within an hour we knew all about each others lives and work, within a couple more we were dancing the tango in the bar area!

98A8775 - Deborah Lang
Deborah Lang

Executive Assistant

Deborah Lang works as an Executive Assistant for EMA Partners Switzerland AG.