Best London Travel Guide: Experience London with your native British expert

London LHR Airport

Why should you choose London as your destination?

London has long been one of the world’s top tourist destinations. While other cities in Europe go in and out of style like fashion trends, London has remained one of the elite travel stops for tourists.

The city attracts millions of people each year and it is truly a melting pot of nationalities, languages and cultures.

It has been estimated that around 42 million tourists will visit London in 2018. The figure is staggering as the Big Smoke continues to grow as a must-see locale. 

But why do so many people book trips to the English capital? 

The answer is simple. London combines old world charm with modern luxury. It provides travelers the chance to almost touch royalty and it possesses some of the best shopping and tourist attractions anywhere. 

Yes, this big city certainly has it all and more for anyone looking for a trip of a lifetime.

Windsor Castle
You can sometimes see the beautiful Windsor Castle on your approach to London Heathrow Airport.

Recommended sights to experience

Buckingham Palace

Anyone visiting London, no matter if it is the first time or the one hundredth time, has to explore Buckingham Palace. The royal family is iconic and beloved by millions the world over.

The London residence of the family is a must-see. No trip to this city is complete without exploring the palace’s exterior.

Travelers can walk up to the front of Buckingham Palace and peer in the gates. Visitors can also snap photos at the Queen Victoria Memorial fountain just in front of the palace.

The world famous changing of the guard occurs outside the palace’s door every day. It attracts crowds and is one of the most unique British events visitors can experience.

There are tours of Buckingham Palace visitors can take that combine the changing of the guard and an adventure through the building’s halls and rooms.

If traveling to London is a trip of a lifetime event, then going on the tour is something to consider.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain, Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria Memorial fountain
Buckingham palace, changing of the guards
Buckingham Palace changing of the guards

The London Eye

For anyone short on time, seeing all of London’s sights can be difficult. The London Eye can remedy the problem as it takes the ferris wheel riders 443 feet into the air.

Sitting next to the River Thames and just across from Big Ben and Parliament, the attraction is a 30-minute trip that gives visitors a bird’s eye view of the city.

London Eye, Thames River
The London Eye along the Thames River
The London Eye and Big Ben, Parliament Building
Big Ben, as seen from the London Eye
London Eye ferris wheel cab
London Eye ferris wheel cab

London has many free museums

One of the best parts about London is the museums. There is practically a museum for everyone and everything. From the National Gallery to The British Museum, there is a venue exploring nearly every topic imaginable.

It can be difficult to choose which museum to visit as most are free to enter.

Tourists can spend an entire trip visiting the historical artifacts of Imperial War Museum or the amazing artworks in the Tate Modern art gallery.

Tourists should not miss the chance to visit as many museums as possible while in the city.

The National Gallery
The National Gallery

Top 5 alternative places to visit in London

  1. Oxford Street – It is the home of city shopping and the area in which travelers will find the best high street stores.
  2. Tower of London – The castle and UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best ways to look back at London’s amazing history.
  3. London Zoo sleepover – Yes, the London Zoo does a sleepover allowing visitors to stay in the Lion’s Lodge and tour the premises with a guide.
  4. Little Venice – The canal area is home to various waterside cafes, pubs and restaurants. It is perfect in summer as visitors can walk along the riverside to nearby Camden or Regent’s Park.
  5. Post Office Railway – The former underground railway took mail around the city. Now, travelers can ride the rails and see the former secret train tunnel.
Tower of London castle
Tower of London castle. Officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, located off the River Thames

Dining and Nightlife

London has a variety of dining options and nightlife. There is something to please everyone from luxury dining experiences to low-cost dinner hot-spots.

Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant

Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant is a top-choice for travelers visiting London for the first time. Oliver is a famous British television chef who has written countless cookbooks.

His restaurants are always packed and for good reasons.

Travelers can find Oliver’s Italian Restaurant in several London locations.

Jamies Italian Restaurant London
Jamie's Italian: always packed and for good reasons

Kiln Restaurant

Kiln is a favorite of the Soho area. The Thai barbecue restaurant offers reasonably priced fare in one of London’s most exclusive regions.

Kiln serves up British-sourced meat and fish grilled with Thai flavors. Travelers who like spicy, fiery foods will love Kiln.

Kiln London food
Kiln: British meat and fish grilled with Thai flavors

Tandoor Chop House

British people love Indian food, which was brought to the country thanks to colonization.

