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London Travel Guide

Last Updated: January 5, 2024

The iconic London Parliament building lit up at night in bustling London, England

London is one of the most popular cities in the world. It’s home to charming pubs, world-class (and often free) museums, tons of history, some of the best theater performances in the world, a diverse population, incredible food, and a wild nightlife.

I know it’s cliche to say there’s something for everyone but, in this sprawling metropolis, there really is!

I’ve been visiting London since 2008 and, with every subsequent visit, the city has grown on me. The more I go, the more awesome stuff I see, the more I fall in love with it. There’s always something new to do here and there’s an energetic vibe to the city.

Unfortunately, it’s also an expensive destination. A visit here can eat a hole in any budget if you aren’t careful.

Luckily, there are tons of free and cheap things to do in London . While budget travelers need to be frugal here, you can still visit London on a budget and have an amazing time.

This London travel guide can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most out of your time in this cosmopolitan capital!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on London

Top 5 Things to See and Do in London

View of the famous Tower Bridge spanning across the River Thames in London, England

1. Visit Big Ben and the House of Parliament

Although you can’t go up the tower, you can view this Gothic structure from the street and hear its chimes four times an hour. Big Ben is actually the name of the Great Bell of the Great Clock of Westminster which can be found inside Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, but is often used to refer to the clock and the tower as well. To learn about the UK government, take a tour of Parliament, founded in 1801, while you’re here (get there early or reserve tickets online) . Guided tours cost 29 GBP while self-guided multimedia tours are 22.50 GBP. The best view of the tower is from the opposite side of the river on the South Bank, near the London Eye.

2. See the Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Built in 1070, the Tower of London has expanded many times over the years. It was built as a double-leaf bascule bridge in the middle (both sides lift up) to maintain river access to the Pool of London docks while easing congestion on each side of the river. You can visit inside the tower and walk along the glass walkways. Weapons, armor, and coins were made here until 1810 and today you can view the famous crown jewels, walk the battlements, wander recreated medieval palace rooms, see the iconic Yeoman Warders (known as the Beefeaters as they were allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted from King Henry VII’s table), and spot the legendary black ravens that live in the tower. Skip-the-line tickets are 29.90 GBP.

3. Admire Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is only open to the public for 10 weeks during the summer, but you can join the crowds and watch the changing of the guard at 11am every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday throughout the year (get there in good time to find a good place to stand). Admission to the palace isn’t cheap, with tickets costing 30 GBP online (33 GBP on the day), while exclusive guided tours are 90 GBP. Check the Royal Collection Trust website for details on other events happening throughout the year.

4. See Westminster Abbey

A working royal church, the Gothic Westminster Abbey was founded by Benedictine monks in 960 CE. More than 3,300 people are buried here including 17 monarchs and numerous royal funerals have been held here over the centuries. It’s the traditional coronation site for British monarchs and has been the setting for every coronation since 1066, as well as for many other royal occasions, including 16 weddings. Other famous British figures buried here include Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Aphra Behn, and Charles Dickens. Tickets cost 27 GBP , but you can visit for free if you go during a service. Just make sure to dress (and act) appropriately as it is a place of worship.

5. Hang out in Trafalgar Square

Stroll around and admire the fountains and the famous monuments, such as the four bronze lion statues and Nelson’s Column (which honors Admiral Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805). It is bordered on all sides by a number of museums, galleries, cultural spaces and historic buildings so there’s plenty to do as well. Trafalgar Square is also known to be a center of national democracy and protest so peaceful rallies and demonstrations are frequently held (usually at weekends). Even if there aren’t any official events, lots of people still hang out here so it makes for a good place to people-watch.

Other Things to See and Do in London

1. take a free walking tour.

London has tons of different walking tours on offer. From free tours to specialty tours to paid tours to literary tours to quirky tea tours, London has it all. Free London Walking Tours and New Europe Walking Tours are two of my favorite companies to go with when it comes to free tours. They’re the best way to see the sights and learn about the city on a budget. Just remember to tip at the end!

If you’re looking for more in-depth and specific tours, check out Take Walks. They offer affordable tours that go into a lot of detail. And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, Get Your Guide runs an awesome Harry Potter tour around the city for 15 GBP.

2. Go museum hopping

London has more museums than you could see in a single visit, and many of them are free. You can spend days visiting world-class museums like the Tate, the British Museum, the City Museum, the National Gallery, the Historical Museum, and many others — all without spending a penny. One of my favorites is the Natural History Museum, a beautiful Romanesque building that contains over 80 million items, including specimens collected by Charles Darwin. It also has an expansive collection of fossils, making it a fun and educational stop. The Victoria and Albert Museum (named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) is another favorite of mine. It’s home to over 2,000 works of art covering over 3,000 years of human history.

3. Grab some food in Borough Market

Established in 1756, London’s Borough Market has something for every foodie. It’s home to some of the best British and international produce and dishes. Come here hungry and leave satisfied. It’s great for people-watching too. The market is open daily but the crowds are terrible on Saturdays so be sure to get there early.

4. Enjoy some theater

London is known for its famous theater scene. Attend a show while you’re here and see some of the incredible performances that make London famous. Tickets can be pretty cheap, and something is playing every night (check out TKTS for discounted tickets to shows in the West End). Otherwise, catch a Shakespeare show at The Globe in South London — tickets range from 5-62 GBP depending on the show and seat you choose.

5. Stroll along Brick Lane

Known for vintage clothing, cheap eats, and art, this East London street is a local favorite. Sunday is the best day to come, as this is when the outdoor street market takes place, though the restaurants and shops lining the street are open daily. Brick Lane has some of the best (and cheapest) food in London, especially when it comes to curry, as this is the hub of London’s Bangladeshi community. This street is also a great place to bring a camera, as its walls are basically a gallery for London’s best street artists, including Banksy, D*Face, and Ben Eine.

6. Ride the London Eye

The London Eye is a 152-meter (500-foot tall) Ferris wheel. While a little cheesy, it’s nevertheless one of the most popular attractions in London. It’s across the street from Parliament and provides excellent views of London and the city’s most iconic buildings, especially on a clear day. Tickets are 32.50 GBP , but if you want to play tourist and take in the view, it might be worth it. The ride lasts 30 minutes and tickets start at 32.50 GBP.

7. Visit the London Dungeon

The London Dungeon calls itself “the world’s most chillingly famous horror attraction.” It covers 2,000 years of London’s gruesome history and is a morbid but interesting museum. Although you can learn about popular torture methods in England, this place has turned into more of an “amusement park” type attraction. But if you like things like escape rooms and scary boat rides, it’s enjoyable. Tickets cost 29 GBP when you book online (32 GBP in person).

8. See St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s is a striking English Baroque cathedral with a world-famous dome. Architect Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, the iconic building dates from the 17th century. Inside, you can visit the crypt to see the resting places of famous figures including The Duke of Wellington, Christopher Wren, and Admiral Nelson, or just enjoy the cathedral’s glittering mosaics and elaborate stone carvings. If you don’t mind climbing some stairs, a highlight is to climb to the Stone Gallery or Golden Gallery for panoramic views over surrounding London. Admission costs from 18 GBP when you buy online , which is cheaper than the London Eye and offers similarly breathtaking views.

9. Explore Covent Garden

Covent Garden, a popular West End neighborhood, is a fun place to hang out for an afternoon. It’s home to lots of quirky stalls, busking musicians, an artsy market, and a selection of unusual pubs and coffee shops. Covent Garden is also within walking distance of all the big musical theater shows, so it’s a great place to spend a few hours before catching a performance. Make sure to visit Covent Garden Market, which has been open since the 1830s. It’s a good place to grab a bite to eat or shop at some of the artisan craft stalls. It’s open Monday to Saturday from 8am-6pm, with an outdoor farmer’s market on Saturdays between April and December.

10. Visit Shakespeare’s Globe

An integral part of England’s history, Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre, the venue for which the famous playwright wrote his plays. It’s a must-see for lovers of Shakespeare, with performances embracing near-perfect replicas of Elizabethan staging practices. You can even sit in front where the groundlings did, for shouting and heckling! The theater is open-roofed, so bundle up in the winter. Tickets cost 5-62 GBP depending on the production and the seat (you can stand just as they did in Elizabethan times). You can also take a guided tour for 17 GBP to learn more about the history of the theater (more specialized ones such as the Ghosts and Ghouls tour or the Pride tour cost 20 GBP).

11. Explore Camden Market

A long-time counter-culture haven, Camden Market is home to over 1,000 independent shops, stalls, cafes, restaurants, bars, buskers, and everything in between. It’s enormously popular and busiest on the weekends (it sees over 250,000 visitors each week). Camden Market is actually a series of six separate markets, so you can literally wander the labyrinth of alleyways for hours and not see it all.

12. See the Royal Observatory

Since its founding in the late 17th century, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich has played an important role in astronomy and navigation. The observatory is divided into two sections, with one half focusing on time while the other half is devoted to astronomy. In the Meridian Courtyard, you can stand on either side of the Prime Meridian, which separates the Earth’s eastern and western hemispheres. The Peter Harrison Planetarium is also housed here, where you can see a show for 10 GBP. The Royal Observatory itself costs 16 GBP .

13. Walk around the Strand

In the 12th century, rich noblemen built elegant homes and gardens along the shore (the strand) of the Thames, making it one of the most prestigious places to live (a fact that remains true to this day). Walk down this thoroughfare and be treated to a grand display of wealth and beauty. It was dubbed “the finest street in Europe” by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century. The Strand, which runs from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar, is home to numerous shops, pubs, landmark buildings, and classic hotels.

14. Drink beer at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This historic pub has been around since the great fire of 1666 (and there has been a pub at this location since 1538). It’s surprisingly large inside, and in the winter, fireplaces keep pub-goers warm. The wood paneling, atmospheric lack of natural lighting, and vaulted cellars make stepping inside feel like stepping back in time. Famous literary figures like Charles Dickens, R.L. Stevenson, Mark Twain, Oliver Goldsmith, and others used to frequent (and write about) this particular pub.

15. See the Churchill War Rooms

Located beneath the Treasury Building in the Whitehall area of Westminster, the Churchill War Rooms include the government’s command center during World War II and a museum about the life of Winston Churchill. The centerpiece of the whole place is an interactive table that enables visitors to access digitized material from the Churchill archives. If you are like me and a huge history nerd, this is one of the best attractions in the city. I highly, highly encourage you to visit. It’s worth the price! Admission is 29 GBP.

16. Relax in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens for some reprieve. Both parks, which are (conveniently for the visitor) right next to each other, are designated as Royal Parks of London. Hyde Park is the most famous park in London. Originally the private hunting grounds of Henry VII, it opened to the public in 1637 and is a great place to stroll, picnic, or catch one of the many events that are hosted here throughout the year. Kensington Gardens are home to the Serpentine Galleries as well as Kensington Palace. The park and the gardens cover almost 250 acres!

