England

The Ultimate Guide to London – Things to See & Do.

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The Ultimate Guide to London – Things to See & Do, Getting there, Around & where to Stay in London.

The heart of the UK; London is a lively city with a plethora of things to offer for every visitor. It is culturally diverse and historically important.

Its modern-day splendor that is composed of iconic buildings, multiple attractions and notable landmarks is unmatched.

Once you combine the unique spots in the East end to the tree-lined avenues in the western region, London turns out to be one of the greatest cities on the planet.

Whether you are jetting in for business or relaxing holidays, this city has all that you may need. For adventurers, some of the best places to start with include the shopping mecca of Oxford Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and more.

Then if you fancy escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, don’t think of any other places than the inner city parks and open spaces. Endless views of pigeons are a must in Trafalgar square or check-in at the London Zoo for the rare species of Penguins.

Additionally, your trip to this land of excitements wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Buckingham Palace.

This historical site is one of the most honored royal buildings in the World. It is girded by many historical buildings that exhibit elegant architectural designs. With this guide to London you will get to know more about it

A Brief History of London

London’s rich history dates back to the Roman times when a civilian town located along the River “Londinium” was established.

Its convenient location that issued easy access to most parts in Europe is the reason why this city was used as a base for several conflicts.

The Saxons took over the founding city after the fall of the Roman Empire where they flourished until they fell at the hands of the Vikings. This great city that we praise today started taking shape in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It suffered dramatic and complete setbacks during the Fire of London in 1666 and the plague of 1665, but this did not limit it from rising into one of the World’s famed cities.

One thing noticed during the two World wars was the determination and community spirits of residents (love for their city) that never disappeared though most parts of the city were destroyed.

Facts about London City.

Every district in the city has its features, you have a lot to admire starting from the Victorian terraces of Chelsea to the curry houses of the Brick Lane.

With all that, it is no surprise that this city is amongst the World’s most charming cities. Below are the facts you should know if you are really in love with this great locality.

Population: 8.6 million

Area: 610 square miles

Official Language: English

Other than English, there are about 250 different other languages spoken by residents throughout the city.

Official Religion: Christianity (Church of England)/Anglican province.

Current Prime Minister: Theresa May

Time Zone: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) applies from late October until March. Once the clocks are adjusted, the UK joins British Summer Time (BST), which is GMT + 1

Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP) – £

Country Dialing Code Prefix: +44

Emergency Numbers: Dial 999 and ask for any security service you may require (police, fire service, or ambulance)

Open space: 33 per cent is open including regional, district, and local parks.

Black Cabs: 21,000

Pubs: 7,000

Nature reserves: 144

Getting There & Around

Getting to London.

This city is accessible either by land or air transport means. You can easily make your way once you get into the suburbs.

There are four airports to use and these include Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Heathrow. You can use them whether you are heading to the UK or the rest of the World.

With abundant flights from over 190 destinations, these airports are ever busy and over 650 flights leave Heathrow alone per day.

Just a few miles east of the commercial Centre of the city, you find the London City Airport. It is well located to provide services for business travelers, holidaymakers and tourists from different parts of the World.

To add on, all airports in the UK offer efficient access to the West End and London city by road or rail means.

From Heathrow

By Train:

From Heathrow terminal three, there is a direct rail service to London Victoria Station. The journey takes about 50 minutes and Trains run after every one hour. The prices for one way ticket start from 25 pounds depending on your time of travel.

If not that, you can use the Heathrow express. This runs between London Paddington and all the four Heathrow terminals.

It is a 15-minute journey and cost for the ticket start from 22 pounds. Trains run from 6:00am up to 11:00pm.

By Bus:

By this option, travelers usually use the National Express coach from Heathrow Airport bus station. Costing about 5 pounds, this journey takes about 50 minutes.

From Gatwick

By Train:

Every 30 minutes, trains run from Gatwick Airport Mainline station to London Victoria. Expect to pay about 16 pounds.

If not that, the other option is to take a train from Gatwick up to London Victoria. This journey costs 14 pounds and takes about 30 minutes.

By Bus:

It takes about 90 minutes to travel from Gatwick Airport Bus station up to London Victoria by the National Express Coach. The cost of this ticket is 10 pounds and the coaches run around the clock.

From Luton

By Train:

The journey from Luton to London Victoria takes approximately one hour by the Themes link Train. The ticket costs 20 pounds one-way and trains run throughout the day.

By Bus:

The available National Express Coaches run from Luton to London Victoria throughout the day. This makes it easy for anyone to travel and this 40-minute journey costs 5 pounds one-way.

From Stansted

By Train:

Regularly Stansted Express trains are available for travelers to travel from Stansted to London Liverpool Street. This 40-minute journey will cost you 10 pounds (one-way).

