If you are planning your first visit to London, you will be at sea to know what to do unless you have proper knowledge and essential tips regarding various aspects of your stay, where you should stay, the places that you should see, the places where you should eat and how to move about the city most economically. Given below are a few tips for your convenience.
Where to Stay in London
At the outset, you should be aware that London is basically an expensive city and accommodation cost can also take away a large portion of your budget. As such, you have to plan judiciously after browsing the websites of various accommodation options.
The redeeming feature is that London offers all categories of places to stay whether you are looking for the most expensive luxury 5-star boutique hotels or affordable places such as hostel rooms, dormitories, cheap hotels or bed & breakfast hotels. If you are visiting London with your family, you should look for a suitable family accommodation and if you are visiting for sightseeing or even for business, it would be most convenient if you can stay in central London since most attractions and business offices are located in this area.
There are countless accommodation options in central London whether you need a bed and breakfast or a luxury hotel.
Most landmarks of London such as Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and various museums and art galleries are all concentrated in or around this area and as such by staying in a hotel here, you will be able to visit these places with ease without wasting any time, energy or money in commuting. It is also essential to find a hotel close to a tube station so that you can visit other places easily.
Staying in a hotel near London Paddington station will be one of your best options as Paddington station offers both tube and rail connections and is the terminal of the Heathrow Express which offers a 20 min non-stop journey to Heathrow Airport.
There are many hotels that combine comfortable accommodation with the best of facilities and economic room rates in central London and its neighborhoods and one of the best ones is Shaftesbury Premier Paddington which offers luxurious accommodation, good facilities and proximity to Paddington station and many other London attractions.
Many areas in the Central London district are also ideal for staying such as Covent Garden that offers a fantastic array of shops, restaurants and attractions, besides being around the corner from Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. It is close to West End theatres, Trafalgar Square and Somerset House.
If you wish to stay in a trendy, cool and up-and-coming area, you can stay in East London where you can get different types of accommodation ranging from hostels for revellers attracted by Shoreditch nightlife to luxury hotels for business travelers. The area is famous for its street art and many other attractions. If you wish to explore the rest of the city, you can stay at Greenwich that offers quick transport links and many attractions.
If you wish to stay in a posh, sophisticated and affluent area, you should choose a hotel in the elegant neighborhoods of Kensington and Chelsea which is full of world-class restaurants, museums and designer boutiques and offers an opportunity to do a bit of celebrity-spotting. South Kensington offers many popular museums and galleries such as the V&A and the Natural History Museum and the Saatchi Gallery.
For a cheap stay, you can opt for staying in North London as the hotels in this area offer good value for money. It offers efficient transport links to Central London and other places. For staying in a charming place, a few minutes from Central London, you can choose hotels in Notting Hill which has plenty of restaurants and boutiques. You can stay here to explore everything, from antiques to souvenirs at the famous Portobello Market and if you are there in August, you can visit the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival.
Which Places to See in London
London is known for its large number of tourist attractions as it offers 200 museums, 123 historical monuments, 108 music halls, 30 historical gardens, 857 art galleries and more than 300 venues where more than 17,000 music performances take place each year.
London also holds around 250 festivals every year.
With so much to see and do, it is important to choose the ones that suit your interests so that you can accommodate them in the short span of your visit.
However, the recommended top attractions are the Coca Cola London Eye, the historic Tower of London, the Sealife London Aquarium, the Science Museum, the Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Somerset House. Many of the attractions have a steep entry fee but there are many others that are free to enter.
As such, if you have a tight budget, you should visit only the free museums. You can also obtain a London Pass that will provide relief on your travel and will also provide free entry to more than 60 attractions.
Taking Day Tours in London
London offers plenty of tours, attractions and events and it offers a great base to explore other nearby UK sites and cities including Stonehenge, Windsor, Oxford and Bath for which many cheap day trips available from London along with attractive deals, offers and packages. There are coach tours to Shakespeare’s Stratford and to Oxford and Cambridge and many nearby places.
No trip to London can be complete without visiting the theatres in the West End area where you can see some of the best plays and musicals of the world. You can get cheap tickets at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square.