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Europe’s biggest city is cosmopolitan, cultured and colossal – and no two visits will ever be the same.
London’s unique allure is impossible to define. From the dizzying wealth of Belgravia to the urban markets of Camden Town, every neighborhood has its own unique character. Explore the world-class museums, like the National Gallery and British Museum, or the endless array of shopping options.
If your doorbell rang this loudly, it'd be safe to say that your neighbors would've moved out long ago. For miles around, you’ll hear Big Ben’s legendary chimes resonating from the bell tower in the Houses of Parliament. The latter was once an 11th-century palace, repurposed centuries ago as the seat of Britain’s parliament.Accommodations near Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Westminster Abbey’s guest register reads like a book on British History. The Abbey has hosted royal coronation ceremonies since 1066, and many notable Brits (and a few naughty ones) are buried here – you can see some of their effigies on the elaborate sarcophagi. The Abbey also hosts royal weddings, including Prince William and Catherine Middleton's in 2011.Accommodations near Westminster Abbey
I spy with my little eye, something that begins with...L. Get a bird’s-eye view of London from this giant Ferris Wheel on the South Bank. The glass pods hold up to 25 people per pod and were designed to represent each of London's 32 boroughs. Infinitely popular, it takes you up, around and back down with endless panoramas in between.Accommodations near London Eye
The Crown Jewels lie in the Tower of London, but the Queen’s Guard watches over the head that wears them. Although the role of the red-coat guards is purely ceremonial, join the hordes trying to break their legendary stare – or just enjoy the pomp and ceremony of the daily Changing of the Guard. In the summer, take a tour of the palace’s treasure-filled rooms.Accommodations near Buckingham Palace
As Great Britain’s Empire expanded, so did its collection of material treasures, many of which are on display in this world-class museum. Among its eight million exhibits you'll find the stunning Elgin Marbles from Greece, the Benin Bronzes, and the legendary Rosetta Stone. The spectacular Reading Room is right at the impressive heart of the building.Accommodations near British Museum
This icon of Christendom has opened its doors for everyone from princes to paupers. Completed in 1710, the cathedral continues to be used for church services, but has also hosted important ceremonial events like the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. Give your hamstrings a workout on the 364-foot-tall stairway to the top of the dome.Accommodations near St. Paul's Cathedral
Follow the beautiful flower-filled paths around the largest of London's eight Royal Gardens. There are plenty of breathlessly romantic covered areas, rose gardens and fountains to discover throughout its 350 acres, not to mention the Serpentine Lake and the famous Speaker's Corner. Hyde Park is especially great for relaxing with a book on a humid summer’s day.Accommodations near Hyde Park
The Tower of London has hosted many a feast for centuries. Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, every tower has its own (often gruesome) history. Henry VIII and a few of his tragic wives, Lady Jane Grey, and Colonel Blood were among some of the famous residents. Search for their ghostly spirits that allegedly haunt the grounds, or play it safe by viewing the 23,000 Crown Jewels.Accommodations near Tower of London
If you can't identify an Irritator from an Anchisaurus, it’s worth brushing up on your natural history at this impressive museum. Look up at the 105-foot Diplodocus skeleton and grab your magnifying glass to zoom in on 70 million different specimens. When you're done, satisfy your inner scientist at the nearby Darwin Centre and Geological Centre.Accommodations near Natural History Museum London
Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most iconic bridges and an enduring symbol of London. Recognizable by its two towers, this enormous drawbridge took eight years to build and has been in use since 1894. The main entrance of Tower Bridge Exhibition is located at the North West Tower, where visitors can learn more about its construction.Accommodations near Tower Bridge
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Westminster, home to some of London's best-known landmarks and the seat of government. Slip through the shadows of history at The Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square with the ringing of Big Ben marking the passage of time. Stroll past Whitehall to Downing Street (the Prime Minister's official home and office) and on to Buckingham Palace.Accommodations in Westminster
