If you’ve used a search engine to try and plan a trip to London, the chances are that you’re feeling frazzled. There are are hundreds of different guides out there, an endless stream of sample itineraries, and so many recommendations that it makes it almost impossible to make any decisions regardless of whether you’re trying to find a hotel or a cosy lunch spot. If you’re a newbie hoping to see the best London has to offer, don’t panic. This guide is all you need to have a great time in the Big Smoke.
Seeing the sights
It’s all very well encouraging tourists to live like Londoners, but if you’re visiting the big city, it’s highly likely that you want to see the sights that appear in movies and on billboard posters. Whether you feel like it’s a cliche or not, it’s a shame to come to London and not see the best-selling tourist attractions. You don’t need to go through the entire list of ‘50 things to see in London’, but don’t be afraid to stick to the well-trodden paths for a couple of days. It is worth watching the changing of the guard and taking a spin in the London Eye to see beautiful sights of the city below. If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, it’s a really good idea to book a walking tour or hop on a bus. This makes it easy to get around, and it’s a simple, quick, and stress-free way of ticking off your to-do list.
Once you’ve completed your tour of popular tourist hot-spots, you can delve deeper into the city. Explore the bustling streets of Portobello, visit the quirky independent cafes of Clapham, Highgate, and Balham or shop up a storm at the vintage stores along Brick Lane. Discover the history of pearly kings and queens in the East End or take a stroll on Hampstead Heath.
Where to eat
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be spoiled for choice in London. The city is a melting pot, and this is reflected in its eclectic range of eateries. You can try almost any cuisine here, from Lebanese and Greek to Thai, French and fusion food. There are also options to suit all budgets. Live the high life at the Michelin-starred restaurants, which are perennial features on sites like Gourmet Guide Best Restaurants or grab some freshly prepared street food from a traditional barrow in Borough Market. If you’re keen for an authentic Cockney experience, head east and order a serving of pie and mash.
Where to stay
There are so many hotels in London, and this can make it tough to narrow down your options. Your budget may dictate the kinds of choices available to you. If you don’t want to pay a premium, and you don’t mind travelling, you could stay outside the central zone. You can access zones 1 and 2 very quickly via the underground, and rates are significantly lower. Another option is to book a hostel or investigate prices at budget chain hotels. Guesthouses are usually a more affordable alternative to larger hotels. If you are looking for something special, there are some spectacular hotels on offer in Belgravia, Kensington and Chelsea, and Mayfair.
Image courtesy of http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2807003
If you’re travelling to London for the first time, it can be tough to try and draw up an itinerary. Hopefully, this guide will make life easier, and ensure you get to see London in all its glory.