Visit London: Your travel guide

London’s unique allure is impossible to define. From the dizzying wealth of Belgravia to the urban markets of Camden Town, every neighbourhood has its own unique character. Explore the world-class museums, like the National Gallery and British Museum, or the vast array of shopping options.

Things to do in London

London Eye
I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ... L. Get a god’s-eye view of London atop this giant Ferris Wheel on the South Bank. The glass pods hold up to twenty-five people per pod and were designed to represent each of London's 32 boroughs. Infinitely popular, it does exactly as it claims – it takes you up, then it takes you down!
Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB
Open Monday-Sunday 10:00–20:30.
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
If your doorbell chimed this loud, it’s safe to say that your neighbours would have moved out long ago. For miles around, you’ll hear Big Ben’s legendary melody 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.
Houses of Parliament, London SW1A 0AA.
Check website for details.
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey’s guest register reads like a book on British History. The Abbey has hosted royal coronation ceremonies since 1066, while 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 that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.
20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA
Open Monday–Tuesday 09:30–15:30, Wednesday 09:30–18:00, Thursday 09:30–15:30, Friday 09:30–15:30, Saturday 09:30–13:30.
Buckingham Palace
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-coated guards is purely ceremonial, join the hordes trying to break their legendary stare – or simply enjoy the pomp and ceremony of the daily Changing of the Guard. In summer, take a tour of the palace’s treasure-filled rooms.
Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
Check website for details.
British Museum
As Great Britain’s Empire expanded, so did its cache 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 Reading Room stands at its heart and is spectacular in size and scope.
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
Open Monday–Thursday 10:00–17:30, Friday 10:00–20:30, Saturday–Sunday 10:00–17:30.
St Paul's Cathedral
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 111-metre stairway to the top of the dome.
St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8A
Open Monday–Saturday 08:30–16:30.
Hyde Park
Take a turn around the primrose paths of London's largest Royal Garden. There are plenty of breathlessly romantic covered areas, rose gardens and fountains to discover over its 350 acres, not to mention the Serpentine Lake and the famous Speaker's Corner. Hyde Park is particularly fine for lazing about with a book on a humid summer’s day.
The Grand Entrance, S Carriage Dr, London W1J 7NT
Open Monday-Sunday 05:00–00:00.
Tower of London
The Tower of London has hosted feast and folly for centuries. Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, every tower has its own (often bloody) history. Lady Jane Grey, Colonel Blood, Henry VIII and some of his tragic wives were among its famous residents. Search for their ghostly spectres that allegedly haunt the grounds, or play it safe by viewing the 23,000 Crown Jewels.
Tower Hill, London EC3N
Open Monday 10:00–16:30, Tuesday–Saturday 09:00–16:30, Sunday 10:00–16:30.
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most iconic bridges and an enduring symbol of London. Identifiable by its two towers, this enormous drawbridge took eight years to build and has been in continuous 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.
Tower Bridge Exhibition, Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP
Open Monday-Sunday 10:00–18:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Natural History Museum
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.
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Open every day 10:00-17:50
Oxford Street
Stretching out for a mile and a half, you can pretty much buy anything under the sun on Europe’s busiest shopping street. Big British shopping institutions like Primark, John Lewis and Selfridges stock most of it, while the smaller shops toward Tottenham Court Road can still turn up the odd gem if you keep your eyes peeled.
Camden Lock Market
The youthful vibes of Camden Lock Market are hard to resist. A quirky menagerie of shops and stalls, you’ll find great second-hand garb as well as arts and craftsy bits and pieces here. Right by the Regent’s Canal, there’s no shortage of waterfront coffee houses and bars around, should you need take a breather.
Carnaby Street
Even if it’s not the 1960s, Carnaby Street retains a certain swing. This is still where the cool kids come to find the freshest threads, with the small side streets off the main thoroughfare always turning up new, independent boutiques. Head here to get suited and booted before a rockin’ night out.
Covent Garden
