Explore London

Plan your trip to london: best of london tourism.

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Travel Advice

Essential london.

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Where to stay

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Where to eat

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The perfect three days in London

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Traveler Guides

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A London Pub Crawl

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Browse collections

All about the (afternoon) tea.

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London on a dime

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If you’re feeling fancy-ish

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Beyond Big Ben

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Shop the city’s markets

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For the history buff

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Do it like a local

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A walk in the park

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The city’s a stage

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London, after dark

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More UK cultural capitals

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London Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing london.

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BE PREPARED: Regardless of the weather report, always have an umbrella and/or rain jacket on hand!

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Don't use the hop-on-hop-off buses. Get an Oyster card each and use the normal buses and tubes, it is so much cheaper.

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Walking tours … are a great way to see the city and the neighborhoods for a very reasonable cost (tip the guide at the end of the tour).

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The World City, both dynamic and historic; both multicultural and cultural; humming, loud and intimate. It is whatever you seek.

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It's the greatest city on the planet.

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London is a destination that you can continue to come back to again and again and continue to enjoy its delights.

What is the best way to get there?

London is served by six international airports: Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Luton Airport, Stansted Airport and Southend Airport. Together, they make up the busiest airspace in the world by passenger numbers.

St Pancras railway station is the main terminal for high speed Eurostar and High Speed 1 services linking London with Europe.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting London from overseas, use the government’s visa survey to see  if you need a visa.

When is the best time to visit?

Summer (June to August): With average temps around 70°F (21°C) there’s no shortage of entertainment in London over the summer months, when Trooping the Colour, London Pride, Notting Hill Carnival, and Wimbledon Tennis Championships draw huge crowds to the capital.

Alternatively, the holiday season brings with it a host of festivities, including Christmas markets, the famous NYE fireworks, and spectacular illuminations.

Santander Cycles is a bike-share system with hundreds of bicycle docking stations located across London.

Visitors can hire a bike using a bank card at the docking station or  downloading the app.

London’s Underground rail network, or "the Tube," services Greater London between 5a.m. and midnight Monday to Saturday, with reduced operating hours on Sunday.

Five Tube lines run a 24-hour service on Fridays and Saturdays: Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

For more information about the network and fares,  see here .

London’s bus route network services the city on a 24-hour service.

Hailing down a taxi on the street in London can be difficult so it is best to find an official taxi stand. You can also book a taxi online or on your smartphone here .


Uber , Bolt , and Kapten are readily available in London on your smartphone.

South London operates a small tram network, Tramlink , with trams running approximately every 10 minutes in the daytime on Mondays to Saturdays.

On the ground

What is the timezone.

Greenwich Mean Time

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in the UK is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. The plug has three rectangular pins.

What is the currency?

The Pound Sterling

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Are credit cards widely accepted, is it easy to find a bank, how much do i tip.

Tipping is not always obligatory in the UK, however, it is customary to leave gratuity of 10-15% when eating out and it is polite to tip Black Cabs and minicabs 10-15%.

Are there local customs I should know?

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.

Walk to the right of the sidewalk and step off to the side of the sidewalk if you want to stop to check your phone, look up directions, or want to take in a view.

Public transport

Allow others to disembark before boarding, don’t take up more than one seat, and stand to offer seating to pregnant women or someone with a disability.

Queuing is revered in British culture and it is considered incredibly rude to skip in front of people.

People will say “sorry” a lot — and you should too

British people are famous for saying “sorry” frequently — even if they are not at fault (such as apologizing for the weather or getting in someone’s way). It is considered polite.

  • Park Grand London Hyde Park
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London Travel Guide

Ah, London — home to world-class restaurants, an unparalleled music scene, fantastic hotels, and some seriously rich history. Plus, tea. Who could forget the tea? London is a beautiful city to visit, and with England's fantastic public transportation, it's a breeze to get from point A to point B. You could easily spend a week or more exploring all that each London neighborhood has to offer and still have things left over for your next visit.

With sites and cultural hubs like the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Kensington Gardens, and all manner of food, drink, shopping, history, and culture, it's no wonder why the 'Big Smoke' is a top travel destination.

Greenwich Mean Time during the winter, British Summer Time during the rest of the year (starting at Daylight Saving Time).

Best Time to Go

England experiences relatively mild and somewhat rainy weather year-round, and when you should go depends on what you'd most like to experience. Spring, summer, and fall allow for taking in the parks and getting the most out of how walkable London is, while winter is beautiful and festive for those looking to get their fill of Christmas markets and traditional cheer.

Things to Know

London is filled with neighborhoods brimming with great things to do, and England's exceptional public transportation makes it simple and stress-free to travel between them.

Londoners, and English people in general, have a much different manner of interacting with one another than Americans do. While an American might think nothing of smiling at a stranger they pass on the sidewalk or asking about work in the first few minutes of a conversation, etiquette in London errs on the more private, respectful, and more distant. Don't mistake this for aloofness or consider those you meet unfriendly; it's just a difference in cultural norms. Instead, talk about things like movies, TV shows, books, your travels, and the like, instead of work or family.

A fun and somewhat reassuring fact is that London has much better takeaway sandwiches than the U.S. If your day is too packed to have a sit-down lunch, a sandwich from a chain will be legitimately delicious. Most importantly, almost all British museums are free , meaning anyone can wander to their heart's content, no matter their budget.

How to Get Around

Getting around London is unbelievably easy thanks to the well-maintained and extensive Underground (also known as the Tube). Tickets for riding the Underground, unlike American transportation systems, which often pay per ride or per trip length, are paid in zones. Fare also varies based on the time of day and the method you use to pay. It's worth getting an Oyster card — the Underground's MetroCard or SmarTrip Card — to simplify your vacation.

There are 11 Underground lines servicing all nine zones. Maps of these zones are in every Tube station. Most of the popular sites in London are in Zone 1, which covers central London. The Tube runs daily from 5 am to midnight and with reduced hours on Sunday. Some late-night services are available on the weekend, but generally, you'll want to be prepared to take one of the easily-found London taxis or use a rideshare app if you're out and about after midnight.

Best Hotels

Address: Strand, London WC2R 0EZ, United Kingdom Phone:+44 20 7836 4343 Book Now

The only luxury hotel on the River Thames, The Savoy is a five-star experience known worldwide for its luxurious and beautiful accommodations. As the first hotel built for the purpose of being a luxe hotel in all of London, it has a rich and storied history; seeing its beautiful architecture and dramatic decor is worth doing even if you don't end up staying here.

The Connaught

Address: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7499 7070 Book Now

The Connaught has known a few names and owners over the course of its more than 200-year history, but its main throughline has always been luxury. Chef Hélène Darroze runs a restaurant with the distinction of two Michelin stars, and the bar was awarded Europe's Best in 2019. For a spectacular experience in the heart of London, The Connaught can't be beat.

Address: 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 3828 2000 Book Now

Once an abandoned bank building, The Ned found new life in 2012 as a five-star luxury hotel. Outfitted in a style reminiscent of the 1920s and with ten restaurants under its roof, The Ned is an experience unto itself — much less a great retreat from your London adventure. In addition, The Ned features a spa with treatments from massages to vitamin IV drips. Trendier than other 5-star hotels but certainly with style, The Ned is a great choice for a young couple or friends traveling in style.

Chiltern Firehouse

Address: 1 Chiltern Street London W1U 7PA, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7073 7676 Website

Originally a fire station, the Chiltern Firehouse is small and cozy. Each of the 26 rooms features at least one working fireplace and range from standard rooms to lofts and suites. The Chiltern Firehouse restaurant is a Michelin-starred eatery with seasonal offerings. A unique and domestic experience, the Chiltern Firehouse truly does feel like a home away from home.

Address: 15 Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7396 9000 Book Now

The Goring is a century-old, family-owned luxury hotel with 69 uniquely decorated rooms. Along the same road as Buckingham Palace, The Goring is the last word in having a truly royal stay. The Goring offers an excellent restaurant and bar and several packages that let you tailor your trip to exactly what makes you happiest.

11 Cadogan Gardens

Address: 11 Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 2RJ, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7730 7000 Book Now

Built in the late 19th century as four separate townhouses, 11 Cadogan Gardens has a resulting unique and eclectic interior of winding corridors and staircases. Located in upscale Chelsea, the hotel is within walking distance from Harrods, the Saatchi Gallery, Hyde Park, and many other can't-miss tourist spots.

Address: 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN Phone: +44 20 7781 8888 Book Now

Near the British Museum and Covent Garden, the Rosewood is a centrally located luxury hotel boasting lush, classic decor. The five-star hotel has carefully renovated its Edwardian architecture, melding the historic and modern seamlessly. Enjoy contemporary afternoon tea modeled after the art of British sculptor Antony Gormley in the intimate Mirror Room, then step out into the bustling heart of London. During busy times there is a minimum stay required to book, so be sure to check early and often if you have your heart set on staying at the Rosewood.

The Lanesborough

Address: 2 Lanesborough Place SW 1, London, SW1X 7TA Phone: +44 20 7259 5599 Book Now

Once an elegant country house, The Lanesborough is now a five-star hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant, private spa and fitness club, cognac lounge, and award-winning afternoon tea service. With elegant and warm decor, The Lanesborough is an iconic and world-class option for travelers looking to stay somewhere in style.

Best Restaurants

Address: 593 High Road Leytonstone, Leytonstone, London E11 4PA Phone: +44 020 8281 4801 Website

Singburi is a gem of a Thai restaurant, beloved for its rotating menu of delicious and authentic curries, noodles, and seafood. Try something new here — don't stick to your usual takeout Pad Thai order (as delicious as Pad Thai is). A crispy omelette, like their delectable Kai Jeow (a crispy omelette with oysters), should do the trick.

Westerns Laundry

Address: 34 Drayton Park, Highbury East, London N5 1PB Phone: +44 020 7700 3700 Website

This beloved, sustainably-focused restaurant focuses on fresh seafood and small plates — and bread. So, so much bread, some of the best you'll ever eat. Stop in for a pastry or a sandwich, enjoy their small plates, or order a loaf of bread ahead of time to set yourself up with delicious breakfast for a week.

The Palomar

Address: 34 Rupert Street, Soho, London W1D 6DN, United Kingdom Phone: +44 020 7439 8777 Website

The Palomar is walking distance from Trafalgar Square and some of the most enjoyable museum-going in London, so chances are you'll have the opportunity to enjoy their modern-day Jerusalem menu in a beautiful, mosaic-scattered space. Try the octopus glazed with harissa oil or the Bayt al Maqdis Chicken just for the artichoke crisps.

Address: 51 Lamb's Conduit Street, Holborn, London WC1N 3NB, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7242 8963 Website

A seasonal wine bar with a classic British menu, this flashy restaurant puts the "British food is boring" rumor to rest. There's a wine for every dish, and more — their list is outstanding, and the bold and unique twists on classic British dishes make this a must-taste spot even for folks for which (gasp) wine isn't that exciting.

Address: Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch, High Street, Shoreditch, London E1 6JJ, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 3011 5911 Website

Lunch is a la carte at Lyle's, meaning you have the opportunity to order and share a few dishes between yourself and your friends and get the best of all worlds. The dinner menu is set, offering a prix fixe three-course meal with a few options for your appetizer, entree, and dessert. The space is beautiful and minimalist — a calm, understated place to focus entirely on your incredible food.

Address: 39 Endell Street, West End, London WC2H 9BA, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 3422 0221 Website

A small, sustainable seafood restaurant in Covent Garden, Parsons has an unpretentious, always-fresh menu. Parsons has mastered the art of updating classic British flavors, like smoked eel, for the modern palette. Their fish pie is heavenly, and you'd be remiss not to enjoy a sticky toffee pudding if you've got room for it.

Black Axe Mangal

Address: 156 Canonbury Road, Highbury, London N1 2UP, United Kingdom Phone: No phone number, email only: [email protected] Website

What this Turkish restaurant lacks in size, it makes up for in personality — up to and including their occult buns (which are hot cross buns, but with pentacles on them). It's loud, but most importantly, it's fun: nothing about Black Axe Mangal takes itself too seriously, from the hard rock soundtrack to the delicious food. Edible glitter, tongue-in-cheek dish names, and an excellent beer list all make Black Axe a top spot for a good time.

Address: 40 Doric Way, Somers Town, London NW1 1LH, United Kingdom Phone: +44 020 4580 1282 Website

Roti King is in a basement — this is just something to know because otherwise, it might be a touch difficult to find. "Hidden gem" isn't a metaphor here: you're going to have some of the best Malaysian food you've had in some time, possibly ever. If you're having trouble finding the entrance, just look for the line; there's almost always at least a short one of people waiting for their chicken murtabak and char kuey teow.

Dishoom Shoreditch

Address: 7 Boundary Street, London, E2 7JE Phone: +44 020 7420 9324 Website

London restaurant recommendations wouldn't be complete without at least one Indian food recommendation, and to be fair, most places are going to be incredible. Dishoom is something special, though — its airy, Bombay-style decor, beautiful views from the veranda, and house recipes have earned it a dedicated following. As a reminder, chicken tikka masala is sweet in England, so if you want something savory, try a new dish — like gunpowder potatoes or the marsala prawns.

Things to Do

Tower of london & tower bridge.

Address: St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7403 3761 Website

The bridge most associated with London isn't actually the London Bridge, it's Tower Bridge — this is the bridge you almost certainly have in your mind's eye when imagining London. The Tower of London has an infamous reputation, but its history is even more interesting than most know. Tudor buffs will love tracing the steps of Queen Elizabeth I, and there are free tours given throughout the day.

St. Dunstan in the East

Address: St Dunstan's Hill, Billingsgate, London EC3R 5DD, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7374 4127 Website

Built in 1698, St. Dunstan in the East was once a church. It was firebombed during World War II, and the ruins were converted into a public park — certainly one of the most unique and beautiful. Though small, stepping into the park feels like stepping into another world. Bring a camera; you won't want to miss snapping shots of the ivy-covered ruins.

National Gallery

Address: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7747 2885 Website

The National Gallery has one of the most incredible collections in the world, including pieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, and many, many more. Their 2,300-piece collection is frequently rotated, so be sure to see what sometimes-stored pieces are on display when you go.

St. James' Park

Address: London SW1A 2BJ, United Kingdom Phone: +44 300 061 2350 Website

Not to be confused with the football (aka soccer) stadium in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, St. James' Park in London is one of its most famous, right alongside Buckingham Palace and perfect for a rest during a busy day of sightseeing. It is known for its waterfowl — ducks, specifically, but also a small flock of pelicans.

Address: Hyde Park has several entrances, convenient to the neighborhoods surrounding it. Phone: +44 300 061 2000 Website

Hyde Park is a massive 350 acres, nestled smack dab in the middle of London, and worth a day's focus all on its own. With events, historical monuments, walking tours, and gardens, it is a truly stunning and fun place to be. It's famous for its Speakers Corner, which has been a stage for free speech and debate since 1872.

Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Address: 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7902 1400 Website

Shakespeare's Globe is a reconstruction of the original Elizabethan playhouse for which Shakespeare wrote his plays, and his entire body of work is rotationally performed. The Globe's performances are heavily influenced by what is known historically as the experience of seeing them in Shakespeare's day, for an immersive experience impossible to find elsewhere.

Highgate Cemetery

Address: Swain's Ln, Highgate, London N6 6PJ, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 8340 1834 Website

Ghost-chasers and history buffs alike will love to walk around Highgate Cemetery, where 170,000 people are buried. It is also a nature reserve, and the entire grounds are lush, beautiful, and feel a bit out-of-time. Notable graves to pay your respects at include Douglas Adams, George Eliot, Karl Marx, Leslie Hutchinson, and many more.

Buckingham Palace

Address: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom Phone: +44 303 123 7300 Website

In the heart of Westminster, Buckingham Palace is a beautiful and awesome (in the traditional sense of the word) piece of architecture and history. You can actually go inside the famed Buckingham Palace — tours of certain rooms in the palace are available.

Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, South Bank, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7967 8021 Website

Also known as the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye is the best view of London — it was literally built to be exactly that, and its construction is known as an observation wheel, not a Ferris wheel. It's a touch expensive, but visited by millions of tourists for a reason: the view from the top is absolutely stunning.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Address: St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7246 8350 Website

One of the most recognizable sites in London, St. Paul's Cathedral dates from 1690 and still has most of its original stained glass. It's known for its extensive and stunning mosaics, soaring Gothic architecture, and large, beautiful Cathedral library.

Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7219 4272 Website

Everyone's must-stop for a classic London Insta snap, the iconic clock is nearby to other points of interest and featured in most driving and walking tours. Tours of the tower itself are limited to UK residents.

