The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben – no trip within the UK’s capital metropolis is full and not using a go to to those iconic London sights. But belief me – there’s a lot extra to London. Like a gutsy, flamboyant, and endlessly beneficiant mad previous aunt, London will shock and delight you, whereas welcoming you with open arms.
Of course, guests to London will need to dive into the city’s history, with its wealthy mixture of castles and palaces, unmatched pageantry, in addition to crimes, and scandals that shook the world. Then there’s the thrill of London’s West End to pattern. And a lot of the London expertise is on the home. You can see sights, take pleasure in world-class museums such because the British Museum and the National Gallery, and watch age-old ceremonies just like the Changing of the Guard, without spending a dime.
If you’re planning a keep in London, it’s laborious to know that are the most effective neighborhoods to go to, or that are the most effective areas to remain in. There’s simply so much to do in London, and so many sides to town’s addictive character.
Whether you’re craving world-famous monuments, rowdy nightlife, dainty afternoon teas, iconic reside music venues, quirky shops, Michelin-starred delicacies, funky avenue meals, or blissful open areas, London has all of it.
So to assist together with your planning, let me speak you thru the most effective London sights and a few high London neighborhoods. Discover the place your bucket-list objects are positioned, what every space has to supply, and what are the most effective locations to remain in London.
Regarding which, I’ll briefly direct your consideration to our very favourite London lodging:
TL;DR Best London Hotels and Accommodations
You’ll need to decide a location to match your vacation tastes and itinerary, so this at-a-glance information to a number of the greatest London neighborhoods ought to level you in the best course.
- Best space for first-timers – Westminster
- Best space for funds vacationers – Greenwich
- Best space for luxurious vacationers -Mayfair
- Best space for households – Marylebone
- Best space for security – Kensington
- Best space for nightlife – Soho
- Best space for touristy enjoyable – South Bank
- Best space for simple entry – Covent Garden
- Best space for younger folks – Camden Town
- Best space for hipsters – Shoreditch & Spitalfields
- Best space for tradition vultures – Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia
- Best space for historical past buffs – City of London
- Best space for city adventures – Docklands
- Best space for theater – Islington
PRO TIP: You can take a number of the problem out of sightseeing in London by fixing your self up with a vacationer go, similar to The London Pass. To benefit from your go, analysis rigorously, and purpose to make use of it 2 or 3 instances a day. That way you’re sure to save money in addition to time.
But for those who’re eager to deal with museums and artwork galleries, a go is probably not for you, as many London museums are free. Now come right here and let mad previous aunty London provide you with a terrific huge hug!
Where to Stay in London
1. Westminster: Best Area for First-Timers
Westminster is the place you’ll discover the best focus of London must-sees. So this central location ought to high your record if that is your first go to to London – and preserve your digital camera useful. A very good place to begin is Trafalgar Square. There’s a particular buzz to the Square from all of the holiday-makers and sightseers, although at sure instances you’ll additionally see rallies or demonstrations.
Up the Trafalgar Square steps, you’ll discover the National Gallery, whereas not far away there’s the National Portrait Gallery – each free. The area’s rich in pubs, however I extremely advocate a go to to the fabulous previous Admiralty pub. Here you’ll be able to tuck into some Great British Yorkshire puddings, Cornish pasties, and Marmite roasted potatoes.
A stroll down Whitehall previous the imposing authorities buildings and the gates to Downing Street brings you face-to-face with Big Ben. Across Westminster Bridge Road is the Palace of Westminster – and also you’ll must book in advance for a Houses of Parliament tour. Tickets are restricted, and you’ll count on some powerful safety checks, however entry is free and the setting is spectacular.
Turn round and also you’ll see the Gothic majesty of Westminster Abbey, the place English and British monarchs have been topped since 1066. For one other spectacular church, take a detour down Victoria Street (or get the Tube to Victoria Station) to Westminster Cathedral. Entry to the principle constructing is free, however splash a number of kilos and also you’ll get sensational 360º views of central London from the campanile.
Not removed from Westminster Abbey are Birdcage Walk and the pleasant St James’s Park. Within simple strolling distance are the Churchill War Rooms, Britain’s nerve heart throughout WW2 which can be seen as part of this exclusive private tour.
And you’re solely minutes away from the tree-lined royal avenue, The Mall, which leads you to the flamboyant Victoria Memorial, simply in entrance of Buckingham Palace. The greatest time to walk down right here is on a Sunday or public vacation when it’s closed to visitors.
If you time your go to to the Palace for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday at 11 am, you’ll see the well-known Changing of the Guard ceremony – without spending a dime. Check the Buckingham Palace website to see when the State Rooms are open, or e book an organized Buckingham Palace tour, similar to this one which includes a royal London guided walk, or this one where you can marvel at the sumptuous royal carriages at Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews.
Try to slot in a go to to Horse Guards, an 18th Century constructing subsequent to Horse Guards Parade. Here you’ll see the lavishly-dressed sentry guards, mounted or on foot, and all impressively deadpan within the face of camera-waving vacationers. If you’re visiting London in June you’ll be able to see the Trooping the Colour rehearsals and the large parade on the King’s Birthday.
A stroll down Millbank will give nice views of the River Thames and the London Eye – and also you’ll end up at one other cozy conventional pub, the supposedly haunted Morpeth Arms. And proper subsequent door is the world-famous Tate Britain artwork museum – one other fabulous free London attraction.
There are tons of London attractions in Westminster, all inside simple strolling distance of one another. You may even take a riverboat from Westminster Millennium Pier to Hampton Court Palace. Here are Westminster’s must-sees:
- Trafalgar Square
- National Gallery
- Big Ben
- Houses of Parliament
- Westminster Abbey
- St James’s Park
- Buckingham Palace
- Changing of the Guard
- Horseguards and the Household Cavalry Museum
Even for those who’re primarily based elsewhere, attempt to have a day within the Westminster space. But this is without doubt one of the greatest locations to remain in London to really feel proper on the coronary heart of issues, despite the fact that lodging tends to be on the pricier facet. Our suggestions are as follows:
2. Greenwich – Best Area for Budget Travelers
As with any main metropolis, probably the most touristy London locations are typically the priciest. One of the most effective locations to remain in London for those who’re watching your funds is Greenwich (pronounced GREN-itch). This village-y space in southeast London has good transportation hyperlinks however is way sufficient away from the principle vacationer path to have a extra relaxed, genuine really feel, with costs to match.