Famed for its flower markets, street performers and coffee-swilling denizens, Covent Garden also boasts great shopping. If you think you can never have enough bling, shoes or lipstick, check out the array of stores around the network of streets known as “Seven Dials”. Swing by Tatty Devine for divine handmade jewellery, then tot up your receipts over a cuppa in Monmouth Coffee.
Regent Street
The elegant shop fronts of Regent Street lure plenty of people in for a little “retail therapy”. It’s home to headliners in British fashion like Ted Baker and Karen Millen, as well as international brands like Hugo Boss. There are also lots of high-street stores to suit any budget, while a trip to Hamleys toy shop is a must for visitors young and old.
Borough Market
Housed under the London Bridge viaduct by Southwark Cathedral, the Borough Market has been a local institution for centuries. Butchers, bakers, greengrocers and many more artisan food producers lay out their wares from early morning every Wednesday to Saturday. Get here in good time to pick up the very best of British grub.
Portobello Road Market
This colourful weekend market is set in the vibrant Notting Hill neighbourhood. You can pick up everything from antique collectables and hand-crafted trinkets, to vintage clothing and second-hand books. Vinyl vultures should swoop by the legendary Rough Trade record shop and browse the racks for rare albums.
Harrods
Department stores don’t come more luxurious than Harrods. Set in an ornate 19th-century building in glitzy Knightsbridge, this shopping emporium boasts a million square feet of retail space. You can enlist the services of gift concierges, peruse the gilded Egyptian-style clothing room or even buy bars of gold! Then there’s the quaint food hall, where afternoon tea is a must-try tradition.
National Gallery
Forget the pigeons and the pillar with the sailor on top – the real treasure of Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery. There's some 2,300 paintings to savour in these hallowed halls, including instantly recognisable works like The Arnolfini Portrait and van Gogh's Sunflowers. With guided tours, children's events and a dynamic selection of exhibitions, this British institution will broaden your horizons whether you know your Rubens from your Rembrandt or are more at home with finger painting.
Tate Modern
Housed in a former power station, the Tate cuts a striking shape on the South Bank. Cavernous spaces are adorned with modern art exhibitions that range from the simplest of canvases to photography, discussion pieces and even giant slides.
Museum of London
At this museum, you can trace the story of how little Londinium grew into lofty London. This treasure trove of artefacts documents the first Roman settlements, the Great Fire and the Plague, right through to wartime, the swinging 60s and the thriving, cosmopolitan city of today.
National Maritime Museum
Once the city’s first port of call, the naval legacy of Greenwich is evident at every turn, from the Cutty Sark tall ship to the Naval College. Within these ornate buildings you’ll come across the world’s largest maritime museum. Its galleries recount the history of trade across the seas, with displays of Admiral Nelson’s knick-knacks, depictions of the Battle of Trafalgar and a giant ship-in-a-bottle.
Camden Town
Emerging from Camden Town Tube Station, you’re immediately hit by the sights and sounds of punk heritage. Music blasts from shop fronts selling piercings, records and Goth fashion, while the pavements pack in a rainbow of multi-coloured mohawk haircuts and studded leather jackets. A stroll up to Camden Lock and the Stables Market will give you a glimpse into life in this one-off district.
Notting Hill
Past a stretch of candy-coloured houses, stalls overflow with antiques, paintings, books and trinkets in this patch of West London. Million-pound mews cottages are nestled amongst quirky boutiques and graffiti-adorned corners. August sees the area burst with energy, as Notting Hill Carnival parades swing and shake their way down the streets.
Hampstead
Stray away from the panorama-seeking crowds on Hampstead Heath and venture into its lesser-known enclaves. You can wander back in time under the walkway in the park’s Pergola, or track down some antique finds in the markets tucked away down side streets.
Greenwich
Have a root around Greenwich Market and you may come across a little knick-knack or two, while the surrounding streets fill to the brim with curios like old London maps and maritime pieces harking back to the borough’s naval heritage. If an alternative nightspot’s more your thing, head to Nan’s Tropical Den in Deptford, a tropical-themed basement bar with vintage décor and hipster vibes.
Soho
This area is synonymous with all things alternative. Amongst its many bars, eateries and clubs, you’ll stumble across gems like Lights of Soho — a gallery dedicated to the luminous loveliness of neon signs. Try sniffing out the locations of the so-called ‘Seven Noses’ — just a few of these beaks remain perched on walls in the neighbourhood, as a protest against the emergence of CCTV cameras.
Camden Market
