London travel guide
History and tradition will meet you at every corner in London; it’s undoubtedly one of the trendiest, most contemporary cities of planet earth. Although London contains iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, it is much, much more. Citizens flock to glimpse the royal family and stop by the plethora of galleries; to splash their cash at trendy shops; to sample cutting-edge cuisine or just traditional tea and scones. When you need a break from the action (which you will) take a walk to one of the many parks and make London your own.
Money Saving Tips
Ride the night bus – The tube closes around 12:30am (Boooooo). Get a map of the night bus routes to return home cheaply. You can also use your Oyster card on these buses and it should be said that buses are always the cheapest transportation selection!
Hop on a free walking tour – I do these in most places I visit. London has a extensive selection of free walking throughout the city. New Europe, Free Tours and the quirky Vayable are some of my favorites.
Free museums – A large proportion of museums in London are free. Let me name a few for you: the British History Museum, the Natural History Museum, Museum of London, Science Museum, National Gallery and the Tate Modern are all great, and again, Free!
Just walk and take it in – London is massive, and there are beautiful historic buildings at every corner. In fact, London is probably un-walkable. Pick up free maps of showing delightful walking routes around London from any of the tourist information shops.
Things to do
This should be on the ‘must see’ list if you are staying in London. The Egyptian exhibits and the watch and clock section was a certain favorite of mine. It’s tough to see everything and as there’s so much to do in London there’s no shame in not seeing the full museum! Break it down into sections and concentrate on those that interest you the most.
This is a great rainy day activity. If you have an interest in art then this gallery should be top of your list in London, there is so much to see from 13th century-20th century and the art on display is truly astounding. There were no queues when I went; the only minor hold up was a bag search on the door.
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
The Tower of London is a great place to spend the day. It is here you can view the Crown Jewels, see a fantastic view of the Tower Bridge and take a picture with a guard. Admission fee is 24.50 GBP, or 23.10 GBP if you purchase tickets online.
Big Ben and the House of Parliament
Although you can’t go up the bell tower, you can view its Gothic structure from the street. You can do tours of Parliament. Get there early as the line can get very long. The best view of it is from the opposite side of the river near the London Eye.
St James’s park
Great and quaint park and well worth a wander. Well-liked with the office workers in the area especially if it’s sunny. St James Park or Hyde Park are equally good spots to escape the hustle and bustle of London.
So many miraculous food stalls you’ll your biggest worry is deciding what to eat! Foodie heaven. From fresh produce to flowers, baked goods to beverages, the list goes on! Arrive around 11am to miss the crazy lunch rush.
Camden lock markets
An abundance of food stalls selling produce from all corners of the globe. The place is vibrant with lots of quirky stalls, retro clothing, and jewelry just to name a couple.
Where to Stay?
Recommended hotel: CitizenM Tower of London Hotel
The hotel is pretty much outstanding in all categories. Citizen M is a hip and modern hotel, I cannot help but think that it is shaping things to come in city centre accommodation. It’s useful to be IT literate as the whole experience is assisted by computers, from the automated check-in at reception to the iPad in your room that controls everything (although there are switches for the not-so tech savvy! Technophobes shouldn’t worry as there accommodating staff a plenty to assist you in this spotless hotel. Enjoy free movies, a delectable breakfast, and see the photos for an amazing bar overlooking Tower of London. Oh, the hotel is also literally a stones throw to the nearest tube station, Winner!
YHA London Oxford Street
Clean with single stall shower/toilet facilities, big lockers and comfortable beds. Complaints I heard were the Wi-Fi only worked in the lobby and common areas, and the rooms can be stuffy if the weather is very hot, overall a high satisfactory rating for a great price.
ASTOR HYDE PARK
Note: 18-40 yrs old only. This place won 1st Best Small hostel chain and 1st in the Lifetime achievement awards at the 2015 Hostel world awards and it’s easy to see why. It’s situated in the upmarket neighborhood of South Kensington beside Hyde Park and neighboring several of London’s best museums.
Where to eat?
E Pellicci – $
Immensely popular with locals and visitors alike, this wonderful old fashioned environment gives great service. Family run establishment and hailed by many as the best breakfast in London. It’s a tad out of the way but make the effort and go and have a great experience, you might even skip lunch the breakfasts are so filling!
Cafe Loren – $
High standards of cleanliness, accompanied by wonderful food makes this café a force to be reckoned with. Hidden under a bridge in Camden with friendly staff and seriously delicious shakshuka.
Baileys Fish and Chips – $
Fish & chips had to be in this guide! Plentiful chips and flawlessly cooked. The fish was white and the batter hot and crunchy. Just about as decent as you can get fish and chip wise.
taNgia – $$
Walk through the doors and experience a welcoming atmosphere that leaves you tranquil yet eager, this independent family run stylish restaurant serving traditional Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes with a contemporary twist is a real winner.
Typing Room – $$$
A tranquil ambience combined with brilliant service is only topped by the remarkable food. 3 words, the whole package. An incredible kaleidoscope of tastes with a stunning and distinctive presentation of dishes. A truly sensory experience.