And whereas transport to central London will price, you’re free to decide on whether or not or to not partake – in spite of everything, Greenwich itself is full of historic landmarks and enjoyable sights. For instance, it’s possible you’ll properly acknowledge the Old Royal Naval College. This beautiful architectural masterpiece options in quite a few films, together with Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises.
First, try the historic Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Freebies right here embrace the Royal Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House artwork museum, and, a brief stroll away, pretty Greenwich Park.
This is the house of the Royal Observatory and Greenwich Mean Time, and you’ll truly stand on the official 0º longitude line. And preserve your digital camera out at One Tree Hill, the place you’ll get very good views of the City of London.
There are two Cutty Sarks you would possibly take pleasure in visiting. One is the well-known nineteenth Century Cutty Sark sailing ship, now a maritime museum. The different is a superb previous riverside pub, well-known for its Great British fish and chips.
Another great free attraction is the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, a tranquil space of city wetland subsequent to the River Thames. If you want extra of a buzz, head to the O2.
This leisure venue is filled with enjoyable stuff – trampolining, skydiving, and even climbing over the O2’s roof. There’s additionally a Mama Mia eating expertise and a Boom Battle Bar. Oh, and a great deal of procuring.
Greenwich city heart can be nice for procuring, with its markets, unbiased shops, and retail parks. There’s additionally the quirky Fan Museum, open Wednesday – Saturday. As properly because the elegant shows, look out for some pretty jewellery within the museum’s store.
If you are feeling the necessity to head north of the Thames to central London, there are a number of methods to do it. You can use a Visitor’s Oyster journey ticket on many of those rides (see FAQs), so it needn’t price an excessive amount of.
North Greenwich Station is on the Jubilee Tube (subway) line, which has stations at Waterloo, Westminster, and Baker Street. The 188 bus goes proper into the guts of London.
There are Docklands Light Railway providers from Greenwich to Bank, within the City of London. And Thameslink trains run from Greenwich to London Bridge Station.
In addition, there are a great deal of cruises from Greenwich to central London, together with an Uber Boat calling at 23 piers alongside the River Thames. There’s additionally the IFS Cloud Cable Car which takes you to the Royal Docks in East London.
Whether you’re staying in Greenwich, or simply coming for the day, listed here are its greatest bits:
- Royal Maritime Museum
- Queen’s House
- Old Royal Naval College
- Greenwich Park
- Royal Observatory
- Cutty Sark
- Greenwich Market
- Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Greenwich is without doubt one of the greatest locations to remain in London on a funds. It has all of the facilities and sights you could possibly need, in addition to a pleasant – and pocket-friendly – vibe. Here are our lodging suggestions:
See Related: Fun Nicknames for London
3. Mayfair – Best Area for Luxury Travelers
North of Green Park, and to the west of Hyde Park, is Mayfair. If you test the London Monopoly board, you’ll discover that Mayfair is the most expensive property, and this says all of it. One of the world’s most costly districts, Mayfair is the place to remain in London for a sense of final luxuriousness.
As properly as its luxurious resorts, Mayfair can be identified for its critically upscale procuring. A must-see is the attractive Burlington Arcade with its top-hatted Beadles in Regency-style uniforms.
Dating again to 1819, this was London’s first shopping center and is the place to return for deluxe objects similar to Manolo Blahnik footwear, cashmere, and classic watches. You can benefit from this retail wonderland with a guided shopping tour.
There’s extra high-end procuring on Bond Street and Savile Row and Shepherd Market, a historic sq. stuffed with unbiased shops and stylish eateries. Or deal with your self to afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason.
And with Michelin stars sprinkled over it like fairy mud, Mayfair is stuffed with tremendous eating alternatives. At eating places like Hide, Le Gavroche, and Pollen Street Social, you’ll luxuriate within the environment as a lot because the delicacies.
It’s not all consuming and procuring, although. There’s the Royal Academy of Arts – attempt to come for its legendary Summer Exhibition in July and August.
There are extra artwork treasures on the 18th Century Apsley House, with the official handle “Number 1, London”. And for these of a extra scientific flip of thoughts, there’s the Faraday Museum on the Royal Institution of Great Britain. And after a tough day’s procuring or sightseeing you’ll be able to take the load off your Jimmy Choos at elegant Grosvenor Square, leafy Berkley Square, or the Brown Hart terraced backyard.
Mayfair is the place London’s wealthy and well-known spend their downtime. You can see the place Jimi Hendrix frolicked on the Handel & Hendrix in London Museum. And find out more about Rich People Behaving Badly on this gossipy guided tour!
Mayfair is the most effective place in London to take pleasure in just a little luxurious. Here are your Mayfair musts:
- Burlington Arcade
- Shepherd Market
- Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason or The Ritz
- Royal Academy of Arts
- Apsley House
- Faraday Museum
- Handel & Hendrix Museum
- Grosvenor Square
Mayfair’s central location is useful, being near Hyde Park, Oxford Street, and the West End. Accommodation right here comes with a luxurious price ticket, although, so for true “funds” lodging, look elsewhere. The space is sort of actually ritzy, counting The Ritz amongst its many luxurious resorts. Other high-end resorts embrace The Connaught and The Dorchester, each that includes Michelin-starred eating places.
You would possibly need to contemplate close by Piccadilly or Paddington, simply north of Hyde Park, for some comparatively low-cost resorts. But for the total Mayfair expertise, listed here are the most effective lodging within the space:
4. Marylebone – Best Area for Families
The Marylebone district is without doubt one of the greatest areas to remain in London if you’d like a various vary of actions in your doorstep. For this purpose, it’s a terrific place to remain for those who’re visiting London with children. In reality, this space within the north a part of central London has one thing to swimsuit each style, for those who’re ready to do some exploring.
