Vapiano London – sightseeing tips for this very British capital city
London is a vibrant international metropolis with lots to see and do. Insider tips are worth their weight in gold. Vikki O’Neill, our Marketing Manager in the United Kingdom spoke to us about what should definitely feature on your sightseeing list. She’s been part of the Vapiano team for three and a half years now and has all the low-down on London.
Hi Vikki, thanks for chatting to us today. There are three Vapiano restaurants in London. Why do you think the concept is so popular?
Our guests know that they’re going to be served delicious homemade pasta and pizza at unbeatable value. Our chefs even take special requests into consideration. Want extra chilli? Our pleasure. Leave out the garlic today? Not a problem. And our restaurants are fun places to hang out. Every day we receive positive feedback on our social media channels so we know we’re doing something right. We also host regular special events in our three restaurants.
You’ve mentioned the magic number three. Which is your favourite Vapiano restaurant in London?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I like them all. The Great Portland Street branch was the first to open back in 2008 so it will always be special. But if I had to choose, I would go for our second restaurant in Bankside. It’s a single level design with floor to ceiling glazing that floods it with light and creates a unique atmosphere. It’s also south of the river, and I’m a South London girl at heart!
What’s best about living and working in London?
London never sleeps. There’s always a fab new restaurant to try out, or a live gig to go to, or film premieres, art exhibitions and theatre performances. No matter where you’re from, the city is a melting pot of different cultures so it’s never boring. I’m actually from Manchester and moved here to study. I loved it so much I decided to stay.
It certainly sounds exciting. What are your tips for one day in London?
Hmm, one day? Well a single day is definitely not going to be long enough to see the whole city. I always recommend diving into the “real” London, away from the tourist routes and the sightseeing tours. Walking around London is the best way to gain an authentic insight into the city with its quintessentially British townhouses and tiny side streets. Take a stroll along Southbank or explore the historical City of London. Pudding Lane is where the Great Fire of London broke out in 1666. You can walk through Bermondsey towards East London and grab a hot coffee on the way. Brick Lane is always worth a visit. It’s another cultural melting pot with an alternative artist scene and one of London’s most popular street markets. There are loads of great places to eat around here too. Brick Lane is home to a huge selection of Southern Asian cuisine, cafes, pubs and Indian restaurants. And if you’ve come all the way to London, you can’t leave without trying our traditional fish & chips!
If walking isn’t your thing, pick up an Oyster card. It’s a pre-paid card you can use on any of the city’s public transport routes.
Some brilliant ideas there, thanks! Do you have your own favourite spot in London?
I do indeed! I love the sweeping view from the top of Greenwich Park. You can see right across the central and south-east London.
Let’s talk nightlife? Any good clubs or bars you can recommend?
Stay well away from the typical tourist traps. Go where the locals go. London’s pubs are always a good bet for a pint of lager or traditional English ale.
Good thinking. What else should tourists visiting a busy city like London know?
London never stands still and life can appear extremely hectic to visitors. Never stop suddenly in the middle of the pavement or someone will walk into you. Always stand on the right hand side of escalators and have your Oyster card ready at the tube barriers. Londoners are friendly folk but we don’t have time for dawdlers!
Let’s talk about food again. Is there any one Vapiano dish that Londoners particularly enjoy?
Our “Gamberetti e Spinaci”, prawns and spinach in a creamy sauce with homemade basil pesto, is super popular right now. But my favourite is the pasta dish “Salsiccia con Fichi” – a spicy recipe with hot Italian sausage and fresh figs. It’s so good!
Thanks for all your advice Vikki. We’re all ready to pack our bags and book our London city break!