17. Take a Jack the Ripper tour

Jack the Ripper is one of London’s most infamous killers — and his true identity was never figured out. Every night, there are tons of people in the East End learning about Jack the Ripper on a ridiculous number of similar tours. The tour guides you through dark alleyways, stopping at historic locations connected with the infamous serial killer. Tickets cost 15 GBP .

For more information on other cities in England, check out these guides:

  • Bath Travel Guide
  • Brighton Travel Guide
  • Bristol Travel Guide
  • Cambridge Travel Guide
  • Liverpool Travel Guide
  • Manchester Travel Guide
  • Oxford Travel Guide

London Travel Costs

Street scene with people walking around under a sign for the Underground in London, England

Hostel prices – A bed in a dorm with 4-8 beds costs 16-25 GBP per night while a bed in a dorm with 10-18 beds costs 13-16 GBP. A private room with a shared bathroom costs 50-90 GBP per night. If you want to stay closer to the center of the city expect to double these prices and expect prices to be at least 10 GBP higher in peak season. Free Wi-Fi is standard and many hostels offer free breakfast and self-catering facilities.

Budget hotel prices – A budget hotel room costs 70-100 GBP per night. Prices are higher in the center and in peak season. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, TV, and a coffee/tea maker.

There are lots of Airbnb options in London. A private room costs 45-60 GBP per night (80-100 GBP in the center), while an entire home/apartment starts around 90-150 GBP per night (more in high season).

Food – While British cuisine has evolved in leaps and bounds due to immigration (and colonialism), it’s still very much a meat and potatoes country. Fish and chips remain a popular staple for both lunch and dinner while roasted and stewed meats, sausages, meat pies, and the quintessential Yorkshire pudding are all common options as well. Curry (and other Indian dishes, such as tikka masala), are super popular too.

You can eat cheap in London if you stick to street eats and food vendors (plus many of the hostels have free breakfast). You can find fish and chips or a kebab for about 7 GBP each. Indian food can be purchased for between 8-10 GBP for lunch entrees. You can buy pizza for 8-12 GBP or burritos and sandwiches for 5-9 GBP. Fast food (think McDonald’s) is around 13 GBP for a combo meal.

For a mid-range meal of traditional British cuisine at a pub or restaurant, expect to pay 14-16 GBP. A pint of beer can cost up to 6-8 GBP while a glass of wine costs around 7-10 GBP.

You can find tons of high-end dining in London, but be prepared to spend a lot. Expect to pay at least 30-35 GBP for a three-course menu with a drink in a mid-range restaurant and upwards of 70 GBP in a higher-range establishment.

If you plan on cooking for yourself, a week’s worth of groceries costs around 50-60 GBP. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, veggies, and some meat. The best places to buy cheap groceries are Lidl and Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are more mid-range, while Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are higher-end.

A great way to save money is to get the Taste Card. This diner’s club card offers 50% discounts on tons of restaurants as well as two-for-one specials. It can really pay off, especially on any nice meals you want to have. You can only live on fish and chips for so long!

Backpacking London Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking London, expect to spend about 60 GBP per day. This budget covers a hostel dorm, taking public transit, cooking all your meals, limiting your drinking, and sticking to free activities like parks, free walking tours, and museums. If you plan on drinking, add another 10 GBP to your daily budget.

A mid-range budget of 150 GBP per day covers staying in a private Airbnb room, eating out for most of your meals, having a drink or two, taking public transit and the occasional taxi, and doing some paid activities such as Tower Bridge or Westminster Abbey.

On a “luxury” budget of about 300 GBP or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink more, take more taxis, and do whatever activities and tours you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. the sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in GBP.

London Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But thanks to its free museums, cheap pubs, and numerous hostels, there are a lot of ways to cut your costs and save money here. Here are my top tips for saving money in London:

  • Visit all the free museums – Most of the museums in London are free, including the Museum of London, the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum. The National Gallery and the Tate Modern are also free and are two of my favorites.
  • Buy an Oyster Card – This prepaid transit card saves you about 50% on each tube, bus and tram ride. If you plan on using the tube a lot, get this card! You can get a refund for the balance left on the card at the end of your trip. If you aren’t charged international transaction fees and have a contactless credit or debit card, you can also use this for travel and the system automatically caps your travel so you never pay more than you would have if you had bought a travel card. Just make sure to tap in and out and the beginning and end of each ride to make sure you’re charged the right fare.
  • People watch at the markets – Sunday is market day in London, with Camden Market, the Portobello Market, the Flower Market, being some of the more popular options. People watch, snap some photos, and enjoy local London life without spending a dime.
  • Watch the changing of the guards – Both the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (4 times a week) and the changing of the horse guards (daily) at Whitehall take place at 11am (10am at Whitehall on Sundays). Take in true British flare with these interesting and free ceremonies.
  • Just walk and explore – London is a huge city and beautiful, historic buildings abound. I once walked for four hours and barely made a dent in the route I was going to take (hence the need to get the Oyster Card.) However, once you get out of the tourist area around the Thames, you get to see London the way the locals do. You can pick up free maps of showing walking routes around the capital from any of London’s tourist information shops.
  • Snag last-minute theater tickets – You can get last-minute tickets to the theater from the official booth in Leicester Square. Availability varies every day, so be sure to get there early. And if you don’t want to shell out a lot of money to see The Lion King or Les Misérables , check out smaller shows and comedy nights at theaters like Leicester Square Theater, where prices start at about 17 GBP.
  • Skip the cabs – Taxis are incredibly expensive in London and can destroy your budget. I stayed out past when the tube closed one night and the taxi to my hotel was 31 GBP! If you start taking taxis everywhere, you’ll end up spending hundreds of dollars per day, so keep this in mind.
  • Master the night bus – In London, the tube closes around 12:30am (the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines do run all night on Friday and Saturday nights). To avoid taking expensive taxis, make sure you get a map of the night bus routes so you can get back to your hotel/hostel on the cheap. These buses go all over the city and into the suburbs.
  • Take a free walking tour – London, like most big cities in Europe, has a wide array of free walking tours given throughout the city. For a historical view of the city, try New Europe , and for off-the-beaten-path tours, try Free Tours by Foot .
  • Get the Taste Card – This diner’s club card offers 50% discounts on thousands of restaurants as well as two-for-one specials. It can really pay off, especially on any nice meals you want to have.
  • Get the London Pass – If you get the London Pass, you can enjoy access to over 80 London attractions, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. A one-day pass is 89 GBP, a two-day pass is 115 GBP, and a three-day pass is 135 GBP. You can get all the way up to a ten-day pass for 199 GBP although they often have deals on giving discounts to this. This pass makes for good savings if you’re planning on doing a ton of sightseeing! Other passes available include the London City Pass from Turbopass which includes an option to add transport costs, and the London Sightseeing Pass.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in London

While the city may be expensive, its popularity means there are lots of hostels here. I’ve stayed at dozens of hostels over the years. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Astor Hyde Park
  • St. Christopher’s
  • Clink261 Hostel
  • Generator London
  • Onefam Notting Hill

For more hostel suggestions be sure to check out my list of the best hostels in London.

How to Get Around London

People walking around on the waterfront of the River Thames with London's iconic skyscrapers in the background

Public transportation – London has excellent public transportation and is the cheapest way to get around. A one-way fare on the tube in Zone 1 costs 6.30 GBP, but getting a Visitor Oyster Card reduces tariffs to 2.50 GBP per ride. No matter how many trips you take per day, your Oyster Card caps your travel at 7.70 GBP for travel in Zones 1 and 2. This is applicable across all public transit, including buses and trams, saving you a ton of money.

The Visitor Oyster Card costs 5 GBP, and then you choose how much credit to add to your card. Remember that you can get back any remaining balance at the end of your trip.

The bus system in London also uses the Oyster Card and costs 1.65 GBP per ride. However, a day of unlimited bus- and tram-only travel costs a maximum of 4.95 GBP. Buses do not accept cash; you must use either an Oyster card, a Travelcard, or your own contactless payment card.

The tram system in London works the same way as the bus system, with rides costing the same.

Bicycle – London’s public bike-sharing program is Santander Cycles. With 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes, they’re available all over the city. Renting a bike costs 1.65 GBP for up to half an hour and 1.65 GBP for each additional 30 minutes, though you can always dock a bike and take out another one to restart the free timer.

Keep in mind, however, that London isn’t a super bike-friendly city, especially if you’re used to biking with cars driving on the other side of the road!

Taxis – Taxis are readily available, with prices starting at 3.80 GBP and going up around 3 GBP per mile (the tariff is more expensive at night). Given how expensive they are, I wouldn’t take one unless absolutely necessary.

Ridesharing – Uber is available in London but it still costs an arm and a leg if you use it a lot. Stick to public transportation.

Car rental – Cars can be rented for 20-30 GBP per day for a multi-day rental. However, traffic is terrible in the city so I wouldn’t rent a car here unless you are heading out on some day trips. Remember that driving is on the left and that most cars have manual transmissions. There’s also a 15 GBP daily Congestion Charge for driving in the center (7am-6pm Mon-Fri and noon-6pm Sat/Sun/public holidays) and parking is expensive too. Drivers need to be 21 to rent a car as well.

When to Go to London

London doesn’t get too cold, but it’s notoriously foggy and rainy. Summer is peak tourism season, and temperatures are the warmest during this time — but rarely are they ever above 30°C (86°F ). London is bursting at the seams during the summer, but the city has a fun, lively atmosphere. People make the most of the warm weather and there are constantly tons of events and festivals happening.

Spring (late March-June) and autumn (September-October) are also fantastic times to visit, as temperatures are mild and the city isn’t as packed.

Winter lasts from December to February, and tourism crowds thin out dramatically during this time. Temperatures can dip below 5°C (41°F), and prices are slightly lower as well. Expect grey weather and be sure to dress warmly.

Since it is frequently rainy here, pack a light rain jacket or an umbrella no matter when you visit.

How to Stay Safe in London

London is a safe city and the risk of violent crime here is low. Scams and pick-pocketing can occur around high-traffic areas, especially around tourist attractions like London Tower and on crowded public transit. Pick-pockets tend to work in teams, so stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your valuables secure and out of reach at all times just to be safe.

Solo travelers, including solo female travelers, should generally feel safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.).

Although there are no super seedy neighborhoods in London, avoid wandering around late at night alone — especially if you’ve had a pint or two. As an extra precaution, only bring the money you need when you go to the bar. Leave the rest of your cards and cash in your accommodation.

Scams here are rare, but if you’re worried about getting ripped off you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you do experience an emergency, dial 999 for assistance.