Ultra-chic Kensington and Chelsea are the stomping grounds of London's elite, who occupy this resplendent enclave of whitewashed villas, trendy boutiques, chic cafés and high-end restaurants. In Kensington, you’ll find some of the capital’s most famous museums, including the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.Accommodations in Kensington and Chelsea
Popular and a bit punk rock, Camden is littered with cool bars, clubs, and one famous market. The market runs all the way down Camden High Street. Take in a concert at the Roundhouse, or visit Primrose Hill to photograph celebrities in their natural habitat. Wander to Regent’s Park, London Zoo, or Hampstead Heath with views out over central London.Accommodations in Camden
London’s glitzy West End has many of the capital’s most famous attractions, including Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, West-End theaters and the shops of Oxford Street and Carnaby Street. Starting at Seven Dials, head to Covent Garden with its performance artists, markets and classic English pubs.Accommodations in West End
Kensington is a mix of residential and commercial areas that exude class. Stretching from Old Brompton Road to Kensington High Street, you’ll find bistros, cafés and boutiques galore. Stop to admire Kensington Palace, or visit the nearby Victoria and Albert and Natural History Museums. The streets around Holland Park are perfect for walking.Accommodations in Kensington
The largest of London's eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park is 350 acres of greenery, with delightful markets and fairgrounds in the days leading up to Christmas. Walk along its tree-lined promenades, or rent a boat, bike or horse. Head east for the upscale hotels and posh restaurants of Park Lane, or south to Knightsbridge for Harrods and Harvey Nichols.Accommodations in Hyde Park
Paddington Station is at the heart of this district, within easy reach of Hyde Park and Marble Arch. Regent's Canal passes through bohemian Little Venice with its barges, bars and cafés. Hop on a boat to Camden Lock or London Zoo, or explore the Edgware Road’s ethnic restaurants and trendy nightclubs.Accommodations in Paddington
Affluent South Kensington has three spectacular museums, all within walking distance of each other. Family-friendly Natural History and Science Museums are ready to be explored, and the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibits cover 3,000 years of history. The Royal Albert Hall is a hive of English culture, with concerts and productions year-round.Accommodations in South Kensington
The stucco-facade terrace houses of Bayswater are a stone's throw from Portobello Market. There's a mix of swanky hotels and garden squares in this area, but the real star is further down the road – Notting Hill is full of shops and restaurants and even inspired a Hollywood film! The area around Queensway is bustling and eclectic.Accommodations in Bayswater
The nucleus of London's intellectual life, students pass through on their way to the University of London and RADA. The British Museum’s vast collection spans continents and several millennia and has a dazzling reading room inspired by the Roman Pantheon – an absolute must-see. Explore the old bookstores and tree-filled streets.Accommodations in Bloomsbury
Bearing the namesake of England's famous monarch, Victoria is home to a large train station and transportation hub at Victoria Station. By day, explore the Regency style architecture and squares around Pimlico Station. At night, the Victoria Palace Theatre often features notable West-End productions.Accommodations in Victoria
King’s Cross – busy by day, wild by night. Starting at the recently renovated train station, visit St. Pancras Old Church (founded in 314 A.D.) or explore the area’s industrial heritage with a free walking tour departing from the Visitor Centre on Stable Street. It's a stone's throw from Bloomsbury’s green-filled squares or Camden’s massive market.Accommodations in Kings Cross St. Pancras
Earls Court is a curious collision of upscale chic and downtown living. It’s primarily known for its famous concert and event venues, including Earls Court Arena. The neighborhood itself is filled with charming Victorian architecture and residential garden squares, and the vibrant mix of restaurants represents every cuisine imaginable.Accommodations in Earls Court
Lined with beautiful Victorian terraces, the traditional streets of Marylebone contain acres of parks and garden. Amateur detectives shouldn’t miss Sherlock Holmes’ legendary residence at 221b Baker Street. You’ll spot the beautiful, circular All Souls Church with its striking conical tower. From here, wander towards Bond Street’s upscale stores.Accommodations in Marylebone