A feast for all the senses, this most quintessential of London markets brims with energy. Squeeze through the cobbled entrance of the old Stables Market to meander past food stalls dishing up jerk chicken, duck-filled brioche and steaming-hot fajitas. Below ground, cavernous alleyways stash away antiques galore, quirky clothing, vinyl records and handcrafted jewellery.
Spitalfields Market
A stone’s throw from Brick Lane’s bustling curry houses and Shoreditch’s hip hangouts, this is the epitome of rejuvenated East London. Boutiques, pubs and restaurants are housed in red-brick-fronted Victorian buildings that encircle the market. Inside, an ever-changing jumble of wares includes multi-hued leather satchels, hand-stitched coats, 1970s-inspired kitchenware and Himalayan jewellery.
Greenwich Market
In the home of all things time-related, while away an hour or two in this historic bazaar. You’ll find handcrafted pottery, stunning shots of cityscapes, an old London bus sign for your living room wall, or perhaps an antique silver locket with a story to tell. Feast on savoury and sweet treats by the entrance, before you start browsing.
Brick Lane Market
A stream of energy makes its way through the historic East End and along this famous stretch of cobbles. Known for its curry and round-the-clock bagel shops, Brick Lane is no stranger to bric-a-brac and bargains. The streets are strewn with sellers offering kitsch clothing, second-hand furnishings, records and books.
Broadway Market
Forget jellied eels, knock-off clothes and the shouts of barrow boys, this is a rather refined take on a typical street market. Next to Regent’s Canal, this hipster favourite combines the lushness of a London park and the splash of a city waterway. Saturday mornings see stalls selling chorizo-encased Scotch eggs, Banh Mi rolls and steaming Greek coffee, with Caribbean, Persian, Gujarati and Thai additions popping up in between.
Columbia Road Flower Market
You may leave this market with a good stash of photos, rather than a bundle of stems, as the array of stalls is simply pretty as a picture. Sundays see a spectrum of colours bloom from under striped canopies, while bushes, trees and shrubs bring a bit of greenery to Hackney’s urban jungle. After meandering through, make a stop in a café or traditional London pub.
Covent Garden Market
A landmark in its own right, tourists flock in bundles to this West End sight. Amongst the dazzle of London’s West End, the piazza is home to three markets dating from the 19th century. The Apple Market’s wares have become less fruit-based and more fashion-focused, selling clothing, toys, accessories, paintings, mirrors and more.
The Globe
Experience William Shakespeare’s iconic works the way they were meant to be seen at this modern-day replica of his famous playhouse. Thousands of passionate theatre-goers pile in to watch traditional and contemporary interpretations of his tragedies, histories and comedies each year. You’ll sit on benches in the galleries or stand – yes, stand – in the open air of the yard, the same way the people of Elizabethan London would’ve done.
The Shaftesbury
In recent years, the Shaftesbury has been home to a series of lively musicals such as Fame, Rock of Ages, Memphis and its longest running success, Hairspray. The stage has also seen its fair share of magic and mind-trickery, hosting Derren Brown’s Svengali and a short running show, The Illusionists.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal is a true phoenix from the ashes. Surviving the flames of not one but two fires, it’s now one of the largest and most popular West End venues. Owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, this Grade I-listed building has hosted big budget productions such as Miss Saigon, Oliver!, The Lord of the Rings and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Savoy Theatre
Hundreds of shows have had their names emblazoned underneath the Savoy’s neon-green sign. In fact, this veteran venue was the first building in the world to be fully lit by electric lighting! Since opening in 1881, it’s played host to the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, the works of Shakespeare, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and more recently, the Beatles musical, Let It Be.
Lyceum Theatre
Hakuna matata! The Lyceum Theatre has been home to the hugely successful stage production of Disney’s Lion King since 1999. Just a few steps from Covent Garden Market, its striking Romanesque columns and grand golden lettering will be sure to catch your eye as you bustle past on your way to the shops or sights.
Palace Theatre
As of 2016, the Palace Theatre became the official home of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the eighth story in J.K. Rowling’s series. Taking place 19 years after the last book, it’s a truly magical return to Hogwarts and the wonders of the wizarding world. Situated in the heart of the West End, witches and wizards can arrive via the floo network, whereas Muggles should stick to the bus or tube.
Big Ben
If your doorbell chimed this loud, it’s safe to say that your neighbours would have moved out long ago. For miles around, you’ll hear Big Ben’s legendary melody 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.

