Planning to Visit London? Here’s THE Travel Guide.
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London, England

Once called Londinium this city is the second most visited in the world behind Bangkok. And with an incredible history of world colonization, there’s no wonder more than 300 languages are spoken here. Can you believe there are more Indian restaurants than Mumbai or Delhi? Let’s visit London!

What To Do? Don’t Miss London’s Iconic “Must-See’s”!
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As one of the world’s largest and most visited cities in the world, London could keep you busy for days. Here’s some London’s most iconic, “must-see” sites.

Palace of Westminster

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Commonly known as the House of Parliament, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on the North bank of the River Thames. Dating back to 1016, this gothic-styled building spans nearly 900 feet across and is 323 feet at it’s highest point.


Westminster Bridge

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Built in the mid-1700’s, Westminster Bridge spans 820 feet and offers up great views of some of London’s most iconic structures. This green bridge is the oldest surviving road bridge across the Thames.


Westminster Abbey

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This Roman Catholic Church can be found just behind the palace of the same name. The site of nearly every coronation since 1066, this church has also hosted many royal weddings and is the eternal resting place for some of London’s finest.


Big Ben

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While many think of the clock tower when referring to “Big Ben,” the name is actually for the great bell inside. This giant bell is over 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall, and rings every hour, on the hour.


Saint James’s Park

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Unwind for awhile in this tranquil and beautiful park. Saint James Park covers 57 acres and is stocked with ducks, pelicans, and squirrels.


Buckingham Palace

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No visit to London is complete without a visit to the legendary home of the Royal Family. This regal palace was built in 1703 for the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby. Don’t miss the “Changing of the Guard” cermony, which takes place everyday at 11:30am between April and the end of July, and alternate days between August and March.



What To Do? How About A Road Trip With Wicked Campers!?
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The “British Isles” consist of two main islands(Great Britain and Ireland), surrounded by over six thousand smaller islands. Did you know you could take a ferry between the two? We took an epic 2500 mile journey through England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Check out our fifteen part mini-series, we dubbed “One Wicked Road Trip!”

Getting to London

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TRAIN

Trains throughout Europe are a great option. You’ll avoid lines at the airport, enjoy beautiful scenery, and they can be very comfortable. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling through Europe make sure you look into the Rail Europe pass. Fares & Schedules


FLY

You will likely land at one of two airports: London Heathrow Airport, located 14 miles west of city center, or London Gatwick Airport located about 30 miles south of the city center. Find flights to Heathrow from Paris for $42 or Barcelona for $41 and flights into Gatwick start as low as $31 with our favorite flight search site Skyscanner. **note: You can also fly into London Stansted Airport from over 20 countries for as little as $5.

London Flight Deals


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BUS

Buses are not our favorite mode of travel.. The seats are generally cramped, the ride is bumpy, and departure/arrival times can be unpredictable. Generally bus travel is less expensive but takes much longer than a train. For example, the ride from Edinburgh costs $30 but takes over 9 hours.

London Heathrow Airport to City Center

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Bus

For roughly $4 you can take a 30-50 minute bus ride (depending on traffic) to London Victoria Station. Look for the National Express Bus(white with red and blue lettering).

Metro/ Subway/ Tube

Follow the ‘London Underground’ signs inside the airport downstairs. The Piccadilly Line will take you to the city center in 30 minutes for about $7.50.


Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express will take you to the city center in about 15 minutes for $28. Due to the speed, convenience, and comfort this is our recommended transport into London.

London Gatwick Airport to City Center

Bus

For roughly $10 you can take a 90 minute bus ride (depending on traffic)to London Victoria Station. Look for the National Express Bus (white with red and blue lettering).

Taxi

For roughly $29 per person, get to the city center in about an hour(depending on traffic).


Train

For about $18, you can take the Gatwick Express to London Victoria station in 30 minutes.

Getting around in London

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Walk

Walkscore.com gives London a score of 100, calling it a “Walker’s Paradise.” We also found this to be true. Walking around London is highly recommended.


Uber

Less expensive than the iconic black cabs of London, Uber is available in London and we do recommend it.


Metro

Public transport in London is very user-friendly. The London Underground is made up of twelve color-coded tube lines, 270 stations, a DLR line, and a local train network that will keep you very well-connected throughout the city. Purchase a visitor Oyster Card and pay about 50% less than using cash.