Just a brief stroll north of Marylebone is Regent’s Park, which is value a go to wherever you’re primarily based. Here you’ll discover the great London Zoo, in addition to an open-air theatre, a boating lake, and 4 children’ playgrounds. Don’t miss the view from the highest of Primrose Hill, a terrific spot for a picnic.
And Marylebone is fairly useful for Hyde Park, too – use the doorway close to Marble Arch. Look out for the Hyde Park Playground, the Buckhill Playground, and the junior tennis courts. And subsequent door in Kensington Gardens there’s the Gorilla Circus trapeze faculty.
Also north of Marylebone is Lord’s Cricket Ground, the house of cricket and the world’s oldest sporting museum. And a tour of Abbey Road will take you to the world-famous recording studios the place you can also make like a Beatle and stroll throughout the enduring Abbey Road zebra crossing.
You can get even nearer to your favourite stars – in wax type, that’s – at Madame Tussauds. Lines for the unique Madame Tussauds are at all times big, so buy a Tussauds ticket ahead of time, or one as a part of a multi-attraction ticket bundle. A couple of minutes stroll away is one other fabulous attraction, the Sherlock Holmes Museum on the nice detective’s house, 221b Baker Street.
Fans must also try his well-known London movie areas on a Sherlock Holmes movie walking tour. Or you’ll be able to go in model and find out about Sherlock, James Bond, and the Beatles too, in this black cab tour.
And for a extra genteel time out, go to the superlative Wallace Collection. This exhibition of beautiful tremendous arts is one more of London’s free-of-charge treats.
Marylebone has tons to supply hardened consumers. Oxford Street, Britain’s most well-known procuring avenue, is stuffed with well-known names.
There’s additionally the UK’s solely bodily Disney retailer, plus the world-famous Selfridges division retailer. And if you’ve shopped your self foolish, there’s Oxford Street’s Twist Museum of Illusions to blow your thoughts even additional.
Check out Marylebone High Street for trendy artisanal shops and cafes. The cozy brunch spot 31 Below is in style with canine walkers, whereas cat followers will adore the Kitten Lounge at Java Whiskers Marylebone cat cafe in Great Portland Street.
Apart from being certainly one of my favourite historic railway stations in London, Marylebone can be on the identical line as world-famous Wembley Stadium and is the gateway to Bicester Shopping Village in stunning Oxfordshire. Trains from Marylebone Station set off for this luxurious retail outlet each half-hour. If you select an organized Bicester Village shopping trip you may get 10% off retailer costs.
There’s a lot within the Marylebone space to maintain each member of the household completely happy. Here are the Marylebone must-sees:
- London Zoo
- Regent’s Park
- Abbey Road crossing
- Madame Tussauds
- Sherlock Holmes Museum
- Oxford Street procuring
- Twist Museum of Illusions
- Wallace Collection artwork museum
Marylebone is a superb place to remain in London for households, particularly for those who’re visiting for the primary time. Here are our favourite Marylebone lodging:
See Related: Most Beautiful Villages in England to Visit
5. Kensington and Chelsea – Best Area for Safety
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is an space cradling the southwest nook of Hyde Park. As its fancy identify suggests, it has a trendy affluence that goes hand-in-hand with emotions of security. Though there’s a lot to see and do, the Kensington and Chelsea space is the most effective place to remain in London for a relaxed trip with a contact of sophistication.
A high royal connection is Kensington Palace, as soon as the house of Princess Diana and nonetheless a royal residence. There are a great deal of excursions out there, some with afternoon tea at the palace. It’s proper subsequent to Hyde Park, the place you’ll be able to swim, cycle, benefit from the gardens, and, on Sunday mornings, hear folks pontificate at Speakers’ Corner.
South Kensington is most well-known for its Museum Quarter. The Victoria and Albert Museum (aka the V&A Art Museum), the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum – all inside strolling distance of South Kensington Station – are world-class establishments which are free to go to. Even higher, all of them have stylish cafes and great memento retailers.
Just down the highway is Knightsbridge and the patron’s paradise, Harrods. With its million sq. ft of flooring area and green-uniformed door folks, Harrods is a should for first-time guests to London.
And I urge you to hunt out the Grenadier pub, a brief stroll away in Wilton Row. This former military barracks devoted to the Grenadier Guards does a imply Bloody Mary.
Head right down to Chelsea and also you’ll discover the National Army Museum, one other nice free London attraction. And solely a quick stroll away is Chelsea Royal Hospital, house of the well-known red-coated Chelsea Pensioners, all veterans of the British Armed Forces.
For these in want of a procuring spree, there’s the ever-trendy King’s Road and the hyper-sophisticated Sloane Square. Or why not explore Chelsea through the medium of patisserie?
If you’ve seen the movie Notting Hill, you’ll know what to anticipate on this northern a part of Kensington. And sure, the bright-painted Victorian homes, funky bistros, and trendy vintage retailers of Notting Hill are simply as interesting off-screen.
If you’re OK with crowds, come on a Saturday to expertise the thrill and fabulous avenue meals of Portobello Road Market. The Road Market brings tons of of distributors peddling antiques, vogue, and many meals.
As properly as being the most effective neighborhood for museums, Kensington is without doubt one of the greatest areas to remain in London for those who’re trying to de-stress and benefit from the second. Amongst its many sights, these are the must-sees:
- Kensington Palace & Gardens
- Hyde Park
- Victoria & Albert Museum
- Science Museum
- Natural History Museum
- Royal Albert Hall
- King’s Road
- Portobello Road Market
Kensington is a superb place to base your self to take pleasure in all of the facilities and trendy sights of West London. Be conscious, although, that you could be be spending vital quantities of time touring for those who intend to hang around within the East End of London.
