Featuring famous landmarks such as Big Ben, Tower of London, and the London Eye, London continues to be one of the most visited countries in the world. Whether you have been to London before or exploring it for the first time, travelers can expect something new every time.
Indeed, the capital of England is a country that is built on a rich history, royalty, and culture. This provides travelers many things to do and to experience. Aside from its historic tourist spots, there are also hidden gems and upcoming destinations that boast of London’s unique culture.
How to Get There
One’s London adventure begins the moment they land in the famed London Heathrow Airport. The airport, featured in countless movies and TV shows, is one of the most famous airports in the world. It is known for its iconic Slipstream structure, which delights tourists from the moment they arrive.
There are several modes of transportation for tourists to take to get to the centre of the bustling city. One of them would be the airport taxi, which is the most convenient option but is also the priciest. It takes about thirty minutes to get from Heathrow to Downtown London.
Meanwhile, most tourists prefer taking the express train, aptly called Heathrow Express, since this is the fastest way to get to the city. There is also the London Underground, which is an even cheaper alternative to the Heathrow Express. Another option would be the local buses. Travel time takes about fifty minutes to the city centre.
One thing a tourist must understand about London is the fact that it is a big city with city traffic which means that getting around from one neighborhood to another may take time. However, seeing the sights makes it worth the trip. Tourists traveling in London are fortunate because of the many ways they can go around the city.
The best way to explore London is the underground metro or what locals refer to as “The Tube.” Not only can you take the tube directly from the airport, but it is also a convenient and cost-efficient way to get around the city. The Tube is easy to navigate and with the help of an Oyster card, you can easily transfer from the tube to the bus.
The famed red city buses all around London is another delightful way to see the city. It also serves as an alternative to the tube. Be sure to take your Oyster card with you to make it a hassle-free trip.
London is also known for its taxi services called “black cabs.” It’s the perfect mode of transportation if you are heading somewhere special for the night. Take note that it can rack up quite the bill, but they do accept credit cards.
Things to Do
There are many things to do in London especially because it is divided into many different boroughs and neighborhoods, each destination offering something unique to their many visitors yearly. To maximize your trip, it is important to remember these must-see tourist spots in London and adding them to your to-do list.
Explore London City. “The City”
as most locals would call it is just about a square mile in size and yet it is packed with the country’s biggest skyscrapers and financial district. The vibe of the “city” is a favorite amongst tourists because it gives them a feel of what it is like to be a local.
Of course, what is London without seeing its rich royal history? Take in the culture of the world’s most famous royal family and include seeing Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey on your things to do in London. You will also see the Houses of Parliament and the Strangers’ Gallery at the House of Commons.
Meanwhile, another popular must-see tourist spots in London is the Covent Garden. It is one of the most popular areas in the city and is home to some of the best theaters. Neal Street proves to be a shoe lover’s paradise showcasing various footwear from end to end.
And if destiny permits, how about falling in love in Notting Hill? Made famous for the movie of the same name, Notting Hill is in Kensington and Chelsea which features high-end shops and is home to many famous faces.
For those who love partying, London has it all. SoHo is known to be the vibrant and exciting part of the city that is frequented by young and old alike. Several hip and trendy restaurants, pubs, jazz, and blues bars are located here.
If you want to be included in London’s art and party scene, the best place to go is in Shoreditch – another great destination to experience London’s nightlife.
What to Eat
The Brits also know a thing or two when it comes to food. And while some tourists may be overwhelmed by the unique dishes they serve, one can never go wrong with the traditional fish and chips.
“You have never tried fish and chips unless you have tried it in London”
is a famous saying that tourists only understand when they have sampled it for themselves. When it comes to this iconic London food, the best ones are served in Poppies, Shoreditch, or Camden.
To feel like royalty, many suggest trying out The Wolseley which is a historic grand café that is housed in a former vintage car showroom. The stunning place is popular at any time of the day, so it is important to book ahead of time.
Where to Stay
When it comes to accommodations in London, there is no one place that is better than the other. Just like its many tourist attractions, hotels in London are spread out and present a lot of options for all types of tourists. Choosing from the many accommodations available that will fit the purpose of your trip, your interests, and your budget.
The West End area offers many of the best hotels in London and is located at the heart of central London. There are both high-end hotels and reasonable hotels as well. The West End is also home to London’s theaters, art galleries, varied dining experiences and a big part of London’s nightlife scene. Hotels in this part of London range from 4 to 5-star hotels and midrange hotel bargains. Because of its varied offerings, this is a great place for families to stay in.
Hotels are also available just at the north of the West End, at a place called Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia. This area doesn’t just offer reasonably priced hotels in London but also provides great access to transportation that makes your London travel even more convenient. Aside from hotels, this area also offers inexpensive guesthouses.
Kensington has long been known for its famed attractions and five-star hotels in London, but many hotel options are still within your budget.
Boutique hotels in London are available in the South Bank and Bank Side which is across the Thames from the West End. With many attractions to see and reasonable accommodations, this is popular for both business travelers and first time London tourists. Camden and the East End also provide bargain accommodations but are less convenient for sightseeing.
• While London is not the cheapest city to visit in the world, you can save a buck or two by checking out the free attractions available. There are many to choose from - from museums to parks and gardens and even the famed changing of the guard.
• Stay in Central London to save a lot on time and money. While there may be cheaper accommodation elsewhere, being at the heart of everything allows you to explore London easily.
• Book everything in advance. It will save you time and give you the best prices on tickets for the country’s most popular attractions.