By Bus:

From Stansted Airport to London Victoria, you can take a National Express Coach. Buses run throughout the day and the one-way journey costs 5 pounds per person.

Getting Around

By Tube:

London’s underground system is amongst the most famous in the World. It spans the central and greater metro area. If you ask for some of the efficient public transport systems in the World, Tube can’t miss. Most visitors prefer it when getting around London.

Built-in 1863, this system was meant to service the six intermediate stations between Farringdon and Paddington. It now covers 402km with eleven separate lines and 270 stations.

Easy to read maps and colored lines make traveling by Tube the easiest in London. This transportation system provides all details about timetables, station information and ticket prices for you to be well informed.

By Bus:

With its iconic red rear entrance double-Decker buses, London’s bus network is famous in all World. The service is meant to deliver passengers throughout the city day and night.

Route master buses have been in use on London streets since 1829 and undertake over 4.4 billion journeys all year round.

Night bus services are available to carry party-goers back home. Make sure to check on the bus system’s timetables and ticket prices.

By Taxi:

Once in London, Black cabs are common all over the streets. You are free to call one for your transfers, their drivers are legendary, friendly and well packed with general knowledge about the city. Alternatively, you can call up an Uber using an app on your smartphone.

Payment:

Private hire vehicles, Ubers and Cabs accept most forms of payment including credit, cash or debit card. Taxis are pre-booked using any form of electronic payment.

For London buses and underground tube are accessed using a pre-payment Oyster card. You can buy this card during your stay, don’t forget to top up. With the underground system, there is an option to use a contact-less debit or credit card.

Hot Tip: While abroad, use cards that can earn you lots of valuable points. Some of these cards are Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, it earns you two points per one dollar spent on travel and dining.

Avoid the use of cards with foreign transaction fees. Lounge opportunities are available at Gatwick, Stansted and London Heathrow provided that you have a card that issues free lounge access.

Top 10 spots to Visit from London

Listed below are some of the nearby interesting, unmatched and delightful spots you should visit from London.

The West End, Soho, and Covent Garden

There is a lot to see here. Start with the famous shops and boutiques of Oxford Street before you check-in at one of the posh restaurants for lunch or a fresh drink in the multiple bars that dot the area.

Venture further to the energetic and vibrant streets of Soho. A show on Shaftesbury Avenue is hard to miss or stop by the Piccadilly Circus to admire the scenic views of the famous digital advertising boards.

Adding to the iconic landmarks, the West End includes the streets that are packed with boutiques, luxuriant bars and restaurants, the exquisite Covent Garden with the Royal opera house and the Italianate piazza.

Where to stay:

W London

Raddison Blu

St Giles Hotel

Where to eat:

Dishoom

Heliot Steak House

Barrafina

Camden

For a blend of fashion, cool music and local life encounters, Camden should be your first start. It is warm, diverse and one of the most energetic parts in London. Cool bars, restaurants and funky little shops make up its unique vibe. This area is good at live music, almost in every corner you find a band performing.

To take in all that you may wish, make sure to wander along the streets and check out most shops, associate with locals and as well taste the delicious local cuisine.

Camden Market is undoubtedly the most famous draw in this area. It consists of a smorgasbord of uncommon gifts, food stalls and several stores for you to peruse, grab some goods at affordable prices including those you can buy as souvenirs. When travelling around Camden, you can either use a tube at Camden Town or Chalk Farm road.

Where to stay:

Hilton

York & Albany

Holiday Inn

Where to eat:

Andy’s Greek Taverna

The Blues Kitchen

Rossopomodoro

Shore ditch & Spitalfields

Oozing with fantastic pop-up bars, cafes and some of the best restaurants in London, Shore ditch is a true delight for travelers of varying interests.

This locality has plenty of things trending all year round. Music is the order of the day, you can catch all kinds of beats whether the electro-pop extravaganza in the East ends streets or country music.

Usually, on every Sunday, Spitalfields market is a must-see if your main reasons to move out include fashion and artwork or souvenir shopping along with an opportunity to savor the yummy local food. Don’t miss the ultra-cool and chic Hoxton with its great collection of eateries, boutiques and luxuriant bars.

Moreover, Shore ditch is the town of experimentation, fresh ideas and innovation, that’s why thousands of travelers drop in to get something unique while on a vacation in London.

The Old street station seems to be the best to use, but Liverpool Street station is time-saving; taking only five minutes away.

Where to stay:

Nobu Hotel

The Hoxton

Z Shoreditch

Where to eat:

Smokestak.

The Clove Club.

Box Park.

Peckham

It isn’t common on the travelers’ itineraries, but worth to see before you leave London. Peckham is a place where you find art studios, vibrant bars, trendy cafes and welcoming locals.

If you are up to a bit of traditional London you as well find it here: it’s dotted by traditional pubs, mash shops and odd markets.