On the opposite hand, for those who fancy a day trip out to see Windsor, Stonehenge, or Bath you’re on the best facet of city. If you need to benefit from Kensington’s serene vibes, try our favourite Kensington lodging:
See Related: How to Take a Day Trip from London to Stonehenge
6. Soho – Best Area for Nightlife
There was. atime when London’s Soho was identified just for its quite risqué character. This former red-light district is now the point of interest for central London nightlife, with any and each form of leisure on supply. So for those who’re a fan of the intense lights, Soho is for you.
This is the place you’ll discover London’s West End – the guts of theater within the capital. Many theaters are clustered round Shaftesbury Avenue, and that is the place to go for long-running favorites similar to Les Miserables and Wicked together with newer reveals, like multi-award winning musical Operation Mincemeat.
Film buffs are catered for too, with each chain film theaters and the Prince Charles Cinema (who’re holding the identify regardless of Charles’ ascension), well-known for its singalong shows and all-night film marathons. Why not check out Theatreland with a silent disco tour?
London has a thriving LGBTQIA+ neighborhood, and Soho’s fame as London’s homosexual village is as previous because the hills. One of its oldest homosexual bars, Admiral Duncan, deserves a stopover for its hilarious drag cabaret.
For a extra trendy vibe, look out for the award-winning Ku Group of bars and golf equipment, or the fantastically kitsch Friendly Society. Or discover more about Soho’s LGBTQ+ history on a customizable tour.
Soho can be the house of London’s Chinatown. These half-a-dozen streets, adorned with pink lanterns, are filled with Asian restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, bubble tea cafes, and memento retailers. Try to go to in January/February for London’s Chinese New Year celebrations, the most important outdoors Asia.
In reality, you’ll be able to eat your way around the world in Soho, because of the massive vary of cuisines on supply. Three eating places usually cropping up on “better of Soho” lists are Bao for Taiwanese meals, Blacklock for steaks, and Barrafina for tapas.
Soho is packed with great pubs, too. Don’t miss the mind-scrambling mixture of neon graffiti, cocktails, and consoles on the arcade bar NQ64 Soho. And for some late-night jazz strive Trisha’s or the legendary Ronnie Scott’s.
Another must-visit London attraction is Carnaby Street. For a long time the epicenter of edgy London culture, this has showcased countless fashion, music, and sex icons and is house to some ultra-cool retailers. And for those who’re in London at Christmas, don’t miss Carnaby Street’s at all times beautiful gentle set up.
A brief stroll away is Leicester Square, a must-visit place in London for all types of enjoyable stuff. Kids (OK, adults too) will love the LEGO retailer and M&M’S London. There are additionally bars, eating places, cinemas, and a on line casino.
Try the Jungle Cave for an immersive jungle eating expertise, full with lizards climbing the partitions and a jaguar lounging in a tree overhead (Not actual, I hasten so as to add.)
Soho’s additionally the place to seek out one of many best Harry Potter things to do in London. This is the wonderful Harry Potter-themed exhibition and store at The House of MinaLima. Get your Hogwarts goodies right here!
Soho is the place to remain in London if you wish to experience some vibrant nightlife. But there’s a lot to do within the daytime, too. Here are Soho’s musts:
- Theatreland – soak up a present
- Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
- Carnaby Street
- LEGO retailer, Mosaic Maker
- M&M’S London
- House of MinaLima
- Museum of Youth Culture
A keep in Soho means you’re proper subsequent to London’s West End and Covent Garden, in addition to being near Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Oxford Circus Tube (subway) stations. Here are our favourite Soho lodging:
7. South Bank – Best Area for Touristy Fun
For centuries, Londoners have been crossing the Thames to have enjoyable within the South Bank space. This strip of riverside throughout from Westminster and the City of London continues to be stuffed with nice alternatives for R & R. The South Bank is without doubt one of the greatest locations to remain in London if you wish to be near a great deal of thrilling sights.
One of the most well-liked is the London Eye. The 30-minute rotation by every of the 32 pods provides beautiful 360º views of town.
Long sufficient for a proposal? Find out with the Cupid’s Pod possibility. For the most effective London Eye worth, book off-peak tickets in advance. Or why not double up with a Thames sightseeing cruise?
A brief stroll away is The London Dungeon, an interactive present devoted to London’s gory previous. Nearby you’ll discover the Sea Life Centre. Again, reserving on-line upfront will get you the most cost effective tickets.
There’s additionally the chance to see behind the scenes or have a state-of-the-art VR underwater expertise. And all of those venues additionally supply money-saving multi-attraction bundles.
Follow the river northeast and also you’ll come to the Southbank Centre, the UK’s largest arts heart, and residential to 2 iconic reside music venues. A couple of minutes away is the National Theatre. If you’ll be able to’t slot in a present at certainly one of these venues, no less than go to their retailers, that are stuffed with distinctive and stylish items.
Further alongside Bankside is one other London must-see – Tate Modern. Admission is free, and there’s no must e book. Head to Level 3 for Tate Draw, the place your personal digital drawing could be projected onto the wall and even become a t-shirt.
Although “the Bard” was born in Warwickshire, London was Shakespeare’s real stomping ground. Just a couple of minutes’ stroll from the Millennium Bridge takes you to Shakespeare’s Globe. This is a shocking reconstruction of the 1599 picket theater Shakespeare wrote for and acted in.
Keep going and also you’ll come to a different fabulous reproduction, this time of a sixteenth Century crusing ship, The Golden Hinde. For one thing extra trendy, there’s the museum ship HMS Belfast, a retired Nineteen Thirties Royal Navy gentle cruiser that noticed motion throughout World War II.
Not far-off is one other excellent spot for panoramic London views – The Shard, the UK’s tallest constructing. You can benefit from the view in consolation in certainly one of The Shard’s seven bars and eating places, or head to the open-air Level 72 Skydeck.
And for extra nice views whilst you dine, strive the Oxo Tower Restaurant. Finally, don’t miss the foodie heaven of Borough Market, open each day besides Monday. Saturdays are the busiest, however they’re additionally the place you’ll discover the most effective choice.