Beyond London’s financial “square mile,” there's a host of important landmarks. The Guildhall is London's historic town hall, and the nearby Leadenhall Market on Gracechurch Street is also historically important. Shoreditch and Spitalfields are perfect for edgy bars, restaurants and shopping. At night, dine in elegance at the “Gherkin.”Accommodations in City of London
Europe's busiest shopping street is usually packed. The 1.5-mile stretch from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road is an A to Z of brand-name designers and department stores, including Selfridges (the UK's second-oldest store) and John Lewis (a staple of English living). Explore the side streets towards Bond Street for sophisticated boutiques.Accommodations in Oxford Street
The brightly lit signs of Theatreland are shining bright year-round, with the names of celebrated actors, directors and playwrights. Take your pick from Victorian and Edwardian venues, including the Theatre Royal, the Haymarket Theatre, the Criterion, Noël Coward and the Adelphi. There are plays, musicals, operas and theatrical performances daily to cater to every taste.Accommodations in Theatreland
St. James' is a sophisticated neighborhood filled with mature parks, galleries and high-end restaurants. Surrounded by Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, St. James' plays host to a range of cultural and artistic events throughout the year, including London Fashion Week. Head to Jermyn Street for some luxury shopping.Accommodations in St. James
The glamorous residents of Mayfair have money to burn. Come and check out their sprawling mansions, exclusive shops, auction houses and unique art galleries. If a custom suit from Savile Row doesn't tempt you, survey the fine Victorian architecture around the garden squares, or the intricate design of the Royal Arcade.Accommodations in Mayfair
This elegant, residential neighborhood is one of the world’s most wealthy residential districts. Belgravia’s palatial Georgian style houses are interspersed with delightful garden squares including Belgrave Square and Eaton Square. There are quirky shops to explore on Elizabeth Street – stationery shops, luxury chocolatiers, bakeries and antique stores.Accommodations in Belgravia
The ornamental pineapples adorning the market’s lamps are a reminder of the fruit and vegetable stalls that once occupied Covent Garden, an important center for London’s vibrant creative arts scene. See the 17th-century St. Paul’s Church or explore the boutiques that line the alleys. Parisian-style cafés with terraces spill out onto the street corners.Accommodations in Covent Garden
This almost-mile-long hotel strip has some of the best sleeping quarters in the city. Well-known luxury brand hotels, as well as a medley of steak restaurants, traditional pubs and historic buildings line the street, including the 18th-century Twining’s Shop and Museum at number 216.Accommodations in The Strand
The late Victorian and Edwardian architecture lends an air of majesty to this otherwise commercial street. Admire the Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain at Piccadilly Circus, the legendary junction overlooked by illuminated billboards. For shopping, head to Piccadilly Arcade and Princes Arcade – built in 1909, they’re home to custom tailors and jewelers.Accommodations in Piccadilly
Knightsbridge is a mecca for luxury shopping, and the residence of choice for the incredibly wealthy. Harrods is the centerpiece – this unique department store spans five acres of shopping, and the nearby Harvey Nichols food court is legendary. The park behind The Brompton Oratory provides an oasis among the stucco facades.Accommodations in Knightsbridge
A dazzling mix of bars, music venues and trendy restaurants, this entertainment district in the West End has a sparkling history and is a diverse and tolerant area for all kinds of travelers. In nearby Chinatown, you’ll find authentic Asian cuisine, and Carnaby Street’s vintage and designer labels would make The Beatles proud.Accommodations in Soho
Walk across Westminster Bridge to stand in the shadows of the Big Ben tower and the Houses of Parliament, or head east along the river to Tower Bridge. The South Bank Centre's popular restaurants and cafés look out onto the Thames, while the glass pods of the London Eye take you sky high for a full-scale panorama of the city.Accommodations in Waterloo
Sam is originally from West Yorkshire and has lived in London for 4 years.
The world’s oldest surviving “Grand Music Hall,” Wilton’s, has been entertaining East London audiences for over 150 years. Nowadays hosting theater, comedy, and cabaret shows, guests can revel in a unique look at London’s past at one of the city’s most intriguing venues.Accommodations near Wilton's Music Hall
Ben has lived in London for 22 years and is a big fan of Italian cooking.
