One of the world’s most visited cities, London has something for everyone from history and culture to fine food, amazing architecture, theater, art and museums, world-class nightlife and good times.
I’ve been to London many times over the years, only mostly before I owned a 360 camera though. I’m hoping to visit again very soon, so will upload anything new here.
London can seem crazy busy and all a bit much for some, but as long as you have the right tools at your disposal it’s actually really easy to negotiate. Even i’ve done it alone numerous times now, so anyone can do it. If you feel like you’re going mad there’s always a park nearby where you can go and chill out for bit to regain your thoughts and composure. I always use a mix of google maps and download the tube map app which is a god send, telling you which station you need and it even tells you where best to stand on a platform as certain carriages are full. I would would get lost without either of those.
London isn’t cheap, so I would recommend budgeting £45-£80 a day if you’re on a budget. You can’t visit without having a few pints in some of the traditional pubs though and there are loads of great options to choose from. I’ve added the ones I know of to the list Where To Eat & Drink below including London’s most historic pubs, some date back to the 1500s. Also make the most of all the museums as they are all free entry which is a great way to make the most of a rainy day.
You might like to look at some of the walking tours, I once did the Jack the Ripper tour. I wasn’t expecting much, but I actually really enjoyed it. We met up on a cold autumn evening and walked the streets where all the murders took place and were shown images of the scenes and victims. The tour guide was very informative and funny with it. It lasted 2 hours, I thought it was really interesting and good fun. Something I would definitely recommend doing, a brilliant spooooky evening well spent.
London also has dozens of markets offering both fresh and freshly-prepared foods. Some of the most popular markets are Borough Market, Portobello Road Market, Camden Street Market, Brick Lane Market, Covent Garden Market, and Greenwich Market. London has some of the best street food you’ll find anywhere in the world so make sure you don’t pass up the chance to sample some.
The one thing that used to annoy me was the early closure of the tube stations so you couldn’t enjoy a night out without clock watching and having to leave early to make sure you could get back or pay an extortionate amount in a taxi. Thankfully with the introduction of the Night Tube on the main lines we can now enjoy a proper night out knowing we can easily get home at the end of it.
London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. London is not a homogeneous city. It is rather a chaotic patchwork of overlapping villages all of which have distinctly different characters and London culture is as diverse as its population with over 250 languages spoken across the city.
- Londinium was founded by the Romans.
- London contains four World Heritage Sites, the Tower of London, Kew Gardens, the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church and the historic settlement in Greenwich where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.
- The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.
- The West End is London’s main entertainment and shopping district, attracting tourists.
- The average price for properties in Kensington and Chelsea is over £2 million with a similarly high outlay in most of central London.
- London has 38 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), two national nature reserves and 76 local nature reserves.
The Romans founded Londinium in 43 AD as a stores depot on the marshy banks of the Thames. Despite frequent attacks – not least by Queen Boudicca, who razed it in 61 AD – the port became secure in its position as capital of Roman Britain by the end of the century. London’s expansion really began, however, in the eleventh century, when it became the seat of the last successful invader of Britain, the Norman duke who became William I of England (aka “the Conqueror”). Crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey, William built the White Tower – centrepiece of the Tower of London – to establish his dominance over the merchant population, the class that was soon to make London one of Europe’s mightiest cities.
- In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge. This bridge either crossed the Thames or reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC.
- In 2010, the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge. The function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank where the River Effra flows into the Thames.
- The Great Fire of London broke out in 1666 in Pudding Lane in the city and quickly swept through the wooden buildings. Rebuilding took over ten years and was supervised by Robert Hooke as Surveyor of London.
- In 1708 Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral was completed.
- After the end of Roman rule in 410 and a short-lived decline, London experienced a gradual revival under the Anglo-Saxons, as well as the Norsemen, and emerged as a great medieval trading city, eventually replacing Winchester as the royal capital of England. This paramount status for London was confirmed when William the Conqueror, a Norman, built the Tower of London after the conquest in 1066 and was crowned King of England in Westminster.
I’ve stayed at a few budget hotels like Premier Inn, Travelodge and Via Limehouse hostel. All were very comfortable, though the Travelodge near Wembley was right next to the train mainline. Lucky I was getting up early anyway, i needn’t have used an alarm.
- Hostels, cost between £10-40 ($13-52 USD) a night for a dorm room. Private rooms in hostels (twin or double) start at around 50 GBP ($64 USD) and go up from there.
- Hotels, start around £60 ($77 USD) for budget and then upward to four figures for all the glitz and glam per night.
- Airbnb, cost around £35-50 ($46-65 USD) per night for a shared room, while entire apartments/homes start around 75 GBP ($99 USD) per night.
