The city of London is a top destination for travelers from all over the world. With its legendary landmarks and scenic views, the number of things to see and do is inexhaustible and beyond exciting. Therefore planning a trip to London could be overwhelming, especially for a first timer.
Are you planning a trip to London and not sure of where to start? This is your ultimate travel guide to London that answers all the possible questions that you may have. This is a practical travel guide that will show you how to make the best of your trip and time. It entails detailed information about how to get to London from the airport, where to stay in London, how to get around once you arrive and the places to explore in London.
Below are the best tips to help you plan your trip to London.
1. How To Get To London From The Airport
From anywhere in the world, get the best flight deals to London using Quote Radar. And from the popular Heathrow Airport which is 32km west of central London, you can get to the city either by using the London Underground Subway (Piccadilly line) or the Heathrow Express train if you prefer travelling above ground.
At Heathrow Express, a train leaves every 15 minutes and arrives to Paddington Station in less than 20 minutes. This is no doubt a quick way to get into the city from Heathrow Airport.
The Gatwick Airport also has an express train that runs every 15 minutes called the Gatwick Express which arrives at Victoria Station in 30 minutes.
Tip: Great discounts are available on both express trains for booking online and booking ahead of time.
From Paddington Station or Victoria Station, you can use the London Tube which connects to different parts of the city to get to your hotel.
Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports also have taxis, buses and commuter trains to get you into the city which may be less expensive (except for the taxis) than the express trains earlier mentioned but they take more time. For example, you can compare prices and schedules with Heathrow Connect trains or Gatwick’s Southern Railways.
Looking for an easy, fast and cheapest way to get around in London? London Tube is your best bet! It’s reliable and easy to navigate for visitors and pretty much links everywhere you’re likely to visit. Taxis are expensive in London, and the traffic is heavy. It is more efficient to use the underground.
Tip: We recommend that you get an Oyster Card for use and refills in the Tube. Your Oyster Card is useful not only for your first trip to London but for every return trip thereafter.
3. Best Places To Stay In London
Neighborhoods in London each have their unique flavor and charm. While many will favour Central London, it is a bit steep on the pocket. If you have enough money to splurge, then, by all means, consider a hotel or Airbnb in Central London. Otherwise, feel free to stay in any neighborhood with access to the tube.
Tip: In my opinion, the most important thing when choosing where to stay in London is to stay anywhere with convenient access and proximity to the Tube. A 3–5-minute walking distance to the tube, at most.
4. What Are The Best Places To Visit In London?
While there are a lot of great places to visit in London depending on your love for architecture, theatre, monuments, history, food or royalty, this article will focus mainly on the royal itinerary.
The Royal Itinerary
Westminster is the tourist center of London with landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey.
- Big Ben
Take the London Tube to Westminster Station. Use that opportunity to take some nice photos of Big Ben – the famous clock tower in London.
- London Eye
I bet you’d like to take a ride on the iconic London Eye. A trip on the London eye is very much captivating and a “must do” for everyone. It rotates over the River Thames. Book your ticket online to enjoy 10% off and to save time. Step into your capsule and feel the excitement as you sight the Thames, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in 360 degrees and then the adrenaline rush as you rise up far above them.
- Westminster Abbey
Continue to Westminster Abbey; a royal church which doubles as a World Heritage Site. It opens to visitors at 9:30 a.m from Monday-Saturday. Take your time to soak in the beautiful architecture and explore the iconic choir room. It is worthy of note that Westminster Abbey also serves as the final resting abode of notable kings, queens, and statesmen. You can explore the beautiful monuments made in their honor, while you learn about their place in history.
- Buckingham Palace
Now continue on to the famous Buckingham Palace to watch a ceremony called Changing of the Guard with all its pomp, pageantry and fanfare. Watching the Changing of the Guard is free of charge and top on the list of free things to do in London.
Also, the military band is hear, playing lots of songs, the Queen’s Guard who has been on watch outside the castle for hours, handover in style to the new guard! The marching guards head up The Mall and through the palace gates in pomp and pageantry.
Tip: It’s usually too crowded. Therefore, endeavor to arrive up to an hour early to get a spot along the fence at Buckingham Palace. Check the Changing of the Guards schedule and you will not regret it.
- Hyde Park
When the ceremony ends, take a relaxing stroll around Hyde Park – a royal park which doubles as one of the largest parks in London. Explore the monuments, lake, fountains, bridges, and gardens. Football, boat-rowing and swimming is a few of the fun activities you’ll enjoy at Hyde Park.
- Dorchester Hotel
It must have been a long day out, no doubts! It’s time to freshen up with an exotic afternoon tea experience and finger sandwiches at The Dorchester Hotel or any good alternative around.
This is the perfect way to round up the royal experience and a classic London outing.