LONDON

TRAVEL GUIDE

Prachi Agarwal 

Updated on 15th July 2019

Out of all European cities, London seems to be the most cosmopolitan and exciting. Sure it is touristy, sometimes too touristy; but that will not stop someone from having alot of fun. There are activities for kids, grandparents, couples, you name it. Because London has so much to offer, it would be smart to plan your trip in advance. It's hard to get last minute tables or tickets to a theatre in London. It's best to avoid London in July (or even June and August) because it's really busy with tourists. Weather is unpredictable in London so better to pack an umbrella and an extra jacket.

Best time to visit 

May, September, December

It's best to avoid the crowds in summer. London is fantastic during December with it's winter wonderland, Christmas decor. 

Approximate Cost

$$

~$3k per coupledepends on where you are flying from & the duration.

Top Experiences

Cosmopolitan, Touristy

London is one city that can suit everyone's taste. It has history, culture, shopping, activities,  great dining etc. 

Best places to stay 

Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester Square 

         Currency 

Pounds, £

1 Pound is approx 1.26 US dollar

Visas & languages

English

Getting to London

London has multiple international airports with the main ones being Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. If flying into Gatwick, just take Gatwick express to get to your hotel. You can consider Heathrow express if coming from Heathrow but it turns out to be expensive for bigger groups as compared to Uber. A good cheap option is National express bus service.  London has multiple ride sharing services including Uber, ViaVan, Kapten etc. 

A trip to London can be combined with other amazing towns such as Bath and Edinburgh. For simplicity, those options have not been added in this post. 

Within London, public transport and Uber are great options. Hiring a car is an unnecessary hassle. For the tube or buses you can get an Oyster card. These services also accept contactless cards although conversion fees need to be considered. Hop-on hop-off bus is a good option to cover the main touristy spots in a single day. 

Accommodation

The best places to stay in London include Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Mayfair. If you are looking for something more fun and quirky, consider Camden Market or Shoreditch. They are slightly far from the main places but easy few tube stops. 

 

London Map.png

Graphic by Ala Local.

The markings on the map are an approximation.

Top Hotels in London:

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The Savoy 

*****

The Chesterfield Mayfair 

****

Amba Charring Cross

****

Find more hotels in London via Booking.com

Top things to do

See

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Museums

  1. Victoria & Albert Museum 

  2. British Museum 

  3. Natural History Museum 

  4. Tate Modern 

  5. Tower of London 

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Monuments 

  1. Buckingham Palace

  2. Westminster Palace

  3. Tower Bridge

  4. London Eye

  5. Big Ben

  6. St. Paul's Cathedral

  7. Windsor Castle

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Park

  1. Hyde Park 

  2. Regent Park (Primrose Hill)

  3. St.James Park 

  4. Regents Canal

  5. Kensington Gardens

  6. Kew Gardens

Experiences 

  1. Shoreditch street art tour.

  2. Walk around the beautiful Notting Hill neighborhood.

  3. Catch a show in a London theatre. 

  4. See London views from London Eye/ Shard / Sky Garden. 

  5. Go window shopping at Harrods, Selfridges or Bicester Village (outlet mall). 

  6. Take the Harry Potter walking tour.

  7. Chill with friends at a neighborhood London Pub.

  8. Have afternoon tea, the British way. 

Eat

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Indian

  1. Kati Roll (Soho) $ 

  2. Vijay South Indian (Kilburn) $

  3. Chai thali (Camden) $$

  4. Hoppers (Soho) $$

  5. Dishoom (Multiple) $$

  6. Brigadiers (St.Pauls) $$

  7. Indian Accent (Mayfair) $$$ 

  8. Jamavar (Mayfair)  $$$

Italian & Pizza

  1. Homeslice  (Multiple) $$

  2. Ina Stores (Soho) $$

  3. Cafe Murano (Multiple) $$

  4. Padella (Borough Market) $$

  5. Novikov Italian (Mayfair)  $$$

  6. Bocca di Lupo (Soho) $$$

  7. Locanda locatelli (Marylebone) $$$$

  8. Murano (Mayfair)  $$$$

Chinese

  1. Hakkasan (Mayfair) $$$

  2. Novikov (Mayfair)  $$$

  3. Yauatcha (Soho) $$$

  4. Hutong  (Shard) $$$$

  5. Pheonix Place (Marylebone) $$$

   Ramen: 

