London travel guide

If you want to be bold and outrageous, there’s no better place than London. Equally, if you’d like to walk down the street, blend in seamlessly to the masses of people, and just watch the world go by, London is your answer. 

London is full of juxtaposition, but that’s all part of its charm! You’ll stand in front of the grandeur of Buckingham Palace or the Houses of Parliament, then round the corner you’ll find yourself in a quaint independent café overlooking the Thames. You can experience the magic of the West End, then watch the streets of Soho come to life after dark. Any traveller will find their scene in London. 

Steeped in history and bursting with diversity, the ‘big city’ has a way of making you feel like you belong. In London, you are where you need to be, and the vibrant streets are your own.

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How to get to London

As it’s the UK’s capital city, there’s plenty of options to get to London to suit any budget. The main ways that people travel to London are by car, by train, by coach, or by air.

How to get around London

There’s even more options when it comes to travelling around London than to get into London itself. Many people love to walk around the city from place to place or cycle, but you’ll also see some less conventional modes of transport too. Be prepared to come across rollerbladers, skateboarders, and people on e-scooters – you might even be tempted to try it out for yourself! 

Public transport is probably going to become your best friend in London, as it’s an easy way to bypass the congested streets and crowds of people. You can jump in a black cab, book a ride with Uber, hop on the bus, or take the tube (the underground) to your destination. If you’re heading down river, you can even hop on a water taxi to take in the sites too! 

The tube, bus and boat can all be accessed by tapping your contactless card or Apple / Google Pay. This makes it a super convenient option for travellers. Alternatively you can buy one-off tickets or use an Oyster card. In off-peak times, black cabs are generally more expensive than ride-sharing apps – but may be a better option where surge charges apply in busy periods. Black cabs will accept card payments.

Notting Hill London
Fortnum & Mason
London Bus

Best time to visit London

You’ll be greeted with a different side to London by each season. From frosty parks and icy waters to cloudless skies and cocktails, each time you visit London will be truly unique.

Spring

See the flowers bloom and things come to life as the days start to get longer. Enjoy spending time in one of London’s many green spaces or take a walk along the Thames to see the city at it’s very best. Explore the UK capital’s inviting neighborhoods in bloom, as wisteria clings to the houses and pink blossom trees frame the streets.

Summer

London in the summer time is truly unlike anything else. Grab a cocktail (or mocktail!) to match the festival vibes and see the infamous sights in a new light. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking around the city, so don’t forget your sunscreen. This is also the time to dine alfresco and enjoy balmy summer evenings in a rooftop bar with spectacular views over London.

Autumn

Walk through the streets of London as the leaves fall for some truly exquisite displays of beauty. See the leaves change to amber hues as you walk down the Buckingham Palace Mall and admire London’s beauty as the weather gets a little colder. This is also a slightly quieter time to visit London, making it a good opportunity to enjoy the various cultural attractions.

Winter

The magic of Christmas is amplified in London throughout the whole of winter. If you don’t mind getting wrapped up to see the sights, then London in winter is perfect. From the infamous Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to ice skating in front of the Natural History Museum, there’s a magical wintry activity to suit your taste.

London highlights

Afternoon tea

You simply cannot go to London without experiencing an indulgent afternoon tea. The classic British tradition of high tea brings that bit of luxury to any trip – especially as nowhere does it quite like London. Start with a sophisticated glass of Champagne before choosing from a dazzling array of teas. Then work your way through the delectable delights on offer, from finger sandwiches and scones to exquisite sweet treats.

Opt for a more traditional affair at one of London’s iconic establishments. Good options include The Ritz, the Savoy, or Fortnum & Mason. If you’re after a modern twist, head to Sketch, the Brasserie of Light at Selfridges, or XU Teahouse. Or if you’d like to experience afternoon tea with a view then head to Oblix at the Shard.

Afternoon Tea

London museums & galleries

London is absolutely steeped in both history and culture. You won’t have to walk for more than fifteen minutes before you find one of London’s famous galleries or museums.

An absolute must see for art-lovers is the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square which houses over 2,300 paintings. Another must-see is the spectacular Natural History Museum in South Kensington. The Imperial War Museum is a fantastic interactive experience, which is perfect for history buffs.

For something more unique, there are always new and exciting pop-up galleries and exhibitions in London. Check before you travel to see if you can visit one of the temporary installations – they are always worthwhile. The best part is that many of the galleries and museums in London offer free entry!