Where To Stay in London

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HOTELS

London offers a wide range of hotels to choose from. High-end hotels like Bulgari Hotel or The Berkeley run about $550 a night, while reasonably priced hotels like Ashburn Hotel or Studios 2 Let Hotel go for about $90 a night. We recommend shopping Agoda.com when searching for hotels in London.

London Hotel Deals



HOSTELS

With just over 190 hostels available in London, you will likely find one that suites your needs but it’s always best to plan in advance. Prices generally range from $15-$26 a night for a dorm room, while private rooms cost a bit more at about $70-$100 per night. Hostelworld is our recommended resource when searching for hostels in London.

London Hostel Deals


AIRBNB

We love Airbnb! From private rooms to entire homes, there are plenty of choices when visiting London. If you’re a first-timer with Airbnb, use this coupon and enjoy $35 off of your stay.


NEIGHBORHOODS

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Choosing a neighborhood is an important part of trip planning that should not be overlooked! London is a large city of 32 boroughs, each subdivided into unique neighborhoods. While our general recommendation is to stay near the city center, here are some of the best areas to consider when deciding where to stay in London.


Heart of the City: Westminster

Think historic landmarks, tourists, and businessmen carrying briefcases. Westminster is home to the grand House of Parliament, iconic Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the majestic Buckingham Palace. While this neighborhood is slightly more expensive than it’s neighbors, you won’t have to worry about transportation costs as everything is just outside your door.


North of the River:Kensington

Just close enough to all the hustle and bustle of the city center, Kensington is home to the elegant Kensington Palace, historical museums, and the relaxing Hyde Park.

North of the River:Covent Garden and Soho

These eclectic neighborhoods located north of the River are where you’ll go for shopping, street performers, theaters, and cocktails on sidewalks.

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South of the River: Lambeth

Not to be confused with the large Borough of the same name, this small neighborhood is nestled up against the south side of the River. This neighborhood is well-connected, less crowded and offers up stunning views of Westminster Palace and Big Ben. Lambeth is home to hip coffee shops, tasty restaurants and the Imperial War Museum.

South of the River: Kennington

This mostly residential neighborhood on the south side of the river is home to the Beefeater Gin distillery, a weekly farmers market, and is a multi-cultural melting pot. Find a wide range of restaurants in Kennington, from Persian to Vietnamese to Portuguese, not to mention great pubs, and the lovely Kennington Park.


Away from the City: Twickingham

About twelve miles to the southwest of London, this idyllic suburb is home of the famous Twickingham Stadium, the world’s largest rugby stadium. This neighborhood is a good place for a stroll and offers up fantastic Indian, Italian, and Thai restaurants. Good for families and anyone looking for a taste of suburban London culture, this is an adorable little town.

London Travel Tips

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London Travel Tips: Tipping

A general rule in the United Kingdom is that tipping, while appreciated, isn’t necessary. For good service, tip your bartender or restaurant server 5% to 10%. But first, be sure that a service charge has not been added. Tip your taxi driver by rounding up.

London Travel Tips: Money

United Kingdom’s national currency is the Pound, and is currently exchanging at 0.79GBP to $1USD. Credit cards are accepted at most places and ATM machines are readily available.**Pound to Dollar exchange rates are currently volatile.**


London Travel Tips: Insurance

Traveling through London is exciting and safe, but you never know when some good travel insurance could come in handy. World Nomads offers the best coverage in the business, is affordable, and is quick to act should something go wrong. For more info, check out our recent World Nomads blog post.


If planning to visit London, you might want to check out our London resource page.


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4 Responses to “Planning to Visit London? Here’s THE Travel Guide.”

  1. Lucinda

    Great information! Spent 5 days there last July after 2 weeks in France and then taking Eurostar into London. Hyde Park was beautiful! We did all of the tourist things you’ve listed except the British Isles. We took the underground much of the time and black taxi’s other than that. Took the train to Salisbury and visited Stonehenge… not to be missed! Worth the day trip out!
    Walking? Three weeks in France and England… logged 95 walking miles.

    Reply
    • Josh Sedivy

      Hi Lucinda, sounds like an epic trip! If there is one thing you would recommend to our readers that they shouldn’t miss while in London, what would it be?

      Reply
  2. AlicevstheWorld

    I’d also highly recommend the various museums as well! They are totally unmissable, especially considering that many are totally free!

    Reply

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