Soumaya has teamed up with Halal Girl About Town to produce the ultimate London travel guide. Enjoy classic British pastimes without breaking the bank, and whet your appetites with recommendations from London’s number one expert on halal dining.
1. Camden Lock
Camden Lock is a tourist haven, with cheap souvenirs such as London mugs and key rings going for as little as £1. Browse the market stalls where you can buy unique handmade gifts, including earrings made from dried lemons and strawberries! For a more relaxed vibe, head down to the lock and watch the longboats make their way through the canal.
Nearest station: Camden Town, Northern line
Camden market is now home to the biggest street food market in London known as Kerb. There are several stalls that serve delicious halal treats, such as beef rendang from Makatcha and Motherclucker’s crispy fried chicken. If you’re looking for a restaurant, head to Bintang; a popular halal pan-Asian restaurant. Finish off with a scoop of liquid nitrogen ice-cream from Chin Chin Labs.
All meats served at Bintang are halal. No pork but alcohol present.
Halal status varies from stall to stall at the market so be sure to ask when you’re there.
2. House of Minalima
This design house is full of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts regalia. Set-up by Eduardo and Mina, it was initially opened as a pop-up store, but now looks to remain open indefinitely due to its popularity. The founders designed hundreds (if not thousands) of props for the wizarding series.
Enjoy a free tour of their work on Mondays and Tuesdays, and find out how they designed The Marauders Map or the Black Family Tree. You could easily get carried away buying some of limited edition wall prints, or satisfy yourself with one of the Hogwarts House badges.
Nearest station: Leicester Square, Piccadilly and Northern lines
Opening hours: 12:00 – 19:00 every day
You can’t go wrong with a buttery naan stuffed with a fried egg and sweet chutney from Dishoom, with a cup of chai on the side first thing in the morning. Their dinner menu is just as good, and is worth checking out if you’re in the area. If you’re too used to having Indian at home, change things up a bit and have your meal at Babaji Pide; a popular Turkish restaurant specialising in freshly baked pides, fresh bread topped with spiced meat.
Dishoom serves halal lamb and chicken. Both pork and alcohol served here.
All meats at Babaji are halal. No pork but alcohol served here.
3. Coram’s fields
…is paradise for children of all ages. There are at least 4 playing areas, each aimed at different age groups. Your child can take their pick from a sand pit, adventure playground, various swings and slides and a field. There is also a small farm which is home to some goats, rabbits and hens. Wear your children out whilst you relax on the benches at a safe distance, with a nice cup of tea or some frozen yoghurt, both served at the cafe.
Nearest station: Russell square, Piccadilly line
London is full of hidden halal gems and it seems Coram’s Fields is right in the middle of them. The three most noteworthy options are Raavi Kebab (a classic Indian establishment that serves some of the best seekh kebabs), Roti King (flaky Malaysian roti served with curry for dipping), and Dapur (a popular Malaysian lunch hotspot that do a good nasi lemak).
All meats served at all three establishments are halal. No pork is served at any, but alcohol may be present.
4. The Royal Parks
If you are visiting in spring, summer or early autumn, we highly recommend a visit to London’s royal parks. St James’ Park is one of my favourites, as it is beautifully landscaped with lawns, flowers and walkways. It’s also opposite Buckingham Palace and Horse Guard’s Parade, making it a great starting place for some sightseeing.
Hire a Boris Bike (as they are known locally) and enjoy cycling through Hyde Park, or hire a boat at Regent’s Park and row past the willows and through flocks of seagulls.
Nearest stations: Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line), Charing Cross station (Bakerloo line), Marble Arch (Central line)
Towards the Marylebone side of Regent’s Park, you’ll find Feng Shang Princess, a floating Chinese restaurant on Regent’s Canal. Book dinner for sunset so you can admire your surroundings whilst tucking into their halal offerings. Burgista Bros is also a good option for a casual meal.
After a day at Hyde Park your best bet is to head towards Bayswater and go straight to Alounak on Westbourne Grove – my absolute favourite Persian in London. Another suggestion is Horapha Thai which is also situated on Westbourne Grove.
For St James’ Park, you have to go to Gymkhana. Noted as one of the best Indian’s in London – with a Michelin star to prove it – this Green Park restaurant serves some of the best lamb chops and creamy chaat around. Booking is essential and if you don’t manage to get one, Mint Leaf in Haymarket is also a good option.
Feng Shang Princess serve halal lamb and chicken. Both pork and alcohol present. All meats at Burgista Bros are halal and no pork or alcohol present.
All meats at Alounak and Horaphra Thai are halal and no pork served but alcohol may be present.
Gymkhana serve halal lamb, chicken, and kid goat. Both pork and alcohol present. All meats at Mint Leaf are halal, and no pork but alcohol is present.
5. Sketch cream tea
Us Brits are renowned tea drinkers, and enjoying a classic cream tea should not be missed when in London. However, if you opt for Afternoon Tea (sandwiches, scones and tea) you are looking at paying in the region of £25 upwards.