Bars & restaurants

The foodie will be right at home in London. The city has one of the best culinary scenes in the world, with an astonishing 66 Michelin-star restaurants. It’s the ultimate destination for luxury dining. But it’s not all tasting menus and lavish dining. There are a plethora of more informal, laid-back places to eat too – from quaint cafés to affordable restaurants. Whatever your taste, you’ll find something perfect for you!

Food aside, London is the ultimate destination for world-class bars and exceptional cocktails. Take a seat with your loved one in a cosy wine bar for the ultimate romantic evening. Head out with the girls to a spectacular rooftop bar with views over the city. Or simply enjoy a solo pint or G&T in one of the many welcoming London pubs. Have a read of my guide to the best Michelin-star restaurants in London for some luxury culinary inspiration.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is London a good destination for solo travellers?

London is a great destination for solo travellers. It may be a large city but it’s very well connected. It’s a thriving place where you’ll never feel alone or out of place. Female solo travellers will feel safe in London, as long as you stick to the more central or familiar neighbourhoods. Read more about the best European cities for solo travel or discover the best London hotels for solo travellers.

What is London famous for?

Arguably the most famous tourist attractions in London are Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Landmarks aside, London is world-renowned for its restaurants, shops, museums, and architecture.

Is London a safe city to visit?

London is generally a very safe city to visit. As with any European city, it’s worth always being aware of your belongings and surroundings. Pickpockets are very common, both on public transport and in the streets.

What is the tallest building in London?

The Shard is the tallest building in London, at 310m (1,016ft). It’s certainly worth a visit when in London to experience the spectacular views over London. Or if you have the budget, stay in the Shangri-la Hotel in the Shard, one of the best luxury hotels in London.

How many Michelin star restaurants in London?

There are 66 Michelin star restaurants in London. These include five restaurants with three Michelin stars, eight with two stars, and 53 with 1 Michelin star. Have read of my pick of the 20 best Michelin star restaurants in London.

What are the best day trips from London?

One of my favourite day trips from London is the beautiful Cotswolds. The New Forest is also another great London day trip option for getting back to nature. If the seaside is what you’re after, then make way to the golden beach of Camber Sands. For alternative cities to London, head to Cambridge or Bath.

LUXURY ACCOMMODATION PICKS

London is awash with luxury hotels and accommodation. From iconic establishments to up-and-coming boutique hotels, you are spoilt for choice. Here are a handful of my top picks for where to stay in London. For more options, have a read of my guide to the best luxury hotels in London, or the best London hotels for solo travellers.

The Hoxton, Shoreditch

A unique and inviting hotel with a young and relaxing vibe.

The Langham, West End

An iconic 5-star hotel offering an indulgent experience.

Brown's Hotel, Mayfair

A luxury hotel located in London’s most exclusive borough.

Artist Residence, Pimlico

A colourful boutique hotel with shabby chic interiors.

LONDON RESTAURANT PICKS

London is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. It is a city of culinary excellence, highlighted by its staggering 66 Michelin-star establishments. Whether you’re after a decadent dinner or a laid-back lunch, London has everything you could want – be it an elaborate tasting menu or something simple. If luxury is what you’re after, have a read of my top recommended Michelin-star restaurants in London. Or here are a handful of my favourite London restaurants.

Bob Bob Ricard, Soho

Iconic restaurant with the famous ‘press for Champagne’ button.

Sette, Knightsbridge

A modern and impeccably stylish Italian restaurant.

Margaux,
South Kensington

An elegant and romantic French restaurant and wine bar.

Padella,
Borough

A simple menu of eye-wateringly tasty pasta dishes.

LONDON AFTERNOON TEA PICKS

Nowhere does afternoon tea quite like London. Indulge in a spectacular display of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and beautifully crafted sweet treats. All washed down with cup after cup of tea – or a glass or two of Champagne if you’re feeling fancy. Here are some of my favourite places for afternoon tea in London:

The Ritz

A traditional afternoon tea experience in an iconic hotel.

Sketch

Famous for its pink interiors and afternoon tea with a twist.

Fortnum & Mason

A sophisticated high tea that has been running for over 300 years.

The Lanesborough

Highly Instagrammable afternoon tea by Peggy Porschen.

LONDON TRAVEL INSPIRATION

Planning a trip to London? Have a read of these London travel articles to help you plan your visit.

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