Traveling to London is always a good idea. This great city is considered one of the most important global cities in the world.
It is not only known for its multicultural and cosmopolitan influence, it is also one of the most visited places worldwide. I personally like it so much that I have been there on different occasions – and every time I go I find something new to discover.
To make things easier for you. I have selected for you a list of things to do, places to visit, even a list of restaurants to make it easier for you to plan your stay in London.
In addition to this guide, I have a complete guide on where to stay in London and cheap hostels in London in case you want to complement your trip with the multiple accommodation options that I have selected for you.
As always, you can jump to the points directly by clicking on the corresponding link or continue reading and have all the information.
This comprehensive guide covers:
- When to travel to London
- What is the currency of London
- Things to consider when traveling to London
- What to see in London
- What is the food like in London?
- Where to sleep in London?
- What clothes to wear to London?
- Is it expensive to travel to London?
- Day trips from London
- Itineraries: 3-4 days, one week in London
What if you prepare a tea, make yourself comfortable, and dare to read all the things to do in London?
Here we go…
1. When to travel to London?
Throughout the year, the UK capital receives hundreds of tourists, making the city never stop. In principle, perhaps you are excited to see so much movement: lights, large buildings, streets set with thousands of people … but after a few days, this can become a bit overwhelming.
So from my experience, it is best to look for the low season. October and November are usually wonderful months since it is not yet extremely cold and there are fewer people in the city.
Clearly, throughout Europe the high season is during the summer, and London is no exception.
October and November – the best time to travel to London
This is undoubtedly one of the best options. During these months, the children are already back at school and people prefer to travel to warmer places. These months are not the coldest, it is not that cold yet. In addition everything is cheaper and less chaotic than in high season.
The cultural offer in London is always at your disposal, so if you choose to travel in other months than Summer, you will be able to participate in everything the city has to offer. And better yet, you will find cheaper hotels in more central locations.
Summer – good temperature, but expensive
June to September is the warmest time in the UK, therefore they are tourists’ favorite months because they can better enjoy a good cold beer, take light city tours of the city and sunbathe.
Wow, that seems like a good idea but it becomes a mistake … Another time that I do not recommend for price and many tourists is Christmas. Although its decoration is beautiful, everything is much more expensive.
Winter- hard and very cold
It would be a shame to be in one of the most popular cities in the world and not be able to experience it 100%. During winter there is too much rain, and it can even snow. Although if your priority is the economy you can venture to travel in this time that money will surely pay you more. January and February is when you will find lower prices.
2. What is the currency of London
The official currency of London is the British Pound GBP (£). It’s called british pound.
Pounds have pennies, which are called penny (plural, singular is pence). For example, when you see £ 0.50 and ask for the price, they will tell you that it is worth “50 penny.”
We have, then, that the official names are british pounds and pennys. But beware, you can find that the person who attends you uses jargon.
So you might hear “pee” instead of pence / penny.
They also use “quid” for pounds, especially young people. So if you go to a club, and they ask for 16 quids, they are asking for 16 pounds.
The 5-note is also often called “fiver” and the 10-note “tenner.”
Now you have all the jargon so you don’t miss a penny. Are you ready.
To avoid having to think all the time about currency conversion, I use a free application on my mobile called XE Currency .
This application helps me to be aware at all times of the exact price of things by converting the amounts to my currency. The best thing is that you will only need a connection at the first moment (when downloading the conversion), then you can use the application without having to be connected to the internet.
3. Things to consider when traveling to London
There are small details that can be missed in our travel task checklist. I understand … this is the most difficult part when organizing any trip: Planning!
Luckily, I have a list of important things that we sometimes overlook but that will save you
It has also happened to me many times, that small details have made me stress at a certain point in the trip, so my best option is to leave you here that small list of things that we ignored on our trip to London so that both you and I Let us never forget them again.
Two essential to take into account on your trip to London are:
The voltage of electricity in London may differ from what you have in your city.
In the case of England, the electricity is 230V / 50Hz (Type G).
To avoid problems – like not being able to plug in your iron, or charge your mobile, remember to pack your plug adapter. With an adapter in your suitcase you will never have problems. This will fit both European and UK plugs.
It is also important to know that in the same place where the electronics are plugged in there is a button to turn the plug on and off. So if you are trying to charge your camera and it doesn’t work, check that the switch on the plug is on.