Start at the London Eye and follow the route along the Thames. There’s loads of street artists, the BFI Southbank film centre and the Tate Modern gallery a bit further down. There’s also a really nice food market.Accommodations near Riverside Walk
Jack moved to London a year ago and loves finding its best kept secrets.
A Prohibition-themed speakeasy bar, Nightjar is a quirky venue located near Old Street. Accessed by an easy-to-miss doorway, it has décor reminscent of the era and serves unusual blends of cocktails in funky glasses. There's often live jazz music.Accommodations near Nightjar Bar (Speakeasy Bar)
Sylvie just returned to London from abroad and is always discovering new things.
I love visiting Broadway Market in Hackney on a Saturday – it's full of amazing food stalls with dishes from loads of different countries. I recommend taking the Tube (subway) to Angel (Northern Line) and strolling up to Regents Canal to reach the market.Accommodations near Broadway Market/Regents Canal
Patricia moved to London from Barcelona 5 years ago, and stayed put!
An alternative to the London Eye, this bar is on the top floor of Tower 42. It's a lesser-known venue so not as busy as other London viewing points – and you can enjoy a drink when you're there!Accommodations near Vertigo, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St., London EC2N 1HQ
Louise is from Cambridge but she often heads to London for both business and pleasure.
Dans Le Noir restaurants are good and offer a really unique experience. You are served by blind waiters in total darkness. Plus, you don’t know what you’re eating if you order a surprise menu. You end up eating things like crocodile meat, steak tartar, and fruity cocktails!Accommodations near Dans le Noir Restaurant
Aleks has lived in London for 6 years and loves sports, especially volleyball.
Crystal Palace Park is home to the National Sport Centre, containing many facilities but most of all – a beach volleyball court! Crystal Palace Park has also been famous for organizing a number of concerts and film sessions.Accommodations near Crystal Palace Park
After 2.5 years in London, Susie still loves discovering quirky and cool cocktail bars and restaurants.
My favorite bar is Madison Restaurant, Tapas & Cocktail Bar, which overlooks the stunning St. Paul's Cathedral. It is located in the heart of the city and it's best to go to on Thursday or Friday nights, which draw in the local 20 to 30-something professionals.Accommodations near Madison Restaurant and Bar
Fabio spends most of his time on the South Bank and loves walking through the city.
Visit a real British Market in Brixton Village. The people who frequent this place are trendy, open-minded and young professionals in their mid-20s to 30s. There are various options of food from pizzas, curry, Colombian to local British pub grub.Accommodations near Brixton Station Road Market
Ana has lived in London for 19 years and loves Brazilian cuisine.
I love this bright, funky restuarant. It serves homemade Brazilian food with more than 30 flavors of pastel (savory thin-crust pies), as well as authentic dishes such as Feijoada (stew) and Picanha (top sirloin cap). You can also buy Brazilian groceries, meals, snacks, juices and beers.Accommodations near Katavento
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in London while avoiding the crowds?
Walk for ten minutes in pretty much any direction, and you'll see a stand advertising tickets for tour buses. The tickets will set you back on average £30 per person, but they're valid for 24 hours and the majority are "hop-on-hop-off- services. The routes are designed to go by every single tourist attraction (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge etc.) so you hop on the bus wherever you want, hop off it when you reach an attraction you'd like to see, and hop back on the next bus to come past (hence the "hop-on-hop-off") Some of the buses have audio guides and tell you the history of London. They're great.See all 689 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Did the theater performances in London live up to their reputation?
United States of America
We visited the Globe for the second time and despite the heat and less than comfy seats, we thoroughly enjoyed the play which was magnificently acted. We noticed an actor from one of our favorite PBS shows was in the cast so it was great to see him in another role.See all 644 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in London.
Whatever kind of shopping you like; London is the place for you. It has everything. From the Luxury stores like Harrods to Gothic boutiques and vintage clothing stores, to market stalls.See all 355 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What was the most entertaining thing you saw in London?