British Museum

Address: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7323 8299 Website

The British Museum differs from the National Gallery in that it is as much an anthropological museum as an art museum. Collections are organized by era and country of origin, and frequent exhibitions are curated around themes to explore human experiences across ages. Their total collection is estimated to be around 8 million pieces, with many taken out only for specific reasons, so it's worth seeing what special exhibitions are on display.

Westminster Abbey

Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7222 5152 Website

Even people for whom history is not necessarily a thrill, gothic Westminster Abbey is an overwhelming, stunning experience. Every coronation of an English monarch since 1066 has happened here, and the Abbey is the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth of York, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Unknown Warrior, and dozens of others. Westminster Abbey also pays homage to great poets, artists, and writers with a series of beautiful memorials.

Best Shopping

Covent garden.

Address: 14 James Street, London WC2E 8BU, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7420 5856 Website

Covent Garden is both a neighborhood and a famed market, first established in 1694. The center is the beautiful Piazza, where walking is made easier and more pleasant by the lack of cars. In addition to an array of unique shops, Covent Garden is home to the London Transport Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, and several high-end restaurants.

Borough Market

Address: 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7407 1002 Website

The motto of London markets is: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Borough Market is large and primarily focused on food, and is one of the longest-running in the city. Officially established in the 19th century, there is one area that dates back to at least the 12th — so definitely buy yourself a sandwich and think how pleased your ancestors would be at your bounty.

Address: 107 Charing Cross Road, Soho, London WC2H 0DT, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 7437 5660 Website

There are a few equally-convenient locations for the famed, enormous bookstore Foyles, but the flagship — and most impressive — store is in Soho, at Charing Cross. Even folks who wouldn't describe themselves as readers travel to visit Foyles for the sheer scale of it, including the gorgeous architecture and the vast collection of books.

Camden Market

Address: Camden Lock Place, London NW1 8AF, United Kingdom Phone: +44 20 3763 9900 Website

Camden Market was established in 1791 and has been charming London and travelers ever since. Near enough to Regent's Park and the London Zoo to walk, Camden Market is full of shops, cafes, nightlife, and live music.

Oxford Street

Address: From Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch Website

Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping areas in Europe, greeting about half a million visitors every day across its 300-plus shops. Whatever you're looking for, Oxford Street probably has it. Notable shops include Topshop, Dr. Martens, Flying Tiger, Muji, and Selfridges.

Regent Street

Address: From Piccadilly Circus to Park Crescent Website

Intersecting with Oxford Street is the equally impressive Regent Street, home to the flagship stores for Burberry, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, and more. Regent Street was built to be London's dedicated shopping street, a place for Londoners to get anything and everything they might need. There might be a few more now, but Regent Street is the original — and some might say the best.

Carnaby Street

Address: From Beak Street to Great Marlborough Street Website

The third in the shopping street trifecta is Carnaby Street. A few streets over from Regent Street, Carnaby is much shorter and largely fashion-focused, especially vintage shops specializing in threads from the '60s. Shorter doesn't mean less diverse, though — Carnaby Street is home to over 100 shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Seven Dials

Address: Center of St. Giles District Website

Seven Dials, sometimes considered part of Covent Garden, is truly unique: a circular road junction that has a slower, calmer pace than the rest of London. Seven Dials is named for the seven sundials at its center and is surrounded by about 90 shops and restaurants.

Neighborhoods to Know

Shoreditch : A trendy neighborhood chock full of vintage shops, cafes, art galleries, and clubs. The neighborhood skews young and boasts everything from artisan coffee shops and fine dining to chain restaurants. Wander around here for some of the best shopping in London.

Notting Hill : Yes, that Notting Hill. It's as charming as you imagine it to be. Famed for Portobello Road Market and the antiques and vintage stores that line it, Notting Hill is also home to high-end restaurants, the Ladbroke Square Garden, and some of the most charming and beautiful residential streets in London.

Covent Garden : Synonymous with the Covent Garden Market, this much-loved neighborhood is filled with odd little gems like tiny toy stores, bookstores, clothing boutiques, and more — plus an array of restaurants and eateries. Covent Garden is not a mall; it is, truly, a garden, and a lively and beautiful place to sit, have a coffee, and people-watch.

Camden : Also known as Camden Town, though no one really calls it that anymore. Home to Camden Market and the famed venue Electric Ballroom, it abuts The Regent with easy walking access to the London Zoo and a bit of a longer walk to Queen Mary's Rose Gardens.

Kings Cross : Not only a rail station but a neighborhood, too! Historic Kings Cross Station is a big draw, though, with a photo area for Platform 9 ¾ and a "Harry Potter" gift shop right nearby. Kings Cross was once heavily industrial but has been made over with gardens and small green sitting areas.

Soho : Lively, theater-dotted Soho in the West End is the place to go for nightlife of all stripes. Take in a show, go dancing, enjoy a late-night movie or dinner, or a few of the above. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in London, being an easy walk from Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.

The West End : The West End is London's Broadway. But don't be fooled — it's not just international stagings of Broadway shows. The West End is a thriving theater scene with original work going up regularly.

On one hand, the weather in London does not tend to fluctuate between highs and lows, no matter the season. On the other, it rains in London — a lot. About nine to 10 days a month , on average. No matter when you go, pack some waterproof layers; odds are you'll be glad you brought them.

Spring: Spring in London, and England as a whole, is beautiful. London is a very green city, and spring brings the parks and gardens to blooming, fragrant life. Early spring can be a little chilly, but it might be worth going then to beat the tourist boom from late spring through summer.

Summer: Summer in England is mild and lovely, and London is no exception. Temperatures rarely climb above 75°F. For this reason, it is by far the most popular season for travel, and hotel and flight prices tend to reflect that — however, it's also inherently a bit more lively, with a lot going on.

Fall: Again, fall is temperate, with a little more rain than summer. If you want to beat the summer rush but still want warmer weather, you might want to wait until fall for your trip.

Winter: Winter can get cold, but not bitterly so; average temperatures rarely fall below 30°F. England is big on Christmas, and holiday markets and cheer abound. If you love the winter holidays, London might be a perfect choice for you — it's hard not to feel festive in the land of A Christmas Carol.

Apps to Download

London Tube Live : Up-to-date info on delays, updates, departure information, and routes. iOS | Android

The Pub Finder : Crowdsourced app for pubs and bars, including reviews and tips. iOS | Android

London Pass : Free interactive London guidebook. iOS | Android

Everything you need to know before you go to London in 2024

Jade Bremner

Mar 10, 2024 • 7 min read

trip of london

Make the most of your trip to London with these expert tips © FilippoBacci / Getty Images

Even though I was born and raised in London, I’ve been caught out without a brolly (umbrella) in the rain countless times. I’ve felt the scorn of others when not noticing there’s a queue, and I’ve made the costly error of driving into the city. But as a local, I’ve made these mistakes so you don’t have to; I hope my experience and top tips help inspire a smooth and memorable trip to the UK capital.

A side view of a woman sitting on the London tube looking at her phone

1. Know your Tube etiquette

One easy way to annoy commuters is to not follow these very easy rules when traveling around on London’s Underground. Get your ticket, bank card or smart phone ready before you reach the ticket barriers so you don’t create a queue. Stand on the right when using escalators so passengers wanting to walk can pass. Let passengers off the train first (stand to either the right or left of the doors) before you board. Offer your seat to someone who may need it more, such as a pregnant person, an elderly person, someone who is disabled and so on. And definitely don't try to strike up conversations with the locals (if you want to blend in). 

2. Skip the car

London ’s roads are small, its traffic is chaotic, and there’s hardly anywhere to park. Plus, you’ll be charged for driving your car in to the center of London – the congestion charge is £15 a day, while the separate ULEZ charge starts from £12.50 and only certain energy efficient or electric cars are exempt. The best way to get around is on public transport (although check on the TFL website or app for information on industrial action and weekend engineering works). Use the Tube, hop on a bus, or rent a bike or e-bike if in the center of the city; cycle maps, highlighting designated paths for bikes, can be downloaded online.

3. Bring layers (and a raincoat)

London’s weather is changeable – temperatures have been known to rise and fall by 20°C in a matter of days. Showers can happen any time of year so pack a brolly (umbrella) or raincoat in your day bag and wear layers that you can easily take off. In summer, always carry a bottle of water on the Tube (the deep tunnels were built before air-conditioning). And while the climate may be mercurial, don’t let bad weather put you off going about your day – simply switch to more indoor-based activities, there are hundreds of them to choose from.

A knee-down shot of a woman walking across London streets in black tennis shoes

4. Opt for comfort over fashion when it comes to shoes

Most people cover a lot of ground when exploring London, plus different terrains: grass in the many green spaces, long Tube escalators, slippery pavements and even cobblestones. Museums require leg work, as do bridges, boats and parks. Heels are pretty pointless in London, unless you are getting a door-to-door cab to a venue. 

5. Make reservations for top restaurants

While there are plenty of terrific places to eat that welcome walk-ins (although be prepared to queue for the best joints), many of the best restaurants are booked up weeks in advance, especially new ones or those run by celebrity chefs. More restaurants have adopted booking policies and deposits since the pandemic, so if you’re looking for a unique dining experience, you will need to book ahead.

6. Do as the Londoners do and go to a supper club

Embed yourself in London life with a dinner party with locals; a supper club is a superb way to try home-cooked local food from London’s diverse community. These are locally run endeavors, taking place in people’s homes or taking over whole restaurants – try The Bridge Club  serving British eats made with French cooking techniques in South London, Dinner Ladies putting on immersive food experiences, or Indian street food run out of local chef Dhruv Mittal’s flat.

A group of friends at a pub laugh while holding pints of beer

7. Know how to order at a pub

There are unspoken rules when visiting a pub. One person – not a whole group – should go to the bar. Stand anywhere and wait your turn. If someone was waiting before you, it’s polite to signal for the bar staff to serve them first if they come over to you. When you go back to your table with the drinks, you just bought "a round". Now everyone at the table owes you a drink throughout the evening, each person has a turn at buying a round. Last orders are when the bell rings, and from this moment you have 20 minutes to finish your drink.

8. Go to a football game

Football rivalries run high in the city, with 17 football clubs, including seven Premier League teams and four Women’s Super League Teams. Giant temples to "The Beautiful Game" sit around London and are great places to feel the collective energy of the city, as locals congregate (come rain or shine) to watch their heroes on the field. You'll need to book tickets far in advance for Premier League Games, but women’s and lower league men’s games are usually easier to come by – and arguably far more fun to watch. Visit local team websites to book.

9. Be polite and embrace the art of queueing

Londoners (and British people alike) are big on manners, and not having any will get you into trouble. Say "please" and "thank you", and apologize if you bump into someone. Don’t stare at people on the Tube, and hold a door open for people behind you when you walk through one. Let people pass, and be sure to help people in need (people with buggies at the top of stairs, older people crossing the road etc). If there is a queue to the attraction you want to visit or a stall you want to buy from, join it – you’ll might not get into a confrontation if you skip the line, but you will be judged. 

The historic architecture of London in the United Kingdom at sunset showcasing Piccadilly Circus with lots of locals and tourists passing by.

10. Make a plan, but don't go overboard

London is massive, so getting from one side to the other takes a couple of hours in a car (and that's if there is light traffic). Riding the Tube is quicker, but journey times can still be long if attractions are on either side of the city. Minimize travel times by exploring by neighborhood – do a day in Central London, another day in West London and so on. Plan on spending at least a few hours in the big museums and galleries, as there is so much to see. Take many breaks, grab lunch at a cafe or pub and pause to take in the views. It’s easy to get carried away with the energetic pace of London, but sights are more enjoyable if you adopt a more leisurely approach.

11. Don’t leave your stuff lying around

Don’t leave your bags unattended at public venues like stations, buses, theaters or museums, as this is likely to cause alarm and your bag may be removed – or stolen. Only take with you what you are able to carry for several hours. Luggage storage is generally rare in London, but hotels will likely store bags once you check out. Avoid carrying mobile phones in back pockets or where they can be easily swiped from your hand in the street. Never leave your phone or purse on a cafe table, opportunistic thieves will distract you and it will be gone before you realise what's happening. 

12. It's an election year in London

The incumbent mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will face an election race in May 2024 (he's been in the top job since 2016). This might not be particularly noteworthy for travelers, but it does mean there's greater incentive to make sure London is working well. Policing, housing and public transport are high on the agenda for all the candidates. Services have been expanded to support the rising number of "rough sleepers" in the city, with the visible issue of homelessness a concern for locals and visitors alike. Tube strikes, which brought the city to a standstill in 2023, have been averted but industrial action on national rail services in and out of the city continue. The city goes to the polls on Thursday 2 May, 2024. 

This article was first published September 2023 and updated March 2024

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Happy to Wander

40+ London Travel Tips for First Timers & Must Knows Before You Go

Last Updated: March 20, 2024

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Whenever people say they dislike London, I get weirdly defensive.

I mean… Not like London? How dare you?!

In a city with attractions, shows and restaurants catered to every whim, I find the prospect outrageous. Which is why I’ve come to the following conclusion: most of those who ‘dislike London’ simply fail to prepare for it properly… an easy failure, given the many, many mistakes tourists can make here.

… But that won’t be you. You’re going to love London, because I’m arming you with every London tip and must-know you could ever possibly need, accumulated over a dozen visits ranging from two days to two months.

So, read on for a truly maniacal range of London travel tips for first timers, from London planning tips and culture shocks to niche, practical must-knows upon arrival.

Soon, you too shall be a violently defensive London fangirl. See you on the other side.

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Save this List of London Travel Tips for Later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

1. Avoid visiting London in peak season

First, in terms of when to visit London… my number one rule is to avoid London in peak peak season, meaning July and August.

Sure, the city draws tourists year-round, but summer time is next level in terms of crowds, and there’s a bonus villain that comes in to guest star: muggy London heat , an absolute menace if you use public transport.

Overall, there’s a compelling reason for every season (you know it’s true because it rhymes), just avoid summer if you can, and also try to avoid school and bank holidays because London is a super popular family destination.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what every (other) season can offer:

  • Spring: Flowers in bloom, May for wisteria hysteria, plenty of fun events like the Chelsea Flower Show/Chelsea in Bloom
  • Fall: Gorgeous foliage and comfortable temperatures, fun events like the London Film Festival
  • Winter: The sheer magic of London at Christmas (though this can be crowded too – plan for weekdays/earlier in the season for a slightly quieter experience). Winter can otherwise be a bit gloomy, but the relatively thinner crowds and lower prices help compensate

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2. Plan to be in London for minimum four days

One of the best ways to hate London is to rush through it.

This is a city best enjoyed somewhat slowly – otherwise burnout is guaranteed.

I personally think first time visitors need at least four days to get a good feel for the city. You definitely won’t see everything in this time, but it’ll give you a good grasp of the main must-sees. I’d advise adding a few more days if you want to do some cool day trips too.

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3. Research your airport to accommodation commute in advance

First time visiting London? Great news – the confusion starts before you even arrive!

When booking flights, you may find that there are actually six airports that service the Greater London area: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton, London City Airport, and London Southend Airport.

For most visitors coming from overseas, Heathrow and Gatwick will likely be your main point of entry, whereas the others are popular for shorter flights, typically from elsewhere in Europe (often with budget airlines like Ryanair , easyJet and Wizz Air , especially with Stanstead and Luton ).

When planning, you should remember to factor in costs getting from these airports to central London, as it’s often not cheap.

While the options vary by airport, the most convenient (and most expensive) is of course by taxi or private transfer. Welcome Pickups can be a good option for pre-booking, if you are prioritizing convenience and ease.

There are also public transport options for all of them which are much more cost-effective.

One general word of warning though: regardless of which airport you arrive at, make sure you research different ways to get to the city centre. Often times, the most popular and most advertised options aren’t the best solution.

For instance, with Heathrow, often visitors will hop on the Heathrow Express, a ride notorious for being the UK’s most expensive train journey per mile (though a new train from Luton is set to dethrone it) … only to find out they need to complete their journey with further means because their hotel is nowhere near Paddington Station.

So, definitely explore different options for getting into the city!

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4. Prioritize comfort when booking accommodation

In terms of places to stay, there are thousands of hotels and accommodation options to choose from in London. Unfortunately, their prices will make you want to cry, regardless of quality.

As I discuss in my guide on how to book the best accommodation every time , often sacrifices must be made depending on whether you’re prioritizing price, quality or location.

For London, I would advise prioritizing quality or price.

Whereas in other cities, I’m more inclined to prioritize location, the truth is London and its attractions are very spread out, so booking a hotel close to one attraction won’t necessarily put you at an advantage when it comes to seeing other places.

