London, UK, London

— Alice Johnson
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Adult, Family, Group getaway, Solo, City
  • Activity level: easy
  • Ideal length of trip: 3-5

to & from

You’re spoilt for choice with London airports. London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton and London Stansted all offer convenient access to the city. If you’re travelling from the continent, the Eurostar, Channel Tunnel and ferry are more characterful ways to travel.

  • If you bring your car on one of the latter two options, park it cheaply with YourParkingSpace and take public transport during your London stay. Traffic’s notoriously bad.

stay

London’s hostels aren’t cheap, but standards and style exceed the average found in most major European cities.

  • Budget: I recommend Generator at King’s Cross for a jazzy atmosphere and decent amounts of personal space.
  • Mid-market: Airbnb is my first choice – many London homes have quaint or quirky personalities. Definitely the best way to experience the city like a local.
  • Premium: the Town Hall Hotel is a 5-star masterpiece of British humour and flair. Surprisingly, the wine bar won’t break the bank, so it’s great for a posh evening out even if you don’t stay the night.

eat and drink

London is full of amazing places to grab a bite, whether it’s for lunch or dinner!

  • Borough Market – if you’re lucky, you can construct a full size brunch through diligent sampling
  • The Regency Café in Pimlico is an art deco icon of Full English breakfast destinations, but there’s not much separating their menu from every other neighbourhood café!
  • Flat Iron Square – hipster street market vibe. Will entertain you well past dessert
  • Chick 'n Sours – festival of neon serving wings as big as yours
  • Chinatown – Soho comes alive at night. Line your stomach with dumplings before cocktails at Opium (and don’t be intimidated by the doorman!)

do

You know the saying: when a man is bored of London, he’s bored of life!

  • Oxford Street – clichéd chain stores galore, but that’s the appeal
  • Covent Garden – blissful commercial neighbourhood featuring small and fancy boutiques
  • Tate Modern – art mecca
  • West End – ultimate tourist destination. The Palace Theatre is a dominant landmark
  • Natural History Museum – say hi to Hope the blue whale and Dippy the Diplodocus. You’ll learn more than any history lesson in high school
  • Trafalgar Square – magnificent and lively public space
  • South Bank – edgy riverside cultural hub
  • Islington High Street – unspoilt, upmarket passage for drinking, dining and antique shopping Brick Lane – bustling street market for food and alternative fashion. Brave the curry houses at your peril
  • Lidos – Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park is ideal for cooling off in summer, or impressing your travel companions in winter
  • Parks – all 8 of London’s Royal Parks are spectacularly landscaped. They’re perfect for picnicking and picturesque strolls

inside scoop

  • ‘Boris’ bikes – nicknamed after former London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Santander-branded bicycles are available to hire at docking stations all across the city. A healthy way to take in London’s scenery, arguably less sweaty than the tube…
  • Night tube – the Tube runs all hours from Friday to Sunday. And there’s Wifi underground. You’re welcome.

skip it

  • London Eye – Just. So. Slow. Better views without swaying aerial sickness at Sky Pod Bar
  • Changing of the Guard – nothing to see here, even if you do push through the crowds
  • Stairs on the underground – to be avoided, particularly at Covent Garden on a weekend. Unless you really, really want to work off that Full English.

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