The South Bank space is filled with enjoyable actions in addition to offering some high London sightseeing. Here are the realm’s absolute must-see sights:
- London Eye
- London Dungeon
- HMS Belfast
- Sea Life Centre
- Southbank Centre
- Tate Modern
- Shakespeare’s Globe
- The Shard’s Level 72 Skydeck
- Borough Market
Staying within the South Bank space means you’ll be close to some must-visit locations in London. You’ll even be simply throughout the Thames from another nice London neighborhoods. Here are our South Bank lodging suggestions:
See Related: 2 Days in London Itinerary: a top trip you’ll want to copy
8. Covent Garden – Best Area for Easy Access
With the City of London to the east and London’s West End to – you guessed it – the west, Covent Garden is simply sooo central. If you don’t thoughts a little bit of a stroll, a keep right here means you’ll be able to entry tons of high London sights with out spending a penny on transport. For instance, Big Ben, Oxford Street, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Tate Modern are all lower than 25 minutes’ stroll away.
What Covent Garden is most well-known for, although, is its stunning piazza and nineteenth Century market buildings, full of stylish and quirky cafes and shops. There are additionally some nice markets right here, promoting sweet, crafts, jewellery, purses, and different desirable gifts. For antiques, go to Covent Garden’s Jubilee Market on a Monday.
There’s extra fashionable procuring within the slender streets round historic Seven Dials. In specific, try Short’s Gardens. This is the place you’ll find the award-winning cheese shop Neal’s Yard Dairy throughout the road from Pick & Cheese, the world’s first cheese conveyor belt restaurant (and fortuitously subsequent door to COW Vintage garments store!).
Behind Covent Garden Piazza is St Paul’s Church, the “Actors’ Church”. The piazza and the church steps typically play host to avenue entertainers, and also you’ll additionally discover loads of well-known theaters close by.
As properly because the Novello and the Lyceum, there’s the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, truly on Catherine Street. Drury Lane is the place you’ll discover the Top Secret Comedy Club, a no-frills venue internet hosting huge names at inexpensive costs.
There’s additionally St Martin’s Theatre – the home of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap since 1954 – and final, however very a lot not least, the magnificent Royal Opera House – strive their guided excursions. And for a pre-show drink, I’d advocate the seventeenth Century Nell of Old Drury, although there are a ton of nice previous pubs within the space.
Another very good attraction in Covent Garden is the London Transport Museum. Under-18s go free, and for those who go to after 2 pm, a few kilos are shaved off the grownup ticket worth. Bow Street Police Museum and the Art Deco splendor of Freemasons’ Hall are additionally properly value a glance.
And for those who head right down to Carting Street throughout the Strand, you’ll get a glimpse into London’s less savory side, with its solely surviving sewer fuel lamp. It’s stated that company from the close by Savoy Hotel have helped to maintain it lit!
A stroll round Covent Garden will reveal loads of nice surprises – a brand new gelato store appears to pop up each week – however listed here are the locations to purpose for:
- Covent Garden Market and Piazza
- Actors’ Church steps for avenue theatre
- Seven Dials procuring
- The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre
- Royal Opera House
- London Transport Museum
- Freemasons’ Hall
- Carting Street sewer fuel lamp
Covent Garden is the most effective place to remain if you’d like good entry to sights on all sides of central London. Many bucket-list locations are walkable, and Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Tottenham Court Road Tube stations are useful. Here are the lodging we advocate:
9. Camden Town – Best Area for Young People
If you’re a person of extra mature years, I’m not going to recommend you keep away from Camden Town. After all, it’s a captivating nook of London with tons to supply. It’s simply that younger folks appear to have a particular affinity with Camden.
Here is the place the time period “different” typically crops up in descriptions of shops, sights, and actions. So for those who’re younger or younger at coronary heart, Camden ought to converse to you.
Camden Market is the realm’s best-known attraction. Actually, there are a number of markets, probably the most well-known being Camden Lock and The Stables. Among the 1000+ retailers and stalls, you’ll discover a mind-boggling vary of garments, items, souvenirs, and actions – some beautiful, some cheesy, some downright weird.
Top spots embrace Japan Craft for anime and manga, Rock ’n’ Roll Soldiers for music, Cyberdog for day-glo rave gear (a light-up LED faux-fur gilet, anyone?), and for Lara Croft wannabes, the Tomb Raider Live Experience.
You’ll want to permit a number of hours to absorb all of the markets, and the recommendation is at all times to return hungry. There are dozens of meals stalls and cafes, serving each form of common meals.
There are additionally some fascinating mash-ups – Yorkshire burritos or fried ice cream, for instance. And Camden’s not wanting nice pubs; a great way to pattern a number of the greatest is on an organized pub crawl.
Camden Town can be house to some scorching reside music venues. Check out the Spiritual Bar, or Camden Assembly’s membership nights, or strive a Jack Daniels burger alongside the music at The Camden Club. The Fiddler’s Elbow hosts gigs each evening, whereas on the Roundhouse, Camden’s most well-known venue, there are poetry slams, comedy, and drama in addition to music.
Art lovers gained’t need to miss the Zabludowicz Collection of latest artwork (admission free) or the fabulous Camden Open Air Art Gallery. For avenue artwork – some by Banksy? – go to Oval Road and Hawley Mews. Not far-off you’ll see the statue of one-time Camden resident Amy Winehouse.
And with the Regent’s Canal working via Camden, there are many enjoyable water-based actions round. Both common waterbuses and specialty cruises run from Camden Lock to Little Venice in the summertime months, some calling at London Zoo. There’s additionally the prospect to go paddleboarding.