- Big Ben
- Borough Market
- Brick Lane Market
- The British Museum
- Buckingham Palace
- Camden Market (The Stables)
- Carnaby Street
- Chessington World of Adventures
- Churchill War Rooms
- Climb the O2 Arena (Book in advance)
- Covent Garden Market
- Cutty Sark
- Dungeon London
- The Graffiti Tunnel
- Greenwich Market
- Hampstead Heath
- Hampton Court Palace (England’s oldest surviving Tudor palace, built c1515)
- Hyde Park
- Kensington Gardens
- Kyoto Garden (Opened in 1991 to mark the friendship between Japan and the UK. Flowers, trees, waterfalls and Koi carp)
- Leadenhall Market
- London Bridge
- London Eye
- London Zoo
- Lyceum Theatre
- Millennium Bridge
- Piccadilly Circus
- Portobello Road Market
- Madame Tussauds London
- Marble Arch
- Museum of London
- Natural History Museum
- Neal’s Yard (Colorful courtyard)
- Nelson’s Column
- Palace of Westminster
- The National Gallery
- Oxford Street
- The Regent’s Park
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
- Royal Albert Hall
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
- Royal Observatory Greenwich
- St. Dunstan (Medieval church ruins)
- St. James’s Park
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Science Museum
- SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium
- The Shard
- Tate Modern
- Thorpe Park Resort
- Tower Bridge
- Tower of London
- Trafalgar Square
- Twickenham Stadium
- Walking tour.
- Wembley Stadium
- Westminster Abbey
- Winter Wonderland (Christmas)
- Barbican Conservatory (Indoor rainforest)
- The Blackfriar
- The Blind Beggar, Whitechapel (Where 60s gangster Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell)
- The Breakfast Club
- Cabana Brasilian Barbecue
- The Camden Assembly
- The Cheese Bar, Camden (cheese conveyor belt restaurant, you’re in for gouda times…..sorry)
- Churchill Arms (Probably one of the most photographed pubs in London)
- Cittie of Yorke
- Counter, Vauxhall
- Cross Keys, Covent Garden
- The Crusting Pipe
- The Dickens Inn
- The Dog and Duck (Best time to visit is spring when all the flowers are in bloom)
- Doggett’s Coat & Badge
- The Dove, Hammersmith
- The Flask (believed to have been named after the flasks of Hampstead mineral water that could be purchased here when Hampstead was popular for its wells in the 18th century)
- The French House
- The Fire Station
- The Friendly Society (Gay Bar and strangest bar I’ve ever been in, if dolls scare you then this will be your worst nightmare!)
- The George Inn (London’s last remaining galleried inn, and the only pub in London to be owned by the National Trust.)
- Gong, Level 52 The Shard, London
- Gordon’s Wine Bar (Oldest Wine Bar in London)
- The Grapes (Sir Ian McKellen is one of the owners, often in for a regular Monday night pub quiz)
- The Grenadier (Built in 1720)
- The Lamb (There’s a varnished horseshoe shaped bar, as well as a polyphon (the predecessor to the gramophone) on display.)
- The Lamb & Flag, Covent Garden
- The Mayflower Pub (16th century)
- The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town (Hidden Bar, behind the door of an old fridge inside the Breakfast club. You may need a password, but asking for the mayor is a good start. Also familiarise yourself with the rules as to how to exit.)
- The Nags Head, Kinnerton St
- The Narrow, Limehouse (Gordon Ramsay)
- Nobu (now former Michelin star)
- The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping (oldest riverside pub dating back to 1520)
- Punch & Judy, Covent Garden
- Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (3 Michelin stars)
- Saint Aymes (Unicorn Café)
- Sky Garden
- The Seven Stars
- The Spaniards Inn
- The Star Tavern (supposedly where the Great Train Robbers hatched their plan to attack the Mail service in 1963)
- Three Greyhounds
- Trafalgar Tavern
- The Viaduct Tavern (The last surviving Victorian gin palace in London)
- WC Wine & Charcuterie bar, Clapham Common (former site of a 100-year-old public toilet)
- Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (Rebuilt in 1667 after the Great Fire)
- Ye Olde Mitre, Holborn (built around 1772, although there had been a pub on the site since the mid 1500s.)
You don’t need your car once here, London has one of the most comprehensive public transport systems in the world. Traveling around is so easy with the contactless Oyster or credit/debit cards. I use my phone and Google Pay, just hold your card/phone to the yellow circular reader until you hear the beep and carry on your merry way be it on the tube, train or bus. Always make sure you tap at the start and end of your journey as if you miss it you’ll be charged the full length the train can travel on that line, which can be up to £15 depending on the station where you started your journey.