Covent Garden had brilliant entertainers on all day. We sat in Bar 21 all afternoon watching them and had a great time.See all 210 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you discover about the museums in London that wasn't in the guidebooks?
The Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich is part of a larger complex which is of the same standard as the better known Natural History/Science Museums but much quieter. Well worth making the trip to visit.See all 209 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Was it cheap, fast, or easy to use? What made it so simple to get around in London?
Tube is reasonably cheap with an Oyster card. If you're going to catch it more than a couple of times it's cheaper to buy an Oyster. Buses are the cheapest though, but avoid rush hour. If going north/south within central London on the tube don't catch the circle line. You don't have to change, but it's much slower. If you want to get a seat on the tube in central London make sure you're travelling away from the big main line stations (KGX, PAD etc.) in the early evening and towards them in the early morning as most people will be going in the opposite direction.See all 143 answers
There are three ways out of Heathrow. The Heathrow Express train to Paddington costs GBP 26, takes 15 – 21 minutes and departs every 15 minutes between about 5 am and 12 am daily. The London Underground has three Airport stations, with trains leaving every five minutes for the 45-minute trip to the center. Tickets cost around GBP 6. Taxis cost from GBP 45 to 70 for the hour-long journey. If you’re in town for a while, an Oyster Travel Card offers significant savings.
The most convenient connection to central London is with the Gatwick Express to London Victoria – it takes 45 minutes and costs around GBP 30 round trip. The train to London Bridge is even faster, with services to the Northern and Jubilee lines, which takes 30 minutes and costs GBP 10 one way. If you're in a rush, try Gatwick Airport Travel Taxis – they take 45 minutes and cost around GBP 22.50 per person. Gatwick has desks for all major car rental companies.
The London Underground is the best option for travel within London. For travel to other cities, the main train stations are Paddington (which connects to the Northwest and Wales), King’s Cross (to the Northeast and Scotland) and Victoria (to the South). Tickets can be purchased at machines or service desks and train times are clearly displayed on overhead boards in the main terminal. All stations have restaurants and shops too.
The “Tube” connects inner and outer-London. “Underground” stops are clearly marked with a blue bar dissecting a red ring. London’s 11 tube lines operate between 5 am and 12:30 am Monday to Saturday, and from 7 am – 12 am on Sundays. Buy tickets from machines inside the station or at service desks. Prices vary depending on which zones (from 1 to 5) you want to travel in. Rush-hour travel can be uncomfortable and overcrowded.
London’s iconic red double-decker buses are a cheap and convenient way to see the city. Bus stops show a white circle on a red background. Signal to drivers that you want to get on by waving your hand to stop the bus. Buy tickets on board for GBP 2.40 for a single journey, or GBP 1.45 with an Oyster Travel Card. To get off at the next stop, press the button. After midnight, night buses depart from Trafalgar Square – they don’t stop everywhere, so make sure you press the button when you want to get off.
London's black cabs can be seen everywhere in the city. There's no need to book in advance, just hail one from the street or stop by a taxi stand. Make sure you go to one of the official black cabs, rather than an unmarked car. Taxis are available if the yellow sign on the front of the car is illuminated. Taxis are moderately priced, depending on how far you travel. Fares start at GBP 2.40 which increases by 60-90 pence at night. You can also book taxis by Twitter, Email or smartphone App.
London is a busy city day and night and driving here is not for the faint of heart. There are many “congestion charge zones” that apply to drivers of most vehicles in central London between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays. Charging zones are clearly marked by traffic signs and road markings, and motorcycles and electric cars are usually exempt. And don't forget that you have to drive on the left!
Bright blue pay-as-you-go rental bikes can be picked up at stations across the city. Pay at the docking station with credit or debit card. The first 30 minutes are free and you can rent up to four bikes at a time. There are some bike paths and leisure routes in the city, but they are not everywhere: you should be extra careful in traffic. Rental costs are very reasonable – check the website for details.
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