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Tourist like a local: Your guide to London

Between royal babies and Brexit, there's no shortage of news from London. Right up there is some news of our own: Zendesk is bringing Zendesk Showcase back to London on 12 June 2019. What to expect? A convening of customer experience leaders for great (politics-free) conversation, product updates, and stories from innovative companies like Starling Bank, Trustpilot, JetBrains, and more.

This year you'll find Showcase at the Tobacco Dock, and because we’re all for mixing a little pleasure with business, we’ve rounded up a few recommendations from the Zendesk London team on where to visit, eat, and drink. After all, there's nothing like a good meal and a wander about to make you feel at home anywhere you travel.

Ace Hotel. If you want to feel a bit posh, the Ace Hotel is located in Shoreditch, the hipster nucleus of the city, and pays homage to the area’s artistic, renegade history. As lovely a place as it is to stay overnight, the hotel intentionally connected with local businesses to encourage remote working and patronage. The property includes a flower shop, hosts events and club nights, and our local team can confirm that the restaurant, Hoi Polloi, is always a solid choice for a cocktail.

Duck and Waffle. I mean, come on. The name alone is a reason to check this place out. The Duck and Waffle offers stunning views from the top of The Heron Tower in London’s financial district, some 40 floors up. Better yet, it’s open for food and drinks 24/7, so you can begin or end your day here and feel like you’ve seen, literally, all of London.

The Boundary Rooftop Bar + Grill. If the sun is out (and sometimes it is), make a reservation at The Boundary Project’s rooftop terrace for dinner and drinks and views of East London. Even if the day is gray, the restaurant has a plan for inclement weather: a heated glass Orangery is open year-round.

Pergola Paddington. West London offers another rooftop hideaway in Pergola Paddington—a large, two-level space with multiple restaurants, bars, and an open rooftop. It’s a great spot to plan to spend some time over the summer. And if you find yourself at Paddington station, well, then, you’re already there.

The Ned. If you’re feeling extra posh, check out this is a private members-only club, not too far from the Tobacco Dock. Housed in a former bank, there’s a bar appropriately located in the coolest place: the vault. But there’s also a food hall on the ground floor that’s open to the public. Restaurants claim distinct spaces in the old banking hall and change up the menus on a weekly basis—offering a fresh alternative to Harrods Food Halls, especially if you’ve already been there and done that.

Barrafina. Now with three locations in London, Barrafina offers Spanish fare with a little spontaneity—they don’t take reservations. The open kitchens and tapas menu create a warm atmosphere and there’s a little something to please everyone’s palate, including a glass of Cava.

Broadway Market. If you’re in town on Saturday, head to the historic Broadway Market in Hackney, East London to pick up some organic produce, street eats, and for some good old-fashioned people watching.

Columbia Road Flower Market. On Sundays, Columbia Road, on London’s East End, transforms from a street lined by 60 independent stores, coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants into a garden of abundance. You can pick up nearly any kind of bloom, and it may well be a photographer’s dream. The market is known for being colorful, crowded, and constantly serenaded by a steady stream of street musicians.

Redchurch Street. Redchurch Street, as well as next door Boxpark, offers trendy shopping and is what Vogue magazine calls something of a “design haven.” Back in Shoreditch and away from the scores of tourists descending upon Topshop in Oxford Circus, Redchurch Street is populated with cool, unique stores, restaurants, and cafés. This area no longer denotes “up-and-coming” so much as “arrived.”

sketch. Sketch London is a trendy destination where food, art, and music mingle. Take afternoon tea in the Instagram-famous pink room surrounded by David Shrigley paintings or pop in for brunch in the “Glade,” an indoor painted forest. Just be sure to make reservations… #sketchlondon photos are in demand. The “spaced-out toilets” are also worth a look, as one visitor put it.

Kensington Gardens. If you’re not a local, walking the Thames or visiting an English garden is a must-do. Pretend to be royalty for a day by strolling through the galleries, sculptures, gardens, well-kept vegetation in Kensington Gardens. Fans of PBS’s Victoria won’t want to miss the Italian Gardens, believed to have once been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria.

And if you can’t make London, find Zendesk Showcase in Chicago.