Heading over to London, the capital of England can seem a bit overwhelming especially if coming from a small town. London’s metropolitan area is the larges in the EU with a total population of 12 million and 14 million. There is so much choice in places to see, foods to try, different types of London accommodation and therefore you will never be short of somewhere to stay.
Here are some of the best things to do while you are in London.
1) Hop on Hop off bus
Yes I know it is very touristy but it is a great way to see London. People often just jump on the tube and therefore miss out on a lot of the tourist attractions. They also do not realize how close each attraction is to one another. Tickets cost about 20 pounds, which is about $30 AUSD. There are three different routes you can take and each one lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Get off at the Piccadilly tube stop and walk up Piccadilly street towards Green Park. Mayfair is the poshest part of London, with designer boutiques running all down Bond Street and off of Saville Row Here you will also find the flagship Abercrombie and Fitch store. But beware the prices are much higher than in the United States. There are lots of hidden gems in Mayfair, one is Shepherds market, just off of Curzon Street. Here there are some traditional pubs as well as chocolate tea rooms and Turkish and Italian restaurants.
The best time to go to London is in the spring when all the flowers are coming out. It is a beautiful time and year and walking through the parks on late spring evenings is a perfect way to spend some relaxing time in London escaping the hustle and bustle. Many of London’s parks are centrally located such as Regent’s Park which also contains London Zoo and is the oldest scientific zoo. Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens are also within zone 1. There are lots of sporting event in Hyde Park and in the summer there are concerts, the now well known Hyde Park Calling. Green Park and St James’ Park lie next to Buckingham Palace and along the Mall.
There are abundant number of shops from designer boutiques along Old Bond Street, to the European shops such as Esprit and Desigual and the famous British department stores like John Lewis and Debenham. Regent Street and Oxford Street are the most well known tourist places to shop. However, since the opening of Westfield in Shepherds Bush in 2008, many people have flocked there. It is a shoppers dream as everything is under one roof, designer on one level and regular high street on another, plus restaurants, bars and a multi screen cinema.
There are some of the best clubs in the world, one of the most famous is Mahiki in Mayfair. it is free to enter during the week before 9:30, but the famous treasure chest drink which you will have to share with mates, costs £100 each. Kensington Roof Gardens is a great place to visit in spring/summer, but you have to get there before 9:00pm otherwise it ends up being one in one out which means you will never get in. Another chic club in Kensington is Boujis, a celebrity haunt, you will need to register on the guest list to ensure entry. There are lots of other clubs to go to in Central London like Strawberry Moons, Tiger Tiger, Jewel, just make sure you check out the entry times so you can get in without paying a cover charge.
There are lots of places to stay in London. Instead of staying in a hotel, you could look into the possibility of renting a London apartment in zone 1 or zone 2, ensuring you are close to the centre and not missing out on any of the fun to be had in this great city.
Robin is a freelance travel blogger, writing about places to visit in Europe and renting apartments in Rome , Paris and London.