Thanks to a few high-profile terrorist attacks and riots across Europe (including London), I frequently get emails inquiring whether or not Europe is safe to visit. The short answer: yes! I wrote a whole post about why Europe is safe to visit.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

London Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
  • Fat Tire Tours – For bike tours, use this company! They have fun, interactive tours led by expert local guides. You’ll get to see all the main sights without breaking the bank!
  • BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go! It’s a cheaper and more interesting way to travel than by bus or train!
  • Take Walks – This walking tour company provides inside access to attractions and places you can’t get elsewhere. Their guides rock and they have some of the best and most insightful tours in all of England.

London Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling England and continue planning your trip:

The 14 Best Things to Do in Bristol

The 14 Best Things to Do in Bristol

Where to Stay in London: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in London: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The 8 Best Hostels in London

The 8 Best Hostels in London

How to Spend a Week in London

How to Spend a Week in London

The 9 Best Walking Tour Companies in London

The 9 Best Walking Tour Companies in London

70+ Free Things to Do in London

70+ Free Things to Do in London

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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

best london travel guide

Hi, I'm Candace

Candace Abroad

A London & Travel Blog

London Travel Books

London , London Travel Tips & Inspiration , Travel · August 16, 2023

8 Best London Travel Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust in 2024

London Travel Books

Table of Contents

Looking for the best London travel book? Well, I couldn’t choose just one. So here’s 8!

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my  Disclosure & Privacy Policy  for more information.

With 2020 bringing travel to an abrupt halt let’s just say the wanderlust has been real.

If you’ve been daydreaming of trading your four walls for cobblestoned roads, sleepy villages, and a bit of London charm, you’re in good company. Here are 8 books to fuel your London wanderlust as you await your next adventure across the pond.

The Rough Guide to England

best london travel guide

A comprehensive travel guide on everything England, this Rough Guide is unmatched for detail. Spanning from the capital to sleepy Cotswold villages you’ll find the best seasons to go, destination highlights, and insider tips only a true England expert could get their hands on.

Rick Steves London 2020

best london travel guide

Stuffed with the best of London eats, sleeps and sights Rick Steves London 2020 is a tourist saver. Filled with self-guided tours and day trips to match this guide book is a one-stop-shop to your London vacation.

Quiet London

best london travel guide

As someone who prefers the nooks and crannies of London, this book has been an absolute gem. Quiet London: Quiet Corners shares all the serene spots of the city to take a break from the hustle and bustle and appreciate the tranquil side of London.

Not For Tourists Guide to London

best london travel guide

True to its name Not For Tourists Guide is your ultimate guide to London finds -– unflocked by tourists. Though there is an ironic Starbucks recommendation or two it’s a lovely pocketbook to have for a day of local wanderings.

Secret London: An Unusual Guide

best london travel guide

To discover the secret London you’ll want to get your hands on this unusual guide . Written lovingly by two locals they’ve complied bounds of places and spaces in London easy to miss, but worth exploring none the less.

The 500 Hidden Secrets of London

best london travel guide

Apt to the theme (and my apparent love for the lesser-known London ) 500 Hidden Secrets of London doesn’t disappoint. Packed with the cultural nooks, weekend activities, and amusing London facts and tidbits it’s a great add to your London travel reads.

Pretty City London

best london travel guide

The perfect coffee table book Pretty City London by Siobhan Ferguson is a must-read. With words strung together like beads and pictures to match Siobhan transports you to the pretty streets, mews, cafes, and hidden corners of London. And is, (in my very subjective opinion) the best London travel book.

Well, there you have it. The best London travel books on offer. Let me know which book you’ll be using to fuel your London wanderlust on Instagram @candaceabroad . Or of course, pop around the blog for more London inspiration.

Happy reading,

Candace Abroad Signature

While you’re here why not read up on some tips for your future London trip!

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Global Travel Planning

Best travel and guide books about London (Top 20)

By: Author Tracy Collins

Posted on Last updated: October 26, 2021

Are you planning to visit London soon? As well as many articles which you can find on this website (and its sister site UK Travel Planning ) to help you plan your UK trip I have put together this guide to the best books about London.

This focuses primarily on non-fiction books all about London. If you are looking for travel inspiration for London or simply want to learn more about the UK capital you will find a book in this list to help you.

I have a general travel guide book post for England too if you are travelling further afield in the country and an article which focuses on the best kids books about London.

In this article, you will find the best travel and guide books about London covering a number of topics including history, shopping, less well-known places to visit in London (hidden gems) and much more.

TRAVEL AND GUIDE BOOKS FOR LONDON

This post may contain compensated links meaning if you buy through them we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read our  disclosure  for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Best books about London

A selection of fantastic books all with one thing in common - LONDON.

Whether you are planning to visit London or just want to learn more about this fabulous city this selection of best books about the capital will give you loads to choose from.

Great gift ideas for the travel lover too!

Rick Steves London

Rick Steves London 2020 (Rick Steves Travel Guide)

I love Rick Steves and enjoy listening to his podcasts. If you are a fan of his check out his latest guide book for London. It includes comprehensive information to help any visitor make the most of every day and every dollar!

Rick Steves Pocket London

Rick Steves Pocket London

Want a smaller version of Rick Steves London? This pocket sized compact version includes a fold out map and lots of great info to help you make the most of your time in London.

Secret London

Secret London - An Unusual Guide (Local guides by local people)

This guide opens up the secret side to London if you want to discover the less well known side of London this is the book for you!

London 500 hidden secrets

The 500 Hidden Secrets of London Revised and Updated

Another great book for visitors who want to avoid the usual tourist spots and for residents who are keen to track down the city's best-kept secrets.

Pretty city London

prettycitylondon: Discovering London's Beautiful Places

From secluded mews to undiscovered cafes, flower markets, and tree-lined streets,  prettycitylondon  champions the quiet, gentle moments that allow you to escape in a huge capital city like London.

London the biography

London: The Biography

Follow two thousand years of London’s history. The city comes alive in Ackroyd's biography of the great city.

Fodors London

Fodor's London 25 Best 2020 (Full-color Travel Guide)

This fully updated and redesigned best of London 2020 by Fodor includes beautiful photographs, useful tips and information to make the most of your trip.

Clued in London

Clued In London: The Concise and Opinionated Guide to the City 2020

An interactive e-book with lots of great tips and information to keep you clued up when visiting London.

Streetwise London

Streetwise London Map - Laminated City Center Street Map of London

Useful map of London - laminated too which I highly recommend. Great to keep in your pocket when exploring the capital.

Knopf Mapguides

Knopf MapGuides: London: The City in Section-by-Section Maps

This opening fold-out contains a general map of London to help you visualize the 8 large districts discussed in this guide, and 4 pages of valuable information, handy tips and useful addresses.

London city walks

City Walks London: 50 Adventures on Foot

A selection of 50 cards detailing walks to take in London. If you want to explore London on foot (really the best way!) these cards will give you some great ideas.

Family Guide to London

DK Eyewitness Family Guide London (Travel Guide)

The perfect guide for families this child-oriented guide is organized around "hubs"--major sights around which to plan your day. It gives child-friendly eating options, age-range suitability info, places for letting off steam, detailed maps, and activities for rainy days, all approached from a family-friendly angle.

Insider London

Insider London: A Curated Guide to the Most Stylish Shops, Restaurants, and Cultural Experiences

This selection of 200 not-to-be-missed destinations includes major retailers, specialty boutiques, hotels, cultural venues, restaurants, cafes, and bars.

111 places in London not to miss

111 Places in London That You Shouldn't Missed

Find out about some of the more unusual places (or unusual aspects of popular sights) to visit in London in this guide to 111 places you really shouldn't miss!

London Precincts

London Precincts: A Curated Guide to the City's Best Shops, Eateries, Bars and Other Hangouts

This book features the best eating, drinking and shopping across 19 London precincts, including Covent Garden, King's Cross, Soho and Piccadilly.

london book of lists

National Geographic London Book of Lists: The City's Best, Worst, Oldest, Greatest, and Quirkiest

The 140 lists in this eclectic and hugely entertaining illustrated compendium of London cover the city’s best, worst, highest, smallest, first, last, and everything in-between. 

everything you know about london

Everything You Know About London Is Wrong 

Packed with details on real London history, this highly entertaining read explodes a range of misconceptions about London.

Covering the city’s arts, entertainment, food, drink, landmarks, royalty, traditions, and politics, it gives you a fascinating insight into the true capital.

literary london

Literary London: A Street By Street Exploration Of The Capitals Literary Heritage

An absolute must for book lovers this guide to London explores its literary heritage.

london theatres

London Theatres

A must for fans of the stage! Take a tour of London's 45 theatres in this beautifully illustrated guide.

London precincts book

London Pocket Precincts: A Pocket Guide To The City'S Best Cultural Hangouts, Shops, Bars And Eateries

London Pocket Precincts is your curated guide to the city's best cultural, shopping, eating and drinking experiences.

Slip this guide into your pocket and head off on an adventure, experiencing the hippest places in London and surrounds like a local.

Plan your trip to London

If you are planning a trip to London check out my London Planning Guide on my UK and Travel Planning dedicated website which has lots of tips, resources and inspiration to help you make the most of your visit.

This includes the best places to visit in my ultimate London bucket list!

UK AND LONDON TRAVEL PLANNING GROUP

Are you planning a trip to London? Why not join my free London and UK travel planning group on Facebook ? Join other travellers from the UK and abroad and find out helpful hints, tips, inspiration and practical advice to help you plan your visit!

UK Travel Planning

London Travel Guide

London Travel Guide picture of Tower Bridge.

Welcome to our London Travel Guide . London is one of the most popular cities for visitors in the world. Every year an estimated 18 million people flock to sample the culture and history which make it so special.

Nearly 9 million people call London home and it is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

It is also where you will find some of the world’s most iconic buildings – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London as well as 170 museums, numerous parks, restaurants and shops.

With so much to see and do what are you waiting for?

Below you will find links to all the information you need to plan your visit to London.

For general planning advice take a look at our UK travel planning page and guide to the best booking websites for UK travel.

Check out our new London Travel Planning website too which is totally dedicated to London!

LONDON PODCAST EPISODES

London travel guide – itineraries, london sights, landmarks & attractions, london with kids, london tours & tickets, london tips, london in winter, london in spring, getting around london, food & drink, where to stay in london, harry potter, london tv & movies, london sport, london events, day trips from london, beyond london, london packing, london travel books, when is the best time to visit london, how much time do i need in london, how can i get around london, how can i get from the airport to my hotel, how much money should i budget for london, what should i pack for london.