  1. Bone Daddies (Multiple) $$

  2. Shoryu (Multiple) $$

Bars

  1. Lyaness

  2. Bar Termini 

  3. Mr.Foggs

  4. Any British Pubs

  5. Sketch Bar

  6. Artesian at the langham

  7. Connaught Bar

  8. Sky Garden Bars for the views

Modern European

  1. The Ivy (Multiple)  $$

  2. Farmacy (Notting Hill) $$

  3. Galvin by the windows  (Mayfair) $$$

  4. Sketch (Soho)  $$$$

  5. Clove club (Hackney)  $$$$

Latin American

  1. Andina (Shoreditch) $$

  2. Coya (Mayfair) $$$

  3. Lima (Fitzrovia) $$$

  4. Pachamama (Marylebone) $$$

    Mexican

  1. Wahaca (Multiple) $$

  2. Cantina Loredo (Covent Garden)  $$$

Mediterranean

  1. Maroush (Soho) $$

  2. Honey & Co (Fitzrovia) $$ 

  3. Ishbilia (Mayfair) $$$

  4. Nopi (Soho) $$$

Fast Food

  1. Pret 

  2. Leon 

  3. Joe & Juice 

  4. Itsu

Japanese

  1. Sticks n Sushi (Multiple) $$

  2. Sushi Samba (Multiple) $$$

  3. Roka (Multiple) $$$

  4. Nobu (Multiple) $$$$

Food Markets

  1. Borough Market

  2. Camden Market 

  3. Mercato

Desserts 

  1. Said

  2. Laduree 

  3. Cutter & Squidge

Afternoon Tea 

  1. Fortnum & Mason 

  2. Mr.Foggs

  3. Sketch

Popular Tours

Harry Potter walking tour

Harry Potter tour

Palaces walking tour

Shoreditch Street Art

Places on Google Map

Sample Itineraries

5-7 days, no kids

Day 1:  Head out to Borough Market for lunch. Walk around the Hyde park area in the afternoon. Relax and enjoy London for the rest of the day by walking around the Soho area. Eat at one of the fantastic restaurants in Carnaby Street. You can fit in some window shopping in Selfridges and Oxford street as well. 

 

Day 2: Start with Buckingham Palace and watch the change of guards. Walk around and see Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Churchill War rooms. Get on the London Eye for London views. Spend your evening exploring and walking around South Bank area. End your night soaking in views of Tower Bridge. You can either do hop on hop off or the palaces walking tour to cover all this. 

 

Day 3: Visit the Natural History museum and Victoria & Albert museum. Entry to these museums is free. Spend your afternoon at Madame Tussauds or St.Paul’s Cathedral. Catch a show in London’s theatre in the evening. If booked in advance, prices can be much cheaper than New York. 

 

Day 4: Stroll through streets of Notting Hill in the morning and get brunch there. Head to Kensington Gardens and Palace, residence of Prince William and Duchess Kate. Get afternoon tea at one of the traditional London hotels or something more modern like Sketch. Later head to the iconic Harrods store. For dinner head to Mercato or eat at a Michelin star restaurant. 

 

Day 5: Checkout Primrose Hill in Regents Park in the morning. Head to Camden Market for lunch and explore the area. Take the Shore-ditch street art tour later in the afternoon. Spend your evening walking around Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar square and Covent Garden. Get dinner at Covent Garden.  

 

Day 6: Add Tate Modern or British Museum. Add Windsor Castle. 

 

Day 7: Add Bath day trip. 

5-7 days, with kids

Day 1:  Head out to Borough Market for lunch. Walk around the Hyde park area in the afternoon. These parks have swings etc. for kids so plan to spend some quality time. You can pack a picnic blanket and some food and wine for the park. Relax and enjoy London for the rest of the day by walking around the Soho area. Eat at one of the fantastic restaurants in Carnaby street. You can fit in some window shopping in Selfridges and Oxford street as well. 

 

Day 2: Start with Buckingham Palace and watch the change of guards. Walk around and see Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben (reopens in 2021, currently under a scaffold). Get on the London Eye for London views. Spend your evening exploring and walking around South Bank area. End your night soaking in views of Tower Bridge. You can do hop on hop off or the palaces walking tour to cover all this. 

 

Day 3: Start your day with Harry Potter walking tour. Then head for entertaining wax statues at Madame Tussauds . Catch a show like Lion King in London’s theatre during the evening. If booked in advance, prices can be much cheaper than New York. 

 

Day 4: Head to Natural History museum in the morning. Spend your afternoon at Covent Garden. Later head to the iconic Harrods store. For dinner head to Mercato or eat at a Michelin star restaurant. 

 

Day 5: Checkout Primrose Hill in Regents Park in the morning. Then head to the London Zoo. Spend your evening walking around Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar square. Get dinner at Covent Garden or Mayfair.  

 

Day 6: Add Windsor castle and London toy stores. 

 

Day 7: Add Bath day trip.