Plus, staying in touristy areas can mean noise, crazy prices, and a lack of good-value places to eat nearby. Rather, in London, I think it’s smarter to prioritize an area with good food options nearby and proximity to a Tube station (preferably in more central zones like Zone 1 and Zone 2).

Apart from that, to make your decision, I think you should be looking more at the specifics of the hotel and whether they suit your needs in terms of amenities and comfort. At the end of a long day of sightseeing, you’ll want somewhere nice to come home to!

An affordable luxury hotel in London? YES it's possible! The citizenM Tower of London hotel might just be one of London's best deals. Click through for a detailed review with photos to see what the buzz is all about. Deciding where to stay in London just got easier!

5. Thoroughly research your accommodation before booking

Related to the London planning tip above is the simple fact that many of London’s hotels are terrible value for money.

You’d assume (based on prices) that you’re getting a great place to stay, but oftentimes hotels will lack the amenities you typically expect.

This is because many (smaller) London hotels weren’t purposely built to be hotels, and are converted from old buildings, which may mean a lack of elevator and/or ‘quirky’ plumbing and temperature control issues.

So, be extra careful when you’re vetting hotels. Read the descriptions, comb through reviews, scroll through all the photos, and if amenities like Air Conditioning are important to you, triple check the hotel has it because many older ones do not.

Don’t automatically assume every hotel will have standard amenities (especially if the price seems too good to be true!)

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6. Make sure you have a data plan

Another important London tip is to get a local SIM card or make sure you have an international data plan because having access to Internet in London is pretty crucial these days, with many restaurants/pubs offering their menus on QR code or confusingly stumbling around using Google Maps.

Three has really cheap data plans and you can pick up a card straight at the airport! You can also find their SIM cards on Amazon. An unlimited one costs less than my 5GB data plan back home in Canada. It simply doesn’t make sense.

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7. Make sure you have a travel-friendly credit card

Another important London travel tip? Make sure you have a good credit card that travels well.

London these days is becoming very much a cashless city and you’ll be relying on card a lot more than cash, which is why it’s important to have a travel-friendly credit card like Wise , which doesn’t charge you foreign transaction fees or overinflated currency conversion fees.

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8. Do not rent a car for your London trip

When in London, I wouldn’t advise renting a car. Driving in the city is a horrific pain, with copious weird fees that tourists aren’t used to.

Public transport is definitely the way to go. Renting a car may make sense for further trips out in to the countryside, but just know that when you’re in London itself, public transport or taxis should be your pick.

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9. Learn how to book taxis quickly and easily

On the topic of taxis, I’d recommend downloading an app called FreeNow which is basically Uber but with licensed taxis.

This is way easier than flagging down a taxi on the street, plus you can see how much the fare will be, which helps you avoid getting scammed.

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10. Avoid hop on/hop off buses to get around

Another London tip for getting around: I wouldn’t advise using those ubiquitous hop on/hop off buses as a means of transport.

Not only are they wildly expensive compared to local buses, their schedules also aren’t as consistent or reliable as regular public transport, so it’s really a lose-lose situation.

Instead, just use the vast public transport network that serves millions of locals everyday! Sure it’s stuffier and you might get lost or meet some characters, but it’s all part of the experience.

NOTE: I do think the open top buses are fun, but I’d advise doing a tour for the experience, rather than use it as a way of getting from Point A to Point B. Local transport will cost you far less, and will make you feeling more like a Londoner, if that’s what you’re after.

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11. Make sure you have a contactless card for public transport

If you DO end up using public transport in London, the good news is it’s quite easy. Both buses and the Underground (AKA the Tube) rely on a card tap system that automatically charges you.

As a tourist, the easiest option is to just use a contactless card for all payments. You tap in on the bus as you board, then you can just get off at your stop without worrying again. Or, you tap in at Tube stations at the gates on your way in, and at the gates on your way out. Easy!

There is a reloadable card called an Oyster Card that you can buy to tap in/out easily, like a gift card you fill up with travel credit, but the prices and caps are the same for both contactless cards and Oyster cards.

Plus there’s a 5GBP activation fee for Oyster cards, so it’s not worth it for a short trip, unless you’re dealing with some specific scenarios which I’ll outline below, after this cute photo of a tap in/tap out machine.

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12. Get an Oyster Card (in some situations)

There are only two situations where I think getting an Oyster card makes sense if you’re a tourist.

First, if you plan to buy a RailCard, this saves you 1/3 on all journeys, including on the Tube so you will need to get an Oyster Card and link the two to take advantage of that. Of course this only makes sense for visitors staying longer or who plan to come back often.

Second, you should maybe consider an Oyster card if you don’t have a travel friendly credit card and get charged individually for foreign transactions, as those costs might add up.

In most cases though, just using a contactless card is the simplest solution because it deducts amounts automatically. You can even use this to get far out to popular day trip destinations like Hampton Court Palace.

Just make sure you use the same card all day though because there are daily caps on how much they can charge you!

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13. Understand when to take buses vs. the Tube

In terms of public transport in London, there’s Underground trains AKA the Tube, buses, and overground trains which connect to suburbs and neighbourhoods that are farther out.

As a tourist, you’ll most likely be relying just on the Underground and buses. 

Both have their pros and cons.

I do think buses are fun for tourists because they’re above ground so you see a lot more, especially if you ride at the front of a double decker (which is a mandatory must-do in my opinion), plus you can get phone service on them and they are cheaper as well, especially because it’s one price across zones.

The downside is they’re not as punctual (the time tables on Google Maps are notoriously inaccurate, so focus on the digital estimates at the stops themselves whenever possible)… and you can get stuck in traffic.

So, keep these pros/cons in mind when choosing how to plan your journey. If traffic a mess, the Tube may be a better choice. If you need phone service, want views, or are prioritizing low cost, then the bus may be better.

NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, the Tube does not run 24/7. It actually stops running surprisingly early, so check times before you head out, or prepare to get comfy on the night bus.

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14. Always plan for lots of buffer time in case there’s delays with public transport

Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to plan things with buffer time in between obligations, especially if you need to be somewhere at a specific time.

The Tube may not get caught in traffic like buses do, but there’s still often random delays and unexpected failures.

So, if you have a tour, show or attraction booked, be sure to add in 30 minutes or more of wiggle room, just in case.

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15. Walk as much as possible

Truthfully though, while I’m a big fan of London public transport, my preferred way to get around is walking as much as possible within neighbourhoods, then taking the Tube or bus to cover huge distances.

In busier tourist areas, there’s often signs you can follow to find big attractions so don’t worry too much about navigating on foot, and walking can sometimes even be faster than the Tube depending on how far you’re going.

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16. Learn to ride the Tube like a pro

If you want to navigate the Tube system like a slick, terrifyingly efficient professional, then there are some basics to keep in mind.

First, I would never ride the Tube by choice between 7:30-9am and 5-7pm. It’s more expensive at this time so it’s a lose-lose, plus it’s rush hour when everyone and their mom’s landlord is trying to get to/from work. Don’t get caught in this as a tourist. Remember, you’re here to escape that kind of minutia!

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Second, remember, when riding the Tube, you need to tap out to leave, so have your card ready to tap out upon exit, and don’t block everyone’s way as you shuffle through the deepest depths of your chaotic tote bag.

Also make sure you have your full journey loaded on your phone or written down before you head out. There’s usually no service so you won’t be able to Google directions when you’re down there, hence why you may want to bring a book or some form of entertainment.

One random hack I have for finding the right exit to take from a Tube station is to plot your journey on Google Maps, and then rotate your map to make it look like your train is headed straight North. This way, you have a sense of which direction you need to move towards once you get off the train, and which exit makes the most sense.

In this example for instance, as you exit the train, you will know your end destination is behind and to the left of you:

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Some busier stations will also have an exit guide:

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Lastly, be sure to exercise proper Tube etiquette:

  • Let people off the train before you try to get on
  • If there’s a crowded train, take off your bag or have it on your front so you’re not in everyone’s way
  • Don’t stand on the left side of the escalator – this is meant to be left empty for people who choose to walk up

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17. Consider a BritRail Pass if travelling farther

If you’re staying a while in London and plan to do many day trips or side trips, one potential pass worth considering is the London Plus BritRail Pass .

With it, you can get unlimited train journeys for a set period (either a consecutive few days or a set number of days within a month).

The London Plus Pass is especially good value because it covers the Greater London area, plus many of London’s most popular day trip destinations like Bath , Winchester , Windsor, Salisbury, Brighton , and Bournemouth.

This is a great option if you need a bit more flexibility and don’t want to buy tickets in advance, but overall if you plan to only do a handful of day trips, buying tickets well in advance will probably be cheaper. 

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18. Don’t overload your London itinerary

Now let’s move onto some London itinerary planning tips. The first and most important one? Resist the urge to overload your itinerary!

London is a gargantuan city packed with fun attractions, so many in fact that even people born and raised there haven’t seen it all.

Which stands to reason that you, as a first time visitor, will not be able to see it all in one go either.

I would recommend limiting big paid attractions to 1-2 per day, then dedicating the rest of the day to just wandering, enjoying food, and pursuing more relaxed activities.

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19. Plan your days by neighbourhood

Another important London must-know is that you should be organizing your itinerary based on strategic neighbourhood hopping.

London is really spread apart so planning things by neighbourhood is crucial for avoiding the inefficiency of doubling back. If you need help, I have a 3 Days in London itinerary you can steal.

Needless to say, it’s really worth getting out of Central London to explore other neighbourhoods during your visit. Notting Hill, Camden, and Shoreditch are super popular ones for instance, but if you want something quieter, Hampstead Heath or Greenwich are also great.

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20. Consider the London Pass for potential savings

London is expensive, so I highly recommend you cap your paid attractions to only a few that you desperately want to do, then devote the rest of your time to free attractions.

That said, if you do intend on seeing lots of paid sights I can highly recommend the London Pass , especially if you can grab one on sale.

It’s essentially one card you pay for that then gets you into tons of paid attractions. If you plan correctly, this can save you SO much money. I bought a ten day one recently so that I could test out all of London’s paid attractions in one go. It was busy but I ended up saving a crazy amount of money.

Again, this would only be worth it if you planned to see a bunch of paid sights anyway, but it’s worth looking into if you’re a ‘see it all!’ type of visitor.

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21. Prioritize uniquely ‘London’ attractions

We’ve already established that there’s a ton to see in London… so how can you decide which sights to prioritize above the rest?

Well, my advice would be to prioritize uniquely London attractions. There are many big name attractions in the city now that are fairly random and completely unrelated to the city, for instance Shrek’s 4D Adventure or Madame Tussauds.

And… Unless you are travelling with kids and need to entertain them, I think there’s way better attractions to be prioritizing, so try to pick ‘Londony’ attractions whenever possible.

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22. Time your attraction visits strategically

Of course, it’s worth emphasizing how busy London can be when it comes to tourist sights, so if you want to enjoy attractions with minimal selfie sticks in your eyes, then avoid going to big attractions in the middle of the day.

Early morning or (even better) just before closing time is often way less busy.

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23. Familiarize yourself with all the free things to do in London

I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s worth noting again just how many great free things there are to do in London!

You can visit parks, go to free museums, or simply absorb London’s most wonderful sights on a (very free) walk.

In terms of free/by donation museums, the V&A is my personal favourite – it’s full of amazing decorative art and also located very close to other free museums like the Science Museum and Natural History Museum.

There’s also the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum and more. So if you’re looking to save money, prioritize these sights over others.

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There are some great free viewpoints as well, like at…

  • Tate Modern – the views over the Thames from the viewing level terrace are too good to pass up
  • Primrose Hill – a farther away view of the skyline in a very pretty park/colourful neighbourhood
  • Greenwich Observatory  – the perfect place to see the London skyline at sunset

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24. Learn when to book London’s most exclusive free/almost free tickets

While London is swimming with free things to do, some are harder to pursue than others due to limited tickets that are pre-released at set times before quickly being gobbled up by the eager freebie goblins.

SO, to help you prepare, here are some cool experiences in London that are free or almost free, but need to be booked in advance:

  • Barbican Conservatory: Really beautiful and free green space in the heart of the City! Tickets released for next week Thursdays at 10am here
  • Sky Garden: Free and stunning viewpoint, but you need to book in advance and the tickets go QUICKLY. Usually tickets are released every Monday up to a week in advance. Click here to book.
  • Mithraeum: Cool ancient Roman temple underneath all the huge skyscrapers in the City of London. Tickets can be booked up to four months in advance here although they do accept walk-ins depending on availability.
  • Ceremony of the Keys: Secret, centuries-old ceremony at the Tower of London where they lock up for the night. SUPER cool. Not free, but only costs 5 GBP. Tickets need to be booked in advance on the 1st working day of the month at noon, for the next month. You can book it here.

NOTE: If you don’t manage to book Sky Garden  for free, another fun way to see it which I prefer is to book it for breakfast to see it without crowds. It does cost 8.50 per person but you get a drink and a pastry so it’s not a bad deal!

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24. Book important must-dos well in advance

From West End shows to reservations for popular restaurants, planning ahead is key in London, especially during peak season.

Some key attractions that tend to book out months in advance include the Harry Potter Studio Tour and tickets for shows at the Globe .

So, remember: preparation is key to avoiding disappointment! If you know what attractions you want to see, book in advance online and get a skip the line ticket. If there’s a special restaurant you want to visit, book a table. If there’s a non-negotiable show that you need to see, book those tickets.

… You can always book cancellable ones to secure your spot, then decide later!

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25. Learn how to get the best deals on West End shows

On that note, if you’re hoping to get West End show tickets during your time in London, then here are some tips for saving money:

  • If you’re flexible with what show you watch, get the TodayTix app – they always have great sales and deals and within that app you can enter different ticket lotteries and do day-of rush tickets
  • In advance of your trip, enter different ticket lotteries – they have ones for Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and other popular shows. This is how I got these seats in Hamilton for only 10 GBP!
  • And in a pinch, you can also visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square for discounted day-of tickets

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26. Read local blogs/websites to find special events

Another VERY underrated London travel tip is to scour local blogs and websites for fun events/pop-ups.

In a city like London, there’s always cool things happening, so if you want to spice up your itinerary beyond the tourist must-sees, there’s plenty of opportunities. London is home to millions of locals after all!

Some good local websites to check out include London x London , Time Out London , Londonist , Secret London.

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27. Be sure to try plenty of English classics

Ahh, now for London food and drink tips!

I know most visitors will flock to London to try fish and chips, but besides this English classic, there are many other great British foods to try (alongside excellent international options, but more on that later).

If you’re craving local food, be sure to try some…

  • Savoury pies
  • A full English breakfast
  • Sausage rolls
  • Sticky toffee pudding

Those visiting on a Sunday should also make sure they try a Sunday roast, which tends to be eaten as a heavy lunch or early dinner, although booking for this in advance is strongly advised. 

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28. Visit food markets if you have trouble with decisions

Beyond English classics, be sure to head out to some food markets in London as well (the city is famous for them!)

These vibrant foodie hubs offer a taste of London’s incredibly diverse food scene, all in a ‘grab and go’ manner that’s ideal for those who are indecisive, or simply bottomless pits of sustenance like me.

Borough Market is a foodie favourite that’s always busy but fun. Other markets I love for food include Greenwich Market, Brick Lane Market, nearby Old Spitalfields Market and (the much smaller) Maltby St Market… although these all have their own specific opening days, so be sure to research before you head out!

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29. Learn where to grab a quick, cheap bite

If you’re in a rush, on a budget, or both, the most cost-effective and quick lunch you can get for yourself in London is a Meal Deal. These are set combos that include a main, a snack, and a drink for a set small price like 4 or 5 pounds. Most major supermarket chains do them.

Another place to get cheap snacks is bakeries or chains like Greggs, where you can get pastries and sausage rolls for less than 2 pound each.

I know how savage London can be on one’s budget, so keep these money saving tips in mind do help ease the pain a bit on some days.

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30. Learn proper pub etiquette

Now, let’s have a quick chat about pub etiquette.

Going to a pub in London is an essential activity, even if you don’t drink. Pubs can be a great place to grab food, socialize or even listen to live music if you plan properly, so don’t write off the experience just because you’re not a drinker!

Of course, visiting a London pub for the first time can be an awkward experience for first timers, full of random little culture shocks, so here are some must-knows to help you prepare.

First – not all pubs in London have table service, so the most typical way to order (especially if you’re just getting drinks) is to go up to the bar and order from there. You can usually place food orders at the bar as well. If you plan to do this, take note of your table number (usually somewhere on the table) so that they know where to bring your food!

When ordering at the bar, you tend to pay on the spot, and not after the meal is over.