London 5

3 Day London Itinerary: What to See & Do plus FAQs & Insider Tips

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Greenwich One Day Itinerary: Top Things to Do in Greenwich, London

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Episode 94 Images of London photoshoots

Episode 94 – Discovering the Best Photography Spots in London with Domi of Scalens Studio

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New Year’s Eve in London | The Complete Guide

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37 Best Hidden Gems in London [with map of locations]

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Review: Tower of London Guided Tour (with Opening Ceremony & Crown Jewels)

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9 Top Red London Telephone Booth Locations for Iconic Photos

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9 Best London Markets: Where to go, when they’re on & what to buy

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22 Famous London Landmarks to Visit (+ map and tips)

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Visiting the London Eye (Best Tips, Tickets & Tours)

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20 Best London Boat Trips and Cruises

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Best Guide to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

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Visiting the Tower of London (FAQs + best tickets & tours)

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11 virtual tours of London’s top museums & landmarks

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Ultimate London Bucket List (+tips to plan your visit)

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Best London Hotels for Families of 5 or More (+ Apartments)

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Episode 13 – Trip report: A fun-filled family adventure in London

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London with Teens: The Complete Guide to the Top Teen Activities & Attractions

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London with Kids: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Attractions, Activities & more

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Best London hotels for families (luxury, mid-range & budget options)

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Episode 85 – Unveiling London’s Timeless Tales: A Journey Through History with Walks Tours

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Best tours in London [2024 & beyond]

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22 Best Christmas tours in London (2023)

Visiting London during the festive season? Discover the best Christmas tours in London for 2023…

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18 Best Food Tours in London – Chocolate, Cheese, Curry, Cocktails, Markets & More

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The Beatles in London: The Best Beatles Tours & Places to Visit

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Harry Potter London

Harry Potter in London: The Best Walking & Bus Tours plus FAQs, Tips & Facts

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The Cotswolds

9 Best Cotswolds Tours from London

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London buses

15 Best Bus Tours of London Reviewed (Ultimate guide)

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London

The London Pass (Review – Is it a cost-effective option for you?)

Visiting London? Are you considering purchasing the London Pass? In this article discover what it…

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How to purchase London Attraction Tickets (Complete Guide)

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Best Walking Tours of London – Themed and sightseeing options

There are so many walking tours of London available that the choice can be overwhelming….

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Podcast Episode 16 – What to expect from a London photoshoot with guest Domi of Scalens Studio

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How Should I Bring Money to the UK? A Complete Guide to Cash & Cards

Asking yourself how should I bring money to the UK when I visit? Discover the…

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Episode 4 – Visiting London (Top Tips for First-Time Visitors)

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15 Best things to do in London at night

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17 Best apps for London and UK Travel

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Planning a trip to London

Planning a London trip (essential tips for first time visitors)

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Snowy London scene.

Visiting London in winter (Ultimate guide + practical tips)

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London in December – 21 best festive experiences

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Where to Find the Best Christmas Lights in London [2023]

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London at Christmas 6

16 Christmas Things to Do in London

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London in spring

Visiting London in Spring (29 best things to see and do)

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Episode 83 UK Travel Planning Podcast with Riz of XFA Cars

Episode 83 – To London and Beyond with Riz from XFA Cars

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UKTP Podcast EPISODE page header TEMPLATE

Podcast Episode 24 –  Getting around London: A introduction to the various public transport options

London transport

Oyster Card v Contactless – What’s the Best Way to Pay for London Transport?

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What is an Oyster Card? Whether You Should Get One & How to Use it

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How to travel from Gatwick to London (Every option explained)

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London train station

Complete guide to 9 main London train stations (+travel tips & map)

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Getting Around London (Guide to Public Transport in London)

Are you planning a visit to London and wondering how to get around? The good…

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How to travel from Heathrow to London (all options compared)

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Best Place for Afternoon Tea in London (21 Fabulous Options)

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Heathrow Airport Hotels

8 Best Heathrow Hotels for your Stay in London – including Terminals 3, 4 & 5

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London accommodation

9 Best Budget Hotels in London (Solo travellers, couples and families)

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Best hotels in Shoreditch & Spitalfields for every budget (+ area guide)

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Best hotels in the City of London for every budget (+ area guide)

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Best hotels in Covent Garden for all budgets (+ area guide)

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Best hotels near Leicester Square and Soho (+ area guide)

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10 Best London hotel chains from budget to affordable luxury

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Best hotels in South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Belgravia & Chelsea

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Best apartments & hotels in Westminster and St James’s London

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Best hotels in Southwark, Bankside and South Bank London

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Best apartments & hotels in Mayfair, Marylebone & Oxford Street London

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Best Hotels in Bloomsbury London (Options for all budgets)

the St Pancras Hotel in London one of my recommended hotels in my London Accommodation Guide

Discover the best area to stay in London (Area guide, map + options for every budget)

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Apartments & hotels near Kings Cross Station London (for every budget)

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10 best mid-range hotels in London (near the must-see sights)

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18 Harry Potter Filming Locations in the UK: The Ultimate Guide to England, Scotland and Wales

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Harry Potter filming locations in London (+ map & magical places to stay, shop, eat & drink)

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How to get from London to the Harry Potter Studios – Tips, Tours, Tickets & FAQs

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15 movies set in London (you have to watch!)

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Visiting Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) – A complete guide

All you need to know about visiting Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) including practical tips, best…

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How to get from London to the Cotswolds (Helpful Guide)

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17 Best day trips from London (+ tours, practical info & travel tips)

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12 Best Day trips from London by train (+logistics, tips & maps)

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7 Magnificent Castles near London you must visit (+ map & tips)

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How to get from London to Edinburgh

How to get from London to Edinburgh (Options – train, car, plane or coach)

Wondering how to get from London to Edinburgh? In this guide, we cover 4 of…

If you are unsure about what to pack for your London trip I recommend including the following items.

You can find a detailed packing list (including a free printable) in this packing guide for London in winter or this all-seasons packing guide for the UK.

VISITING LONDON – FAQ’s

Below you will find the answers to frequently asked questions about planning your London trip.

London is busy pretty much all year round so deciding when to visit can be tricky if you are hoping to avoid the crowds!

London is particularly busy in July and August during the UK summer school holidays and again in December during the festive season.

To help you plan your visit to London read my guide to “When is the best time of year to visit the UK?” which looks at every season as well as detailing a month by month guide to events and festivals occurring throughout the year in London and the UK.

I recommend planning to spend at least 3 to 4 days in London to see some of the main sights and attractions.

Tip – If you are jet lagged on day one why not take a hop-on hop-off bus tour to get your bearings of the city.

Don’t underestimate how tiring visiting London can be especially if you pack a lot of attractions into a short period of time.

Public transportation is excellent in London with a choice of the Tube, buses, trains, riverboats, trams and even bicycles to get around.

The cheapest way to get around London is with an Oyster Card which allows you to travel between all parts of London using public transport.

Read more about London transportation in our guide.

There are various options to travel from Heathrow into London including the Tube, cab, bus or Heathrow Express train.

You can read more in our guide which details the various options including costs, time and availability.

Plan at least £120 per day per person in London. This will cover food, transportation, and accommodation costs. Consider the time of year that you plan to visit as prices for accommodation will be substantially higher during those times.

Whilst London is not a cheap city to visit there are ways to save money including purchasing an Oyster Card, visiting free attractions, and buying lunch from supermarkets. Read my guide to visiting London on a budget.

Pack layers! Even in winter it can be hot in shops and on the Tube so take clothes that you can layer off and on.

An absolute must are comfortable shoes. London is a walkable city so be prepared with sneakers or boots. Don’t wear heels!

Assume it will rain whatever time of year you are visiting and pack a waterproof.

Read more in my UK packing list.

> CLICK HERE FOR MY STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO PLANNING YOUR UK TRIP !

How to budget for your UK trip

What to budget

When to visit the UK 2

What to pack

Julia Travels

The Best London Travel Guide

       If you’re heading to London soon but feel overwhelmed with where to begin, this London travel guide will help map out your days, where to eat, what to do, and more. Planning a trip to London may feel strenuous at first due to the size of the city. It is one of the largest cities in Europe and has a population of almost 9 million! However, once you figure out the areas and places you want to visit, it’s easy to bounce from one place to the next. Additionally, the tube and bus transportation are easy to navigate, and taxis and Ubers can be found just about anywhere. 

Marco and I spent Christmas in London, and it couldn’t have been more magical! It was actually my first-time visiting London and a city that has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Regardless of what season you’re visiting in, London is beautiful all year round with no shortage of activities and things to do.

Table of Contents

  • Getting There
  • Where To Stay
  • How To Get Around
  • Where To Eat
  • Best Time To Go

Pros and Cons

  • Overall Thoughts

best london travel guide

Getting there

If you’re coming to London by plane, chances are you will be flying into Heathrow Airport (LHR). To get to the city center from Heathrow, you can opt for the London Underground (aka the tube), Uber, taxi, or bus.

We opted for the tube and in total the journey took us about one hour to get from Heathrow to our hotel. From the airport, you will be able to get anywhere in central London in about 40-60 minutes depending on your final destination. A single, one-way ticket for this trip cost us £7 each.

In comparison, a slightly quicker alternative, but more affordable than a taxi is the new Elizabeth line. Unfortunately, this line was not running on the day we arrived due to workers being on strike. If the line is running, it can get you from Heathrow to central London in under 45 minutes, with trains every 30 minutes. Prices from Heathrow to central London cost £12.80.

If you prefer taking a coach bus over the Metro, they r un from Heathrow to Victoria Coach Station, as well as many other destinations across the UK. You can catch the bus outside terminal 4, 5 and Heathrow’s Central Bus Station, which is a short walk from terminals 2 and 3. Prices start from £10 depending on your location. 

Meanwhile, an Uber / taxi will cost you about £50-£70 and take you around 45 minutes to an hour to get to your location, depending on time of day, traffic, and your final destination.

With strikes happening often in Lon don, I advise you to take a look at their website in advance, to ensure you won’t have any stress getting from the airport to your hotel. You can check here for the strike schedule.

London Tower Bridge

Where to stay

We stayed in Clerkenwell, which is on the eastern side of the city, during our four-night trip to London. Although we loved the area itself and would stay there again, I cannot say we recommend the hotel we stayed at. Alternatively, here are some other areas of London that I would suggest staying in: 

Chelsea: If you are looking for somewhere quiet with a nice & safe area, then Chealsea is a good place to look. There is also a lot of shopping around and it’s near to Thames River. Chelsea is one of London’s wealthier neighborhoods, so you may find accommodation to be pricier in this area. 

Notting Hill: If you’re looking for a “homey” type of neighborhood within a big city, then look in some options in Notting Hill. It is near Holland Park and Hyde Park, while it is also easy to explore and get around elsewhere. If you’ve seen the famous pastel-colored houses on Instagram or online- those are located in Notting Hill.