- Bus, This is the cheapest option and the best way to get around London as a tourist: on most of the Underground, you won’t see anything! The bus stops outside the train station will have a destination finder poster with popular areas, roads and districts listed alphabetically, along with the number of the bus to take to get there.
- Cycle, There are hire bicycles (known to Londoners as “Boris Bikes” after former London mayor Boris Johnson). There are plenty of cycle lanes and traffic is normally considerate.
- London Underground (Tube), Tube stations are densely located all over central London, so if you’re staying in the city centre your hotel is likely to be near one.
- Night Tube, introduced in 2016, is a limited 24-hour Tube service that operates on 5 lines and overground on Fridays and Saturdays. Fares are the same as the off-peak fares during the day. If you buy a Day Travelcard at 11:00 on Friday, you can use it until 04:29 on the following Saturday.
- Taxi, You can flag down a London taxi on the street, if its ‘Taxi’ sign at the front is illuminated. All London taxis have a meter so you can see exactly how much the journey is costing you. Tipping is at your discretion.
- Uber, Get £3 credit for your first ride here.
- Visitor Oyster card, a version of the normal Oyster card targeted to travellers. This version of the Oyster card can be purchased from some travel agents outside London and overseas or ordered by mail. This card can also be sent back to TfL by mail after a trip to London to claim a refund for the unused balance. Visitor Oyster cards come pre-charged with pay as you go credit: in increments from £10 to £50.
- Walk, If it’s not far, a 10 minute walk can take 20 minutes by tube or car when it’s busy. Walking to the next Tube station often takes around 10 minutes and is a more scenic choice than going underground.
- Tip: I always download the tube map app which is a great help and even tells you where best to stand on a platform as certain carriages are full.
- Tip: When using the escalators, always stand on the right to allow people in a hurry to pass.
- Bus, National Express or Megabus fares are fairly low if you book far enough in advance.
- Car, London is the hub of the UK’s road network and is easy to reach by car. Though driving into the centre of the city is definitely not recommended. Driving a car anywhere near the centre of London remains a nightmare with crowded roads, impatient drivers and extortionate parking charges (if you can find a space in the first place, that is!) From Monday through Friday, though, parking in the City of London is free after 18:30; after 13:30 on Saturday and all day Sunday. Drivers can also use shared parking services such as YourParkingSpace, Parkonmydrive or Parkingspacerentals to secure a parking space when none is available.
- Fly, London receives more flights than any other city in the world. It is served by six airports. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend.
- Train, London is the hub of the British rail network – every major city in mainland Britain has a frequent train service to the capital, and most of the smaller, provincial cities and large towns also have a direct rail connection to London of some sort – although the frequency and quality of service can vary considerably from place to place. Rail fares to London vary enormously from very cheap to prohibitively expensive – the golden rules are to book Advance tickets for a particular train time, don’t travel into the city on Friday afternoons and Sundays, and avoid leaving buying tickets until the day of travel.
Eurostar, international high speed rail route that runs to St Pancras International station from Paris (2 hr 15 min), Brussels (1 hr 50 min) and a selection of French cities. It dives under the sea for 35 km (22 mi) via the Channel Tunnel. Despite being considered a significant part of the route, the train only passes through the Channel Tunnel for about half an hour and most of your journey will be spent above ground whizzing through the countryside.
- London isn’t cheap, so I would recommend budgeting £45-£80 a day if you’re on a budget.
- Download the tube map app which is a great help and even tells you where best to stand on a platform as certain carriages are full.
- When using the escalators, always stand on the right to allow people in a hurry to pass.
- There’s always free Street performances at Covent Garden.
- Avoid the tube at rush hour, especially the northern line.
- Though driving into the centre of the city is definitely not recommended. Driving a car anywhere near the centre of London remains a nightmare with crowded roads, impatient drivers and extortionate parking charges (if you can find a space in the first place, that is!) From Monday through Friday, though, parking in the City of London is free after 18:30; after 13:30 on Saturday and all day Sunday. Drivers can also use shared parking services such as YourParkingSpace, Parkonmydrive or Parkingspacerentals to secure a parking space when none is available.
- Give yourself plenty of time when entering the underground, it can take 5-7 minutes of walking to get to the platform. South Kensington and Bank are particularly long between the turnstiles and trains.
- If it’s not far walk, a 10 minute walk can take 20 minutes by tube or car.
- Get £25 off your first Airbnb trip of £55 or more click here.
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Have you been to London ? Where would you recommend to visit? Do you have a favourite spot? Do you have any tips to share?
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