English is spoken in London, and it is one of the best places to learn it, as its accent is very stylish. It is also one of the best places to jump into saying the four sentences you know if you still don’t dare to speak.
Why do I say it? Well, because there are so many people that, even if it cuts you, the probability of running into that person again in your life is low. Also, the Americans and the British use other words, so they are used to putting their ears to understand what the other says.
So go ahead, don’t be ashamed and start asking.
I leave you here, however, words that are very British and may be different from what you learned, as I mentioned in the currency section.
Here are some more very British words, from the jargon, so they don’t confuse you:
Loo = bathroom (toilett also accept it) Cheers = thank you Lift = elevator Queue = row / queue Bin = trash Boot = trunk Fag = cigar Cashpoint = ATM Trainers = sneakers / sneakers Zebra Crossing = zebra crossing (crosswalk) Chemist = pharmacy Biscuit = cookie Chips = potato chips, french fries Crisps = chips Ground floor = ground floor Petrol = gasoline
London has one of the largest urban transport networks in the world, with integrated bus, river and road systems spanning the city’s 32 districts. If we don’t know how to get around big cities, we can have a bad time. It’s no secret to anyone that getting lost in a big city is too frustrating. So don’t be shy, ask for a subway map when you walk in, and start getting familiar.
With public transportation traveling around the city is made easy and convenient. Plus, they have the Oyster Card, a ticket that covers all their transportation needs. The Oyster Card will allow you to save money, almost up to 50% if you move around a lot, since they have a maximum amount per day of £ 4.5. Everything you use above that amount you will not pay.
I am a fan of walking or cycling but it is true that in cities as big as London, it is not so easy to get to all points. So take note of the following transport options so that you can move quickly and without problem to different points of the city.
London public transport networks
- London Underground (Tube)
- Docklands Light Rail
The best way to get around London by public transport is to use the Oyster Card. Above all, because they do not accept paying on the bus in cash!
or you will have to buy a ticket every time you ride the subway (and it will be more expensive)
You get the Oyster Card at the metro ticket machine, it costs about £ 5 to have the physical card, which will be returned to you when you return the card. And you can recharge it as many times as you want with the amount you need. Take a good look, because there are rates of 1-2-3 days that can be paid to you if you want to see everything possible.
With the Oyster Card you will travel easier in the city and it is much more convenient if we talk about money. Not to mention the constant queues that will save you.
To get around on the subway, avoid the hours of 7 am to 9 am from Monday to Friday. It is the rush hour, the time when many people travel to get to their workplace.
An excellent and easy way to get around the city for those who have very little time and mobility is through the Hop-on Hop-off bus. It is a bus that lets you get on and off as many times as you want for a daily price.
They offer 6 different bus routes to see the attractions of the capital. I recommend it for older people, or people who do not like to eat their heads deciding how to move, and of course, those who want to see the emblematic monuments in the most comfortable way possible.
By purchasing the hop-on hop-off bus ticket, you can navigate the River Thames between Westminster and the Tower of London with your free river cruise pass.
Bicycles can be rented in London using a public bicycle rental scheme called Santander Cycles. You only need £ 2 to access a bike for 24 hours, which are FREE for the first 30 minutes of each trip.
This system has more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bicycles for rent, making it easier and faster to use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
I recommend that if you feel like cycling, take a tour of The River Thames, or the Hyde park … You have several routes on the page of Santander cycles.
Taxis in London are quite expensive. I recommend that you only use them if you really need them. Public transport is very good in the city, so surely you will not need to use them.
However, if you have to use them, look for black cabs around town.
4. What to do in London
London one of the few cities that in addition to transporting you to the past and also allows you to explore a vision of the future.
London … has it all, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the first impression. If I mentioned each of the things to do it would not end. So, I have decided to summarize the list of essential things to facilitate your search and highlight those essential places that you must visit for 2-3 days in London.
We start with one of my favorites, one where both young and old will hallucinate, and suitable for all budgets, as it is one of the free things you can do in London.
4.1 Candem Market
Without a doubt, what I like the most every time I go to London is the Candem Lock. And it is that as much as you can see royalty, architecture, and breathe the British air in its splendor, what you see at Candem Market you do not see anywhere else in the world.
Forget about royalty, here you will see everything that comes and is to come, the latest fashion, people with very peculiar styles, and also a lot of freedom of expression. It is a place where you will spend hours and hours, especially if you stop to observe people.