Camden has an power like no different. Try to go out right here no less than as soon as if you’re visiting London; the most effective Tube (subway) stations are Camden Town and Chalk Farm. Here are Camden’s high sights:
- Shopping in Camden Market
- Street meals
- Live music on the Spiritual Bar or the Fiddler’s Elbow
- Zabludowicz Collection
- Cruise on Regent’s Canal
- Amy Winehouse statue
- Jewish Museum London
Camden is the most effective place to remain in London for younger folks and college students – or these eager to relive their pupil days. Here are our suggestions:
See Related: A Long Weekend Cruising on England’s Grand Union Canal
10. Shoreditch & Spitalfields – Best for Hipsters
Inner-city renewal, city revitalization, hipsterfication – these phrases are usually connected to the Shoreditch and Spitalfields districts of London’s East End. So these are a number of the greatest locations to remain in London for those who take pleasure in a cutting-edge, hipster vibe and some eclectic eats.
For a begin, the realm is blessed with some wonderful eateries. Especially advisable are the Michelin-starred Clove Club at Shoreditch Town Hall, the stylishly rough-hewn Smokestak, and the straightforward however elegant Rochelle Canteen.
There’s a bunch of buzzy bars, pubs, and golf equipment, too. To faucet into the native vibe, strive the whimsical Ninetyeight bar, the petite Everafter bar, or the award-winning Swift bar. And the identify says all of it: the Pride of Spitalfields showcases good previous East End pub values.
Head right here too for those who love markets. One of probably the most well-known is Brick Lane, with its big indoor and out of doors weekend markets. As Brick Lane is within the coronary heart of Britain’s Bangladeshi neighborhood, you’ll be spoilt for alternative in terms of very good Asian delicacies.
There’s additionally Columbia Road Flower Market, Petticoat Lane clothes market, Old Spitalfields Market, and, solely a brief stroll away, Spitalfields Market, which works as far as to vow one thing for everybody!
Shoreditch can be the most effective neighborhood in London for avenue artwork. A guided tour of Shoreditch’s street art scene will hunt out the perfect, although you’ll be able to’t miss some spectacular artwork for those who discover the streets your self, for instance Hanbury Street, Princelet Street, and Whitby Street.
Other wildly various sights in Shoreditch and Spitalfields embrace the Autograph Gallery’s thought-provoking pictures assortment, the Museum of the Home, Spitalfields City Farm, and the immersive Van Gogh London exhibition. And if you’d like that little bit additional out of your cocktail bar, head to Shoreditch Balls for cocktails+mini-golf, or Ballie Ballerson for cocktails+a ball pool!
Cat lovers shouldn’t miss London’s first cat cafe, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium on Bethnal Green Road. And it’s value figuring out that travelers with pets are assured a pet-friendly keep in any respect cheap-and-cheerful Premier Inn resorts in London.
In addition, two native resorts, the One Hundred Shoreditch and Mama Shelter London – Shoreditch, have good monitor information in terms of internet hosting pets.
There’s extra to Shoreditch and Spitalfields than simply scorching nightspots and funky artwork. Here are the star sights:
- Edgy-yet-sophisticated eating
- Brick Lane Market
- Petticoat Lane Market
- Columbia Road Flower Market
- Tour of the road artwork
- Autograph Gallery
- Museum of the Home
- Van Gogh London
- Ballie Ballerson
The Shoreditch and Spitalfields space is the place to remain in London if you wish to be primarily based in London’s hipsterville. Here are our suggestions:
See Related: Fascinating United Kingdom Nicknames to Know
11. Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia – Best for Culture Vultures
Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia are side-by-side districts sandwiched between Kings Cross and Marylebone, and simply north of Covent Garden. This is the place to remain in London for those who’re interested in culture and literature, because of all the space’s bookish connections.
Bloomsbury is the place you’ll discover one of many nice London sights – the British Museum. Two thousand years of historical past are on show, together with Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles.
Allow no less than a few hours to discover; this British Museum floor plan will assist. There are additionally many British Museum guided tours like this one out there. And as with many main London museums, entry is free, and you’ll depend on high-quality refreshments and souvenirs.
To the east of Bloomsbury, you’ll discover Charles Dickens’s previous house. The home feels as if Dickens has simply popped out for a second, being crammed together with his private results, together with his razors and even his lemon squeezer. If you’re a fan, you could possibly strive one of many Charles Dickens walking tours out there.
For youthful readers, a must-visit place in London is the Harry Potter store at Kings Cross Station, in addition to Platform 9¾, the place there’s a baggage trolley caught within the wall. To see the Hogwarts Express, you’ll must take a Harry Potter tour from central London to Warner Bros. Studios, the place you too can stroll down Diagon Alley and drink butterbeer.
Any e book lover will relish a go to to The British Library, the UK’s nationwide library. Its Treasures Gallery is free to enter and holds some fascinating objects, together with Shakespeare’s First Folio and Jane Austen’s writing desk. There’s additionally a store promoting distinctive book-themed items.
There are a number of fascinating museums within the space. You’ll discover the Cartoon Museum and Pollock’s Toy Museum in Fitzrovia, whereas simply east of Bloomsbury are the Foundling Museum and the very family-friendly Postal Museum.
Both Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia (named after the Fitzroy Tavern) had been home to famous literary figures, together with Charles Darwin, George Bernard Shaw, and Virginia Woolf. A enjoyable exercise for e book lovers is to hunt the well-known Blue Plaques set into the buildings the place celebrated figures lived or labored.
This space is wealthy in listed buildings, so a stroll down these historic streets will reveal loads of hidden gems. One of those is the Fitzrovia Chapel, a shocking nineteenth Century jewel of a constructing that’s open for personal reflection each Wednesday.
And lastly, for those who like board games, you’ll love Monopoly Lifesized, the place you compete on a forty five’ x 45’ board. Follow the sport with a chew on the Top Hat Restaurant & Bar. Alternatively pop into Dylan Thomas’s previous native, the Wheatsheaf, only a quick stroll away.