Videos about London

  • London locals, Emily and Jack, share their favourite places in London

  • Local tips for shopping in London

  • Lizzy, born and raised in South East London, shares her favourite things to do in London

  • Local tips for going out in London

  • Best places in London to hang out like a local

When to go to London

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Traveller's reviews and photos

10
Exceptional
There are tremendous sights to see and one week is nowhere near enough to see all that London has to offer. It can get rather expensive so a suggestion is to arrive with a plan in mind as to what one wants to see and then devote the appropriate time for each attraction.
Enrique
USA
21 May 2017
10
Exceptional
I love the great choice in things to do, places to go and see. Lovely feel of the city, I wish I lived here Once you understand the system, public transport by tube very efficient. A lot of places to get healthy food. Also met some nice people while doing this trip on my own!
Belgium
21 May 2017
8
Very good
Good trip to London but trying to cram lots in to short time. Lots to see & do.
Katie
United Kingdom
21 May 2017
8
Very good
Central London is a great place for visitors with great restaurants and pubs, though the residential areas around the central part might be too multiple complicacities for people who expect traditional London style to enjoy themselves...
T.
United Kingdom
22 May 2017
8
Very good
Amazing culture place that help you to experience different things in short time
Mohamed
United Arab Emirates
21 May 2017

Accommodation and hotels in London

The Cumberland - A Guoman Hotel

7.6 Good

Score from 5,120 reviews

£111

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    841 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    361 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    153 related reviews
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

8.8 Fabulous

Score from 5,645 reviews

£175

Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    893 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    803 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    323 related reviews
Park Plaza County Hall London

8.4 Very good

Score from 5,706 reviews

£143

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    474 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    397 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    200 related reviews
Premier Inn London County Hall

8.7 Fabulous

Score from 5,192 reviews

£155

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    852 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    666 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    219 related reviews
Norfolk Towers Paddington

7.9 Good

Score from 4,044 reviews

£114

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    491 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    407 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    353 related reviews
Strand Palace Hotel

8.1 Very good

Score from 9,648 reviews

£110

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    2232 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    1167 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    632 related reviews
Blakemore Hyde Park

8.5 Very good

Score from 6,481 reviews

£101

Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    788 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    643 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    551 related reviews
The Z Hotel Piccadilly

8.7 Fabulous

Score from 7,249 reviews

£104

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    1450 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    1073 related reviews
  • “nice welcome treat”
    949 related reviews
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

8.7 Fabulous

Score from 11,747 reviews

£135

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    1338 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    724 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    518 related reviews
Discover London

Popular neighbourhoods in London

Westminster Borough

1032 properties

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 bells 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.

Kensington and Chelsea

595 properties

Ultra-chic Kensington and Chelsea are the stomping ground 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.

Camden

428 properties

Hip, punkish 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 or London Zoo, or to Hampstead Heath with views over central London below.

West End

424 properties

London’s glitzy West End has many of the capital’s most famous attractions, including Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, West-End theatres 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.

Kensington

367 properties

Kensington is a mix of residential and commercial areas that ooze 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.

Paddington

282 properties

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.

Hyde Park

281 properties

The largest of London's eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park is 350 acres of greenery, with delightful markets and a fairground in the lead-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.

South Kensington

231 properties

Affluent South Kensington has three spectacular museums, all within walking distance. Family friendly Natural History and Science Museums are ripe for exploration, and the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibits cover three thousand years of history. The Royal Albert Hall is a bastion of English culture, with concerts and productions year-round.

Bayswater

196 properties

The stucco-fronted 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.

Theatreland

166 properties

The brightly lit signs of Theatreland are ablaze year-round, bearing 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 suit every taste.

Marylebone

159 properties

Lined with beautiful Victorian terraces, the traditional streets of Marylebone contain acres of parks and garden. Amateur sleuths 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 upmarket shops.

Victoria

155 properties

Bearing the namesake of England's famous monarch, Victoria is home to a large railway station and transport 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.

Bloomsbury

154 properties

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 bookshops and leafy streets.

Kings Cross St Pancras

139 properties

King’s Cross – busy by day, boisterous by night. Starting at the recently renovated train station, visit St Pancras Old Church (founded in AD 314) 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 to Bloomsbury’s leafy squares or Camden’s massive market.

St James

132 properties

St James's is a sophisticated neighbourhood filled with mature parks, galleries and high-end restaurants. Edged by Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, St James's plays host to a range of cultural and artistic events throughout the year including London Fashion Week. Head to Jermyn Street for luxury shopping.

Oxford Street

118 properties

Europe's busiest shopping street is usually packed. The 2-kilometre stretch from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road is an A–Z of high-street brands and department stores, including Selfridges (the UK's second-oldest department store) and John Lewis (a staple of English living). Explore the side streets towards Bond Street for sophisticated boutiques.

Earls Court

113 properties

Earls Court is a curious collision of upmarket chic and downtown living. The neighbourhood is filled with charming Victorian architecture and residential garden squares, while the vibrant mix of restaurants represents every cuisine imaginable. Munch on crunchy Korean delicacies at Kappa, and for a bistro feast, look no further than Garnier.

City of London

108 properties

Beyond London’s financial “square mile” you’ll find a host of important landmarks. The Guildhall is London's historic town hall, while the nearby Leadenhall Market on Gracechurch Street is historically important. Shoreditch and Spitalfields are perfect for edgy bars, restaurants and shopping. By night, dine in elegance at the “Gherkin”.

Mayfair

79 properties

The glamorous residents of Mayfair have money to burn. Come and ogle at their sprawling mansions, exclusive shops, auction houses and rarefied art galleries. If a bespoke 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.