Quiet, you can eat at their street stalls, which are also one of the cheap options for eating in the city.
4.2 St. Paul’s Cathedral
An emblematic Cathedral and one of the main tourist attractions in the city. Its architecture is amazing so it is worth going inside to see it.
You can also take some very cool photos from the outside but if you have time, I recommend seeing it inside.
As in all popular places, you should queue, and maybe that’s not the fun part, but you can always buy your tickets through GetyourGuide and skip the tail. In addition to the quick access they offer guided tours so that you know all its history and admire the views from the dome.
4.3 Shakespeare’s balloon
If you are passionate about theater, this is an excellent plan during your visit.
Shakespeare’s Globe – It is a replica of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, where the artist wrote his works.
It is in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames.The entrance costs about € 18 and on the tour they explain a little about the history of the theater, how the shows were produced during the time of Shakespeare, as well as his plays
4.4 Changing of the guard
Ok, I admit it, this is a tourist, … but many people are curious to see it, and I understand it. It is a free activity, so if you have time or interest go to Buckingham Palace to see it.
The changing of the guard ceremony is done every day at 11:30.
If you do not go during the ceremony, you can also go to see the famous palace guards at another time, you will find them standing there guarding the door.
Just so you know, don’t provoke reactions from the guards. They have orders to always stand still but they have full power to take action if they need to.
Be respectful, since being there is your job.
4.5 London Dungeon
If you want to have the adrenaline to the fullest, be sure to visit El London dungeon.
A tourist attraction near London’s South Bank, perfect for riskier travelers. Here you will feel panic at its best because you will live macabre and bloody scenes with the typical black humor that characterizes the English.
Live actors, special effects and different attractions will make you feel in an authentic horror scene.
Note: Important! Cameras are not allowed.
4.6 Trafalgar Square
If you like going out on a tourist, taking photos or just sitting at a bar to enjoy a beer and the atmosphere, be sure to stop by Trafalgar Square.
A very cool and very famous square in central London, with an impressive historical charge of the Battle of Trafalgar. It is the place where the British army defeated the French and Spanish armies in 1805.
4.7 The view from the Shard
London deserves to be seen from the top and you can do it at the Shard. Allow yourself to admire this metropolis from a 72nd floor and a 360 degree panoramic view. You will freak out with his views. Amazing
4.8 Visit the National Gallery
If you are an art fan, be sure to visit the National Gallery of London. On a tour of approximately two hours you will be able to see the incredible works of famous artists such as Van Gogh & Da Vinci and learn about the history of art since the year 1,300.
It is important that you carry your documentation and not use suitcases or large bags.
The truth, a dream I had a long time ago was to see the musical of the Lion King in London or New York. Worth every penny, even if you find it expensive. And it is normal that it cannot be cheap: the scenery, the costumes, the production … simply WoW.
Maybe you are more of a Harry Potter lover, Mama Mia Or you prefer to know a story like Les Miserables.
Whatever your taste, look for a musical and go see it, you will not regret it. And if it is your first trip (but not the last one) and you are making the trip as cheap as possible, well … skip this wonder. But if you can get it from another side (they are a few cocktails) I encourage you to make the effort.
4.10 British Museum
I am going to be honest, I am not a lover of museums, but in London many times museums are very good shelters from the cold and / or rain. Also, this museum is free! So kill two birds with one stone: you learn something, and you protect yourself from the cold.
What I liked most about the British Museum is being able to see the rosette stone in first person. They also have a lot of temples, and Egyptian things.
Other free museums in London:
- Natural History Museum
- Science museum
- National Gallery
- Museum of London
- Imperial War Museum
- Horniman Museum and Gardens
- National Maritime Museum
- A Museum of Childhood
- Sir John Soane’s Museum
- Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheater
- Wallace Collection
- National Portrait Gallery
- Tate Britain
- Royal air force museum
- Wellcome Collection
- British Library
- Whitechapel Gallery
- Museum of London Docklands
- National Army Museum
- Serpentine Galleries
As you can see, the list of free museums in the city is very long. All cities could already be like this!
If you go with kids, the national history museum will be the one that most impresses children, as there is a huge dinosaur skeleton. It is also free, so if you get tired … you leave without regrets and ready.