These days, it’s also common for pubs, especially chain ones, to have a QR code or app where you can order directly from your table using your Table number. If you’re feeling a bit anti-social, this can be an easy option.

Lastly, in terms of what to order, beers are most commonly ordered as pints which in the UK are 20 fluid ounces, but if you want something smaller, ordering a half pint (AKA just a half) is also possible, although not too common.

Bear in mind pubs don’t tend to have as wide a selection for drinks as in bars, so you’re probably best sticking to beer, wine, cider or whatever simple cocktails they list on their menu. Don’t go asking for anything too fancy or they may look at you like you’re an alien.

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31. Learn how tipping in London works

Now, in regards to tipping, you’ll find that many restaurants in London these days add on a Discretionary Service Charge of about 12.5% which is automatically tacked onto your bill.

This isn’t a mandatory fee and you can ask them to remove it if you don’t think the service deserves that amount.

Otherwise, if you pay it, don’t worry – you’re not usually expected to pay an additional tip on top of that, unless you found the service to be really exceptional.

trip of london

32. Be careful when crossing the street

Now, for some London safety tips.

Please, for the love of Peppa Pig, make sure you look the right way when crossing the street.

The first time I visited London, I almost died about five times. Brits drive on the left, which sounds cute enough until you realize it turns every street crossing into an auto-fuelled death trap.

This has become such a problem that most crosswalks in touristy areas literally have “LOOK LEFT” and “LOOK RIGHT” painted on the pavement in aggressive white block letters, so read them.

trip of london

33. Keep your phone close at all times

While pickpockets do exist everywhere, the more common crime these days in in London is phone snatching. 

What thieves will often do is come by you on a bike or scooter, then snatch the phone from your hand and escape so be sure to avoid having your phone out when you’re in a busy area, especially next to the road.

… And review my guide on how to avoid pickpockets too.

trip of london

34. Beware of commonly mispronounced words and names

If you’re a first time visitor to London, you may be shocked to find that many of the names you’ve been reading in your head actually sound nothing like how you’ve been pronouncing them.

That’s because British English is filled with fun little traps!

So, let’s review some of the most commonly mispronounced names in London:

  • Thames is pronounced like “temz”, not THEY-mz
  • Leicester Square is pronounced like “LEST-ER Square”, not like LAY-SESS-TER Square
  • Greenwich is pronounced like ‘GREN-itch”, not green witch
  • Clapham and Fulham are pronounced like Clap-mm Full-mm, not Clap-HAM or Full-HAM
  • Southwark is pronounced like “Suth-irk” not South Wark

And trust me, that’s barely scraping the surface. SO, when in doubt, keep an ear out on the announcements at train stations and tube stations for the proper pronunciation of things. I still learn new pronunciation traps all the time!

trip of london

35. Beware of differing words in British English

On a related note, remember there are quite a few day to day words that are different in England compared to North America, so remember…

  • Bathroom = the toilet or loo
  • Elevator = lift
  • Garbage can = bin
  • Line-up = queue
  • Sidewalk = pavement

… Just to name a few examples.

trip of london

36. Learn some basic London etiquette

Of course, norms vary from destination to destination. Here are a few to bear in mind for London specifically:

  • Never jump a queue – this might as well be a punishable crime in England
  • Avoid talking too loudly – North Americans have a reputation for being obnoxiously loud in public
  • Don’t take up a seat on the bus or train with your bag if it’s busy
  • And most importantly: don’t put on a fake English accent! You might think it’s funny or convincing, it’s probably not

trip of london

37. Don’t bring too much cash out

I mentioned before how London is mostly a cashless city these days… but it’s an important must-know so I’ll mention it again!

Remember: there are now some places in London that are “card only” so you won’t be needing cash too often, hence why I’d recommend carrying very little with you at all times.

A good rule of thumb is to never bring more cash out than you could stand to lose. I usually just walk around with £20 juuust in case, but I’ve rarely had to use it.

trip of london

38. Learn where to find free public toilets

If you need to find a public toilet while exploring London, either look for big train stations, McDonalds, Starbucks and department stores OR in a pinch, duck into a pub and order a drink.

trip of london

39. A hooded jacket > an umbrella

If you’re running low on space and can’t decide what to pack, I would recommend packing a hooded jacket over an umbrella for your trip to London.

London’s rain can often come unexpectedly, and honestly the wind can be pretty vicious too, so having a hooded jacket is a better defense.

Because yes, it does rain a lot quite randomly in London, so make sure you’re prepared!

trip of london

40. Remember to be respectful

Getting to the end of our list of London travel tips, please remember the importance of being a kind and respectful tourist!

Some examples of what NOT to do include…

  • Trespassing private property to get a fake candid in front of a colourful wall
  • Being loud and disruptive if you’re wandering around a cute residential neighbourhood
  • Blocking the escalator/sidewalk/train door with huge suitcases and bags
  • Stopping suddenly on the sidewalk to look at directions/take a photo

At the end of the day, there are a lot of tourists in London, sure, but there’s even more locals who call this city home… so let’s make sure we don’t ruin their day to day lives with our tourist debauchery.

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41. Binge watch movies/shows set in London before your visit

Finally – last but not least, a very dorky tip: watch lots of movies and shows in advance of your visit which showcase London as the backdrop.

This will make your trip 1000x more delightful… trust me!

There’s way too many to choose from, but here’s a list to get you started:

  • About Time (one of my favourite movies ever – please watch it)
  • Paddington 1 & 2 (not just for kids. These are great and showcase London well)
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary or Notting Hill (if you want a good rom com)
  • Anything Sherlock Holmes related
  • Love Actually (at Christmas time – a must!)
  • The Harry Potter series (not a TON of London scenes, but still magical)

trip of london

I hope this list of London Travel Tips was helpful!

I appreciate you trudging your way through this lengthy list of tips for London, my London fangirl in training. Hopefully this post answered most of your questions, but if you have any more, let me know in the comments. Safe and happy travels!

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"I love surprising our guests with London's incredible diversity. You can go from admiring the dazzling architecture and shopping at the trendy boutiques, to watching grand royal ceremonies and meeting the locals in a 16th-century pub - all in one day."

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Admire the Big Ben and the imposing Houses of Parliament

As you touch down in London, you’ll surely be searching the skyline for Big Ben, the iconic Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster, or the Houses of Parliament. You'll have the chance to admire these impressive buildings in the company of your London travel guide and listen for the famous chimes that have been ringing out across London since 1859.

Learn about the history of the Buckingham Palace

You’re in for a royal time at Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British royal family since 1837. It’s one of the most iconic places to visit in London, and we’ll take you to marvel at this magnificent palace, learn about it’s centuries-old history, and perhaps even wave to the King if he’s home.

Ramble through London's picturesque Royal Parks

If you love a lush park or garden, you’re in for a real treat in London, with over 5,000 acres of gorgeous green space across the eight Royal Parks. Spend your days strolling, cycling, or simply relaxing in these beautiful parks, from the famous Hyde Park to the ornate Kensington Gardens.

Go on a shopping spree around Carnaby Street and Soho

We’ll dive into London’s West End with a tour around the buzzing borough of Soho, where you’ll get a taste of London’s diverse culture, history and cuisine. Wander down the iconic Oxford and Regent Streets and of course, Carnaby Street, the city’s shopping mecca, and the epicentre of the Swinging Sixties in London.

See the stately Changing of the Guard

You’ll watch history come alive when we take you to Buckingham Palace to witness the spectacular Changing of the Guard ceremony. It’s a full-on display of royal pomp and military tradition, with the soldiers of The Queen’s Guard in bearskin hats and bright-red uniforms marching down the Mall, and you can’t miss it on your London trip.

Our top 5 things to do in London

With an overwhelming number of iconic London attractions to explore, where to begin? When you travel London with Trafalgar, we’ll show you all the very best of the city.

Tate Modern

As one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art, the Tate Modern is an unmissable London attraction. You’ll find everything here from vibrant artworks to films and performance art, and you can’t miss the giant Turbine Hall, a five-storey tall room used to display extraordinarily large art installations.

Museum of London

If you’ve ever wanted to learn the history of this great city, the Museum of London is the place to go. It’s the world’s largest urban history collection and you’ll learn all about England’s capital from prehistoric to modern times. The museum even overlooks the remains of the Roman city wall on the edge of the oldest area of London.

Science Museum

You could spend hours exploring the treasures of the Science Museum including the world’s greatest innovations, ranging from Puffing Billy, the oldest surviving steam locomotive, to the first jet engine, to the Apollo 10 command module. You’ll travel from the Industrial Revolution all the way into the future in this amazing playground of the mind.

Best museums in London

London’s museums are among the world’s best, with millions of visitors each year to marvel at the incredible history, art and design. What treasures will you find when we take you to these great institutions?

Cottage Pie

It doesn’t get more comforting than a traditional cottage pie, and you’ve got to order this English staple at least once in a classic London pub. It’s been a beloved dish for generations, originating as a clever way to make a hearty meal from leftovers like beef, peas and carrots, topped with creamy mashed potatoes.

Cornish Pasty

Make a beeline for the nearest bakery in London and discover these little pockets of deliciousness. They’re made from shortcrust pastry stuffed with beef, potatoes, swede, onion and egg, then baked until golden, forming a rich gravy inside its own tasty casing. You’re sure to go back for more than just one Cornish pasty!

Named after the prestigious boys’ boarding school of the same name, this simple yet delicious treat is made from a refreshing blend of cream, strawberries and crushed meringue. It’s a classic British dessert and you can even try it at The National Café at the National Gallery, one of the best art museums in London.

Best food in London

Our London tours are big on foodie experiences, and you can go from a traditional English afternoon tea, to a delicious culinary adventure through Chinatown in the West End.

What to pack for London

People packing for a tour

Waterproof coat

London is known for its drizzles and rain showers, so pack a waterproof coat or travel-sized umbrella to keep your dry and warm on your London trip.

Comfortable shoes

This city was made for walking, and with so many incredible monuments, museums, parks and markets to explore, you’ll need a sturdy pair of shoes to get you around London.

Camera & extra SD cards

From Big Ben to the London Eye, your camera is sure to get a good workout. Pack some extra SD cards so you never run out of space to capture all of London’s pinch-me moments.

Waterproof day bag

Keep your hands free on your London tours with a waterproof day pack, perfect for holding all your shopping and souvenirs and keeping them dry in wet weather.

Warm layers

London is known for experiencing four seasons in one day, so it’s best to wear layers that will keep you warm in the cold weather and cool when the sun comes out.

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The Best Time to Visit London

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trip of london

London is a popular travel destination thanks to its culture, lively food scene, and royal ties. The British city attracts millions of visitors every year (more than 40.9 million in 2019! ), including many Americans, who find London easy to navigate (especially since the main language is English). Whether you're planning an extensive trip to explore London or including it as a stop on an itinerary of other European cities, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning. Consider what you want to see and do, and plan accordingly. And don't forget the umbrella.

Planning Your Trip

Best Time to Visit: London welcomes travelers all year, but the best times to visit can be spring and late fall thanks to the mild weather . Summer can be especially crowded, so you may find fewer lines and throngs of tourists during more off-peak times. The winter holidays can also be a great time to visit London, which gets very festive and well-decorated in December.

Language: English is the primary language spoken in London and the U.K., however Londoners come from all over the world, so it's not surprising to hear multiple other languages spoken around the city.

Currency: The currency in the U.K. is the pound sterling   , also known as GBP or just "the pound."

Getting Around: Transport for London has a vast network of public transportation options, including the Tube, buses, trains, and boats. It's recommended to avoid driving into the city center and use public transportation, or opt for a taxi or Uber. Black cabs are the official taxis in London and easy to hail anywhere around town.

Travel Tip: London is a very walkable city and one of the best ways to see different areas is to go by foot. Plan your days by neighborhood or general area, and stroll from attraction to attraction to make the most of your experience. For example, see Kensington Palace, Hyde Park and Notting Hill in the same day, or hit up the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern in one swing.

Things to Do

There's a lot to see and do in London, from historical sites like Buckingham Palace to cultural institutions like the National Portrait Gallery. A trip to London typically consists of a mixture of iconic attractions, including Big Ben and the London Eye, and neighborhood exploration in areas like Notting Hill. Consider purchasing a London Pass to make the most of popular attractions. Don't miss theater in the West End, shopping around Covent Garden and snacking in London's many outdoor markets, including Borough Market and Broadway Market.

  • Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens
  • The Tate Modern
  • Westminister Abbey

Explore more attractions with our full-length articles on what to see if you only have a few hours , what to do in the West End and things to do when it rains .

What to Eat and Drink

London's food scene is an eclectic mix of British and international eateries, with cuisine from all over the world available in the city's diverse neighborhoods. A classic experience is to dine (and grab a pint) in a local pub, which can be a great way to try British dishes like fish and chips and bangers and mash. London's ever-growing food scene isn't limited to just those well-known dishes, though: Look for hip spots like The Barbary, Barrafina and Caravan to experience a vibrant melange of internationally-inspired dishes.

London is also well-known for its impressive cocktail bars, many of which are nearly a century old. Don't miss a martini in The American Bar or Dukes, and consider exploring newer cocktail spots like Satan's Whiskers in Bethnal Green. Of course, you'll also want to book an afternoon tea somewhere classy. Look for high-end spots like Fortnum and Mason, The Savoy Hotel and The Ritz to make the most of your experience.

Explore our articles on the best restaurants with views , the best spots for afternoon tea and the best places for brunch .

Where to Stay

London is a large city, with many different areas, but most visitors find that it's convenient to stay centrally. Central neighborhoods like Covent Garden, Mayfair, Marylebone, Victoria and Kensington provide easy access to many popular attractions, as well as nearby restaurants and nightlife. Staying in adjacent areas like Fitzrovia, Pimlico, St. John's Wood and Southbank can be a good way to avoid crowds but keep the journey to the tourist spots quick and hassle-free. While many visitors elect to stay in a hotel, there are also many options for Airbnb and other vacation rental services. Those who want to splurge should look into iconic hotels like The Connaught, The Ritz and the Mandarin Oriental, which overlooks Hyde Park.

Explore our articles on the best budget hotels , the quirkiest places to stay and London's diverse neighborhoods .

Getting There

Most travelers arrive in London by plane, flying in to nearby airports like Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and City. Visitors coming from Europe can also arrive via the Eurostar, which comes into to St. Pancras Station, or via ferry. Trains link London with the rest of England, as well as Scotland and Wales, and cruise ships typically port in the nearby city of Southampton. Most travelers don't rent a car when visiting London, but a car can be handy if you plan to explore other areas of the U.K.

  • Heathrow International Airport: Heathrow, located west of London, is the primary airport used by international travelers. It can be accessed by Tube, train, bus or taxi, and it's recommended to look into public transportation when arriving during rush hour. The Heathrow Express gets passengers from the airport in to Paddington Station in only 15 minutes (and is significantly cheaper when booked more than 30 days in advance online).
  • Gatwick Airport: Gatwick, also known as London Gatwick, is located to the south of central London and can boast cheaper flights than Heathrow. It's also a hub for EasyJet, a budget airline. The airport is best accessed via the Gatwick Express from Victoria Station or a train from London Bridge Station.
  • London Luton Airport: Luton can be found to the north of London and is frequently used for flights to the rest of Europe. Look for the Thames Link train or bus services to access the airport since a taxi can be quite expensive.
  • London Stansted Airport: Stansted, also to the north of the city, is an international airport, but typically used for shorter flights rather than big international arrivals. Trains and buses are the best way to get to and from Stansted, which can be an inconvenient and disorganized airport experience.
  • London City Airport: Located on the Royal Docks, London City is popular with short haul flights to Europe, but also services the U.S. via New York City. The airport is fairly central, so taxis or public transportation are both good options.

Explore our articles on how to get to Heathrow and how to get to Luton , as well as our guide to London's airports .

Culture and Customs

While London can feel similar to the U.S., there are a few differences, particularly when it comes to tipping. All restaurants and bars will include a service charge (usually 12.5 percent) on the bill, so there's not need to leave extra cash. If you do, 10 to 15 percent is customary   . Tip taxi drivers a few pounds if you appreciate their service, but unlike in the U.S. employees in the U.K. don't expect large tips.

One other important thing to be aware of is that British culture is fairly reserved. When using public transportation, especially the bus or the Tube, keep your voice low and be polite. Londoners also appreciate a good queue, so never skip the line or push your way to the front.

