We’ve just spent 6 days exploring London. Apart from tired feet and aching calves, we had an absolute blast! If you only have a number of days to explore this magnificent city, I have a few tips for you.
First up, it’s all in the basic planning. It’s good to strike the balance between planning your trip, while allowing enough spontaneity to see what hidden treasures you can uncover. Some of our highlights occurred by just wandering the streets and seeing where the day would take us. Others resulted in pre-ordering tickets for plays and gallery entries. It’s not Australia and most galleries require you to pre buy your tickets for an allotted showing time.
To Air BNB or not, that is the question! For us it worked a treat. I love Air BNB and would do it time and again but be sure to do your research and go for an apartment with great recent reviews and it’s all about location, location, location!
We chose a one bed apartment in Notting Hill, 14 St Marks Rd, as I was desperate to get back to my old, familiar hood after years apart. We were not disappointed and the apartment was exactly as portrayed in the photos. Our host, Jac was wonderful and we arrived to fresh bread, coffee, tea and almond milk.
Paella on Portobello Rd, Nottinghill –amazing !
The positives of an Air BNB is that you can do at least one meal per day at home and it has a sense of privacy and intimacy and is a little like a home away from home. Most astute hosts are only too willing to help and will give you guidance to all the local attractions and best cafes/restaurants and bars.
I would recommend you get a car from the airport to your accommodation. After 24+ hours in the air and transiting, it is an absolute treat and luxury to have someone greet you at arrivals and whisk you into a car with a bottle of chilled water. For 50 pounds it’s so worth it, so factor this into your budget.
I hadn’t been to London for 15 years and it has changed dramatically. The City today has a very buoyant, upbeat vibe. Everyone was so friendly and it seems to move in an ordered and timely way. The tube is without question the best way to travel but you must do at least one trip in a black London cab.
I can highly recommend the Big Bus London tour. We did the full on tourist thing – sitting on the top of the Bus on a mild partially sunny day and enjoyed every second. You can get off wherever you want and re-join the tour at any point over a 24 or 48 period of time, depending on ticket price. This is NOT cheap but I still think worthwhile to get a feel of all major attractions.
Depending on your time frame the absolute bucket list attractions are:
- The British Museum
- The National Gallery
- The London Eye
- Westminster Abbey
- Big Ben
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- High Tea at Fortnum and Mason
- Portobello Rd Markets
- A show – musical/ballet/theatre
- National Portrait Gallery
- Changing of the Guards – Buckingham Palace
You simply can’t fit everything in but if you start with some of these attractions you will not be disappointed.
Beautiful St James Park, London
Make time just to walk and wander. Window shop and engage in banter with the friendliest characters who always seem to have the most captivating stories to tell.
The cuisine in London is amazing. We now live in a global village as far as food is concerned and some of the little cafes, restaurants and pub lunches we indulged in were stunning. London is a melting pot of so many wonderful cultures and this is reflected in brilliant cuisine. Enjoy!!
Portobello Road markets