4.11 Hyde park
You can’t leave London without strolling through Hyde Park. And it is that this park is the lung of the city. It is the equivalent of New York’s central park. So get ready to see Londoners running, strolling, or enjoying their food on their midday break.
Disconnect from the rhythm of the city, the park is large, with several areas.
Also, there are a lot of squirrels. Go back to your childhood watching them climb the trees.
4.12 London Eye
One of the most visited attractions in the city since it was opened back in the year 2,000. The London Eye is a little expensive, and touristy, but it is a unique experience.
Honestly, I liked seeing the city from up there.
If you want to save money, then I will tell you another place from where you can get a panoramic view of the city, although the point of view will not be the same.
The bad part of the London Eye, in my opinion, is the long line and the attempt to sell you things on your visit (I do not like that they try to sell me more things – like an extra photo around here – if I already paid admission, but for tastes the colors).
I explain the operation to make you aware. There are 2 types of tickets:
- basic entry – regular ticket, with its queue belonging
- Skip-the-line entry – fast-line, with a direct entry showing the ticket. You must decide what time you want the visit and you pass before the people in line at the basic entrance.
He undoubtedly opts for the fast-line ticket! They are about € 7 more, but you will save a lot of time that you can take advantage of in line to see other things.
4.13 Tower of London
It was a fortress, a palace, a prison … Tower of London It is one of the most emblematic places in the city, so you should not miss it.
It is a UNESCO certified place of interest, and the place where you can see the crown of the British monarchy.
At the box office they told me it takes about 60 minutes to see her, but I spent almost 3 hours. It really is a place full of thousands of amazing details.
I recommend you take a tour and walk among the towers. There is a lot of history hidden within those walls, and the best way to digest it is with a guide who explains it to you.
4.14 Big ben
Stand in the Parliament Square at noon and listen to Big Ben, another iconic monument that you should not miss on your trip.
If you like photography, come back at night. It is the ideal place to take long exposure photos and get those magic lights.
4.15 Harry Potter
Harry Potter fans (don’t hide), in London you have several corners that you cannot miss.
In the cheap version, you can simply visit platform 3/14, which is at King’s Cross station. You can take a photo for free. Of course, depending on the time of day, you may have to queue.
You can also get a more professional photo at the Harry Potter store, which is right next door. Be careful if you enter the store, it is a temptation for fans of the saga. I know many people who have bought the magic wand.
For hardcore fans, did you know you can tour the studios?
You read that right, there is a Harry Potter tour that will take you to the studio where it was filmed and they will explain many anecdotes. If you have time, and you like Harry Potter, it is quite an interesting tour.
4.16 A garden in the sky – Sky garden
Another one of my favorite places in London where you will also have wonderful views over the city.
In the Sky garden you will find an area to admire the city from above, a terrace, a café and even a restaurant. The restaurant is expensive, but something totally unique (must be reserved in advance).
The best thing about this garden is that, apart from the wonderful views, there is no entry fee.
You can book your visit at Sky Garden website (It is mandatory to make the reservation to access the place)
It has a viewing area, terrace, café, bar, and even a restaurant. The restaurant itself is not cheap, but definitely something unique!
Advice: look at what time the sunset will be and reserve your ticket for a little earlier. Seeing the colors change is amazing.
Important: you cannot go without a reservation, you have to book the visit in www.skygardentickets.com.
I advise you to book it as soon as possible, as it is a very popular place.
4.17 Stroll around Piccadilly
You won’t see London in its entirety if you don’t walk around Piccadilly (Piccadilly circus tube stop). In this busy area, especially around 17 that is when Londoners leave their offices, it is to be able to observe the daily life of the city mixed with curious tourists. Walking is free, so ideal if you are on a tight budget.
Be careful, there are a lot of tempting shops around the area, so find your methods to consume as little as possible
4.18 More things
I don’t want to add much more to you so you don’t collide with information, but of course there are too many interesting things in this city. I leave you here a few more as a list, you can search for more information if you wish:
– Take a photo in a red cabin (there still are! You will find one near Big Ben)
– go to the zebra crossing where the Beattles made one of their covers, or to the Notting Hill bookstore … there are several places where movies were shot in the city. Find the one that interests you the most
– see Banksy’s graffiti, and many other artists (head to the Shoredict district for it).
