What to see and do from locals and Falcons diehards abroad.
The Falcons and Jets may not be the two most compelling teams the NFL could’ve sent abroad this year, but Falcons fans abroad will be delighted to have them even so.
For those who are making the trip over and might be unfamiliar with London, I’ve compiled a few tips from a couple of longtime readers and am sharing a fan meetup spot on Saturday and Sunday. I hope you find it useful!
Our friends at Atlanta Falcons UK have set things up with The Admiralty pub for Saturday evening and Sunday morning festivities. If you want to meet up with your fellow fans before the game, this looks like the place to do it.
To anyone waiting for information, The Admiralty has confirmed that they are the official Falcons pub for next weekend!
We will be heading there on the Saturday afternoon/ evening and then of course attending our Falcons meetup at The Beehive on Sunday morning!
— Atlanta Falcons ⚫ (@ATLFalconsUK) October 4, 2021
Here’s the website so you can get a feel for the place and figure out where to go.
Tips and tricks
I’d like to give a huge thanks to Chapman Maddox, an Atlanta native and longtime reader (thank you for that, too!) who has lived in London for almost six years with his girlfriend, a lifelong U.K. resident. He has recommendations for travel, food, and more, as well as a few handy terms to keep in mind:
#1 – Accommodations – Pick a hotel or AirBnB in or around central London. Tottenham is basically a suburb and outside of the game, you should stay closer in town to things you will be doing. You will spend most of your time doing stuff in around central and it will make your life easier (and save you time) to do this.
#2 – Tube – The Tube is your friend and the best way to get around London (do please wear a mask). It’s relatively affordable (the fee is capped daily), pretty easy to navigate and can get you most places in London better than a taxi. Uber is also available here and would suggest using it to get home late at night versus the Tube. The Tube runs late night on the weekends, but not as frequently and can take a long time to get where you need to go. Black Taxis are good for short distances, but walking also works.
#3 Pub = Bar – Pubs are great and everywhere! There are nice pubs, cool pubs, dive pubs, old man pubs, and touristy pubs, but they are a cornerstone of British culture and a fun way to meet locals. If you want to try a beer, just ask, most pubs are cool about letting you try things. Due to WW2 drinking laws, Pubs close at 11 on weekdays and 12pm on weekends. Don’t worry, there are late night spots to drink after hours but they are not as common everywhere like in the U.S.
I would definitely suggest checking out the Samuel Smith pubs (https://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/pubs/), which have restored old pubs to look like they were 100+ years ago, the beers are great and the prices are also very cheap.
#4 Food – Despite the stereotype about British Food, London has some of the best restaurants in the world. There is a ton of amazing food to enjoy, and yes, even the British cuisine is nice (but not all of it). Soho and Shoreditch are two great areas of town with lots of excellent restaurant choices. I would highly suggest making reservations in advanced to places because you could end up waiting a long time to eat or not get in at all. Also, do try a fish n’ chips while you are here, but avoid the more touristy versions of it.
Some of my favorites – Palomor, Hawksmoor, Homeslice, Brat, Kiln, Smokehouse BBQ, Lina Stores, Park Row (the Batman themed restaurant), Burger & Beyond, Flat Iron, Din Tai Fung.
#5 Museums – A great deal of the museums in London are free. If you love history, The British Museum is a must. If you want to see some classic art, The National Gallery is your place. Modern art, Tate Modern is a really cool museum and an amazing building to visit. If you are into science, the Natural History Museum has you covered. All of these are free. My only suggestion is some places will require bookings (reservations), so plan ahead. There are lots of other museums that do charge, which are great too, but this is a good taste of London that won’t cost you anything.
#6 for Party Time – The main places to go out in London are Soho, Shoreditch and Brixton. Soho is more club scene and lots of late night bars. Shoreditch is the cooler more hipster vibe with lots of bars/pubs. Brixton is the hip-hop Caribbean vibe and the birth place of David Bowie.
Local beer to try: Beavertown, Camden Town, Pressure Drop, Two Tribes, Brixton.
Bathroom/restroom = Toilet – This is a hard one for us Americans, but asking for a “toilet” while in the UK will make your life much easier. Trust me.
If you want a beer = “I’ll have a pint of…”
Mate = Friend
Mate (said with attitude) = you’re an asshole
Bin = trash can
Quid = a buck/dollar
Queue = line (as in standing in line)
“you okay?” = “what’s up” “how are you”
Fellow Falcons fan, reader (thank you again!) and London resident Nick C. also shared some advice for enjoying your time in Central London in particular.
General tips: Public transport in London is generally excellent, but it’s a big city so plan any travel accordingly. Londoners typically aren’t the friendliest bunch, so knowing where you need to go ahead of time is a plus. On top of this, there is currently a fuel (gas) shortage in London, which means getting a taxi is extremely difficult. The government has not confirmed whether they expect this to last another week. Citymapper is my app of choice for planning journeys.
99% of things can be paid for with card. I haven’t used cash in 2 years. When catching the train/metro (tube)/bus you can just tap your contactless card and it will get charged at a capped rate (max is £7/day I think). You should tap out when leaving trains, but not buses.
It currently isn’t forecast to rain this weekend, but this is England, so I would pack a rain jacket. Don’t get bike taxis (rickshaw) in Central London. These are scams aimed at tourists and a 5 minute journey will cost you an arm and a leg.
Things to do:
Sports: It’s the International break in soccer this weekend, which sadly means that there is no Premier League and no 2nd Division games on. There’s a top level game of Rugby Union on Saturday, as London Irish play Leicester. Could be a good opportunity to see our egg shaped ball sport in action. Tickets start at £25.
Sightseeing: If it’s your first time in London, then hitting the tourist traps wouldn’t be a bad thing. I would find a route that lets you see as much as you can in as little time as possible. I’d probably recommend Buckingham Palace, London Eye and the Shard. I’d avoid Madame Tussauds, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and the Emirates Cable car. And by avoid I mean really these are not worth anywhere close to the cost/time they would take.
Food: If you’re staying in a nice/fancy hotel then it’s always good to ask the concierge for advice on food. If, like me, you stay in hotels on the cheaper end then try looking on Google for places near where you’re staying.
Fish and Chips – a classic. In Central London, I like Mayfair Chippy. It’s good food and not unreasonably priced.
Sunday Roast. This is usually served over lunch but you can certainly find places that will do this after the game. Hawksmoor has one of the best in London.
Full English – your hotel will almost certainly offer this. The quality will likely match the quality of the hotel. I’d Google for the best one near your hotel or recommend Breakfast Club.
Curry. Another British staple, there will be plenty of curry houses near your hotel, however if you want to try an upmarket (but still reasonable) restaurant then Dishoom is fantastic.
Nandos. As long as it’s cheeky. (Editor’s note: Please forgive me for putting Nandos under curry, a deeply American formatting error that should not be taken as a reflection on Nick).
Drink: You can’t come to London without having a pint in an old pub. (I was going to add the caveat of those who don’t drink, but then I remembered I was talking to Falcons fans…). Walk 10 minutes in any direction from your hotel and you will be able to find a pub with history and character. Again Google will be able to find you a nice one. My only tip here would be to avoid the chain Wetherspoons. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
If you have additional tips, places to go and things to see, do share them in the comments. I hope everyone heading to the game gets to enjoy a win on Sunday.