Theatre District: If you’re looking for a fun, lively, and vibrant area, try out Theatre District. As it is near Covent Garden, there are always street performers, seasonal decor displays, and a ton of variety when it comes to bars, pubs, and restaurants. This is a very popular area, so you will find hotel accommodations to most likely be a little pricier. 

best london travel guide

How to get around

When the train lines were down, we took Ubers which cost us anywhere from £10-20 depending on our location. There was a strike on our first day and train lines were closed on Christmas, but for the most part, you shouldn’t have any issues! We typically took the tube or the bus, which were both very easy to navigate! I like using Apple Maps to get around because it will simply tell you the bus or train you need to jump on. Furthermore, if a destination that we wanted to head to was only a mile or so away, we normally prefer to walk. You definitely stumble upon more when you are wandering around a city! The bus cost us £1.60 for a single ticket, or about £6.00 for a day pass. 

best london travel guide

  • Changing of the Guards: The Changing of the Guards is one of the oldest and most familiar ceremonies. You may automatically associate this ceremony with Buckingham Palace, but if you want the full experience of the Changing of the Guards, I watched a helpful YouTube video from a local that listed all the correct steps to watch the ceremony for a better experience. If you are interested in the this, I will link the video here . If you do plan on watching the Changing of the Guards from Buckingham Palace, I suggest getting there at 10:30am or earlier. Around 10:45am, you will see the guards marching towards the Palace.  If you show up to Buckingham Palace at 11 am to watch the Changing of the Guards, it will be so crowded, you will not be able to see much, and the whole process will have seemed very anticlimactic. The ceremony takes place daily in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter it takes place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The ceremony will not happen in very wet weather, so keep that in mind! Check the website here ahead of time, to ensure it will not be canceled for any reason at the time of your visit.

Buckingham Palace London

Walk across the Tower Bridge: A lot of people actually mistake the Tower Bridge for the London Bridge. Although the London’s Bridge’s name is more well known, the Tower Bridge is the more eye-catching bridge of the two. Both bridges go over the Thames River and are located between the city of London and Southwark near the Tower of London.

Tower Bridge London

Government buildings & Cathedrals:

  • Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral: Here you will find a great view of the city and half the price of the London Eye. Tickets will cost you £18 per person and can be found here .
  • Big Ben / House of Parliament: Did you know that a lot of people associate the name “Big Ben” with the whole clock tower, but it is actually only referring to the bell. You will find the clock tower located on the northern end of the House of Parliament in Westminster.
  • Westminster Abbey: Westminster Abbey is a Gothic church, located in Westminster just 6 minutes from the Big Ben clock tower. Along with being a site for royal coronations and burials, Westminster Abbey has been the location for many famously royal weddings. 

best london travel guide

  • Hyde Park: Located in Central London, Hyde Park is 350 acres and the largest park in central London. It connects to Kensington Gardens which is 275 acres. Speakers Corner is also a part of Hyde Park, which is an area where people can exercise their right of freedom of speech. People often stand up there to discuss, teach, preach, or debate.
  • *If you are visiting London during the wintertime, you will have a chance to see Winter Wonderland located in this park. It lasts from November to January every year and offers an ice rink, a market, a ferris wheel and more. If you do plan on attending, I suggest buying your tickets here in advance. We had plans to go see the Christmas market, but tickets were actually sold out for the day!*

Markets / Shopping:

  • Covent Garden: Covent Garden used to be a market that sold primarily fruits and vegetables. Nowadays, it is a beautiful and historic must-see location when visiting London! It is packed with world class shopping from A.P.C, Apple, Tom Ford, Glossier, Aesop and much, much more! Along with shopping in Covent Garden, there are also many great restaurants to choose from. You have a great mix of options between fine dining and “grab and go bites”. If eating or shopping there doesn’t interest you, I still highly suggest going and walking around. It’s a fun experience with several street performers gathering people around and entertaining!
  • Jubilee Market: Still technically a part of Covent Garden, Jubilee Market offers everything from food, antiques, paintings, arts & crafts, souvenirs, and more.
  • Borough Market: One of the oldest and largest food markets in London, with a market dating back to at least the 12th century. You will find this market located in Southwark, London.

Covent Garden

Famous Shopping Streets / Areas:

  • Walk & shop along Regent Street, New Bond Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street: Regent Street is a major shopping area located in the west end of London. A short walk away, you will find New Bond Street which is the home of luxury shopping in London. You will find everything from Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Dior, Chanel and much, much more. Oxford Street is Europe’s busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors! So, if you are wanting to do some shopping here, it may be best to go first thing in the morning. Tucked away behind Regent Street and Oxford Street, you will find Carnaby Street. It is a pedestrian area located in Soho, filled with many restaurants, pubs, concept stores, boutique shops and more. Needless to say, all of these streets are worth taking a stroll through even if you don’t plan on doing any shopping! And if you’re visiting during the holiday season, you’ll be able to view all of the amazing seasonal lights and the stores Christmas displays.
  • Visit Harrods: A fabulous, high-end, and 7 floor department store, visiting Harrods is a must! Even if it’s just to browse or window shop, it is definitely an experience in itself. 

Cartier on New Bond Street London

Other fun things to do:

  • Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea: The afternoon tea tradition started in the 1800s as a way to stem hunger until an 8pm evening meal. Afternoon tea consists of mini sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes. Nowadays for the locals, it is enjoyed occasionally or for special events. For visitors, it is definitely something to experience on your trip! You can find afternoon tea offered all throughout the city at all different price ranges. If you want a higher-end experience at somewhere like Hotel Cafe Royal for example, prices will cost you up to £80 per person.
  • See a play: We saw Book of Mormon and can highly recommend it! It was honestly one of our favorite things we did while visiting. Please note that there was a lot of profanity and some offensive jokes in this play, so it may not be for everyone. If you are interested in seeing Book of Mormon or any other play, tickets can be found here.
  • Ride the London Eye : We did not personally ride the London Eye because we thought it was pretty overpriced. It will cost you £36 per person if you buy there, or you can book online ahead of time and save 10%. If this is an activity that interests you, you can book tickets here. If you still want a beautiful view of London, but for a cheaper rate, I suggest visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

Winter activity:

  • Ice Skating (winter activity): If you’re visiting between November and January, ice skating was a fun activity that we really enjoyed! There are several ice rinks to choose from, but we opted with Somerset House and had a great experience. We paid about £24 per person and the session lasted 45 minutes. You can get your tickets here in advance. I do believe the rates vary based on the day and time you go.

Somerset House Ice Skating Rink London

Where to eat

  • Coppa Club 
  • Ollie’s House

EL&N

  • Borough Market
  • Covent Garden 

best london travel guide

  • Steak & Co 

best london travel guide

For pastries / desserts:

  • Cakes & Bubbles
  • Hotel Cafe Royal (or afternoon tea)
  • Cedric Grolet
  • Peggy Porschen 
  • Crosstown Donuts

Cakes & Bubbles Hotel Cafe Royal London

Best time to go

There is definitely no bad time to visit London. We came over Christmas and it was absolutely magical. There were plenty of activities to do like ice skating, seeing a play, popping in and out of shops and more. I would love to come back in the summer or fall, spend more time roaming around outside and relaxing at Hyde Park. Whenever you decide to visit, there won’t be a shortage of things to do and places to see!

best london travel guide

Pros of London:

  • Absolutely beautiful 
  • So much to do / see
  • Very international 
  • So many great restaurants, bars, cafes
  • Very easy to get around / navigate 

Cons of London:

  • Very, very crowded
  • Depending on where you want to eat, a lot of places need a reservation at least 1-2 weeks in advance, sometimes more. 

best london travel guide

Overall thoughts

After having had London on my bucket list for years, it did not disappoint! It lived up to all the expectations and more. In summary, there’s a good reason London is one of the most popular and famous cities in the world. It’s a city you could easily spend a week in and not run out of things to do. It’s also a great option for a nice 3-day weekend to roam around, explore, and eat some good food! We had about 4 full days in London and felt like the perfect amount of time. We could have easily spent one more day there and not felt “as rushed”, but overall, we got to do and see everything we wanted. All in all, London is definitely a city that you should visit! I am already dreaming about my next trip there! 

If you’re like me and need help keeping all of your travel plans and itinerary organized, be sure to check out my  travel journal   that I designed for just this reason! It’s how I plan every single trip and keep organized. It has everything you need from a packing list, a page for your accommodation info, travel itinerary, budgeting on your trip, journaling each day and more! 

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A Lady in London

A Lady in London

And Traveling the World

Lady’s Ultimate London Travel Guide

Today I want to bring you A Lady in London’s ultimate London travel guide. I’ve spent more than a decade writing about London. From big attractions to secret spots, I’ve endeavored to share as much of the city as possible with you. And because I’ve written hundreds of blog posts about London, I thought it would be helpful to put them all in one place.

London Travel Guide

London Travel Guide

This London travel guide covers all aspects of the city, from sightseeing to restaurants, neighborhoods to afternoon teas. It offers advice for where to stay , what to do, how long to stay , and how to make the most of your time in London.

It also contains useful tips on the best day trips from London if you’re in the city long enough to want to explore further afield. I hope it helps you plan your trip to London!

Tower Bridge, London

London Travel Guide: When to Visit London

I’ll start my London travel guide with when to visit London, including the best time to be here, what to pack, and annual events and festivals.

Best Time to Visit London

There’s no right or wrong time to visit London, but there are a few things to consider when choosing your dates. This being Britain, weather and daylight hours are usually the biggest factors.

The best time to visit London is generally in the warmer months and over the summer , but Christmas is also a great season for visiting.

If you’re only here on a long layover, here’s what to do , and if you’re here on a rainy day, here’s how to spend it .

What to Pack for London

Once you’ve decided when to come, you have to pack for London. Depending when you visit, that will mean different things.

I’ve written packing lists for summer , autumn , winter , and spring that can help you decide what to wear in London , and a general list of things to bring all year.

London Events and Festivals

If you want to plan your trip around a specific event or festival, you have a lot of choices. There are 51 great events to experience in London during the year, and I’ve included some of the highlights below.

The big New Year’s Eve fireworks kick off the calendar, followed by Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year .

In spring there’s the London Coffee Festival , the renowned Chelsea Flower Show , the Chelsea in Bloom floral art festival, and Open Garden Squares weekend, when many of the city’s most secluded gardens open to the public.

The summer season gets underway around this time, with highlights like the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival .

Then there are the Proms at Royal Albert Hall and the Notting Hill Carnival , which brings us into September.

Autumn sees great events like Open House London , when many of the city’s architectural gems are accessible to the public.

Then come Bonfire Night, Poppy Day , and the Lord Mayor’s Show in November, and the annual Christmas festivities to round out the year.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, London

London Travel Guide: London Sightseeing

This section of my London travel guide covers London sightseeing. It has everything from London itineraries to attractions, parks, gardens, views, walks, and more.

