I lived in London for 4 years for university.
Regent street – perfect for cashmeres and lovely things, not fast fashion.
Selfriges, on Oxford Street, Lots of great designers, Aspinal and Tiffany & Co. But still lots
of affordable pretties and Johnstons of Elgin cashmere and wool. Also, the FOOD HALL.
Camden Town and Brick Lane for edgy and one-off peices.
Harrods, needs no introduction, but also excellent Food Hall.
Hartleys Toys, a several story wonderland of wonderous toys
Waterstones, Gowler Street, bookworm here. Its a five story book shop with medical school texts. Its near The British Museum.
For cafe and people watching, I loved Covent Garden (oooh! do remember to stop by the shop LUSH, while there if you can!). Lots of musicians and street perfomers.
Hyde Park (it is huge), Green Park (near Buckingham Palace) and St. James Park are great for photos, people watching, sitting by a pond. I would pack a picnic to go out to the parks (Take lunch from Pret a Manget; or sandwiches, berries and fizzy water from Sainsbury’s and you are golden).
I loved Hampsted & Hampsted Heath, tranquil, sophisticated and lovely. Not remotely touristy. But may be too peaceful if you love the big city feel. The Jewish Museum is in that neighbourhood.
On the Jewish note, the main kosher area (food and Judaica shops) is Golder’s Green. It is nearby Hampstead on the Northern Line tube.
I have to vote the classics. Natural History, Science, British Museum, Tate Modern is Awesome, Victoria and Albert (do have a proper cuppa in the tea room, it’s divine!). The Palaces are marvelous. Especially the Tower of London. Well worth the price of admission. It takes all day to see everything in the Tower. Why miss the magnificent crown jewels?
Also, if you like shows:
The West End (London’s Broadway).
Or see if a act you like is playing at The Forum in Kentish Town. Amazing legendary venue!
As said above, The Globe Theater.
I’m also a Harry Potter fan, so if/when I get to go back, I’m adding the Harry Potter theme park to the itineray.
In London, you can travel the world through your stomach. What cuisines do you care for? What level of dining?
King Eddie the VII is a gastropub with proper pours. Its a few blocks away from the Olympic Park in Stratford.
High tea at The Ritz.
Yeah, students don’t eat at Ramsay’s very often. I had load of fun trying all the different cultures foods & enjoying a cuppa and sweet in some corner shop. I ate at plenty of holes in the wall where the food was great and great priced. But I’m not certain those are the kinds of places you looking for.
Enjoy your trip!