Covent Garden

67 properties

The ornamental pineapples adorning the market’s lamps are a reminder of the fruit and vegetable stalls that once occupied Covent Garden, an important centre 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 adorn the street corners.

Soho

57 properties

A dazzling mix of bars, music venues and trendy restaurants, this entertainment district in the West End has a sparkling history and is a known for its diversity and tolerance. In nearby Chinatown, you’ll find authentic Asian cuisine, while Carnaby Street’s vintage and designer labels would make The Beatles proud.

Knightsbridge

49 properties

Knightsbridge is a honeypot for wealthy shoppers - and the postcode of choice for the even wealthier. Harrods is the centrepiece, a unique department store with five acres of shopping. The nearby Harvey Nichols food court is legendary for its gourmet delights. The park behind The Brompton Oratory provides an oasis among the stucco-fronted edifices.

The Strand

49 properties

This kilometre-long strip hotel strip has some of the best sleeping quarters in the city. You'll find chocolate-on-the-pillow hotels and a medley of steak restaurants, traditional pubs and historic buildings, including the 18th-century Twining’s Shop and Museum at number 216.

Piccadilly

47 properties

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 bespoke tailors and jewellers.

Belgravia

38 properties

This is one of the world's most elegant - and wealthy - residential neighbourhoods. Belgravia’s palatial Georgian-style houses are peppered with delightful garden squares, including Belgrave Square and Eaton Square. Elizabeth Street holds a number of quirky delights, like stationers, luxury chocolatiers, bakeries and antique shops.

Waterloo

26 properties

Walk across Westminster Bridge to stand in the shadows of the Big Ben tower and the Houses of Parliament, or head east along the riverside to Tower Bridge. The Southbank 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.

Local tips for London

Wilton's Music Hall
Sam by Sam

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 theatre, comedy and cabaret shows, guests can revel in a unique look at London’s past at one of the city’s most intriguing venues.

  • 1 Graces Alley, London, E1 8JB
  • wiltons.org.uk
  • Open Monday - Saturday 17:00–23:00.
Riverside walk
Ben by Ben

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.

Nightjar Bar (Speakeasy Bar)
Jack by Jack

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.

  • The Nightjar 129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB
  • www.barnightjar.com
  • Open Sunday-Wednesday 18:00–01:00, Thursday 18:00–02:00, Friday-Saturday 18:00–03:00.
Broadway Market/Regents Canal
Sylvie by Sylvie

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 to Angel (Northern Line) and strolling up to Regents Canal to reach the market.

Vertigo, Tower 42,
Patricia by Patricia

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!

  • Level 42 Tower 42 25 Old Broad Street London EC2N 1HQ
  • www.vertigo42.co.uk
  • Open Monday-Friday 12:00–16:30 and 17:00–23:00, Saturday 17:00–23:00.
Dans le Noir Restaurant
Louise by Louise

Louise is from Cambridge but often pops into London for work and leisure.

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!

Crystal Palace Park
Aleks by Aleks

Aleks has lived in London for 6 years and loves sports, especially vollyball.

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.

Madison Restaurant and Bar
Susie by Susie

After 2.5 years in London, Susie still loves discovering quirky and cool cocktail bars and restaurants.

My favourite bar is Madison Restaurant, Tapas & Cocktail Bar which overlooks the stunning St Pauls Cathedral. It is located in the heart of the City and it is best to go to on Thursday or Friday nights which draws in the local 20/30-something professionals.

  • Rooftop Terrace 1 New Change, St Pauls London EC4M 9AF
  • www.madisonlondon.net
  • Open Monday-Saturday 11:00–01:00, Sunday 11:00–21:00.
Brixton Station Road Market
Fabio by Fabio

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, aged from middle 20s to 30s. Various options of food from pizzas, curry, Colombian to local British pub grub.

Katavento
Ana by Ana

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 flavours of pastel as well authentic dishes such as Feijoada and Picanha. You can also buy Brazilian groceries, meals, snacks, juices and beers.

  • Unit 9, The Long Shop, Watermill Way, Merton Abbey Mills, Colliers Wood SW19 2RD
  • blog.katavento.co.uk
  • Open Wednesday 12:00–19:00, Thursday-Friday 12:00–21:00, Saturday 12:00–22:00, Sunday 12:00–19:00.
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Recommendations for London

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.

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.