London Itineraries

If you’re looking for a set sightseeing itinerary for London, I’ve written 1-day , 2-day , 3-day , 4-day , 5-day , 6-day , 7-day , 1-week , 8-day , 10-day , 36-hour , and weekend in London itineraries that can help. I’ve also written a lot of themed London itineraries for those with special interests.

London Attractions

The main attractions in London are well known. Buckingham Palace , the Tower of London, and the London Eye are iconic landmarks .

Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral dominate the city’s historic church scene, and Tower Bridge is the prime feat of Victorian engineering.

Tate Modern, the British Museum, and the V&A are some of the best museums in London , which is to say nothing of the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery.

Further afield, Hampton Court Palace and The Royal Observatory, Greenwich are worth a visit. And while there’s not a single location for it, no trip to London would be complete without taking in the city’s famous theater scene.

If you’re on a budget, I’ve written about 51 free things to do in London . If you’re here on your own, you can use my blog posts about planning a solo trip to London and the best things to do in London alone for ideas.

Under-the-Radar London Attractions

If you’ve already walked through Leicester Square and undergone sensory overload in Piccadilly Circus, there are a lot of lesser known places to explore in London.

Apsley House and Wellington Arch hide in plain sight on Hyde Park Corner and the Royal Mews is tucked away behind Buckingham Palace. There are plenty of hidden museums and secret galleries for every niche interest, too.

Away from the bustle of the city center, Eltham Palace is the prettiest place you’ve never heard of, and Strawberry Hill House is straight out of a fairytale.

But what I like best are the city’s accidental attractions, places that aren’t intended to be destinations in their own right but become so by virtue of their excellence or quirkiness. Like the 9 loos you have to visit , or the mysterious Eel Pie Island .

London Parks and Gardens

In addition to the sights, I’d be remiss if I left the parks and gardens out of my London travel guide. My favorite is the secret Pergola Garden in Hampstead , but there are lots more to discover.

Hyde Park is the obvious place to start, but there are 11 parks in London that are worth a place on any traveler’s bucket list. I also love Regent’s Park , Dulwich Park , and Hampstead Heath .

And that’s to say nothing of the spring gardens , summer gardens and secret gardens dotted throughout the city.

London walks

If you bring your walking shoes (and you should), there are a lot of places to explore on foot in London.

From the 5 best walks to a leisurely stroll along the Thames , there’s no shortage of ways to see London through its streets.

You can have a perfect Saturday walking around South Kensington and Notting Hill, a perfect Sunday in east London, and a great day off the beaten path in Hampstead Garden Suburb .

Or you can stick to the parks and gardens, which contain no shortage of things to enjoy.

If you want self-guided walks, I’ve written posts about Notting Hill , Hampstead , Kensington , South Kensington , Chelsea , literary London , and more .

London Views

If you want to get up high, London has a lot of good vista points.

The 9 best views of London offer a range of perspectives on the city, and river cruises on the Thames are a great way to see London’s attractions from a different angle.

Best Places to Photograph London

If photography is your thing, London will delight. I should know, and my London travel guide will help you find the places I’ve photographed.

You can start with the 9 most Instagrammed places in London , then work your way down to the smaller sights locals love. These include the beloved mews streets , pretty houses , and abandoned tube stations .

If you want to take the best photos of London, you can also take a look at my 7 photography tips for the city.

Kynance Mews, London

London Travel Guide: Best Places to Eat and Drink in London

This part of my London travel guide covers the best places to eat and drink in the city. From restaurants and afternoon teas to bars and pubs, it has you covered.

London Restaurants

Gone are the days of bad British food. Today London is one of the world’s leading culinary centers, with creative new restaurants opening all the time.

If you’re looking for a good breakfast, these 7 restaurants are worth a trip. If you’re on the sightseeing trail, there are lots of great places to eat near London’s top attractions , and some lovely museum cafes as well.

I’ve reviewed a lot of London restaurants over the years, so you can read about many of the top places in the city in my previous posts . If you’re looking for my favorites, they’re here . And this self-guided London food tour will take you to the highlights.

London Afternoon Teas

Afternoon tea in London is a must, and there’s no shortage of places to have it.

Sketch tops my list of the best afternoon teas in London, but there are a lot of others worth trying, too. I’ve written about 3 places you must try , as well as lots of reviews of the city’s favorite afternoon teas .

Afternoon Tea, London

London Coffee Shops and Tearooms

If all you’re after is a quick coffee or tea, my London travel guide still has something for you.

There are coffee shops I can’t live without, and I love having a cup of tea at Candella Tea Room on Kensington Church Street.

I’ve also written about pretty cafes that will get your inner photographer excited, and London itineraries for tea lovers and coffee lovers .

Oh, and if you’re not British, you’ll want to brush up on tea etiquette with my quick expat’s guide to British tea culture . You’ll thank me!

London Pubs

No London travel guide would be complete without the mention of pubs. They’re not only part of the fabric of British society, but also great places to cozy up by a fire in the cooler months (and some years they’re all cooler months).

My favorite traditional pub in London is the Holly Bush in Hampstead. It’s everything a pub should be, from the warren of wooden rooms to the warm winter fireplaces.

But if it’s an amazing meal I’m after, there’s no better place than the Harwood Arms in Fulham.

When the weather heats up, there are 12 riverside pubs and 8 pubs with beer gardens I enjoy, and when I’m feeling adventurous there are 8 international pubs that allow me to travel the world without leaving the city.

As far as aesthetics go, there are 17 pretty pubs I adore. I’ve even written a pub-themed London itinerary .

Charing Cross pub

London Bars

And speaking of watering holes, London’s bar scene is always lively. Given I’m a travel blogger, I love the city’s travel-themed bars . But when I’m in a more local mood, I never turn down a trip to the city’s best rooftop bars .

Out in east London there are lots of trendy options. I love the rooftop bar at the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch , and the cocktails go down a treat at Happiness Forgets in Hoxton Square.

If you want more, take a look at my cocktail lover’s itinerary for London .

London Travel Guide: Best Places to Shop in London

This part of my London travel guide is all about shopping. From farmers’ markets to fun souvenirs, shopping streets to bookstores, it covers everything you need to know to find what you want to buy in London.

London Markets

London’s markets are some of the best places to visit in the city, and they come first on the shopping list in my London travel guide. From fresh food to quirky antiques, there’s a market for pretty much every interest here.

My favorite London market is the Columbia Road Flower Market , but there are 14 markets worth visiting in the city, from the iconic Borough Market to the hip Maltby Street Market and Chatsworth Road Market .

There are also 7 under-the-radar markets and lots of Sunday markets that are fun to discover. Of the latter, Herne Hill Market is one of my favorites.

London Shopping Streets

I’m not a big shopper, but when I need something I usually head to one of two places: the King’s Road in Chelsea or Marylebone High Street .

Both have a good mix of shops and boutiques, and fewer crowds than Oxford Street and Regent Street.

I also like the fun pedestrianized area on Carnaby Street and Brick Lane in Spitalfields. If you want to dig deeper, take a look at my London itinerary for shopping addicts and my guide to the best shopping streets in London .

Places for London Souvenirs

When it comes to souvenirs, London has a range of places to browse.

General souvenirs can be found on every corner in the city center, but for more unique offerings I always send people to three places: Fortnum & Mason, the Buckingham Palace Shop, and Camden Market.

Fortnums’ edible goodies make great (if disappearing) mementos, not to mention perfect gifts for friends and family back home.

The Buckingham Palace Shop has a range of royal souvenirs, from commemorative dishes to tea towels and toys.

Camden Market has a huge variety of things to buy. From vintage goods to cool souvenirs, there’s something for everyone here.

If you want more inspiration, take a look at my lists of lovely London must-haves and things to buy in London .

Camden Market, London

London Bookstores

If you’re looking for books (or just love them), London’s bookstores are worth a browse.

From the top places for books in London to the 7 specialty bookstores and 9 independent bookshops you should visit, the city’s literary corners are worth exploring.

If there’s one place you can’t miss, it’s Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street. I’ve written a literary itinerary for London if you want more.

Shop in London

London Travel Guide: Where to Stay in London

This part of my London travel guide will help you figure out where to say in London for your personal style. It covers London neighborhoods and accommodation options.

London Neighborhoods

There’s no right or wrong place to stay in London. The city center is huge and the attractions spread out across it.

But if you’re looking to match your location to your personality, you can dig a bit deeper to find the perfect neighborhood. Here’s a helpful guide to choosing the best area to stay in London for your style.

Whether you want to stay in upscale South Kensington or literary Bloomsbury , newly revived King’s Cross or popular Earls Court , there’s somewhere for every taste.

To get a better feel for London’s neighborhoods, take a look at my interactive London map .

Kynance Mews, London

London Hotels

Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll have to choose accommodation. London has no shortage of great hotels for every budget, so the hardest part is picking which one is right for you.

I’ve written about a lot of London hotels in my post about how to choose a London hotel for your style, and my best advice is to book early if you’re coming during the peak summer months.

You can use my guides to the best quirky hotels in London and the top themed hotels in London if you want to find somewhere unique to stay.

London Travel Guide: Trips from London

This section of my London travel guide is about day and overnight trips from London. It has information about the best day trips from London and great weekend trips in the UK .

Day Trips from London

If you’re visiting for more than a few days, you might want to take a day trip from London.

There are 15 day trips I highly recommend and 17 more I love , but if I had to choose a few favorites, they would have to be Brighton , Cambridge , and Oxford .

I’ve also written about the best day trips to take in the summer , autumn , winter , and spring if you want seasonal tips.

And if you only want to travel by rail or car, take a look at my blog posts about day trips from London by train and by car .

Weekend Trips from London

If you have even more time, it’s worth getting away for a bit longer or traveling a bit farther. There are 16 weekend trips I adore, but if you can only take one I recommend the Cotswolds or Kent .

You can take a look at my blog post about weekend trips from London by train for more ideas. If you have even more time, there are some great 3-day trips from London you can take. My guide to train trips from London has additional inspiration, too.

Sheep in the Cotswolds

So there you have A Lady in London’s ultimate London travel guide. If you want more inspiration, these films will get you excited. Happy travels!

What would you include in a London guide? Any top tips for visitors?

Find this post helpful? Buy me a coffee!

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24 Comments on Lady’s Ultimate London Travel Guide

This is such a great guide! I’m going to recommend it to friends who live around the world, for the next time they visit. <3

Thanks, Bronwen! I really appreciate it.

Good example of sightseeings !

Thanks, Sarah!