Exploring the elegant streets of Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia will assist you to channel your intellectual facet. Here are the realm’s must-sees:
- British Museum
- Charles Dickens Museum
- Harry Potter store and Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station
- British Library
- Cartoon Museum
- Pollocks Toy Museum
- Fitzrovia Chapel
- Monopoly Lifesized
- Performances at Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art)
A keep in Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia will give good entry to some inspiring London sights however may also be useful for Marylebone, Soho, and Covent Garden. Here are our suggestions:
12. City of London – Best Area for History Buffs
Wherever you go in central London you’ll see traces of the previous. But to essentially return in time you might want to immerse your self within the historic City of London.
The Square Mile, because it’s generally known as, is the perfect place to remain in London to understand its typically bumpy historical past. And you’ll know you’re within the City of London for those who’ve handed one of many 14 dragon boundary markers.
Look laborious and also you’ll see indicators of the Roman occupation almost 2,000 years in the past. In Lower Thames Street you’ll be able to see remnants of a Roman home – e book right here.
And underneath the magnificent fifteenth Century Guildhall is London’s solely Roman amphitheater. Entry is free and with a Guildhall normal ticket you’ll additionally get entry to the artwork gallery.
The mighty Tower of London, certainly one of London’s greatest sights, dates again to the eleventh Century. In its time it’s been each a royal residence and a spot of execution. You can see the block the place prisoners laid their heads earlier than the chop and a number of the graffiti they left behind.
Regular entry tickets allow you to see the Bloody Tower, the White Tower, and the Crown Jewels, whereas skip-the-line tours come with your very own Beefeater. Or decide this VIP tour that includes the 700-year-old Ceremony of the Keys.
The 1666 Great Fire of London swept away a lot of the medieval metropolis however there are some dogged survivors. Check out London’s oldest church, All Hallows by the Tower, and the City’s oldest home, 41-42 Cloth Fair, in-built 1614.
One wonderful legacy of the hearth was Christopher Wren’s Baroque masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral. Entry tickets embrace entry to the principle church and two galleries. And a behind-the-scenes Triforium tour allows you to see the staircase used within the Harry Potter films.
A couple of minutes’ stroll down Fleet Street is the legendary pub Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (a private favourite), rebuilt after the hearth. And don’t miss Pudding Lane, the place the hearth began.
Here you’ll discover the Monument to the Great Fire the place, for a number of kilos, you’ll be able to climb the 311 steps. It’s windy on the high, however the views of the City’s streets and alleys are properly value it.
Another London must-see is Tower Bridge. There are extra nice views from its two walkways – one with a glass flooring. There are plenty of chances for touring Tower Bridge, or you’ll be able to sail under it on this cruise!
To immerse your self within the gory facet of Victorian London, head to the Jack the Ripper Museum. For a gentler expertise go to Postman’s Park, with its poignant Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. And for some elegant City procuring and eating, go to the 1844 Royal Exchange, behind St Paul’s Cathedral.
Then come proper updated with a go to to the brutalist structure of the Barbican arts heart, or the Walkie-Talkie Building’s Sky Garden – London’s highest public backyard.
The City of London’s slender streets are full of historic gems, together with dozens of fantastic pubs. Here’s what you mustn’t miss:
- The Tower of London
- All Hallows by the Tower (and subsequent door St Dunstan within the East for its picturesque ruins)
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- The Monument
- A City pub (for instance Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese or the Art Nouveau treasure the Blackfriar)
- Tower Bridge
- Postman’s Park
- The Barbican (and take a look at its conservatory backyard)
- The Sky Garden
Staying within the City of London will provide you with ample alternative to discover London’s historical past. You’ll even be useful for Covent Garden, the South Bank, and Spitalfields. Here are our suggestions:
See Related: Most Beautiful Places in the United Kingdom
13. Docklands – Best Area for Urban Adventures
From working docks to city wasteland to cutting-edge enterprise heart – the Docklands space in East London has seen some dramatic modifications. Thanks to its complete facelift, Docklands is now top-of-the-line locations to remain in London for vacationers in search of adventures in a dynamic city setting.
The point of interest in Docklands is Canary Wharf, house to London’s second-highest constructing, One Canada Square. In reality, for those who like a skyscraper, you’ve come to the best place – Canary Wharf has 5 out of the UK’s high ten highest buildings. And among the many gleaming workplaces and flats, guests can benefit from the views from some nice rooftop bars.
Try Floor 39 at Bōkan, perched on high of the world’s highest Novotel, for beautiful views of the Shard and the River Thames. And to really feel proper on the coronary heart of the Canary Wharf buzz, go to Big Easy’s terrace bar. Canary Wharf can be stuffed with ravishing eateries, however two that come extremely advisable are M Canary Wharf – e book a desk in certainly one of their cool eating pods – and Chai Ki for contemporary Indian delicacies.
When you’ve completed procuring in certainly one of Canary Wharf’s 5 malls, strive the psychedelic mini-golf at Montgomery Square. And don’t miss the zinging colours of Crossrail’s Adams Plaza Bridge, aka the Star Wars Tunnel. Or simply calm down within the stunning Crossrail Place Roof Garden only a quick stroll away.
To benefit from the dazzling Docklands cityscape in consolation, take a Thames jazz cruise. And for the craziest – or maybe most snug – method to see Canary Wharf, take a Hot Tub Tour of Docklands. Bring your swimwear!
For a break from all of the high-rise depth, head south to the Isle of Dogs. Here you’ll discover the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre the place you’ll be able to go kayaking, windsurfing, or open-water swimming.
Alternatively, join with nature at Mudshute City Park and Farm. And inside simple strolling distance of Mudshute is the surprisingly creepy Greenwich Foot Tunnel which takes you underneath the Thames to the guts of previous Greenwich.
Craving a Europe mini-break? Aim for London City Airport which has flights to Amsterdam, Zurich, plus 30 extra locations. The airport’s only a 15-minute drive from Canary Wharf or a 30-minute trip on public transport – you should utilize your Oyster Card (see FAQs). Or for a extra low-key flight, take the Cloud Cable Car from the Royal Docks to the Greenwich Peninsula.