If you've even heard of Dickens, Chaucer, Shakespeare, the royal family, Churchill, the world wars - just walking along the streets they walked on is enough to make them and their experiences jump out at you. The fact that most of the tourist attractions' tours (eg: Royal Albert Hall, Churchill War Rooms, Kensington Palace, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, London Bridge Experience, Westminster Abbey) are all accompanied by audio and include re-enactments mean that your completely drawn in to the experience.

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.

National Gallery should be your number one as the guidebook said and then start off into all the castles if you are into classical arts. The Tate Modern is one of the world's best abstract and creative art museum. They shouldn't be missed.

Always! If you have the time or actually the type to look for this kind of things, you can find treasured little shops in small side streets and other kind of shopping at the local markets like Borough Market.

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.

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.

Covent Garden had brilliant entertainers on all day. We sat in Bar 21 all afternoon watching them and had a great time.

Transport

London transport

Air - Heathrow Airport

There are three ways out of Heathrow. The Heathrow Express train to Paddington costs £21.50 for a single ticket, takes 15–21 minutes and departs every 15 minutes between about 05:00 and 00:00 daily. The London Underground has three Airport stations, with trains leaving every five minutes for the 45-minute trip to the centre. Tickets cost around £6. Taxis cost from £45 to £70 for the hour-long journey. If you’re in town for a while, an Oyster Travel Card offers significant savings.

Air - Gatwick Airport

The most convenient connection to Central London is with the Gatwick Express to London Victoria – it takes 30 minutes and costs around £30 return. Faster is the train to London Bridge, with links to the Northern and Jubilee lines, which takes 30 minutes and costs £10 one way. If you're in a rush, try Gatwick Airport Travel Taxis – they take 1 hour and 20 minutes and cost around £27.75 per person. Gatwick has desks for all major car rental companies.

Train

The London Underground is the best option for travel within London. For travel to other cities, the main stations are Paddington (which connects to the North-West and Wales), King’s Cross (to the North-East 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 are well-appointed with restaurants and shops.

London Underground

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 05:00 and 00:30, Monday to Saturday and from 07:00–00:00 on Sundays. Buy tickets from machines inside the station or at service desks. Prices vary depending on what zone (from 1 to 5) you want to go to. Rush-hour travel can be uncomfortable and overcrowded.

Bus

London’s iconic red double-decker buses are a cheap and convenient way to see the city. Bus stop signs have a white circle on a red background and you can hail buses by waving your hand. Cash isn’t accepted onboard but you can pay for a GBP 1.50 journey with a contactless debit or credit card, or with an Oyster Travel Card. To alight, press the button. After midnight, night buses depart from Trafalgar Square – they don’t stop everywhere, so signal clearly to alight.

Taxi

London's black cabs can be seen everywhere in the city. There's no need to book in advance, simply hail one from the street or stop by a taxi rank. Opt for 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 £2.40 which increases by 60-90p at night. Book taxis via Twitter, Email or smartphone App.

Car

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 07:00 and 18:00 on weekdays. Charging zones are clearly marked by traffic signs and road markings, and motorcycles and electric cars are usually exempt. Please remember that you must drive on the left!

Bicycle

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 cycle paths and leisure routes in the city, but they are not everywhere: you must be careful in traffic. Rental costs are very reasonable – check the website for details.

Food in London

Top restaurants in London

High-end dining
Italian
Massimo

Massimo is a sophisticated fish restaurant and oyster bar, boasting fresh Italian flavours and stylish décor. It's beautiful interiors include Corinthian columns and Victorian style design. Enjoy apertivo, oysters and crudo, and splash out with a glass of the best Champagne and wines from France and Italy.

Good value
British
Walkers of Whitehall

Located next to Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, this family run venue offers a gastro-pub feel mixed with a traditional English bar. A great spot to grab lunch or dinner after some sightseeing, Walkers of Whitehall serves homemade British cuisine including share plates, burgers and sandwiches.

Good value
Thai
Thai Square Trafalgar Square

Looking over Trafalgar Square, this flagship restaurant offers healthy Thai cuisine. Boasting unique design, Thai Square features an original stone-carved façade and traditional Thai décor. Enjoy a dinner of your favourite Thai dishes, then head downstairs to dance the night away at the nightclub.

  • 21-24 Cockspur St, Trafalgar Square, London SW1Y 5BN
  • Open weekdays 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–23:30, Saturday 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–01:00, Sunday 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–22:30
  • thaisq.com
  • 0044 2078394000
Cheap 'n' tasty
Japanese
eat Tokyo

Eat Tokyo is the perfect place to get your traditional Japanese fix in bustling London. With over 40 years of experience, the chefs are experts at pumping out traditional dishes for a reasonable price. Crafted from the freshest ingredients, there's a range of delicacies including sushi, Bento boxes, teriyaki and sashimi boats.