– Borough market (more info in the food section)
5. Eat in London
The richness of each place is part of its food. Come on, for me, this is one of the best ways to know the culture and lifestyle of a country, so in London dedicate yourself to eating.
I already tell you that this city has a lot of offers in both British and international food. But what you should not miss trying (unless you are a vegetarian / vegan) is its typical English breakfast and its famous “Fish & Chips” fish and chips.
To familiarize you with English culture, I have lovingly selected my 14 favorite places to eat in London. I have selected them according to the price, taste and style of the traveler. You will find all the places marked on the map.
So say goodbye to the diet and let’s go eat …
Note: The gastronomic offer in London is endless. For now, consider the recommended listing by clicking on the map to see its location.
5.1 Cheap restaurants in London
There are cheaper options to eat in London than these restaurants that I mention – for example going to the markets like Candem Market and buying takeaways – but if you want to sit down to eat and not leave a kidney on the table, I also leave you with restaurants that They are very, very good. And they are cheap
Rosa´s Thai café Soho
If you like Asian spices and flavors, head to one of Rosa’s Thai cafes in central and eastern London for great curries, noodles, and rice.
To go to one of London’s favorite restaurants, head to Piccadilly Circus, where you’ll be more than fed at Brasserie Zedel.
Here you have entertainment and French cuisine. I recommend the pre-theater menu for just £ 10.50.
For steak lovers, the Flat Iron restaurant on Tottenham Court Road is ideal. Here’s the best beef in town for £ 10. The downside is that you can’t book, so go early to get a table.
The aubergine garnish is one of the best in London!
5.2 Medium budget restaurants
The best restaurants to eat in London between £ 20 and £ 50:
Peruvian food has taken over London in recent years. Chef Martin Morales, who opened an impressive array of restaurants, also has the incredible Andina de Shoreditch.
Share a variety of Peruvian dishes, including pork belly bites, tuna ceviche, and corn cakes with poached eggs.
Bocca Di Lupo
One of Soho’s most beloved restaurants, Bocca Di Lupo has excellent Italian food.
Tucked away on a small side street, you have a cool eating environment. You can choose between the bar to taste a delicious pasta or reserve a table to have more complete dishes.
Dalloway Terrace is a perfect choice for brunch.
The Bloomsbury Hotel’s open-air restaurant is a sweet spot just minutes from Tottenham Court Road and perfect for breakfast, an early dinner or a drink.
5.3 Expensive restaurants in London
For all those who have a bigger budget, or who want to celebrate a special occasion, check out these restaurants:
For a special occasion this is a fantastic option. The seasonal menu is very delicious and varied. They are also the work of chef Skye Gyngell.
Roka Charlotte Street
If you share a love of Asian food (and even if you don’t!), You will love Roka.
Their Charlotte Street branch is one of my favorites because it has a really cool pink cherry bar, Shochu Lounge.
The best time to go is brunch time which includes ten delicious dishes and a quantity of fizz to drink! It is really amazing.
They also have a children’s menu in case you go as a family.
Core by Clare Smyth
The Notting Hill restaurant is one of the most desired by London food lovers.
Launched by Clare Smyth, who recently won the World’s Best Female Chef award, Core is a truly elegant experience serving the best of British food.
5.4 Places to drink tea
When it comes to tea experiences, London has a great deal for all travelers. I personally love it and really enjoy trying different flavors and styles.
Therefore, when I am visiting a city I like to visit charming little places for coffee or tea.
These are some of my favorites:
For a classic afternoon tea, Claridges is a very good option and also quite British.
The hotel itself is a sight to see, but take time out in the afternoon to sample not just tea but the best sandwiches in town, hot fruit buns, and pastries.
The Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Another very good option is this little place at the Sanderson Hotel.
Located in Fitzrovia, the hotel has a super cute decoration, full of vegetation, open spaces and an interior garden where guests can be part of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, eating delights inspired by Alice in Wonderland and magic cocktails.
The Ampersand Hotel
For an afternoon tea the whole family will enjoy, The Ampersand offers a theatrical menu perfect for those who have just visited the nearby Kensington Science Museum.
Set out on a journey of discovery where jams are served on cool plates and guests have to discover their own edible dinosaur fossils!
Tea at the British Museum
Yes, you read it right, you can also have a great experience at the British Museum, perfect if you are visiting the museum and want to make a stop + an authentic British tea experience!