Money Saving Tips

  • Take advantage of free museums. Many of London's museums are free to enter, including the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain. This can be a great way to see iconic spots without spending any of your travel budget.
  • Get a free view. While high-up attractions like the London Eye and the Shard's viewing gallery can be pricy, the Tate Modern's 10th floor viewing deck is free, as is Sky Garden , which allows visitors to book a complimentary ticket in advance online.
  • Picnic in one of the parks . On a sunny day, Londoners love a good park outing. Head to Marks & Spencer or Pret to stock up on sandwiches and drinks, and find a spot in one of London's many parks. Some of the parks, including London Fields, even allow portable BBQs.
  • Purchase a London Pass. The London Pass includes entry to over 80 attractions, so can help save money if you plan to do a lot of sight-seeing. It also allows for fast-track entry at several of the attractions, which can be great when visiting during a busy time of year.

For more tips, explore our articles on the best free things to do in London , how to travel around London with your kids for free and the best free museums .

Visit Britain. "Inbound Tourism Performance: 2019 Snapshot."

Visit London Official Visitor Guide. "British Money."

Visit London Official Visitor Guide. "Tipping in London."

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21 best london tours of 2024.

From exploring Harry Potter movie sets to cruising on the River Thames, these are the best tours of London.

The Best London Tours

Best London Tours

Courtesy of Secret Food Tours

If you're looking for the best things to do in London but unsure where to begin, consider a guided tour of the city. Many sightseeing excursions cover the highlights (think Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge), while other London tours focus on Harry Potter, Jack the Ripper and day trips to Stonehenge. Read on to discover a variety of well-rated tours in London.

Secret Food Tours – London Bridge

Price: Adults from 79 pounds (about $100); kids from 69 pounds (about $88) Duration: 3 to 3.5 hours

British food often gets a bad reputation, but this tour will change your mind. You'll visit seven different eateries, sampling everything from sausage rolls to sticky toffee pudding.

The tour begins at bustling Borough Market, where you'll snack on a bacon and egg bap (the U.K. version of a breakfast sandwich) as your guide tells you about the history of the market, as well as an overview of the city's history and culture. Other stops include a historic pub for a cheese tasting paired with English cider. And – as is standard on a Secret Food Tour – there will be a secret dish offered somewhere along the way. As you eat your way through London, you'll also enjoy great views of the city skyline, London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Past participants appreciate the quantity and quality of food provided, as well as the entertaining guides.

Tours depart several times a day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Secret Food Tours also offers tours of the Shoreditch district, among other areas.

Check prices & availability on:

BrakeAway Bike Tours – The Secret London Bike Tour

Price: Adults from 32 pounds (about $41); kids from 26 pounds (about $33) Duration: 3.5 hours

This London bike tour leads riders past famous sights, such as the Tower of London and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, but also explores lesser-known features of the city, including its street art and secret passageways. It also includes a 20-minute stop at Brick Lane. Reviewers extol the fun guides and say the tour is ideal if you want a break from the tourist crowds. Plus, they say it's a great value for the money.

Tours are offered daily from late March through October at 3 p.m. Tour prices include bikes, helmets and rain ponchos. Children 9 and younger are not permitted on the tour, and groups are capped at 12 participants. For a more traditional tour of London, consider the company's Grand London Bike Tour.

Liquid History Tours – Drink London Tour

Price: From 25 pounds (about $32) Duration: 3 to 4 hours

If the idea of walking – and drinking – in the footsteps of literary luminaries like Shakespeare and Dickens appeals, this is the tour for you. On the Drink London Tour, you'll walk along the "Street of Shame" (Fleet Street) for approximately 2 miles and stop in at least four historic pubs, some centuries old. You'll stroll by St. Paul's Cathedral, peek into secluded courtyards and listen to tales about Sweeney Todd. Travelers love the stories the guides share just as much as they enjoy drinking the local brews.

Note that the cost of drinks is not included, and reservations are required for this tour. Participants must be at least 18 years old. If you're traveling with a group, consider one of Liquid History Tours' private excursions.

The Ghost Bus Tours

Price: Adults from 25 pounds (about $32); kids from 17 pounds (about $22) Duration: 75 minutes

Ride a vintage double-decker bus for a spooky peek into London's lesser-known history with Ghost Bus Tours. Mixing horror with a fair bit of comedy – an aspect reviewers love – the actors-turned-guides describe the haunted history of top attractions, such as the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, among other famous landmarks. Both visitors and locals value the obscure stories guides share.

Tours last approximately 75 minutes and run several times each evening, though departure times vary by day.

London Bicycle Tour Company – The Classic Tour

Price: Adults from 33.95 pounds (about $43); kids from 24.95 pounds (about $32) Duration: 3 hours

Travelers consistently give the London Bicycle Tour Company high marks for its fun guides who are vigilant about ensuring riders' safety. On the Classic Tour – which travels about 8 miles – you'll breeze past Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Banksy Tunnel (where you'll likely witness artists at work) and other local landmarks. Your tour guide will offer commentary and give you plenty of time to stop and take photos. Children need to be at least 10 years old and stable riders to participate.

Tours are offered daily at 10:30 a.m. To admire the city lights at night, consider the company's daily sunset ride.

Street art in London

Courtesy of Alternative London

Alternative London – Street Art Walking Tour

Price: Adults from 20 pounds ($25); kids from 14 pounds (about $18) Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours

Promising to show you things London guidebooks don't cover, Alternative London's walking tour takes you to East London, where guides showcase the area's street art and discuss its culture and history. The company employs street artists and other creative types as guides so you get an insider's look into the community, something travelers say makes the tour unique. No two tours are alike because every guide has their favorite route and spots to highlight. Past tourgoers say the tour is fun and full of interesting insights.

Tours run at 11 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays, as well as 2 p.m. on Fridays. Outings are limited to 20 people. Looking to explore more of London's hidden spots? Alternative London offers a bike tour that emphasizes street art.

The English Bus – Stonehenge, Bath & A Secret Place Tour

Price: From 134 pounds (about $170) Duration: 12 hours

After you've had your fill of London's hustle, take a day trip to the countryside for a tour of Stonehenge . On this small tour of 16 people or fewer, you'll depart London in a Mercedes minibus and head to both Stonehenge and Bath. At Stonehenge, you'll have time to walk around the ancient stones and marvel at their enormity. In Bath, you'll have time to stop for lunch and either explore on your own or take a guided tour. The twist to this tour is that you'll also visit a secret spot on the way back to London, which is only revealed when you arrive.

The English Bus's vehicle, with panoramic windows and a glass roof, is small enough to go down back roads and through the countryside – a feature travelers love. Reviewers are also complimentary of the guides, who they describe as friendly, educational and well-versed in British history.

Tours depart daily at 8:45 a.m. and return to central London around 8:30 p.m. Tickets do not include food, drinks or admission to Stonehenge. The English Bus also operates daylong trips to the Cotswolds, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, among other destinations.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

Price: Adults from 53.50 pounds ($68); kids from 43 pounds ($55) Duration: 3.5 to 7 hours

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you already know that this London tour is a must – and previous tourgoers confirm it lives up to the hype. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter offers a behind-the-scenes look at sets, props and costumes used in the film franchise. Walk through the Great Hall – which is set for dinner – and explore Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4. Other exhibits include Creature Effects, where you can see how characters like Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Aragog were brought to life. You can even enjoy a butterbeer in the Backlot Café. Special exhibits are also displayed throughout the year and around the holidays.

Plan to spend at least half a day to fully experience the collection and discover its intricate details. Themed packages and add-on experiences are also available. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

City Experiences – Evening Cruise on the River Thames

Price: From 30 pounds (about $38) Duration: 2 hours

City Experiences offers evening cruises on the River Thames, a lovely way to end your day in London. Upon boarding, a server greets you with a complimentary glass of prosecco, and hors d'oeuvres are served throughout the two-hour cruise. You'll enjoy live background music as you take in the sights from your seat on the open-air upstairs deck or inside the saloon with picture windows. Previous travelers say they enjoyed the cruise, noting it is relaxing and affords spectacular views for photos.

In the warm weather months, cruises run daily at 6:30 p.m.; beginning in October, cruises are available Thursday through Sunday only. Patrons must be age 13 or older to join the tour. Other London river cruises offered by City Experiences include a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing cruise.

Jack the Ripper tour in London

Courtesy of Jack the Ripper Tour

The Jack the Ripper Tour With Ripper-Vision

Price: Adults from 18 pounds (about $23); kids from 10 pounds (about $13) Duration: 2 hours

This offbeat Jack the Ripper tour has a unique spin: the company uses what it calls "Ripper-Vision" to tell the story of the notorious murderer. A hand-held projector, "Ripper-Vision" displays pictures on walls and sides of buildings throughout the tour, allowing the guides to show (and tell) all about the infamous serial killer. You'll visit the actual murder sites where Jack the Ripper commited his crimes, and will get a glimpse of what London was like in the late 1800s. Tourgoers say guides are informative, entertaining and skilled at retelling the stories of Jack the Ripper's escapades.

Tours are offered nightly at 7:30 p.m., with an additional 5 p.m. tour on select days. The company also offers Jack the Ripper pub tours.

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Eating Europe – East End Food Tour

Price: Adults from 85 pounds (about $108); kids from 70 pounds (about $89) Duration: 3.5 hours

Eating Europe's East End food tour is a 3.5-hour exploration of one of London's most diverse and interesting neighborhoods. Participants will enjoy food at six restaurants, pubs, markets, bakeries and shops. Along with classic (and award-winning) fish and chips, you'll also sample some of the city's best curry, bagels and pastries. Reviewers rave about the delicious and varied offerings on this tour and encourage future participants to pace themselves so they can enjoy every bite.

Tours run throughout the day, every day, beginning at 11 a.m. There is a maximum of 12 people per tour. Eating Europe also offers tours of Soho and Borough Market.

Fat Tire Tours – Royal London Bike Tour

Price: Adults from 35 pounds (about $44); kids from 29 pounds (about $37) Duration: 4 hours

Fascinated with the monarchy? On this approximately four-hour cycling excursion from Fat Tire Tours, expert guides lead you to spots like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Kensington Palace, all while sharing intrigue and stories about British royalty. Midway through the tour, there is a half-hour lunch break near Trafalgar Square (at your own expense). Bikers say the tour provides a great way to see iconic sights and describe guides as informative and friendly.

Rides are offered daily at 10:30 a.m.; an additional 3:30 p.m. tour may also be available depending on the day and month. Schedules vary during the winter. Travelers should note reservations are required for this tour, and helmets are provided. Fat Tire Tours also offers cycling tours along the Thames, bike rentals and private tours.

Evan Evans Tours – Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Bath

Price: Adults from 95 pounds (about $121); kids from 85 pounds (about $108) Duration: 11 hours

The first stop on this day trip from London is Windsor Castle – the largest occupied castle in the world. Here, you'll have time to stroll the immaculate grounds and pay a visit to St George's Chapel, the location of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 nuptials. From there, you'll head to the city of Bath, England – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's home to the world-famous Roman Baths. The last stop of the day is Stonehenge. In all, the tour lasts about 11 hours. Reviewers rave about the entertaining, passionate guides, but some do bemoan the pace of the tour, saying certain parts felt rushed. However, all agree this is a great way to cross some must-see landmarks off your bucket list.

Tours depart Victoria Coach Station daily at 8 a.m. Evan Evans Tours also operates a similar tour that stops in Oxford instead of Bath.

Brigit's Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour in London

Courtesy of Brigit's Bakery's Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Brigit's Bakery London – Classic Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour

Price: Adults from 45 pounds (about $57); kids from 35 pounds (about $44) Duration: 1.5 hours

Offering a unique twist on a bus tour and afternoon tea, Brigit's Bakery London's Classic Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour combines the two for a tasty outing. During the tour, you'll ride on a vintage double-decker Routemaster bus through central London, passing by Big Ben, Hyde Park, Downing Street and more. As you sightsee, servers pour tea and offer sandwiches, cakes and pastries. In addition to the tour's novelty, visitors find the prerecorded commentary entertaining and informative, and most say they enjoyed the food.

Tours, which last about 90 minutes, run several times daily and depart from either Northumberland Avenue or Victoria Coach Station. The tour accommodates several dietary restrictions, though these options may have an additional fee. Children ages 4 and younger are not permitted. Prefer gin to tea? The company also offers a Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, among other options.

Tally Ho! – Landmarks and Gems Royal London Bike Tour

Price: From 55 pounds (about $70) Duration: 3.5 hours

On the London Landmarks & Gems cycling tour, Tally Ho! leads visitors to the city's major sights, while expert guides offer their insights and informative commentary – a point of praise for many reviewers. Other highlights include seeing the royal guards (and possibly the changing of the guard ceremony), spray painting in the Leake Street tunnel and grabbing a pint at a pub. The tour covers about 5 miles and travels at a leisurely pace, with time for photo stops.

Tours ride twice daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., though times may vary seasonally. There may only be an afternoon ride during the fall and winter months, and an additional tour at 9:30 a.m. runs during the summer months. There is a maximum of 12 people per tour. A helmet or tweed flat cap and spray paint are provided to bikers. Tally Ho! offers a variety of cycling and walking tours, including a gin "safari."

Premium Tours – Full Day London Tour

Price: Adults from 123 pounds (about $156); kids from 113 pounds (about $144) Duration: 9 hours

On Premium Tours' daylong excursion, which lasts about nine hours, you'll take a guided tour of St. Paul's Cathedral and then hopefully catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (if the timing and weather are right). After you refuel with lunch (at your own expense), you'll journey to the Tower of London to view the crown jewels. Your day ends with a cruise down the Thames and an optional ride on the London Eye. Tour-takers are chauffeured to each landmark in a comfortable bus. While it is a long day, visitors say it is a great way to cover a lot of ground. Plus, they say guides are knowledgeable, humorous and friendly.

Premium Tours also offers a Magic of London tour with a similar itinerary; however, you'll stop for a cream tea at Harrods instead of a ride on the London Eye.

Thames Rockets – Ultimate London Adventure

Price: From 49.95 pounds ($63) Duration: 50 minutes

The 50-minute Ultimate London Adventure tour is a sightseeing cruise like no other. As your actor-turned-guide narrates your trip, you'll take in iconic sights along the Thames, such as the Tate Modern, the Gherkin and the Houses of Parliament. Once you get under the Tower Bridge, the speedboat captain ramps up to speeds of 30 knots (35 mph) and takes you on a thrilling ride as the music blasts and passengers shriek. Tourgoers describe it as an exhilarating, fantastic experience.

Tours depart several times daily. Keep in mind: From November through January tours are only offered Thursday through Sunday. Thames Rockets also offers adults-only evening rides, as well as longer 80-minute cruises, among other options.

Best London Tours

Courtesy of Tour for Muggles

Tour for Muggles

Price: Adults from 17 pounds (about $22); kids from 15 pounds (about $19) Duration: 2 hours

One of the best Harry Potter tours in London , this option garners rave reviews from witches, wizards, Muggles and Squibs who appreciate both the knowledgeable tour guides and seeing their favorite "Harry Potter" locations in real life. Tour for Muggles takes visitors through London for approximately two hours to see locations where the movies were shot, as well as places that inspired author J.K. Rowling.

Tours are limited to 20 people and run several times a day Tuesday through Sunday.

Gin Journey London

Price: From 75 pounds (about $95) Duration: 4.5 hours

If you enjoy imbibing in gin, you'll love taking a tour with Gin Journey, where your expert "gin guardian" takes you to five different venues in London in a chauffeur-driven minibus. During the 4.5-hour tour, you'll sample five different gins, enjoy five gin cocktails, visit a distillery and learn all about this spirit and why it's having a modern renaissance. Reviewers praise the guides, the drinks and the tour's great organization.

Gin Journeys can be booked in different neighborhoods, including Hackney and Soho. Tours, which are capped at 20 people, are offered every Saturday at 1 or 2 p.m., depending on which neighborhood you choose to book. Ticket discounts may be available for early bookings.

Strawberry Tours – Free Soho Tour London

Price: Free Duration: 2 hours

Since the mid-19th century, Soho has been a haven for musicians, writers and bohemians. Learn about the neighborhood's famous residents and much more on this free two-hour London walking tour. Your guide will talk about famous bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and their connection to the area. You'll also learn about the history of Soho's sex industry, a topic not always discussed on tours. Guides will take you by the Old Red Light District, Carnaby Street, the West End Theatre District and more. Tourgoers rave about the expert guides and are awestruck by the history of the area.

As its name suggests, the tour is free, but at the end of tour, you can pay your guide what you wish. This tour runs Wednesday through Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Tickets must be reserved in advance. Strawberry Tours offers other free excursions around London, such as street art-themed tours and several London landmarks tours.