  • 15 Whitcomb St, London WC2H 7HA
  • Open Monday to Saturday 12:00–22:30, Sunday 12:00– 21:30
  • 0044 2079306117
Good value
British
All Bar One

Whether you're looking for a place to meet with friends or unwind after a day of sightseeing, All Bar One wine bar is a stylish venue with excellent meals. Located on Villier Street, you can soak in the bustling atmosphere whilst enjoying modern dishes with European flavours.

High-end dining
British
One Twenty One

Set within the Royal Horseguards Hotel, One Twenty One Two is an award-winning restaurant with exquisite cuisine, fine wines and outstanding service. For starters, try the scallops, pork belly or Scottish salmon, and choose from a selection of main courses combining the finest British produce with European flavours.

  • 2 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EJ
  • Open weekdays 06:30–10:00 and 12:00–14:30 and 17:30–18:30, weekends 07:00–11:00 and 12:00–14:30 and 17:30–21:30
  • 0044 8713769033
High-end dining
British
The Northall

The Northall offers an elegant dining experience, featuring a chandelier-adorned bar, leather furnishings and mirrored walls. The wide-ranging menu features seasonal produce supplied by artisanal producers, including seafood and meats from the grill. Enjoy Sunday brunch or be entertained on weekdays with live jazz from 12pm to 4pm.

  • 10A Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5AE
  • Open weekdays 06:30–10:30 and 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–23:00, weekends 07:00–11:00 and 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–23:00
  • www.thenorthall.co.uk
  • 0044 2073213100
Good value
Indian
Mint Leaf Haymarket

Featuring dark wood-panelled interiors, the Mint Leaf Haymarket offers a sultry ambience in which you can enjoy fine Indian cuisine. This trendy, hip venue is complete with a stylish cocktail bar and lounge. The menu features all your traditional Indian favourites, a great range of vegetarian options and delicious naan breads and salads.

  • Suffolk Place, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HX
  • Open Monday to Wednesday 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–23:00, Thursday to Friday 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–23:30, Saturday 17:30–23:30, Sunday 17:30–23:00
  • mintleafrestaurant.com
  • 0044 2079309020
Cheap 'n' tasty
British
Garrick Arms

Set in the heart of West End's Theatreland, the Garrick Arms offers classic pub grub in a traditional setting. The open-plan venue has a relaxed atmosphere and a range of English dishes to fill your belly. Try one of the stoups - an interesting dish that's part soup, part stew.

  • 8-10 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HG
  • Open every day 11:00–21:00. Check website for details.
  • 0044 2072405556
Cheap 'n' tasty
German
Herman ze German

Be greeted with open arms and a festival spirit when you head to Herman ze German. This quirky eatery is run by a German couple, a pumps out a selection of traditional delicacies including Currywurst and Bratwurst. Break up the sausage fest with classic sides including Sauerkraut, potato salad and fresh-baked Brezel bread.

  • 19 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE
  • Open weekdays 07:00–23:00, Saturday 10:00–23:00, Sunday 11:00–20:00
  • www.herman-ze-german.co.uk
Good value
Indian
Salt'n Pepper

As the first international branch of the Salt'n Pepper group, this restaurant certainly holds its own. Featuring a menu of Pakistani delights, the venue offers both indoor and alfresco dining on the deck. Choose beef, lamb or chicken from the BBQ grill or try one of the house specialties, like the balti or karahi.

High-end dining
Indian
Mint Leaf
High-end dining
British
J Sheekey

A well-established venue, J. Sheekey is a seafood restaurant, offering the finest fish, oysters, shellfish and fruits de mer. Tucked away on St Martin's Court, the restaurant features a simple and elegant dining room complete with an oyster bar. Dublin Bay prawns and razor clams are crowd favourites.

  • 28-35 St Martins Court, London, WC2N AL
  • Open Monday to Saturday 12:00–15:00 and 17:30–00:00, Sunday 12:00–15:30 and 18:00–23:00
  • www.j-sheekey.co.uk
  • 0044 2072402565
High-end dining
Mediterranean
Villandry St James

Housed in a 1913 Edwardian style Baroque building, Villandry boasts views of Big Ben. The venue's stunning architecture is complemented by fine French-Mediterranean style menu. The emphasis is on seasonal, artisan-made produce including cheeses, wines and meats from across the continent.

  • 12 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AU
  • Open weekdays 07:00–23:00, Saturday 09:00–23:00, Sunday 09:00–18:00
  • 0044 2079303305
Cheap 'n' tasty
Italian
Assaggetti

A self-proclaimed 'bites and bar' venue, Assaggetti offers a regional Italian menu. Relax in the contemporary space decorated with chandeliers, oak tables and leather chairs, and share lunch with friends. Small tapas-style dishes and fine wine can all be enjoyed just moments from Piccadilly.