Great post as always, Julie! Ironic timing for me to read it also, because just a few minutes ago I finished reading an article in Bloomberg Businessweek about the booming night food scene in London. A couple companies, London Union and Smorgasburg, were mentioned. What shocked me was that the article stated that food trucks are no where to be found late on Friday and Saturday nights. Why on earth is that?? Anyway, I thought of you the second I started reading it! I hope you have a fantastic week, my friend! 🙂

Thanks, Mike! Yeah, that’s funny about food carts not being a late night thing in London. They seem to be elsewhere, don’t they?

Wow, this is amazing. Also so jealous that you live in London, it’s one of my faves! I always recommend Borough Market and SoHo Garden and Notting Hill for people who are visiting, they’re some of my favorite spots in London 🙂

Those are great places! Thanks for sharing your recommendations.

I came across your blog on bloglovin and I wish I read this post before I went to London, however it was still an amazing trip and I need to go back just for afternoon tea alone.

I’m glad you had an amazing trip! Afternoon tea is definitely worth coming back for.

THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I am going to share on my Facebook, maybe make a mention on my blog, and have this for a reference for when I go!!!!! I have been planning for literally about 2 years now (Since I moved to Western Australia) I don’t like where I am currently living, and the city girl in me wants to BURST!!!!!!!! London is my dream destination, and when I move to Perth next month, I am going to make LISTS, GOALS and PLANS!!!!!!

Thanks! I’m glad you like it. I hope you enjoy London when you get here!

The information given here is sufficient for a person to check out the places with ease. Brilliant stuff !

Wow, this is Great.We got a lot of information about London.Actually next week we are planning to visit London.So it’s very helpful for us.Thanks for sharing this article.

You’re welcome!

Thank you for sharing this, it’s really helpful. Awesome!!

You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that.

My friends are coming to London and I was struggling for ideas, when I found your lovely blog! Your pictures are so inviting. Such a great idea about stopping for an afternoon tea somewhere – walking in London all day can be so tiring! Thank you so much!

Your blog gave me a lot of amazing ideas that I can use on my trip to London. Actually on the coming month I am planning for a tour to London with my family and kids. Thanks for sharing such amazing tips.

There is literally so much to do in London. I feel like I could never get a chance to do it all even if I lived there!! :]

Definitely!

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36 Hours in London

By Desiree Ibekwe Updated Dec. 22, 2022

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To the casual observer, London may present itself as a capital wedded to traditional and, at times, perplexing institutions, particularly over the past year, from the rotating cast of prime ministers to the choreographed schedule of mourning following Queen Elizabeth II’s death. In actuality, London is a complex knot of old and new. It is also an almost insurmountable task to try conquering the city in one weekend. This itinerary — which traverses an 1800s wine bar loved by a new generation, a night out in South London’s Caribbean heart, centuries of British art under one roof and riverside strolls — is here to help you unlock some of the city’s sprawling, youthful and diverse nature.

Recommendations

  • Tate Britain is a museum in Millbank that charts centuries of art created in Britain.
  • E Pellici is a 122-year-old traditional “caff” in East London.
  • Gay’s the Word , established in 1979, is considered the oldest L.G.B.T.Q. bookstore in London.
  • Brick Lane Vintage Market is a subterranean thrifter’s bazaar, selling vintage and independently made clothing and accessories.
  • Gordon’s Wine Bar , established in 1890 and thought to be London’s oldest wine bar, is situated next to Victoria Embankment Gardens.
  • Cafe TPT and Four Seasons are beloved restaurants in Chinatown, in the city’s West End, known for their roast meats.
  • Speedboat Bar is a new Thai-Chinese fusion restaurant and bar in Chinatown.
  • Fish, Wings and Tings is a South London restaurant serving Caribbean cuisine in Brixton Village market.
  • Negril is a small Caribbean restaurant on Brixton Hill.
  • The Old Queens Head is a pub in Islington, in North London, serving a hearty Sunday roast.
  • The Quality Chop House is a modern British restaurant in Farringdon, in Central London, with an impressive Sunday set menu.
  • Hootananny is a music venue in Brixton with diverse live acts and D.J. sets.
  • Skoob Books and Judd Books are secondhand bookstores with buckets of charm in Bloomsbury.
  • London Review Bookshop is a store connected to the literary magazine London Review of Books with a much-loved cafe.
  • Spitalfields Market in East London is home to independent sellers, food stalls, restaurants and boutiques.
  • Rajmahal Sweets is a cornucopia of treats on Brick Lane where you can get everything from jalebi and Turkish delight to bhajis and pakoras.
  • Atika is a vintage store that spans two floors off Brick Lane; it also sells independent art.
  • Jen’s Plants and Florist is a small, Black-owned plant store off Brick Lane.
  • Queen’s Walk is a walking route that stretches along the South Bank of the River Thames. Highlights on the walk include Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the Southbank Center.
  • Regent’s Canal is a scenic waterway that stretches for almost nine miles.
  • London’s Tube network is the best way to navigate the city. Many lines run a 24-hour service called the “ Night Tube ” on Fridays and Saturdays. You can also hail a black cab in most areas, or order a car with ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt.
  • London’s outpost of The Standard is sleek and stylish with a perfect location — it’s a two-minute walk from King’s Cross Station and a short train ride into Central London. A double room hovers around £349 a night, or about $425.
  • For those after amazing views of the Thames, Sea Containers on the South Bank is an excellent option. A double room starts at £261 a night.
  • The Zetter Townhouse , a 13-room Georgian townhouse in Clerkenwell, is full of charm and eccentric decor. Rooms here start from £249 a night.
  • For those on a budget, rooms at the trendy Mama Shelter in Shoreditch start at around £100 a night, while Assembly in Covent Garden puts you at the center of the city without breaking the bank (rooms start at £100).
  • Shoreditch in East London can be ridiculously hip, but it is a perfect, slightly off-the-beaten-track location for short-term rentals. Marylebone is also a good option for those who want to be closer to the center of town.

best london travel guide

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Best of England

The Best of London

The Best of London - The Best of Britain

Explore London's landmarks and secrets with our top-selling "Best of London" guide. Dive into our curated recommendations of the city's secret corners and hidden neighbourhoods.

best london travel guide

London Travel Guide: Where To Stay, Eat, & What To Do

Welcome to NYLON’s City Guides, your one-stop shop for the ideal vacation. Here, you’ll find the ultimate recommendations when it comes to where to stay, eat, drink, shop, and more for the world’s hottest cities — all tried and tested by NYLON editors. Read on for your ideal, NYLON-approved itinerary.

There’s many ways to enjoy London. There’s the touristy version, with suggestions to ride the London Eye or gape at Big Ben — and then there’s the Londoner way.

The city itself is deceptively large; divided by the River Thames, each zone and neighborhood is distinct and steeped in history. And with that level of sprawl — all thankfully connected through multiple, extremely reliable train and bus routes — there’s always something to do. Are you keen to dig for unique vintage, or is gallery hopping more your speed? Are you in town to enjoy fine dining and a posh hotel, or do you want to get loose on a few cocktails before heading to the rave? However you do it, get the most out of London with NYLON’s comprehensive city guide, complete with the best plates to eat, drink, stay, and more.

Where To Eat

Lucky & joy.

Walking inside this intimate, candy-colored Hackney spot is an instant serotonin bump. Lucky & Joy brings a bright spin to regional Chinese cuisine, offering shareable plates of go-to hits like steaming hand pulled noodles to a delicate (and addicting) turnip cake. Maybe it’s their adorable and amorphous animal mascot or the zing of their Szechuan negroni, but dining at Lucky & Joy feels akin to the feeling of a beloved neighborhood haunt: easy, warm, and full of heart.

95 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 0NP, United Kingdom

During my time in London, I came across a video on Twitter of actor Will Poulter extolling a recent meal he had at Akoko , a West African restaurant in London’s Mayfair neighborhood. Poulter notes how African cuisine is routinely overlooked by Michelin, and that since its inception, only four Black chefs have ever held Michelin stars. I immediately made a dinner reservation for the following evening, which quickly became one of the best meals that I had in London.

Akoko has a lively yet intimate atmosphere free of the typical stuffiness at this echelon dining. Its 10-course tasting won’t leave you hungry either. (There are no à la carte options, but the meal is absolutely worth relinquishing control.) The performance of the cuisine — elegant and creative plating, coordinated reveals from the attentive staff, a printed statement on the sacredness of jollof rice — elevates the bold flavors of souped-up family recipes from Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal. Akoko should have a Michelin star, but don’t wait until it does to experience the excitement for yourself.

21 Berners St, London W1T 3LP, United Kingdom

Located in Queen’s Park, Carmel serves up Middle Eastern fare in a sensual, dimly-lit locale. While the dinner menu offers plenty of bold flavors like turmeric cauliflower or short ribs with date glaze — as well as an excellent wine and cocktail list — the real stars are their fresh, warm flatbreads, which serve as sturdy vehicles for their must-have yogurts and dips.

Ground Floor, 23-25 Lonsdale Rd, London NW6 6RD, United Kingdom

This no-frills Notting Hill pub offers some of the biggest oysters I’ve ever seen, along with deceptively simple daily specials like steak sandwiches and asparagus soup that will stay on your mind for weeks.

89 Westbourne Park Rd, London W2 5QH, United Kingdom

Four different Londoners suggested Dishoom to me when I asked for restaurant recommendations, going as far as calling it “exemplary Indian.” They were not exaggerating. Dishoom takes Parsi cuisine popular in Irani cafés across Bombay in the 1960s and adapts it to the modern palette; classics like chicken biryani and paneer tikka bring the best of home cooking to the high-end dining experience. Head to the King’s Cross location, which boasts multiple floors for bigger groups, and is a stone’s throw away from one of London’s best people-watching destinations, Central Saint Martins.

5 Stable St, London N1C 4AB, United Kingdom

Cheneston's

British cuisine is deeply misunderstood, but all can be rectified by a meal at Cheneston's . Located in the Milestone Hotel, Cheneston's is an elegant dining experience, from the lush traditional decor to the fresh and creative seasonal fare. Cheneston's tasting menu, which features signature dishes inspired by the hotel’s founder, Beatrice Tollman, can make your meal into a night to remember. The gentle and knowledgeable staff will walk you through the delicate flavors and wine pairings, and you’ll have plenty of time to marvel at the darling and picture-worthy platings.

1-3 Kensington Ct, London W8 5DL, United Kingdom

The Wet Fish Cafe

This tiny West Hampstead eatery was the former home to the neighborhood fishmonger; the restaurant retained the beautiful tiling and sturdy wooden accents of its past life, as well as its ability to serve up delectable fish. Morning visitors can enjoy savory gravadlax or amaretto cherry-soaked french toast, while evening visitors can dig into heartier meals and enjoy live music.