Check availability on:

Free Tours by Foot – World War Two Tour of London

On this two-hour walking tour of London, you'll learn about London during the Blitz, hear tales of how the city was rebuilt after the war and walk past landmarks that survived the bombings, such as St. Paul's Cathedral. Tour-takers value the engaging guides and the amount of history shared on the tour. They also say guides tailor the tour to participants' interests.

Visitors can name their own price, paying what they think the tour was worth at the excursion's conclusion. Tours operate Thursday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Reservations are required to guarantee a spot. Free Tours by Foot offers a variety of walking and food tours, including tours of Westminster and London street art, among many others.

You may also be interested in:

  • The Best Hotels in London
  • The Best Sightseeing Tours of Buckingham Palace
  • The Best International Travel Insurance

Tags: Tours , Vacations , Travel , London , Europe Vacations , United Kingdom Vacations

World's Best Places To Visit

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Posted on Published: 10th November 2022  - Last updated: 5th December 2022 Categories Things to do

By: Author Julianna Barnaby

28 Brilliant Day Trips from London

28 Brilliant Day Trips from London

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We all love London… but the UK is full of wonderful spots that are ripe for exploration. Planning your next adventure? Here are 28 cool day trips from London to get you started.

London is a great city – but there’s so much more to the UK to explore.

Hop on a train or into your car and you can go on an adventure around some of the UK’s historic sites and beautiful landscapes.

In need of some inspiration? Check out this guide to the best day trips from London by train and by car.

Sneak a peek at the day trip destinations in this video to see what they look like in action!

Day Trips from London by Train

Planning your day trip from London? We love using Omio for finding the best deals when it comes to train travel around the UK. They work with over 1000 major travel companies to bring you the best deals (including many major airlines if you’re looking to travel a little bit further). 

Better yet, download the Omio App and you can store all of your travel tickets in one place. This means that you can spend less time organising your tickets and more time planning an adventure. Yes, please!

Radcliffe Camera Oxford

Oxford, the city of the dreaming spires is an easy day out from London. It’s only an hour on the train and trains run frequently until the early hours.

We might be biased, but we really think that it’s one of the best places to visit in the UK – a gorgeous city that’s brimming with history and cool things to do.

While there’s a lot to see in the city, its small size means that a lot of the biggest Oxford attractions are within easy walking distance of each other.

From the iconic Radcliffe Camera to the world-famous Ashmolean Museum, you certainly have your work cut out when it comes to seeing Oxford in a day – but it is possible. Start with this 24 Hours in Oxford guide .

Train departs from: London Paddington and London Marylebone

Average journey duration: 1 hour

Hassle-free option: Book this Oxford day trip from London

Read more: The Best Things to do in Oxford Finding Oxford’s Harry Potter Filming Locations

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury has always been an important place to visit in the UK – it was the destination for many a pilgrimage in times past (hence its role in Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales). It still deserves to be at the top of your list of days out from London today.

What’s there to see? How about one of England’s great cathedrals, ye olde English pubs and quaint little streets that look like they’ve been plucked straight from medieval times? Add to that a selection of cool museums and some scenic walks and you’ve got an excellent day trip in the making.

Train departs from: London Victoria and St Pancras International

Average journey duration: 1 hour from St Pancras, 1.5 hours from Victoria

Hassle-free option: Book this day trip to Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover

Read more: One Day in Canterbury Itinerary


Cambridge is beautiful. This world-famous university town is another popular day trip outside London – and for good reason.

Visiting impressive colleges such as Trinity College and King’s College (whose chapel you simply must see) would be enough to fill your day alone. But you should also take time to visit some of Cambridge’s other landmarks – The Fitzwilliam Museum and Botanical Gardens among them.

If you’re visiting in the warmer months be sure to hire a punt and indulge in the traditional pastime of gliding down the River Cam. Bonus points to you if you don’t fall in or lose your pole along the way.

Train departs from: Kings Cross and Liverpool Street

Average journey duration: 50 minutes from Kings Cross, 1 hour 20 minutes from Liverpool Street

Hassle-free option: Book this London to Cambridge Day Trip


We think that Brighton is South East England’s coolest beach destination. 

First thing’s first – the beach is pebble – so don’t get your hopes up with dreams of golden sands. It’s still perfectly good for plumping down on your towel and soaking a few rays of the rare British sun.

Away from the beach, Brighton’s history as the seaside escape for the UK’s rich and famous has left its mark.

Long rows of Regency houses, the long-standing Pier, not to mention the out-and-out fabulous Brighton Pavillion stand as testament to Brighton’s colourful past.

There’s a thriving dining and drinking scene – and a number of cool little independent shops clustered in The Lanes area. Just be sure not to have so much fun that you miss the last train home (this has totally happened to me).

Train departs from: St Pancras International (also stops at Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge) and London Victoria

Hassle-free option: Book a bike tour of Brighton (doesn’t include transport to Brighton)

Read Next: 21 Brilliant Beaches Near London

Hampton Court

Hampton Court is one of the easiest day trips from London – easy transport connections and short travel time make it perfect for an impromptu trip.

Hampton is pretty much all about the palace – which was first built by the ill-fated Cardinal Wolsey before being pinched by Henry VIII.

All six of Henry’s wives lived here at some point or another, before it passed through a number of hands and was finally opened to the public during the Victorian times.

Wonderful as Hampton Court’s interiors are, we would recommend visiting during the summer months when the gardens are at their best (avoid the summer holidays if you can though, when it’s always busy). Don’t miss the maze, which is the oldest surviving hedge maze in the world.

Train departs from: London Waterloo

Average journey duration: 50 minutes

Hassle-free option: Buy your Hampton Court tickets in advance

Bath Abbey

A trip to the Georgian spa town of Bath is like stepping straight into the pages of a Jane Austen novel (not surprising, seeing as she set so many of them there).

Jaunt around town, checking out the city’s many historical sites. Start with the immersive experience of the Roman Baths (unfortunately you’re not actually allowed to bathe there any more) and the Pump Room.

You can even “take the water” at the Pump Room – sipping on the supposedly restorative waters in the fashion of the hoi polloi of old.

We should warn you that the water tastes absolutely gross though.

Just across the road, Bath Abbey is one of the UK’s most beautiful cathedrals – make sure that you take a look inside too, it’s just as spectacular.

Small but entertaining, The Fashion Museum walks you through the catwalk of British fashion through the centuries.

Don’t think that Bath’s spa heritage is dead and gone – it’s still home to more than its fair share of spas that are perfect for a spot of pampering.

The reasonably-priced Thermae Bath Spa is a popular option thanks to its rooftop pool and indulgent massages, while the high-end Gainsborough Bath Spa is the place to go when you really want to push the boat out.

Train departs from: London Paddington

Average journey time: 1hr 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book this Bath & Stonehenge Day Trip

Windsor Castle, Near London

The fact that it’s the home of the royal residence Windsor Castle means that Windsor’s many other charms often get overlooked.

Windsor is well-known as one of the best day trips from London. Even so, many visitors disembark from the train, make a beeline for Windsor Castle, have a nose around and then head straight back home. It’s a shame as Windsor is a rather charming riverside town that merits your attention.

Sure, you should start your visit with a look at the castle, which just so happens to be the oldest inhabited castle in the world. The State Rooms and beautiful grounds take some time to explore.

However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of dashing home the moment that you are finished. Stick around to visit the Royal Windsor Racecourse and its more famous counterpart Royal Ascot Racecourse next door.

Or why not walk around the expansive Windsor Great Park then test your skills on the water rowing or kayaking along the Thames?

Train departs from: London Waterloo and Paddington Station

Average journey time: 50 minutes

Hassle-free option: Half-Day Windsor Day Trip and Tour

Read More: 15 Must-Visit Castles Near London

The Lake District

Lake District

The Lake District is a long day trip from London but it’s just about doable and worth the effort if you’re short on time and can’t stay overnight.

With its gorgeous green pastures, towering fells and chocolate-box villages, it’s no surprise that the Lake District tops the list of Britain’s beautiful regions. The fastest train to the Lake District takes around 2.5 hours to Oxenholme, so is easiest to tackle on a day trip from London.

Luckily, the area surrounding Oxenholme is ripe for exploration.

There are frequent buses to Kendal, a pretty Lakeland town with lots of cute shops and tea rooms. You can also catch a local train (or taxi) to Windermere – the most famous of the Lakes – the walks around the lake are superb.

As we have already mentioned – The Lake District is not close to London, so you will need to start early and come back late to make it worth the effort.

Don’t even think about doing it by car either – you can just about do it by train but you’re really much better off staying overnight if you want to drive. Or you can go the full mile and head off on a road trip to a few British national parks .

Train departs from: Euston

Average journey time: 2 hrs 45mins

Hassle-free option: A 10 lake day tour

Read more: Walking in the Lake District


Despite being pretty far from London, York is actually not a difficult day trip.

Trains take just a smidge under two hours and run frequently enough that you can just turn up and go.

The walled city is best-known for the Gothic masterpiece that is York Minster but, with more attractions per square mile than any other UK city, there’s a lot to see here.

It’s tough to cover it all in one day – start with York Minster, the fascinating Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum (which comes complete with a restored street of Victorian shops) then add in a few other spots if time allows.

Chocolate-lovers will want to head to Chocolate Story – where you can learn about York’s important role in the history of British chocolate and, more importantly, gorge yourself on your own handmade chocolate bar.

Train departs from: King’s Cross

Average journey time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Hassle-free option: See the best sights on foot

Lewes (pronounced Lewis ) often sits in the shadow of nearby Brighton, but there’s a lot to charm in the county town of East Sussex on a one day trip from London.

The town itself is pretty, with a few spots like Lewes Castle, the remains of Lewes Priory and the timber-framed Anne of Cleves House to lure you in for an hour or two.

A surprising number of Lewes’ medieval buildings have survived the test of time – there’s history around every corner.

Personally, we think the spectacular walks in the area surrounding Lewes are also worth the trip. We recommend the six-mile walk to Glynde – there are a couple of steep hills but each step comes with views out over the South Downs.

You can extend the walk to Southease and back to Lewes if you’re feeling really energetic – then quench your thirst with a locally-brewed pint of Harvey’s when you’re finished.

Train departs from: London Victoria

Average journey time: 1 hour

Hassle-free option: This is a DIY trip – but it’s really easy

Read More: Fantastic Hikes Near London You Shouldn’t Miss

Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded town. With a long history that dates back beyond the Roman times, it was a Roman city and traces of that heritage can still be found dotted all over Colchester today.

Walking in the footsteps of the Romans, visit the remains of the Roman wall, as well as the Roman Circus – the only verified Roman chariot-racing track still standing.

Move onto Colchester Castle, which while not Roman itself, displays a few Roman mosaics and many Roman artifacts in the large Norman keep.

The castle is actually the largest Norman keep in Europe – testament to the fact that you can pretty much spy architecture from every single period in British history in Colchester.

Away from the past Colchester also happens to be the home of some very good tea shops. It would be rude not to indulge in a cream tea before you hop on the train back home again.

Train departs from: Liverpool Street

Hassle-free option: Book onto one of the frequent tours run by Visit Colchester


There haven’t been nearly enough seaside towns in this guide to day trips around London – time to fix that. Where better to head to than Whitstable with its picturesque, cobbled streets and famous oyster eateries?

There’s not a tonne to do in Whitstable – you can visit Whitstable Castle, but really, most of the appeal is wandering around the gorgeous town, seafront and harbour.

Seafood-lovers will be in their element – there’s no better place to tuck into a pint of fresh prawns or guzzle down half-a-dozen oysters.

If you’re really keen, time your visit for the annual knees up that is the Whitstable Oyster Festival .

Not only can you eat all the oysters you can ever dream of (20 is our personal best), but there’s live music and markets selling local wares and wine.

Train departs from: St Pancras International, London Bridge and London Victoria

Average journey time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Hassle-free option: None – but it’s a really easy trip

Henley on Thames

More than just the annual regatta that sees it burst into life, Henley on Thames is one of England’s traditional market towns.

The best way to explore Henley on Thames is on a self-guided walking tour – be sure to stop by the River & Rowing Museum for a walk through the history of the famous sport.

It contains an immersive Wind in the Willows experience that’s just as fun for adults as it is for kids – you’re led through the eccentric world of Mr Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole.

Henley also used to hold the dubious title of having more pubs per head than any other town in the south east. While those days are gone, the upshot is that there are still a number of cool little pubs for you to explore.

Train departs from: London Paddington, change at Twyford

Average journey time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Hassle-free option: Just hop on a train and go and explore

Margate’s renaissance has been a marvel to behold. Once the darling of the British seaside, it had a bit of a slump before transforming itself into one of the UK’s coolest seaside spots.

That transformation is complete – these days you’re more likely to hear Margate being compared with Copenhagen than with any shoddy seaside town.

There’s the Turner Contemporary of course, which turned heads when it opened in 2011 and is still doing so several years later.

Add to that an assortment of chic independent shops, contemporary restaurants and even a gorgeous tidal pool for a quick dip and you’ll start to understand why it charms the pants off of so many people.

Average journey time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Hassle-free option: Check out the Thanet Tourist Board’s Page for Inspiration


Manchester is the small city that packs a big punch. With a strong culture and identity (think the Industrial Revolution and Oasis and you’re on the right track) a visit to Manchester is a breath of fresh air.

There’s too much to see in one day – Manchester Art Gallery, Imperial War Museum North, a guided tour of the BBC, the Museum of Science & History among them. If you’re a footie fan, a visit to Old Trafford is a must.

Seeing as you’re short on time, we recommend stopping off at a few museums, visiting Manchester Cathedral and fuelling up from one of the city’s cool eateries. Then, if you’re so inclined, stay for a taste of Manchester’s legendary nightlife before you head back home.

Average journey time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Hassle-free option:  Book a private tour with a local (transport to Manchester not included)


Bristol is one of our favourite cities. The chilled-out, easygoing city (which just so happens to be the largest in the southwest) is a brilliant day trip from London.

Bristol is a city of contrast – on the one hand, there are plenty of big landmarks to see – the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the SS Great Britain being two. On the other hand, a lot of the city’s appeal is the cool and quirky culture it’s fostered over the years.

A hive of street art, indie cafes (where you can guarantee you’ll get a great flat white) and alternative music venues – Bristol is just so damned cool.

It’s perhaps no surprise that one of the city’s biggest claims to fame is that the street artist Banksy hails from there.

Hassle-free option: Book this Self Guided Tour

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Visit Lincoln (@visitlincoln)

Although it was previously a bit far for a day trip, LNER has launched new trains to Lincoln after the success of their Lincoln Experience event, which was part of a Visit Lincoln week celebrating the city. 

This is big news. It means that in just two hours you can escape London and make your way to the city steeped in Roman history.

The day trip alone is worth it for Lincoln castle and the picturesque grounds surrounding it, but you’ve also got plenty of shops, cafes, and pubs to make your way through in the city centre between museum hopping.  

Train departs from: London King’s Cross

Average journey time: 2 hours 19 minutes

Hassle-free option Book a guided walking tour of the city

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Stonehenge (@stonehenge)

As one of the strangest day trips from London, a visit to the mysterious Stonehenge is a must for everyone. This is a rock formation that has puzzled historians for centuries.

How did the stones get there? Nobody is quite sure, but experts reckon that they were carried for over 160 miles, so they must be pretty special. 

We highly recommend booking a guided tour of the site, so you get to hear about all the interesting theories surrounding the mystical Stonehenge – and you can ask any burning questions (trust me, you’ll have a few).

Bear in mind that post-lockdown you need to book your entry time slot for Stonehenge well in advance, and remember to bring your booking confirmation with you.

Train departs from: Waterloo

Average journey time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Hassle-free option: A morning tour of Stonehenge with London transfers

Harry Potter Studios


From the mystical to the pure magical – if you haven’t visited the Harry Potter Studios yet, what are you waiting for? 

This is one of the best family days out near London and whether you’re a Potterhead or not, it’s so fun to go behind the scenes of arguably the most popular franchise to ever exist.

If the idea of heading to a city and wandering aimlessly doesn’t appeal to you, book yourself a ticket to the studios and experience Hogwarts for yourself.

If you want the full lowdown on the studio tour, including how to get there, tickets, and what to expect when you arrive, check out this article.

Train departs from: London Euston

Average journey time: 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Entry tickets and London transfers all rolled into one


This old spa town is one of the prettiest in Gloucestershire and can be reached in around 2 hours from London. Cheltenham boasts Regency buildings in abundance, including the Pittville pump room which was incredibly important in Cheltenham’s spa town history. 

Famed for hosting both the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival and the Jazz Festival, this historic town is incredibly lively during the summer months. 

Don’t get us wrong, it’s equally beautiful in winter – but there’s just something so magical about hanging out in Montpellier Gardens in the sunshine.