Cheap 'n' tasty
Japanese
Shoryu Ramen

Shortyu Ramen is a popular, authentic ramen bar specialising in Hakata tonkotsu ramen. This signature dish is made with thick, rich pork soup and thin ramen noodles. The service here is speedy, you can dine in by sitting or standing, and there's even an express self-service bar for those in a rush.

  • 9 Regent St, London SW1Y 4LR
  • Open Monday 11:15–15:30 and 17:00–23:30, Tuesday to Saturday 11:15–23:30, Sunday 11:15–22:00
  • shoryuramen.com
High-end dining
International
Asia de Cuba

Located on St. Martins Lane, Asia de Cuba serves up an interesting fusion of Asian and Cuban cuisine. The stylish venue features a series of columns decorated with art themes, and the menu boasts ceviche and traditional dishes. There's a rum bar, and a new experiential afternoon tea concept.

  • 45 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4HX
  • Open Monday to Wednesday 07:00–11:30, 12:00–14:30 and 17:00–00:00, Thursday to Saturday 07:00–11:30, 12:00–14:30 and 17:00–00:30, Sunday 07:00–11:30, 12:00–14:30 and 17:00–22:30
  • www.morganshotelgroup.com
  • 0044 2073005588
Good value
International
Bedford and Strand

With a bistro, bar and wine room, Bedford and Strand is a locally-loved venue in the heart of the touristy Strand. This basement restaurant has a relaxed vibe, specialising in great service and honest, no-fuss food. Think charcuterie boards, artisan cheeses and continental meat share plates.

Cheap 'n' tasty
Middle Eastern
Koshari St

This modern, Egyptian venue is all about sourcing the best ingredients to create healthy, nutrition-focused dishes. The signature Koshari dish combines lentils, rice and pasta, topped with spicy tomato sauce, caramelised onions and boiled chickpeas - yum! There's also carb-free options, Tabouleh salads and healthy desserts.

Cheap 'n' tasty
Spanish
Condesa

For an intimate tapas bar dining experience, check out Condesa for a fusion of Spanish and Mexican flavours. The restaurant features trendy, moody interiors and a menu packed full of delights. Choose from the charcuteria, enjoy a range of cheeses or try the ceviche fish of the week.

  • 15 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NG
  • Open Monday 12:00–22:00, Tuesday to Thursday 12:00–23:00, Friday to Saturday 12:00–23:30, Sunday 16:00–21:00
  • www.condesalondon.com
  • 0044 2036015752
Good value
Indian
Dishoom

As part of the Bombay Café group, Dishoom is a trendy venue serving up a quirky repertoire of creative, Indian cuisine. There's even a breakfast club, where you must try their signature bacon naan roll. Go for a meal, an afternoon Chai or a refreshing cocktail.

  • 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
  • Open Monday to Thursday 08:00–23:00, Friday 08:00–00:00, Saturday 09:00–00:00, Sunday 09:00–23:00
  • www.dishoom.com
  • 0044 2074209320
Cheap 'n' tasty
Italian
Polpo

Polpo is a popular venue styled on a traditional bacaro - a Venetian term for a humble restaurant with simple food and local wines. This rustic restaurant exudes a vintage air and features a menu of small ciccheti dishes. Think small pizzas, meatballs, and fish and meat plates.

Cheap 'n' tasty
Japanese
Tokyo Diner

Follow the crowds of hipsters as they congregate at this cool little venue, serving up authentic Japanese cuisine. Set over multiple floors, Tokyo Diner is always packed with patrons eager for a bargain bite. The crowd pleasers are the Katsu curry and the donburi dish - sweet and salty braised beef and onion.

Cheap 'n' tasty
Cantonese
Young Cheng

For delicious Cantonese cuisine in a simple, no-fuss venue, Young Cheng is your go-to venue. The menu offers your typical Chinese delights; think BBQ pork, crispy noodles, roast duck and steamed bok choi. You can even get a 15-course set dinner with a matching 8-course drink menu!

  • 22 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BY
  • Open every day 12:00–23:30
  • 0044 2072873045
Cheap 'n' tasty
French
Leon

Leon is a popular London chain, serving up healthy fast food options. Dine in for dinner, or come any time of the day for a take away treat. The breakfast special is the poached egg pots, then there's all day dining delights with a range of lunchboxes, salads, wraps and snack pots. It's fun, fast food!

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