Whether you’re travelling by yourself, or with your entire family, London offers plenty of things to see and do. Above all else, London is full of history. If you have always wanted to learn more about the United Kingdom, London is a great place to start. Between its museums and architecture, London is a must-see for any history buff.
London has some of the most famous attractions in the world including one of London’s most “timeless" features, Big Ben – which has been keeping the time since 1859. Head inside the tower and see what the British Parliament is up to or get a taste of royal life by heading over to Buckingham Palace. There are dozens of London hotels that are less than a mile away, so you can stay close to the queen herself if you want to! Or, if you just want to stay in the shadow of Big Ben, there are lots of great London hotels within walking distance.
But that’s certainly not all there is to do there.
Spend a Sunday morning at Spitalfields Market. At this popular street market, which is housed under an architect designed glass canopy, you can browse stalls of the latest trendy fashions and accessories from some of London’s up-and-coming independent designers. You can buy nearly anything at Spitalfields, including flowers, original art, vintage house wares, vinyl records, jewellery, antiques, and children’s clothing. There are numerous restaurants, cafes and other food outlets. The market is completely accessible to shoppers in wheelchairs.
Cruise the Thames. Walking isn’t the only way to get around in London. You can also see everything the city has to offer from the comfort of a boat. St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, the London Eye, City Hall, and the Houses of Parliament are all visible from the river. There are plenty of sightseeing cruises that go up and down the River Thames where you will pass the Tower of London as well as the London Eye. And, since the river winds through all of southern London, it’s easy to find cheap London hotels with a nice river view.
Get above it all. No trip to London would be complete without a ride to the top of the London Eye, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. The bird’s eye view is absolutely breathtaking. From the top on a clear day, you can see for more than 20 miles in every direction.
Take in the London Bridge Experience. Set inside the iconic arches of the historic London Bridge, the London Bridge Experience features live actors and impressive special effects in an original interactive exhibit that transports visitors back in time to London’s earliest days.
If your sightseeing makes you thirsty, hit up one of London’s pubs. There are more than 100 just within the city limits!
Edgy East London is where the locals go when they want a night on the town. Some of the city’s coolest clubs and bars are here; Shoreditch and Hoxton are the weekend hot spots. There are plenty of long established pubs for the local residents, but lots of posh bars and private clubs have moved in recently, too.
If you prefer to party off the beaten path, head out to Dalston or Hackney for the city’s best underground clubs and bars. Dalston clubs like Dalston Superstore and Passing Clouds are packed to the rafters with hipsters and fashionistas on Saturday nights. There are a few new boutique hotels in the area, too, so you never have to go far to find a comfortable bed after a night of partying.
One of London’s popular outdoor spots is the Thames Path National Trail, which stretches 184 miles from the river’s source in the Cotswolds all the way to the Thames flood barrier. Southbank is the busiest part of the trail - you get the best views of the city from here, and walkers frequently linger to take photos and just enjoy the scenery. A few miles west of Southbank lies an unexpected rural expanse complete with cosy pubs and boat clubs. Even novice walkers can manage the four miles between Putney Bridge and Barnes Footbridge without trouble.
Greenwich Park is another green space that’s popular with Londoners and visitors alike. One of the city’s biggest and prettiest parks, Greenwich has an old-fashioned grand avenue, a rose garden, a tea house, a deer park, lovely walking trails, a cafe, and lots of wide-open spaces for playing and picnicking. Take in the gorgeous views across the Thames to Docklands from atop the hill near the statue of General Wolfe and visit the fascinating Royal Observatory. This is one of London’s largest and loveliest parks with some great walks.
London is a great city for tourists, but it’s also very easy to blend in with the locals if you know where to go.
The mammoth Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush is a favourite with locals and visitors, where you can find the usual line-up of high street shops. If you really want to mingle with the locals, though, head to the East End for the vintage shops in and around Brick Lane. There’s a good mix of major retailers and boutique shops, and there’s also a Sunday market where Londoners snap up one-offs and bargains.
Another East End favourite is the Broadway Market in Hackney, where you can browse the stalls for unique gifts and delightful fast food snacks.
For an authentic London culinary experience, make your way to Brixton, where you’ll find a multicultural food market open Monday to Saturday. It has on offer just about any type of food and ingredient you can think of from all over the world.
Nearby, Broadway Market in Hackney is another East End favourite, with stalls offering gifts and delicious fast food.
North London is home to loads of chain restaurant stand-bys, but venture off the beaten path along Upper Street for a host of international restaurants offering authentic delicacies from France, Turkey, Morocco, Ethiopia and more.
Curry is very popular in London, and the city is home to some incredible Indian and Pakistani eateries. Whitechapel is one of the best places to get a curry; though lesser-known than Brick Lane, this East London neighbourhood is famous with the locals for its delicious and affordable curries. The area between Whitechapel Road and Commercial Road is where you’ll find the best restaurants.
Known around town as the Square Mile, London’s central business district is just north of the River Thames. Though tourism isn’t the true driving force of the area - financial institutions and big business dominates - there are some things here that you won’t want to miss. The historic Square Mile is home to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Barbican Centre, the Museum of London, and loads of other significant buildings and impressive modern structures.
It’s easy to get into, around and out of the City. The London Underground and Docklands Light Railway provide regular services to the district. They ably accommodate the hundreds of thousands of commuters who travel to and from the city centre for work at the law firms, businesses, and more than 500 banks in the area. Night buses also run regularly, and there’s also river transport for easy access to points of interest across the Thames.
Luckily, there is no shortage of cheap London hotels to give everyone a place to stay – without breaking the budget! Whether you choose to stay in a chic boutique hotel in one of the city’s trendy neighbourhoods or bring the whole family for an affordable city break, you’re sure to find just the right accommodation in London.