Make sure to visit The Wilson Museum for fine art and catch a movie at the Everyman Theatre – the ornate Victorian ceiling is divine.

Average journey time: 2 hours

Hassle-free option: Take a self-guided tour


Explore two capitals in one day by taking a day trip to Cardiff. It’s surprisingly easy thanks to the high speed train from London Paddington, and Cardiff Castle is beautiful and well worth the journey alone.

Other things to do in Cardiff include taking a trip to the famous Wales Millenium Centre – an arts centre which hosts plenty of live performances and workshops – and exploring the harbour nearby, as well as trying a famous Welsh Cake. Fabulous Welshcakes (opposite the castle) is our top pick for the best.

Hassle-free option: Take a day trip tour from London


Guildford is a picturesque medieval town with a castle at its heart. It’s a surprisingly quick day trip here from London and one we implore you to make – after all, it’s one of our favourite places to visit outside London.

Nestled in the Surrey countryside, it may be small but this town certainly packs a punch when it comes to things to do. Not to mention it’s filled with plenty of brilliant pubs for a well-deserved pint.

What to do? Our top picks include Guildford House, a 17th-century townhouse gallery with rotating exhibitions, hikes along dapdune walk, and a visit to the hilltop cathedral that boasts views of the town.

Hassle-free option: Take a walking tour

Day Trips from London by Car

Easy as it is to hop out of London on a train, some places are more suited to day trips from London by car.

The Cotswolds


It’s a rare event indeed when the words picture-perfect and Cotswolds aren’t mentioned in the same breath.

The Cotswolds is the kind of England you find on the postcards – twee villages with thatched cottages in golden hues, rolling green hills, steaming piles of scones piled high with jam and clotted cream for your afternoon tea.

If it all sounds perfectly lovely, it is.

There’s a reason that the Cotswolds find themselves on many a travel itinerary. Bibury and Burford are two of the prettiest villages- be sure to visit them during your trip.

If you want to see as many villages as possible, I’d recommend starting in Burford and finishing in Winchcombe, meandering through Northleach, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Moreton-in-Marsh and Chipping Camden along the way.

It’s an easy drive, but it means you don’t get much time any one spot.

Alternatively, you can narrow it down to a couple of villages and add in a long walk and some afternoon tea for a much more relaxed trip.

Average driving time from central London: 2 hours

Hassle-free option: Book this full-day Cotswolds four-village tour

Read Next: Pretty Spots You Have to Visit in the Cotswolds

Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford Upon Avon – the birthplace of Britain’s famous bard, Shakespeare and a twee little Tudor town set around the River Avon.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Theatre dominates the town – rightly so. There’s always something fantastic to see on one of its several stages.

Away from the theatre, Stratford Upon Avon’s Tudor architecture offers a glimpse into days of yore. You can visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, as well as the home that he retired to after the bright lights of London proved too much.

His final resting place, Holy Trinity Church is said to be the most visited parish church in the country.

But Stratford isn’t just Shakespeare – hop onto a boat and row along the Avon, go on a river walk out of town, hole up in an old pub for a pint or two and appreciate the sleepy appeal of this quaint little town.

Seven Sisters Country Park

Seven Sisters

There are few landscapes as striking as the sight of the chalk faces of the Seven Sisters rising up from the coast.

These gorgeous cliffs form the focal point of the larger Seven Sisters Country Park, part of the South Downs National Park.

Strap on your hiking boots and set off on a walk along the Sisters for a refreshing day out from London. Park at the Visitor Centre (where you can also pop in to learn about the history of the country park) and take the path to Seaford Head View Point for the classic view of the cliffs.

Alternatively, why not tackle the part of the South Downs Way that runs through the country park and over the sisters themselves.

Hassle-free option: Seven Sisters and South Downs day trip

The New Forest

New Forest

The New Forest might be less than 100 miles outside of London but it feels like a world away. It’s the largest stretch of unenclosed pasture land and forest in the country and is famous for the wild ponies that roam across its lands.

In terms of attractions, The New Forest has surprisingly varied arsenal of things to see. Beaulieu, a vintage car museum, stately home and medieval monastery rolled into one is one such destination and worth seeing if you’re not a complete petrolhead.

Still, a lot of the appeal is in getting outdoors and onto the many walking trails that crisscross the region. Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes.

Hassle-free option: Train to Lymington or Brockenhurst and hop onto the New Forest tour bus

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle

London has plenty of castles nearby that make for great day trips, and, despite its name, Leeds Castle is actually in Kent.

This castle is no stranger to royalty with 6 medieval queens previously residing here, and Queen Elizabeth I was even imprisoned at the castle before her coronation. If you fancy stretching the day trip into an overnight experience and live the life of a royal yourself (who wouldn’t?) you can even book a place to sleep in the Maiden’s Tower.

Humbly labelling itself as the “loveliest castle in the world”, you’ve got over 900 years of history to uncover at Leeds Castle – if you can make it past the moat!

Tickets cost £28 for adults and £19.50 for kids, but you get a better deal if there’s a group of you, which is definitely worth looking into.

Average driving time from central London: 1 hour 15 minutes

Hassle-free option: Tour Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Dover with transfers from London

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

Yes, this is the Downton Abbey Castle. I can’t guarantee that you’ll run into any of the Crawley family while you’re there, but I can promise you a brilliant day trip from London at Highclere Castle .

Take a walk around the grounds and make sure to snap some all-important insta pics of the Jacobethan facade, before you enter the castle and soak in all the history.

Admission tickets cost £24 for adults and £14 for children but check out the website as they host plenty of special events throughout the year, including Downton Abbey Tours and quaint Afternoon Teas.

Average driving time from central London: 1 hour 30 minutes Hassle-free option: Combine Highclere Castle with Oxford



Looking for the best day trip from London? Technically Cirencester is in the Cotswolds, but we think it’s so nice that it’s worth us raving about it separately. It has, like many other English cities, a distinctive Roman history that you can explore in the Corinium Museum.

Cirencester is also great when it comes to shopping – it boasts plenty of independent boutiques and dreamy bookshops that you could spend an entire day exploring alone. 

Cirencester Park is the perfect place to spend an hour or two if the sun decides to make a much-welcomed appearance. You might just catch a game of Polo here, too.

Average driving time from central London: 2 hours 15 minutes

Hassle-free option: There isn’t one – though this is an easy DIY

So, there we are – 28 day trips outside London. We hope that you have found more than a few things to inspire your next jaunt out of the city.

PS: Looking for a longer trip? You’ll want to scope out our guide to Weekend Getaways from London .

Practical Tips for Planning Day Trips Out of London

  • It’s always worth checking your train times but you should be sure to do so if you are planning to do your day trip on a Sunday. Sunday train service is notoriously bad – with rail replacement buses, less frequent services or indirect connections often popping up to mess up your travel plans.
  • If you are travelling by train, try and book your tickets as far ahead as possible for the best prices. You should also consider whether it’s worth purchasing one of the many railcards available if there are a few of you travelling or you plan to do several excursions within a short period of time.

Best London Day Trips: Map

Discover More Day Trips From London Guides

  • 2 8 Fabulous Beaches Near London
  • National Parks Near London for a Weekend Break
  • Caves in and Around London That You Have to See

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London Day Trips

24 Hours in Oxford – insidersoxford.com

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

[…] looking for a short break or escape in the United Kingdom within easy reach of London, Oxford is a perfect day trip. Even if you aren’t, you should go […]

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Juliana - thank you for all of your posts. We have one weekend left in London coming up before returning to the US. We've been here 3 months and enjoyed exploring London by foot and the city cycles.

I'd love a recommendation on a day trip knowing we have to take the train and that we are still in lock down (somewhat).

In the last weeks we visited Cambridge, Hastings, Greenwich and Seven Sisters. Prior to lock down we have visited the Cotswalds and the Lake District and Oxford.

I look forward to your reply! Beth

Julianna Barnaby

Thursday 28th of May 2020

A total pleasure Beth - sounds like you've been exploring a lot! If you haven't been to Bath, I'd normally recommend a trip there - it's very pretty but obviously destinations like the Roman Baths and the Pump Rooms will be closed. I would say the city is pretty enough to more than justify a trip to spend some time walking around. That said, I think the official guidance is only to use transport for necessary journeys, so I'd check that before you book anything.

Sunday 3rd of February 2019

What a great assortment of day trips! I've bookmarked this post for when I'm visiting London later this year - so handy. Thanks very much!

Tuesday 5th of February 2019

Thanks Lesley - I hope you get to head on at least a couple of the day trips while you're in London. Have an awesome trip!


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London & Cambridge in 3 Days: A Tale of Two Cities

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April 22, 2024 · 2 min read

London Cambridge 3 Days Itinerary

Embark on a captivating 3-day journey through the historic streets of London and the prestigious pathways of Cambridge. Your adventure begins at the world-renowned University of Cambridge, where you'll spend a full day immersed in the scholarly atmosphere of this prestigious institution. Stroll across the picturesque Bridge of Sighs, a brief 15-minute interlude, and soak in the architectural beauty. Day two shifts to the bustling city of London, starting with the awe-inspiring St. Paul's Cathedral, followed by a deep dive into history at the Tower of London. Cap off the day with a visit to the iconic Tower Bridge, with an hour to appreciate its engineering marvel. Your final day is a blend of panoramic views and cultural enrichment; start with a half-hour ride on the London Eye, offering a bird's-eye view of the city, before dedicating the remainder of your day to the treasures within The British Museum. This itinerary is designed to create a tapestry of experiences, from academic heritage to modern wonders, ensuring memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Day 1: Academic Ambiance and Iconic Architecture

University of Cambridge


Kicking off our Cambridge adventure, we begin at the prestigious University of Cambridge, a cornerstone of academic excellence and a beacon of knowledge. Spend your day wandering through the historic colleges, each with its own unique charm and story. The university's rich heritage is palpable in the grandeur of its buildings and the tranquil beauty of its gardens. As you meander through the courtyards, take a moment to appreciate the blend of medieval and modern architecture that encapsulates the spirit of intellectual pursuit.

Attraction Info

  • The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN, United Kingdom
  • Suggested tour duration: 0.5-1 day

Recommended Nearby Restaurants


Bridge of Sighs

Just a short stroll from the hallowed halls of academia, find yourself at the Bridge of Sighs, an architectural marvel in its own right. Named after the Venetian Ponte dei Sospiri, this bridge is a favorite among photographers and romantics alike. Although your visit here may be brief, the bridge's elegant stone structure and the serene river it crosses are sure to leave a lasting impression. It's the perfect spot to pause and reflect on the day's journey before continuing your exploration of Cambridge.

  • St John's College, St John's St, Cambridge CB2 1TP, United Kingdom
  • Suggested tour duration: 15-30 minutes
  • Open from 10:00am-5:00pm

Where to Stay Tonight

The varsity hotel & spa, west court - cambridge - campus accommodation.

  • Day 2: Historic Marvels of London

St. Paul's Cathedral

Kicking off the second day with spiritual splendor, St. Paul's Cathedral stands as a beacon of faith and history in the heart of London. With its iconic dome dominating the skyline, this architectural masterpiece invites visitors to explore its awe-inspiring interior for an hour. The cathedral not only serves as a place of worship but also as a treasure trove of art and history, making it a must-visit on your London journey.

  • St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom
  • Suggested tour duration: 1-3 hour
  • Open on Mon-Tue, Thu-Sat,8:30am-4:30pm;Open on Wed,10:00am-4:30pm;Closed on Sun,Opening and closing times are subject to change, so it is recommended to visit the official website to check the dates you will be attending.

The Clove Club

Tower of London

Next on the agenda is a deep dive into the past at the Tower of London, a historic castle that has stood guard over the city for centuries. Allotting three hours to this UNESCO World Heritage Site allows ample time to uncover its many layers of history, from royal palace to prison and even a zoo. The Crown Jewels housed here are a dazzling highlight, while the Yeoman Warders provide captivating tales that bring the Tower's rich history to life.

  • St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB
  • Suggested tour duration: 3-5 hour
  • Open from 01/06-02/09,Mon, Sun,10:00am-4:30pm;Open from 01/06-02/09,Tue-Sat,9:00am-4:30pm;Open from 02/10-02/18,9:00am-4:30pm;Open from 02/19-02/29,Mon, Sun,10:00am-4:30pm;Open from 02/19-02/29,Tue-Sat,9:00am-4:30pm;Open from 03/01-03/28,Mon, Sun,10:00am-5:30pm;Open from 03/01-03/28,Tue-Sat,9:00am-5:30pm;Open from 03/29-04/14,9:00am-5:30pm;Open from 04/15-05/05,Mon, Sun,10:00am-5:30pm;Open from 04/15-05/05,Tue-Sat,9:00am-5:30pm;Open 9:00am-5:30pm on 05/06;Open from 05/07-05/24,Mon, Sun,10:00am-5:30pm;Open from 05/07-05/24,Tue-Sat,9:00am-5:30pm;Open from 05/25-06/02,9:00am-5:30pm;Open from 06/03-07/19,Mon, Sun,10:00am-5:30pm;Open from 06/03-07/19,Tue-Sat,9:00am-5:30pm;Open from 07/20-09/01,9:00am-5:30pm;Open from 09/02-09/30,Mon, Sun,10:00am-5:30pm;Open from 09/02-09/30,Tue-Sat,9:00am-5:30pm

Tower Bridge

Concluding the day's exploration is a stroll to the nearby Tower Bridge, an engineering marvel and one of London's most recognizable landmarks. Spend an hour marveling at the bridge's Victorian Gothic design and the panoramic views it offers of the city. Visitors can also experience the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which reveals the inner workings of the bridge and its storied history.

  • Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom
  • Suggested tour duration: 1-2 hour
  • Open from 9:30am-6:00pm,The scenic area is closed during Christmas from December 24 to 26 each year.

The Tower Hotel

The lalit london.

  • Day 3: Iconic Views and Historic Museums

Kickstart your final day with a morning spin on the iconic London Eye, a majestic Ferris wheel that offers unparalleled views of the city's skyline. As the first stop of the day, it's a chance to see London from a different perspective, with each rotation bringing a new vista into sight. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the London Eye stands tall as a modern symbol of the city. The 30-minute ride is a serene experience, allowing you to soak in panoramic views of landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, and on a clear day, even Windsor Castle in the distance. It's a perfect encapsulation of London's grandeur, all before lunchtime.

  • Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB
  • Suggested tour duration: 0.5-1 hour
  • Closed all day on 12/25;Open from 12/26-12/30,10:00am-8:30pm;Open 10:00am-3:00pm on 12/31;Open from 01/01-01/07,Mon-Tue, Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 01/01-01/07,Wed-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Closed from 01/08-02/04;Open from 02/05-02/09,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 02/10-02/18,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 02/19-02/28,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 02/24-02/25,Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 03/01-03/22,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 03/01-03/24,Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 03/25-03/28,Mon-Thu,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 03/29-04/14,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 04/15-04/28,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 04/15-04/28,Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 04/29-05/26,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 05/01-05/26,Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 05/27-09/01,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 09/02-10/27,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 09/02-10/27,Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 10/28-11/03,10:00am-8:45pm;Open from 11/04-12/19,Mon-Fri,11:00am-6:00pm;Open from 11/04-12/19,Sat-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open from 12/20-12/23,Mon, Fri-Sun,10:00am-8:30pm;Open 10:00am-5:30pm on 12/24

Yauatcha Soho

The British Museum

After descending from the heights of the London Eye, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of history and culture at The British Museum. As the second and final stop on your itinerary, this world-renowned museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that span over two million years of human history. Spend your day wandering through vast galleries that house the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, and countless other antiquities. With its impressive collection of over eight million works, The British Museum is not just a national landmark, but a cultural pilgrimage for visitors from around the globe. It's the perfect finale to your three-day exploration of London and Cambridge, leaving you with a profound sense of the past and its connection to the present.

  • Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom
  • Open from 01/01-12/23,Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun,10:00am-5:00pm;Open from 01/01-12/23,Fri,10:00am-8:30pm;Closed from 12/24-12/26;Open 10:00am-8:30pm on 12/27,Fri;Open from 12/28-12/31,10:00am-5:00pm;Closed during Christmas Eve,Christmas

The Montague on the Gardens

Gresham hotel bloomsbury.

* All user reviews in this article have been translated by machine.

* The information above is subject to change at any time. For the latest information, please check the websites of hotels and attractions.

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Democrat San Francisco mayor slammed for visiting China in 'pursuit of pandas' despite 'death spiral' at home

Mayor london breed returns to san francisco after spending time in china with plans to bring pandas to the city.