However, you can still enjoy an exquisite cream tea at a top location without the price tag. Sketch has 5 main dining rooms, each of which is decorated according to a theme. The Glade evokes the refreshing calm of spring time, while The Gallery offers a ‘50s American diner feel, with pink comfy chairs and glowing globes, making for a comfortable place to catch up with your friends.
If you look on the website you will note the steep prices for eating or booking a table for Afternoon Tea. However, turn up on the day and order a cream tea for little more than £12 per head, including service charge.
Nearest station: Oxford Circus, Bakerloo and Central lines
If you fancy something small and meaty before your lovely cream tea, head to Burgeri. The Qatari-owned fast food joint dishes out manageable sized burgers, with an option to upgrade to wagyu beef, and their cheesy crinkle cut fries are to die for! Pizza Pilgrims just down the road also serve some of the best pizzas in London and their Nutella pizza is spot on.
All the meats served at Burgeri are halal. No pork or alcohol served here.
Pizza Pilgrims is not halal. Both pork and alcohol are present.
6. Sky Garden
Free entry to the Sky Garden will take you 155m above London, giving you a great view of London’s skyline. Once you’ve had your fill of the views, enjoy the 3 floors of sculpted gardens.
Admission is free but you need to book at least a week in advance. Best time to book is on a Monday morning.
Nearest station: Monument, District and Circle lines
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 – 18:00, weekends 11:00 – 21:00
Head next door to Duck and Waffle beforehand for an indulgent brunch with fantastic views over the London skyline. Alternatively, if you’re looking for halal, head to Haz for lunch or dinner; a popular Turkish establishment in the City.
The meat served at Duck and Waffle is not halal. Both pork and alcohol are present.
All the meats at Haz are halal. No pork but alcohol present.
7. The Globe Theatre
Visiting the theatre is an absolute must when in London, but the steep ticket prices can make this tricky. The Globe is an open air theatre designed in the same style as the one used by Shakespeare centuries ago, and it offers a classically British theatre experience but without the hefty price tag. You can stand in the yard for a mere £5 (we’ve tried it and it’s great because the actors weave through the crowd). For a very reasonable £20 you can get a seat in the gallery and enjoy the play from a comfortable distance. Free tickets are available for those with disabilities. Check out their website for more details.
Nearest station: Monument, District and Circle lines and Blackfriars, District and Circle lines.
The Tas group has been around since 1999 and are known for their delicious Turkish grills. Luckily, their Tas Pide branch is right next to the Globe Theatre, and specialises in wood-fired pides with a variety of toppings like pastrami, halloumi and minced lamb.
All meats served at Tas Pide are halal. No pork but alcohol served here.
8. Kyoto Garden
This sculptured garden was designed by horticulturalists that came all the way from Japan to create this beautiful tranquil space in the middle of the city. It sits in Holland Park where you will also find a giant chess set, Fukushima Memorial Garden and the orangery (which is sort of like a giant greenhouse).
Nearest station: High Street Kensington, District and Circle lines
Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00 every day
Randa by Maroush is an upscale Lebanese dining room just behind Holland Park, and serves up classic dishes like hummus beiruty and crispy kibbehs. Another worthy mention is Chakra, a high-end Indian restaurant with plenty of ‘best restaurant’ awards to boast about.
All meats served at Randa and Chakra are halal. No pork served but alcohol present.
9. Ruislip Lido
The Lido offers a fun day out for the family, with its sandy shoreline and water splash pad. Unfortunately it’s not currently possible to swim in the Lido for environmental reasons, but you can enjoy a train ride through the surrounding forest and build sandcastles with your loved ones. Train ticket prices start at £2 for adults and £1.50 for children, so all aboard!
Nearest station: Ruislip tube station, Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 20:00 (May – August), closing earlier the rest of the year between 4 pm to 7 pm.
A short trip to Uxbridge from here will lead you to the best halal burger joint in London, Red Iron Burgers. One of my absolute favourites, this is the original halal burger joint to open up!
All meats served at Red Iron are halal. No pork or alcohol served here.
10. Hampstead Heath
While Hampstead Heath is renowned for beautiful leafy green walks, the swimming ponds are still one of London’s hidden gems. The ponds open from late March until the end of October, and there are even separate swimming areas for men and women (alongside a mixed pond). Having swum in a pond myself before, it is definitely not like swimming in the sea or even the pool, and is something everyone should try at least once. What makes this even better is that it is only £2 for an adult day ticket!
Opening hours: These vary depending on the time of year, but are open generally from 07:00 – 20:00.
Nearest station: Hampstead Heath, London Overground
You must have a crepe from the famous La Creperie du Hampstead. A small kiosk situated on the high street, they serve up some of the best nutella and banana, and garlic mushroom crepes in London, and is worth the queue. Head to Patara beforehand for a good, high-end Thai meal.