London is a firm favourite of mine to visit. Despite the 8.7 million strong population, I always feel safe, and at home.
Roaming the well kept streets of central London aimlessly is something you can never tire of doing. If you do it right.
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” – Samuel Johnson.
1. Plan Ahead
The London lifestyle is a hectic one that requires prior preparation. It’s not the sort of place where you can expect to rock up and check in to a local B&B off the cuff. Plan ahead when it comes to travel and accommodation to ensure not only availability, but the best prices. Below is a map of hotels I can personally recommend that are all part of wider, more reliable chains.
The UK isn’t a massive country. Weather can be very changeable, day-in, day-out, no matter the season. Take into consideration the time of year you’re planning to visit, pack accordingly but also diversely, so you always have something to layer up, or easily remove and pop into your backpack should there be a change in the weather.
3. Tube & Oyster
I can’t recommend highly enough for you to purchase an Oyster card. They’ve been made so easily accessible, either by pre-loading and ordering online, or pick one up at any ticket point in any station in central London. Getting around London via the underground is by far the best way in my opinion. It’s cheap, easy and not to mention very quick. Don’t be daunted by the maps, they really aren’t as confusing to figure out as others make them out to be.
4. Hit The Pavements
I know I’ve just said above to use the tube to get around, but do make sure you do some walking around. Get lost. Discover small cafés down small cobbled lanes. Doing this will ensure you happen across something unexpected and exciting.
5. Don’t Rush
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to not cram too much into your trip and rush through it all. London is huge, with a vast array of activities to do, for all types of people. The truth is, you’re never going to see it all, so prioritise what you’d like to see or do most and draft up a rough travel schedule by all means, but don’t fill it down to the last minute. Keep it as flexible as you can and keep some free chunks of time to just let London take the reins!
6. Get Some Greens
Visit some of the parks! I can’t recommend this highly enough. Especially if you get the weather. My personal favourite is St James’s Park, which sits proudly in front of Buckingham Palace and hosts tonnes of stunning wildlife, from Swans to Squirrels. Hyde Park is my second. The rose garden in particular is something worth stopping by to see.
7. Shop ‘Til You Drop
Need I say much more? London is one of my favourite places for shopping. Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Knightsbridge offer such a vast array of shops, some of which are flagship stores. You’re guaranteed to get some of the ultimate retail experiences in London.
8. Dine Out
The food scene in London is to be greatly respected. With so many options available, you could make a real night of it and will find anything you fancy. You can dine in the Shard and take in some of the best panoramic views the city has to offer, eat at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants – my favourite is the Savoy Grill – very reasonable pricing I have to say, or if you just want to stop for a quirky lunch somewhere different, there’s a whole new food scene on the go in London, from Cereal Café’s (yes friends, actual cereal, like the kind you eat from a bowl for breakfast), to 5-storey burgers and freak shakes in Soho, or even share your cream cakes with cats, the opportunities are endless.
9. Enjoy The Best Things (…In Life Are Free)
There are loads of free activities to take part in in and around London, from walking tours to art galleries, I dare say there is no better place in the world with this amount of free things to do. When your travel dates are confirmed, check timeout.com to see what’s on, and when around the city.
10. Have A Day Away
Take a break away from your break away, tick another place off of your travel list and head for somewhere like historic Cambridge, sunny Brighton, or the world famous archaeological site of Stonehenge. All are within a reasonable distance from the city and will give you a day of contrast to the rest of your trip.