242 W End Ln, London NW6 1LG, United Kingdom

Señor Ceviche

Señor Ceviche may have some of the aesthetic trappings of a TikTok-friendly restaurant, but it’s a different story once the food hits the table. Fresh fish, succulent chicken, and a boozy happy hour cocktail menu make this spot a sleeper hit. For an added bonus, it’s centrally located in the bustle of Soho and the perfect first stop before hitting a few rowdy pubs.

Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW, United Kingdom

Where To Drink

Dalston superstore.

A queer bar known for delivering an absolutely raucous good time, whether you’re turning up at one of its many legendary dance nights or crawling back in for a hair of the dog the next afternoon. Start your weekend at Dalston Superstore’s drag brunch, where the East London’s cheekiest queens MC all afternoon and leave you feeling energized enough to party for 12 more hours.

117 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB, United Kingdom

Named after the narrowboats that glide through London’s canals, this pub boasts views of Regent’s Canal and some prime outdoor seating on a boiling, air-conditioning-free evening.

119 St Peter's St, London N1 8PZ, United Kingdom

Bobby Fitzpatrick

Imagine if a discarded set from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was turned into a two-story bar and you’d have a pretty good understanding of the appeal of West Hampstead’s best bar . The kitschiness gets even more delightful after every cocktail, which are inventive, strong, and worthy of being called “crafted.”

273 W End Ln, London NW6 1QS, United Kingdom

Where To Stay

The lanesborough.

The Lanesborough is the epitome of what you’d want from a London hotel. The Knightbridge hotel has rightfully earned every star they have; the staff is unlike any hotel, a group of dutiful and thorough individuals who seamlessly work to make you feel like royalty. Much of The Lanesborough’s charm and beauty lies in just how quintessentially British it is as an establishment. It’s the very best of Bridgerton society meets the London elegance of The Parent Trap : the doormen wear bowler hats, each floor has a butler, and every detail of decor, from the marble foyer to the moss green hallways, has a stately sophistication.

Located across from Hyde Park, The Lanesborough already feels close to Eden, and the feeling of tranquility only intensifies in their rooms. It’s a lesson in tastefulness: rich mahogany woods and powder blue walls; a soaking tub large enough for two; even their shower amenities were beautifully formulated to deliver serenity and softness. The room almost feels too beautiful to leave — a feeling that can be overcome with the help of room service cappuccinos and crisp, crown-shaped shortbread cookies.

Apart from staying at the hotel, the next best way to experience The Lanesborough is through a visit to their award winning spa . It’s an elevated experience from start to finish: you’re provided plush robes, taken to a relaxing, darkened waiting room, and then escorted to your service. There’s facials using the best Tata Harper products, massages inspired by ancient Ayruvedic medicine, salt, mud, and crystal treatments, and more. I went in for a Silk & Salt pedicure and felt so deeply relaxed and pampered that I fell asleep. The therapist’s meticulous work helped rejuvenate my feet — and the pedicure lasted twice as long as any other treatment I’ve gotten in the past. When it’s at The Lanesborough, it’s time and money well spent.

Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA, United Kingdom

The Standard

London’s edition of The Standard continues the hotel’s legacy across the pond: the sleek rooms are punched up with zesty colors and its central location makes it a breeze to pop around town. The hotel’s rooftop bar offers picturesque views, while Sweetie’s, the cocktail bar and discotheque, serves as the perfect first — or last — spot of a night out.

​​10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG, United Kingdom

The Milestone Hotel

Sitting across from Kensington Gardens (home of the late Princess Diana, for any lovers of The Crown ) the Milestone Hotel offers a lovely mix of old and new Britain. The hotel’s rooms are spacious; modern art decorates the walls while the beds can feature old-world glamour, like a thick, princess-worthy canopy. The hotel is one of the few places that’s generous with the air conditioning — something that will be deeply treasured by American travelers in particular during London’s “boiling” heat waves.

Where The Milestone truly shines is in its food; breakfast is not to be missed, where the fresh juices, hot-out-the-oven soda breads and crumpets, and savory omelets are some of the best in town. (Don’t sleep on the traditional English Breakfast, either!) The Milestone’s Stables Bar is a horse girl’s dream: the equestrian decor is eclectic yet refined, and the cocktails are made with artistry in mind. Order the old fashioned, which comes with a theatrical smoke element that will leave you giddy even before your first immaculate sip. And as noted above, a reservation at Cheneston's Restaurant is an absolute must.

Colour Factory

So you came to London to party? Colour Factory is home to the city’s best raves, an immersive space for techno, house, and live performances. Located at the edge of Hackney Wick, the Black-owned nightclub has something going on every weekend, from parties curated by designer Mowalola to sets from the best rising international DJs.

8 Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN, United Kingdom

Tate Modern

Art fiends won’t want to skip the Tate Modern , one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. Located south of the River Thames, the Tate Modern boasts over a hundred years of paintings, sculptures, and more — along with special curated exhibitions, like the must-see “Capturing The Moment,” which explores the dynamic between painting and photography, and features dynamic and haunting work from David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Miriam Cahn, Andreas Gursky, and more.

Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom

Serpentine Gallery

Your mandatory stroll through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens can be broken up into stops at the Serpentine Gallery . The two galleries are free to enter and host world-renowned contemporary art exhibitions all year round.

London W2 3XA, United Kingdom

Hampstead Heath

This rambling, ancient heath is lush, shady, and hands-down London’s best green space, a place where runners, bird watchers, and chillers all coexist in harmony. Plus, the heath’s ponds are a favorite among locals who want to cool off in the summer heat.

London, United Kingdom

Serotonin Vintage

London’s Brick Lane district has no shortage of thrift and vintage stores for the sartorially-obsessed to sift through for hours, but Serotonin Vintage is a cut above the rest. The store has curated a selection of vintage similar to what’s likely haunting you from TheRealReal’s obsession tab: designs from Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, and more. Welcome to well-priced designer heaven.

194 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA, United Kingdom

Simply put, Harrods has to be seen to be believed. Yes, you may have enjoyed the splendors of department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, but Harrods blows its competitors out of the water with spectacle . Each floor is a labyrinth of luxury, there’s plus multiple dining options ranging from posh afternoon tea to upscale Chinese food. You may not be able to afford the majority of Harrods’ wares, but block off a few hours to explore the store and you’ll leave richer in experience.

87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom

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London Marathon 2024 travel guide: Start times, route and celebration spots

Spectators can watch runners race through the capital on 21 april, article bookmarked.

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More than 50,000 people will jog the 26.2 mile journey

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The London Marathon 2024 will weave through the streets of the capital from Greenwich to Westminster on Sunday 21 April, and thousands of spectators are going to be lining the route for a glimpse of their running friends.

Over 50,000 people are expected to take on the mammoth two-foot tour of London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge.

Since the inaugural 26.2 mile event in 1981, the fundraising race has raised millions for charities each year, and, with sunshine on the forecast for now, celebrations of the charitable and physical feat will take place across the city.

Here’s everything you need to know to plan the day if you’re running  or  supporting this year’s London Marathon.

London Marathon 2024 start time and date

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The London Marathon 2024 will take place on Sunday 21 April.

Exact timings for this year’s races are yet to be confirmed but staggered start times from around 8.30am are the norm, with the masses setting off in waves at 10am and all start lines closed from 11.30am.

The finish line on The Mall closes at 7.30pm and is then moved to St James’ Park until midnight.

London Marathon route

Largely unchanged since 1981, the start line for the race is in Blackheath at the top of Greenwich Park .

From here, a leg to Woolwich, jog past the Cutty Sark and stretch around Bermondsey takes runners to cross the river over Tower Bridge .

After a ring around the Isle of Dogs, it’s a relatively straight stretch along the Thames through the City of London to the Westminster finish line on The Mall.

Will there be train and tube strikes?

There is a planned overtime ban for Aslef members working for LNER on Friday 19 and Sunday 21 April (marathon day), as well as strikes on Saturday 20 April, so those travelling into London from the northeast will likely face cancellations.

Substantial road closures across the capital to make way for the race mean spectators should travel on foot or by tube – roads will reopen as and when all runners have cleared the area.

Marathon participants will receive free travel home up to 6.30pm on marathon day on the London Underground and Overground, buses and DLR.

TfL said that a modified DLR service will start at 5.30am from Tower Gateway to Lewisham so runners arrive on time to the start line.

Rail services out of London to the midlands and the northwest are also expected to be extremely busy from 6pm due to an FA Cup semi-final taking place at Wembley Stadium.

The best spots to watch the London Marathon in person

If the live BBC coverage won’t cut it and you’re coming to support from the sidelines, spectators can watch along most parts of the route, including The Highway in Wapping, where runners will pass twice.

To be in the heart of the action, the halfway point of Tower Bridge at mile 13, and the finish line at The Mall are bound to be exciting but busy. For a quieter spot to cheer, stay east and line up in Deptford or the Isle of Dogs.

Track friends and family taking part using their marathon number on the TCS London Marathon app to best position yourself to catch them on the go.

Marathon organisers advise that some areas, including those by the Cutty Sark and St James’ Park, are likely to be very busy on the day.

Five accessible viewing areas also dot the course for those with disabilities: in Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, Rainbow Row, Tower Hill and Victoria Embankment.

Where to celebrate along the route

London has plenty of pubs and bars to quench the post-marathon thirst, whether you’ve been running or cheering.

In Greenwich, The Gipsy Moth has Cutty Sark views, The Angel in Bermondsey sits on the Thames and halfway pub, the Tower Bridge Arms, raises pints of IPA to passers-by.

Wet your palette in Wapping’s local Turner’s Old Star, ride the high at Pergola on the Wharf for city views, or refuel at Hung, Drawn & Quartered in Tower Hill with pies and ales.

At Victoria Embankment, board pub boat Tattershall Castle to cheer runners on for the final mile and savour a cold one at The Westminster Arms just before the finish line.

Once the race has been run, Inn the Park restaurant in St James’ Park is ideal for a light bite or head into Mercato Mayfair for a street food party in a restored church.

How to sign up for the London Marathon 2025

After a  record number of entries  signed up for the 26.2-mile race in 2024 – 578,374 applicants according to event organisers – next year’s London Marathon is bound to be another popular event.

To take on the challenge, entry is available through a ballot, international tour operators, charity spaces and athletics clubs.

The public ballot for the 2025 TCS London Marathon will open on Saturday 20 April and close the following Friday (26 April). Winners will be drawn at random and emailed in July ahead of the 27 April 2025 marathon.

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Back to Black

Marisa Abela in Back to Black (2024)

The life and music of Amy Winehouse, through the journey of adolescence to adulthood and the creation of one of the best-selling albums of our time. The life and music of Amy Winehouse, through the journey of adolescence to adulthood and the creation of one of the best-selling albums of our time. The life and music of Amy Winehouse, through the journey of adolescence to adulthood and the creation of one of the best-selling albums of our time.

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