London Travel Ideas: A black American's guide to London's local gems

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From MadameNoire.comLondon has been on everyone’s radar for the past few months. From the Wimbledon Grand Slam tennis tournament to the Summer Olympics and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the city has played host to events of global significance for the better part of 2012 it seems. (Controversy concerning the Royal Family has also been a big topic of conversation, but that’s a whole different story.)

Whether you’ve been before or not, London is filled, end to end, with history, restaurants and tons to do and see. Guidebooks and travel sites about London tourism promote the standard tourist stops— Buckinhgam Palace, Big Ben, The Tower of London, the Thames River, Royal Museums Greenwich, for example —which you should definitely check out. But when you’re done jostling fellow tourists, definitely check out these gems where locals like to hang.

Things to Know Before You Go

Flights to London range from $800 to $1,200 or more depending on time of year and the flexibility of ticket. US citizens don’t need a visa to enter the country. In rare cases, you may have to have your documentation translated into the necessary language. You may also need online apostille services to authenticate these documents.

The US Dollar is weaker than the British Pound — 1 pound nets you $1.58. Avoid pricey black cabs, and instead go for lower priced mini cabs, or a daily travel card that will get you unlimited service on the buses, London Underground and rails around the city and beyond. has more info.

The Ritzy

A 101-year-old picturehouse in London’s once gritty Brixton neighborhood, the theater was recently restored to its original old school décor including a retro marquee and curtained screens. This is the place to watch the latest movies, catch a film festival screening, or listen to live music in their companion “Upstairs” venue. Visit for all the deets.

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