Stepheny Price

Charles Barkley was 'right' to hit San Francisco over crime crisis: Clay Travis

OutKick founder Clay Travis joins 'America's Newsroom' to discuss the crime crisis in San Francisco after Charles Barkley called out the city's 'homeless crooks' during a live broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed returned to the city Sunday after spending a week in China in efforts to advance economic and cultural ties with the region despite ongoing crises in her city. 

According to Breed's office, the mayor traveled to China for a week-long, multi-city journey that included meetings with government, business and airline officials. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Xie Feng invited Breed to the country during last year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which was held in San Francisco.

Prior to the trip, Breed told the local NBC station one of her goals was to bring back pandas for the San Francisco Zoo, create stronger relationships with Chinese officials, boost tourism and put San Francisco businesses on the radar. 

"We think that with increased flights, business opportunities, pandas, the economic opportunities for San Francisco will be significant," she said during a press conference.


London Breed returns to San Francisco from trip to China

San Francisco Mayor London Breed returned from her trip to China, which included proposals for airlines to bring more flights into SFO and to advance some giant panda diplomacy.  (KTVU)

Back at home, Breed's constituents face problems well beyond zoo exhibits. 

"Mayor London Breed’s decision to jet off to China in pursuit of pandas while her city grapples with escalating crime and homelessness is a disgraceful evasion of her responsibilities to ensure the safety of San Francisco residents," California Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones told Fox News Digital.

"Her misguided focus on photo ops abroad only highlights her utter disregard for the urgent needs of those suffering in her own backyard."

"Her misguided focus on photo ops abroad only highlights her utter disregard for the urgent needs of those suffering in her own backyard."  — California Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones

"If you asked a thousand San Franciscans what the biggest problem facing the city is, not a single one of them would say that the zoo doesn’t have pandas. They would say they’re tired of rising crime, sick of soaring homelessness and fed up with a broken government that ignores the city’s problems," Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher told Fox News Digital.

"Rather than boosting public relations for the Chinese Communist Party, Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco’s death spiral." 

Earlier this year, San Francisco officials claimed the city’s crime rate was "lower than any period in the last ten years" aside from 2020. 

In most categories, crimes in San Francisco reported to police declined in 2023 compared to 2022, but not as much as the rest of the country, statistics from the FBI show. In 2023, there were 50,744 crimes reported in the city across all categories. In 2022, San Franciscans reported 54,649 crimes, a 7.2% decrease year-over-year.

However, robberies increased 14.8% in 2023 over the prior year, and motor vehicle thefts went up 6.3% from 2022. So far this year, the city has recorded 11,077 crimes, down 29.7% from the same period in 2022.


London Breed at SFO

Mayor London Breed returns to San Francisco after spending time in China with plans to bring pandas to the city. (KTVU)

San Francisco International Airport spokesperson Doug Yakel said the mayor’s visit could help boost the city's economy by generating millions of dollars from airline travel, with the hope that three China-based airlines will do business at SFO.

"It's so powerful what it represents, not only for our airport but for local economies. We look at a single flight, and I'm talking a daily flight between a foreign destination like China and the U.S. to SFO," Yakel told KTVU. "It can be upwards of $175 million in annual revenue and 1,200 jobs in the Bay Area total, and that's just one flight." 

Breed said an estimate on the cost of bringing giant pandas to the city has not yet been determined, but she told KTVU she is confident it will happen. 

"We expect a pair of pandas, and they are hopefully expected to come as soon as we’re able to raise the resources, do all the permitting, continue to work with the wildlife and conservation group in Beijing for all the paperwork," she said.

Jones told Fox News Digital Breed should send her resources and focus elsewhere.


Protesters blocked the Golden Gate Bridge while San Francisco Mayor London Breed was in China this week to increase tourism and boost San Francisco businesses

Protesters blocked the Golden Gate Bridge while San Francisco Mayor London Breed was in China this week to increase tourism and boost San Francisco businesses. (KTVU | Getty Images)

"Besides, everyone knows that the San Diego Zoo is world-famous for their panda exhibit. Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco rather than competing with San Diego over pandas," Jones added. 

"Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco rather than competing with San Diego over pandas." — Brian Jones

Gloria Chan, the director of communications with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, argues that securing pandas for the zoo will pay dividends for the city.

"Securing the first official residency for giant pandas in San Francisco is a big win for our city. San Francisco is an international destination and the gateway to the Asia Pacific. Having pandas here will strengthen our already deep cultural connection and honors our Chinese and API heritage that is core to San Francisco’s history," Chan said. 

A professor at UCLA also shared thoughts on Mayor Breed's panda diplomacy with Fox News Digital. 

"If Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors do not make dramatic changes regarding homelessness, crime, drug abuse, spending and reinventing downtown by attracting new businesses, soon San Francisco could become the next Detroit," Lee Ohanian said.

According to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count from the city's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, 7,754 people were homeless in San Francisco that year, 3.5% lower than the previous year. Of those people, 3,357 were staying in a shelter, the report said. 

In 2023, the city reported 810 drug overdose deaths. Of those, 656 were linked to fentanyl. Those numbers were more than double the national average that year, The New York Times reported.



San Francisco Mayor London Breed and scenes of drug use and homelessness in the California city. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images; Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

In November, U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey announced the federal government was providing major resources to assist in the city’s drug-dealing epidemic. A press release said the "all hands on deck" initiative combines federal, state and local resources to ramp up arrests of street dealers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also increased federal charges against drug traffickers, raising the stakes by holding dealers accountable, the release stated. 

Breed has also faced criticism from several high-profile people.

During TNT’s alternative broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game in February, Charles Barkley took a jab at the city while talking to Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.

Barkley asked Miller which he would choose — playing in the cold in Indianapolis, where Miller spent his entire 18-year NBA career, or "being around a bunch of homeless crooks in San Francisco."

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green called Barkley "crazy," adding Barkley was not "welcome" in the city. 

In defense of the city, WNBA star Candace Parker said, "We love San Francisco." 

"No we don’t," he responded. "You can’t even walk around down there." 


London Breed addressing crowd

San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently announced budget cuts that gutted the city's proposed Office of Reparations. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Chino Yang, a San Francisco-based rapper and restaurant owner, released a "dis track" calling out Breed for allowing the city to become a "zombie land."

"London Breed, you ain't nothing but a clown," Yang raps in the song "San Francisco Our Home." "When we really needed you, you ain’t never been around. You done turnt this great city into a zombie land." Yang has since apologized for "spreading misinformation about our beloved Mayor London Breed," suggesting someone with "connections" to "the top elites" threatened him and his family.

"I am simply a civilian. So, for the sake of my family and my loved ones — my close friends — I'd like to openly and publicly make an apology regarding my actions and what I said in the video," Yang said, according to CBS News.


San Francisco protesters

An activist holds up a sign during a rare outdoor meeting of the Board of Supervisors at UN Plaza in San Francisco May 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Breed announced plans Tuesday to set a curfew in part of the Tenderloin to help curb crime in the area, the mayor's office confirmed to KTVU.

In 2023, the city said local law enforcement agencies made over 2,000 arrests for drug sales or drug use in the Tenderloin. They also seized over 260 pounds of fentanyl. The city said work has continued into 2024, with 350 arrests so far this year for drug sales or drug use.  

"Our work around public safety is making a difference, but we’ve got more work to do,"  Breed said. "We are not letting up on our efforts to make San Francisco a safer and enjoyable city for everyone, and this includes continuing to ramp up police staffing and giving our local enforcement agencies the resources they need to do their job."


These numbers do not include additional federal efforts being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Drug Enforcement Agency, according to the city.

Fox News Digital reached out to Mayor London Breed's office and the San Francisco Police Department for comment. 

Fox News' Ryan Gaydos, Jeffery Clark and Louis Casiano contributed to this report. 

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Mayor ignores San Fran hellhole for a trip to China in pursuit of pandas

You know what would help the crime-ridden, drug-infested, feces-festooned streets of San Francisco?

Pandas. A couple of cute, fluffy, giant pandas.

And, being every bit the leader she is, Democrat Mayor London Breed jetted off to China for a week to bring some of those irresistible rascals home to the San Francisco Zoo.

London Breed will be renting pandas from China. Will they come with their own fentanyl? #SanFrancisco #askingforafriend #PandaGate pic.twitter.com/8gG2acJ5Zs — Citizenj17 ✝️ (@citizenj17) April 25, 2024

“According to Breed’s office, the mayor traveled to China for a week-long, multi-city journey that included meetings with government, business and airline officials. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Xie Feng invited Breed to the country during last year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which was held in San Francisco,” Fox News Digital reports.

“We think that with increased flights, business opportunities, pandas, the economic opportunities for San Francisco will be significant,” Breed told reporters before her departure.

She returned to Fog City on Sunday with some good news.

Sure, San Francisco is “projected to face a $245 million deficit in the coming fiscal year, which starts in July, and a $555 million deficit in the following year,” according to Axios , but if she can scrape together the cash and Beijing approves, those adorable bamboo bandits will soon be sitting in a California enclosure.

Breed doesn’t know exactly how much getting them to San Francisco will cost her troubled taxpayers, but she’s confident she can make it happen.

“We expect a pair of pandas, and they are hopefully expected to come as soon as we’re able to raise the resources, do all the permitting, continue to work with the wildlife and conservation group in Beijing for all the paperwork,” the mayor told KTVU.

It’s happening: the pandas are coming to San Francisco! These Giant Pandas will honor our deep cultural connections and our Chinese and API heritage. They will bring residents and visitors from all over who come to visit them at the SF Zoo. pic.twitter.com/IInDO26QyI — London Breed (@LondonBreed) April 19, 2024

Strangely, not everyone appreciated Breed’s efforts.

“If you asked a thousand San Franciscans what the biggest problem facing the city is, not a single one of them would say that the zoo doesn’t have pandas,” Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher told Fox News Digital. “They would say they’re tired of rising crime, sick of soaring homelessness and fed up with a broken government that ignores the city’s problems.”

“Rather than boosting public relations for the Chinese Communist Party, Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco’s death spiral,” Gallagher suggested.

California Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones was equally unimpressed.

“Mayor London Breed’s decision to jet off to China in pursuit of pandas while her city grapples with escalating crime and homelessness is a disgraceful evasion of her responsibilities to ensure the safety of San Francisco residents,” he said. “Her misguided focus on photo ops abroad only highlights her utter disregard for the urgent needs of those suffering in her own backyard.”

Back in SF after an incredible trip to China! As many of you may know, we’re thrilled to be welcoming our very own pandas soon. I wanted to share a bit of my experience visiting them at the Shanghai Wildlife Park. Here in San Francisco, preparations for their arrival are… pic.twitter.com/xZlDnpLqH2 — London Breed (@LondonBreed) April 23, 2024

Crime is an issue in the City by the Bay.

According to Fox News Digital:

In most categories, crimes in San Francisco reported to police declined in 2023 compared to 2022, but not as much as the rest of the country, statistics from the FBI show. In 2023, there were 50,744 crimes reported in the city across all categories. In 2022, San Franciscans reported 54,649 crimes, a 7.2% decrease year-over-year.

However, robberies increased 14.8% in 2023 over the prior year, and motor vehicle thefts went up 6.3% from 2022. So far this year, the city has recorded 11,077 crimes, down 29.7% from the same period in 2022.

San Francisco International Airport spokesperson Doug Yakel is backing Breed’s China trip. With the hope that three China-based airlines will do business at SFO, he says increased air travel could mean millions of dollars for the city.

“It’s so powerful what it represents, not only for our airport but for local economies,” Yakel told KTVU. “We look at a single flight, and I’m talking a daily flight between a foreign destination like China and the U.S. to SFO. It can be upwards of $175 million in annual revenue and 1,200 jobs in the Bay Area total, and that’s just one flight.”

Perhaps, but Jones believes Breed should leave the pandas to San Diego.

“[E]veryone knows that the San Diego Zoo is world-famous for their panda exhibit,” Jones said. “Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco rather than competing with San Diego over pandas.”


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Ruben Amorim silent on West Ham links after trip to London

Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim dismisses reports of him being in talks with Liverpool. (0:38)

  • Adriana Garcia and James Olley

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Sporting CP head coach Ruben Amorim is remaining tight-lipped about his future following his short trip to London amid speculation he could take the reins at West Ham .

Amorim, 39, smiled at the cameras but refused to talk to reporters after landing at Lisbon airport in the early hours of Tuesday.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Amorim had travelled with his agent Raul Costa on a private jet to London after Monday's training session to reportedly discuss a potential move to West Ham.

The aim of the trip, according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola , was for Amorim and his agent to evaluate an official offer that he had received from West Ham earlier this month.

Sources have told ESPN that Amorim is one of the main candidates the east London club is considering to replace David Moyes.

A Bola add that West Ham's offer is more lucrative than Liverpool 's.

Sources told ESPN that Amorim has a contract with Sporting until June 2026 with a €20 million ($21.3m) release clause set for foreign clubs.

He is considered one of the top candidates to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield this summer after Xabi Alonso announced his intention to remain at Bayer Leverkusen next season.

Earlier this month, Amorim angrily denied reports he had held talks with Liverpool or any other club regarding his future.

Amorim previously said he could not guarantee that he would continue at Sporting next season.

Sporting are aware of Premier League clubs' interest in Amorim but the Portuguese outfit remains hopeful that the coach will continue managing the league leaders for a fifth straight season.

While Sporting have not started a search for Amorim's potential successor, the club is reportedly keeping an eye on the market.

Amrim's team are seven points clear of nearest rivals Benfica in the Primeira Liga and are also through to the Portuguese Cup final.

Sporting are back in action on Sunday when they face FC Porto in the league.

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Taylor Swift Fans Think Keleigh Teller’s Comment That London ‘Never Changes’ Is a Dig at Joe Alwyn

Is Keleigh Teller Using London to Drag Joe Alwyn: ‘Never Changes’

Keleigh Teller is seemingly using London to drag pal Taylor Swift ’s ex Joe Alwyn .

While sharing a series of clips from her and husband Miles Teller ’s trip to London via TikTok , Keleigh, 31, used a mashup of Swift’s “London Boy” from 2019’s Lover and “So Long, London” from Swift’s most recent album, The Tortured Poets Department .

“London would heal me rn,” a user commented on the upload, to which Keleigh replied, “No it wouldn’t it’s grey and never changes.”

Fans were quick to weigh in on Keleigh’s remark. One replied to her comment by writing, “I love you sm for this,” while another added, “SHE SAID WHAT SHE SAID.”

Is Keleigh Teller Using London to Drag Joe Alwyn: ‘Never Changes’

Following the release of Swift’s 11th studio album, Keleigh used the audio from the track “So Long, London” in a TikTok video while she sat on the porch . “I founded the club she’s heard [great] things about,” Keleigh wrote in the caption. “What’s everyone’s favorite song and why?”

After Swift, 34, dropped TTPD on Friday, April 19, fans of the pop star were quick to point out that “So Long, London” was written about her breakup from the British actor, 33. (The twosome spent a lot of time in the U.K. during their six-year relationship.) The track seemingly is a sister song to Midnights ’ “You’re Losing Me,” where Swift detailed the end of her relationship with Alwyn.

Every Song Taylor Swift Wrote About Joe Alwyn on Tortured Poets Department

Related: Every Song Taylor Swift Wrote About Joe Alwyn on ‘Tortured Poets Department’

“I stopped CPR after all it’s no use / The spirit was gone we would never come to / And I’m pissed off you would let me give you all that youth for free for so long, London,” Swift sings in the second chorus of “So Long, London.”

In “You’re Losing Me,” Swift crooned about similar themes. “Remember lookin’ at this room, we loved it ’cause of the light / Now, I just sit in the dark and wonder if it’s time,” Swift previously sang on the Midnights bonus track. “I can’t find a pulse, my heart won’t start anymore / For you cause you’re losing me.”

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Is Keleigh Teller Using London to Drag Joe Alwyn: ‘Never Changes’

Swift and Alwyn dated for six years before Us Weekly confirmed their split in April 2023. One month later, Swift was linked to Matty Healy , the singer of The 1975. (Swift and Healy, 35, were also rumored to have been together in 2014.)

After a resurfaced podcast interview of Healy’s began circulating on the internet, where he made problematic comments about Swift’s pal rapper Ice Spice , the pair called it quits in June 2023. Swift has since moved on with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce .

Joe Alwyn and Taylor Swift

Related: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's Relationship Timeline: The Way They Were

Since Swift began dating Kelce, 34, during summer 2023, she has brought several of her A-list pals to cheer him on during his NFL games — including none other than Keleigh. While watching the Chiefs take home Super Bowl LVIII, Keleigh was by Swift’s side .

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