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Things to do in London: sights, accommodation, restaurants and many other tips

1 October 2012 Things to do in, UK No comment

Things to do in London: visit Tower Bridge

Some believe that London is the most beautiful city in Europe. Others say it’s Paris, Rome or Barcelona. One thing’s certain. A lot of those that stepped onto the shores of the Thames came back mesmerized. I admit, I haven’t been to London so many times and I stayed too little to really feel it. I have never reached it in my first travel years, in those romantic years when I used to sleep on the trains, dribble the border officers and every day I was happy to discover a new city. I always found it hard to get the UK visa so I haven’t been to London more than three times and I only took it by foot in one day in 1996…I’m lying, there’s also half of a day in 2006 during an awful rain. All the rests are bits and pieces or various other experiences, but not really walking around and feeling London…maybe I will one day, in’shallah!

That does not stop me though to compile the best tips on which are the best things to do in London, value for money accommodation, where to eat and others…So I will start with the best period to visit London.

When to visit London

Let’s say during summer time. It’s very unlikely that you won’t get rained on even during the middle of the summer, but it’s less likely. During the winter there can be entire days, one after another without any sun. It isn’t very cold (it rarely snows or happens that the thermometer drops below zero), but there can be a humid atmosphere that really gets to you. During the summer you have the best chances to really enjoy the capital of the United Kingdom.

How to get to London

Well, it is very hard not to find transportation to London… Almost all airlines of the world which deserve this name fly into London airports, so the fares out of London can be some of the most competitive in Europe.

Both Ryanair and Easyjet have hubs in the London airports and almost all low-cost airlines of Europe land at one of the airports – usually at Luton airport, North of London.

How to get from the airport to London City

From Luton You can book on line on the Easybus, but you are never 100% sure your flight lands on time. From my own experience, I didn’t reserve anything, when I arrived in Luton at a kiosk I was offered a bus ticket for 10 Euros or 10 Pounds (I obviously took the 10 Euros one, it’s cheaper) for a one way road to town. For the way back buy an online ticket from Easybus  because it is much cheaper than if bought from inside the bus! The prices are different depending on the day, the hour etc,.so just take a look on the site.

From Heathrow: the cheapest is to take the National Express bus that costs starting from 4 pounds for the Heathrow – Victoria Station line. There are also other tens of possibilities that you can see here.

How to travel around London

London has a complex buses network (double Decker, but not only), underground metro, suburban trains etc. There’s a card named Oyster   that you purchase for 5 Pounds (when leaving you get your money back for the card) which you top-up. Depending on how much you intend to use the public transportat, you can get one day tickets, one week tickets or simply, just pay for every trip. It is a pretty complex system (the prices depend on the area) and it did take me some time to understand and get straight what I want and especially with what amount of money to charge the Oyster.

Top 5 things to do in London

  1. British Museum – is definitely the most complex and rich museum in the world. The only real competitor is probably the Louvre, in Paris, but it seems though that the British Museum is more comprehensive.
  2. Attend a musical – London is full of theaters that offer shows that will remain in your hearts. From “Mamma Mia” to “Lion King” and from “War Horse” to “Les Miserables”, London is a cultural delight.
  3. The Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Cathedral. They are right next to each other, so it’s worth coupling them …For the Parliament you’d better book ahead.
  4. Tower of London – centuries of world domination (some would say world robbery) brought to London the most incredible jewelry on Earth – the Crown Jewels. More than that, you can see the cells of the stars of the British history like Sir Walter Raleigh.
  5. Go to a football match – London has a lot of teams in the Premier League (the most successful ones being Chelsea and Arsenal), so it’s hard not to catch a Premier League game if you stay for a couple of days. Even if you don’t like football and you have never set foot on a football stadium, a football match is really special because of the fans, first of all and the atmosphere that they create.

Where to sleep in London

Oops, that burns…in London, the accommodation prices are really high and the conditions are medium or under-medium. It’s one of those cities where it’s good to have a relative or a friend! If not, check all the sites for hotel booking, hostels or apartments that you know of. In the UK the so-called B&B – Bed & Breakfast are very trendy but do not expect symbolical prices. One of the best rated B&B’s in London, Plum Tree House  costs around 60 Pounds per double room (75 Euros, 95 Dollars) and it’s pretty far away from the center. For even smaller prices, one of the best hostels is the Generator Hostel (has other branches in Dublin, Venice and other European cities) and the prices are around 25 Pounds per person (in a room with 8 – 12 beds) and go up to 37,50 Pounds per person in a double room. Check also the prices at the EasyHotel  that start from 34 Pounds for a room with a private bathroom in Paddington or Kensington. I stayed at the EasyHotel Paddington, but be warned – the room is really small !.

Where to eat in London

London has tens of thousands of restaurants and food courts for all pockets. The cheapest are the ethnic ones and keeping in mind that most of the nationalities around the world are present in London, you will find any type of food – from shawarma to lama steak and from gazpacho to hamburgers. Look here a site full of good and cheap restaurants

These are the today’s tips about London. In case you have other tips from the capital of the UK, hotels, restaurants and what else you can visit I’d appreciate it much if you will add them here as comments.

So, have you enjoyed London? What tips can you “sell” to me?

Pictures of London:

London: The low cost Luton airport

The Luton airport – the bus station forLondon

London: Greenline Luton

This is the Luton – London bus

How to get around in London: The London underground

The London underground

Belly dancer on the streets of London

London– cultural city. You can get a show even on the streets – like a belly dance.

Things to do in London: climb London Eye

The London Eye – where you can get a glimpse of the town from high up.

Things to do in London: stare at Big Ben

The famous Big Ben, the city symbol

Things to do in London: take a Thames cruise

You can cruise the Thames

Things to do in London: visit the famous Tower Bridge

Passing under the Tower Bridge

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