For a style of previous Docklands, go to the Museum of London Docklands, one other fabulous free attraction. The museum is predicated in a nineteenth Century warehouse, and in addition to studying in regards to the previous docks and the slave commerce, you’ll see a mummified cat and rat.
And for a style of some sensational and low-cost contemporary fish don’t miss Billingsgate Market, the UK’s greatest indoor fish market. You’ll must wrap up because it’s at all times chilly – and ensure to put on non-slip footwear. And bear in mind that some merchants don’t have card readers, so convey money. Even for those who don’t come away with a giant bag of shrimp and oysters, head to the cafe for one of many legendary scallop and bacon baps.
Docklands is a buzzy and thrilling place, with tons to do. Here are the most effective bits:
- Canary Wharf procuring, wining, and eating
- Adams Plaza Bridge
- Crossrail Place Roof Garden
- Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre
- Mudshute Park and Farm
- Greenwich Foot Tunnel
- Cloud Cable Car
- Museum of London Docklands
- Billingsgate Market
You’ll discover a few of London’s greatest trendy resorts in Docklands. And basing your self right here means you’re useful for the City of London and Greenwich through the Docklands Light Railway. Here are our lodging suggestions:
See Related: Best Beaches in the United Kingdom to Visit
14. Islington – Best Area for Theater
If you’re a fan of the performing arts, however shrink from the crowds and generally loopy costs of the West End venues, head over to modern Islington, northwest of Kings Cross. The space, generally generally known as “Little Theatreland” because of its plethora of theatre pubs and golf equipment, is without doubt one of the greatest locations to remain in London for some must-see theatrical performances.
The multi-award-winning Almeida Theatre in its elegant Georgian house has a terrific program of entry productions – test these right here. And the Pleasance Theatre, certainly one of Time Out Magazine’s Best Fringe Theater Venues, provides performs, comedy, dance, and household reveals.
The King’s Head Theatre is without doubt one of the oldest pub theaters in London and showcases musicals, opera, and drag in addition to performs, whereas the Old Red Lion Theatre is famous for showcasing new expertise – typically earlier than the West End snaps it up. And these two venues have the appreciable advantage of a wonderful previous pub on website.
In reality, the bijou Hope Theatre’s house, the Hope & Anchor pub, can be well-known for internet hosting up-and-coming punk and rock bands similar to U2, The Police, and The Ramones within the 70s and 80s. Other reside music venues in Islington embrace the Gothic church vibe of Union Chapel and the warehouse grime of Electrowerkz, house of Slimelight Goth nights.
For comedy, strive the Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar, the Camden Head, Noel Road Comedy Club, or the comfy Angel Comedy on the Bill Murray.
Islington can be well-provided with film theaters. As properly as two chain cinemas, there’s additionally the Everyman Screen on the Green, positioned on Islington Green. Not solely does it run particular seasons and cult movie screenings, nevertheless it additionally has a full menu – together with hand-made pizzas and cocktails – that you may order out of your seat.
Islington Green’s a terrific place to hang around even for those who’re not coming for a film, particularly on a tremendous summer season night. Customers from the quite a few pubs, bars, and eating places shut by spill out onto the sidewalks making the realm really feel like an enormous party. Highly advisable is Noci, for its easy however scrumptious do-it-yourself pasta.
Nearby Camden Passage can be value in search of out. This cute pedestrianized alleyway is house to stylish eateries, shops, and vintage retailers, in addition to the Moosey artwork gallery.
If you need to seize some contemporary air, head over to the Regent’s Canal towpath. Take a quick detour and also you’ll see the attractive Packington Street mosaic at Canalside Square.
And for those who’re visiting London with children, they’ll benefit from the close by Waterside Adventure Playground. Not to say Islington’s kids-only theater, the Little Angel.
You’ll discover some high-quality fringe and different theater in Islington. Make certain you get to take pleasure in its different sights, too:
- A efficiency or two at a pub theater
- Stand-up comedy membership
- A film at Screen on the Green
- Live music at Electrowerkz or Union Chapel
- Shopping in Camden Passage
- Regent’s Canal Towpath path
- Little Angel Children’s Theatre
Islington isn’t overflowing with resorts, however for those who keep right here you’ll be in fringe heaven. You’ll even be useful for Kings Cross and Bloomsbury. Here are our advisable lodging:
What is the most effective space to remain in London for first-time guests?
Westminster is the most effective place to remain in London for first-timers. It’s stuffed with high sights like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. It’s additionally not too removed from different must-see locations just like the London Eye, Tate Modern, the West End, and the British Museum.
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good suggestion to remain near the river to be near the biggest variety of well-known landmarks and sights.
What is the most effective place to remain in London with children?
Marylebone is a superb alternative for those who’re visiting London with children. It’s near London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Hyde Park, Madame Tussauds, and different enjoyable stuff.
Or for those who’re planning to go to numerous nice museums, decide Kensington. As properly as being house to the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, it’s additionally useful for Hyde Park.
What’s the most effective space for nightlife in London?
You’ll be certain of a terrific evening out in Soho. As properly as a great deal of West End theaters, it’s stuffed with atmospheric pubs, golf equipment, and eating places.
For extra of a hipster vibe, head to the pubs, golf equipment, and nightspots of Shoreditch. For a wonderful vary of reside music, strive Camden Town. And for Off-West-End theater, head to Islington.
How can I get round London simply?
One of the most effective methods to get round London is by Tube, in any other case generally known as London Underground. This intensive subway system is loads cheaper than taking cabs.
Consider getting a Visitor Oyster Card earlier than setting off. These plastic smartcards can be utilized on all Tube strains in addition to on buses and on the Docklands Light Railway, and can preserve your transportation prices down.
You apply online for your Visitor Oyster Card and it’s despatched to your private home handle, wherever on the planet. This means you should utilize it as quickly as you set foot off the airplane.
You may also purchase Travelcards for at some point, every week, or a month. These can be utilized on all public transportation techniques in London. A one-week Travelcard provides you seven days’ journey for the worth of 5.
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