While many Indian restaurants are cliched and can be tacky, Tandoor Chop House is neither. The restaurant is relaxed and more café style than a curry house.

Local favorites include herb-strewn seekh kebab, beef dripping keema naan, and spiced lamb chops.

Tandoor Chop House London
Tandoor: the best and meatiest elements of British chop house, layered with spices of Indian tandoor cooking

Cub Restaurant

Travelers looking for an expensive dining option to remember will find it at Cub.

The gastro-experience comes with drinks and a menu full of herbivore favorites.

Although not a vegetarian restaurant, it does sway heavily to plant-based foods.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is fun and party-esque while the food and drinks match perfectly.

Cub Restaurant, London
Cub: offers delicious food, but at a steep price. The "tasting menu" is recommended by many guests

Top 5 alternative places to eat in London

  1. Nando’s – Okay, visitors may be able to find Nando’s in their countries, but they are not abundant outside of England currently. Nando’s grilled Portuguese chicken is to die for, which is saying a lot for a restaurant chain.
  2. Wagamama – Like Nando’s, Wagamama may be located in travelers’ home towns. If not, it is a must. It is an affordable Japanese noodle restaurant that will transport diners right to Asia.
  3. Baozi Inn – Located in Chinatown, Baozi Inn is decorated in Communist Revolution décor. It has a cool vibe and diners love the Sichuan noodles, buns, and dumplings.
  4. Bibimbap – Korean restaurant located in Soho serving seriously awesome traditional food.
  5. Bleecker St – England isn’t known for making great burgers, but there are some exceptions. Bleecker St is one exception as they make brilliant NYC-style burgers.
Tower Bridge London
The world famous Tower Bridge is proudly controlling traffic on and above the River Thames

Family Vacation Travelers

London is perfect for family vacations.

The museums and historical sites dotting the city make for a unique learning experience kids won’t receive from a day in school.

Parents should jump at the opportunity to take their children to as many museums as possible, but there is more to London for families than just educational venues.

Soho’s theaters offer hit musicals, plays, and concerts.

London’s West End is one of the most famous areas and families can enjoy a fantastic night out.

Sports loving families can visit and tour the many soccer stadiums in London.

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, and Tottenham Hotspurs’ brand-new White Hart Lane are just three of the venues and each comes with museums dedicated to the soccer clubs.

London has a variety of family hotels from budget to luxury.

The Athenaeum is one of the best when it comes to combining kids and luxury while the Park Grand London Hyde Park is more moderate.

London Bridge, Big Ben, Parliament building London
London Bridge and Big Ben tower clock, with the Parliament building

Single Vacation Travelers

Clubs, pubs, and endless nights out are on tap in in this exciting city for single travelers.

Whether tourists are seeking a great place to have a cocktail or a place to find exclusive fashions, they will locate it in London.

Soho is one of the best places for single travelers to visit thanks to its night out hot-spots. Meanwhile, Covent Garden offers the perfect mix of upscale, luxury, and high street shopping.

Solo travelers shouldn’t miss the chance to experience a true London pub. There is nothing more British than sitting down and sipping a pint of lager or ale in the comfort of a classic pub.

Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus, at London's West End

Best Ways to Get Around London

Despite being a mega-city and one of the world’s largest, the city is easy to get around.

With over 8.8 million people living here, public transport has been developed to move residents and travelers in and out of the city with ease.

The underground subway system

The London underground is the simplest way to move around the Big Smoke.

The underground’s network of tunnels connects all parts of the city and gets travelers from Point A to Point B quickly.

Tourists are never too far away from an underground station and can be to their destination in no time.

Buses

In addition, buses make getting around London easy. The city’s buses are cheap and can get riders to the spots the underground misses.

Taxis

Taxis can be expensive, but London’s experienced black cab drivers are knowledgeable and know how to get just about anywhere.

Uber

Travelers used to getting around via Uber will need to do some research upon arrival in London.

Currently, Uber has been granted a license to operate in the city.

However, Uber was suspended for some time and the rules governing the ride share company in England are different than in the United States and other countries.

While Uber does operate in other English cities, it has had difficulty in London in the last year.

London subway sign
London subway sign

The attraction and uniqueness of London

London is one of the most magical cities in the world. It is a town in which travelers can see royalty, shop endlessly, and explore history like never before.

It is one of the best cities in the world and travelers will find out just how unique it is when visiting.

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