London: Tips for First Time Visitors

For culture, shopping, sightseeing, royalty, cuisine, and a damn good holiday, there aren’t many cities in the world that beat the fashion, beauty, music icon that is London.

 

A hip and happening scene, trendy and in vogue, London enjoys legendary status amongst cities worldwide, and also offers the chance to travel further within the UK during a holiday, thanks to good quality rail and coach networks.

 

Of course, London itself has more than enough to keep a visitor occupied. For instance, a visit to London wouldn’t be complete without checking out Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, a cruise down the River Thames, the Tower of London, checking out the crown jewels, witnessing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, enjoying a delicious meal at one of the many Michelin starred restaurants, shopping on Oxford Street, via Piccadilly Circus, perusing Camden Market, taking a ride in a black cab, admiring the skyline on Hampstead Heath, and enjoying a show in the West End, before partying the night away in one of the many huge clubs throughout the city.

 

Plenty to do, as you can see.

 

Getting into the city

When you land at one of the large London airports, such as Gatwick, Stansted, or Heathrow, you’ll find plentiful taxis and buses to take you into the city centre. The National Express coach service is reliable and offers a considerably cheaper way to get into the city. Buses run throughout the day and night, and times can be checked online.

 

Getting around the city

You have to have seen photographs of the famous red buses and black cabs. Well taxis are quite expensive, but do offer a way of getting through short distances, and London taxi drivers know the city literally like the back of their hand, having to pass The Knowledge, before they’re allowed to work!

London buses are a good way to experience day to day city life, and run through the city centre, and the surrounding areas. Simply grab a timetable. Purchase a pre-paid Oyster Card for your inner city travels, as this will cut costs. Buses have a flat rate of £1.45 per journey with a pre-paid card, and £2.40 for cash.

Alternatively, the famous underground network, The Tube, is a traditional way to get around. There are 12 tube lines, running between 5am and midnight, with a lesser service on Sundays. Fares do differ depending on which zone you’re travelling within, but again, an Oyster Card will save you money.

 

Where to stay

There are plentiful hotels within central London, and it’s worthwhile staying in the centre if you can, because this gives you an easier time of seeing the sights, and finding your way back to the hotel, without having to pay too much in transport costs. There are a lot of hotels around the West End theatre area, as this is obviously popular for weekend breaks, and you can also find smaller B&B guesthouses for lesser price tags. It really is a case of an internet search.

 

Money, money, money

The cost of living is obviously higher in London than the rest of England, because it is the capital city. This being said, you can eat out for a reasonable price, obviously depending on where you go. If you head to the big restaurant chains, you will pay more, but there are many smaller bistro type restaurants where you can grab a three course meal for around £20-£25 depending. A London break can be as cheap or expensive as you make it, and it’s hard to pinpoint exact costs.

 

London baby! Head out and explore; with these tips, you should be confident to get out there and enjoy England’s hip and happening capital.

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