The area is diverse, and several cultures meet here to share a combined love for London’s vibe. Therefore it is no surprise that Peckham is always vibrant, fully packed with music, food and parties.

You can easily reach this town by the over ground rail network that often stops at the Peckham Rye Station.

Where to stay:

The Victoria Inn

Peckham Rooms

Best Western

Where to eat:

Peckham Bazaar

Peckham Refreshment Rooms

Begging Bowl

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a place for those who love to browse unique boutique shops although it’s known most for its annual Caribbean Carnival. Expect to grab best deals on goods and a chance to meet with supermodels, directors and film stars.

Another nearby stop not to ignore is the world-known Portobello market. It consists of numerous street foods, curiosities, fashion stores and multiple things to impress everyone. The best day for a visit to the market is Saturday when the street stalls are out. Tasting street food is one of the best experiences to have in London. It is all over the city, but the one in Notting Hill is second to none.

Try to take a walk from Notting hill gate to Portobello road, there is plenty to relish including the pretty gardens of the exquisite terraced houses and the quirky backstreets. For this area, the best station is the Notting Hill Gate.

>Where to stay:

The Laslett

The Portobello Hotel

Notting Hill Gate Hotel

>Where to eat:

The Led bury

Marianne

Egg break

Kensington and Chelsea

Bordering the Thames, the Royal district of Kensington and Chelsea is a must-see. It has a lot for anyone such as conservation areas, lovely parks and panoramic views along the riverside.

For football fans, this region is home to Stamford Bridge, a stadium for Chelsea FC; one of the great football clubs in England. It is surrounded by a range of five-star hotels.

Other than that, this region features many boutiques, supercar showrooms, designer shops and shopping stores. Dining in this area is amongst the best moments to make your trip one of its kind. The best tube stations to use are West Brampton for Chelsea and High Street Kensington for Kensington.

>Where to stay:

The Bentley

Park City

Nadler

>Where to eat:

The Five Fields

Launceston Place

Medlar.

Mayfair

Reasons are countless that Mayfair is the most expensive property on the Monopoly board. You can easily come to realize it after a wonderful stroll around this area. It consists of most prized properties in the city. Adding to the world’s embassies, Mayfair streets are lined by grand houses, tranquil squares and green spaces. Mayfair is as well near Hyde Park, one of the most stunning spots in London. Other draws you should see include shopping malls, the Royal Academy of Arts and other historical sites. If you love food, don’t miss to taste some delicious dishes served in multiple eateries.

>Where to stay:

Four Seasons

Marriot

The Chesterfield

>Where to eat:

Ormer Mayfair

Le Gavroche

Scott’s

Brixton

Brixton is lively, colorful and vibrant. It stars some markets with thousands of food stalls, so it is no wonder that this area is listed amongst London’s food capitals. In addition to the culinary adventures, this town is full of sensational music. For gig lovers, the notable Brixton Academy is for you. Venture further with a stroll through the area to admire the astounding murals and artworks.

>Where to stay:

The Half Moon

Premier Inn

Gateway Hotel

>Where to eat:

Boqueria

Casa Morita

Koi

Greenwich

If you are after Britain’s naval history, Greenwich should be your first start. It is home to the Greenwich Naval College, a place where you can learn about Britain’s history from the earliest beginnings to modern-day. Make sure to see the Cutty Sark, one of the fastest ships in the world. Don’t miss a walk through the Greenwich foot tunnel. This route winds underneath the Thames to the Island Gardens. Being a river town, a boat cruise is another thing to do in this region. Most cruise trips offered head upstream to Westminster.

>Where to stay:

The Clarendon Hotel

Nova tel

Travelodge

>Where to eat:

The Hill

Old Brewery

Elm Street Oyster House

Hampstead

Encompassed by a protected parkland, Hampstead is a village within the town. It offers panoramic views of the renowned London skyline. The largest ancient wetland and park in the city is Hampstead Heath. A walk through the exquisite Swiss cottage is enough to take in the area’s panorama. The adventure includes visits to different museums, art galleries and eateries to get something to eat. The best tubes to use are Belsize Park, Hampstead and Swiss Cottage.

>Where to stay:

Marriot

La Gaffe

Premier Inn

>Where to eat:

Ginger & White

Jin Kichi

Gaucho

Top 10 London Attractions.

Whether you choose to stay in London for months or year, there is a lot of things to keep your days occupied. The list is endless, therefore we have tried to select the top ten must-sees before you leave the city.

The Tower of London & Tower Bridge

Not only is the heart of Britain’s history, but also home to the Crown jewels. This place is open for visitors from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm all year. The cost of guided tours offered start from 14 pounds per person. From the Tower of London, you can continue further to the impressive Tower Bridge. Opened in 1894, this bridge walkway is open daily, and the visit costs 8.7 pounds per person. The best tube to use for these two attractions is Tower Hill.

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