Know the Different Areas of London

London is the ninth largest city in the whole world. The city is home to diverse cultures, packed with business enterprises and full of the most astonishing landmarks in history. The capital of England attracts people from all over the world for very different reasons. Understanding the different areas of London (of which there are five main ones) is the key to knowing exactly which part of the city will suit the individual best, be it to live or visit.

The main areas of London are:
• North
• East
• South
• West
• Central

All areas have their own uniqueness.

North London
The North part of London is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the main city. There is an old world feel to the place which can be seen in some of the architecture around the area. Camden Market is located here and is one of the most popular and oldest markets in London. Locals and tourists can be found browsing the many stalls or people watching from one of the many pubs and cafes in the area.

East London
East London may conjure up images of the popular British TV show “Eastenders”. However, thanks to a massive overhaul in the area, the East End of London is actually home to some of London’s most affluent inhabitants. Perhaps one of the most notable additions to the area over recent years is the O2 arena which hosts live music concerts and grand events throughout the year.

South London
South London holds many treats such as South Bank, where visitors can enjoy splendid attractions and landmarks in addition to enjoying wonderful food from the many restaurants, cafes and pubs along the banks. There is Greenwich where travellers flock each year to see the Greenwich Meridian line, separating east from west and is the base point of all time zones.

West London
The Western part of London comprises plenty of lush green areas and marvellous buildings. Some of the finest gardens in London and indeed the country can be found in this area. Race courses, museums, urban farms all make for a more refined visit for those who would like to escape the big smoke for a day or two. If everything seems a little quiet here though, Thorpe park is always available for the thrill seekers.

Central London
Central London, as one would expect, is the throbbing heart of the city. From high class shops to theatres and Michelin star restaurants, there is certainly never a dull moment in the central area of London. Historic buildings can be seen almost everywhere you look. Chinatown, Covent Garden, Soho and Westminster are some of the most visited places in London all are unique in what they have to offer people who travel there.

Deciding where to go
Although there are some areas which will appeal more than others to most people, it is easy enough to traverse all five areas of London via public transport. The intricate underground system is a favourite for all who need to get from one place to another in the vast city due to its speed and low cost.

Chiswick Rooms is one of the new bouquet hotels with with a range of luxury in-room amenities in London with great access to all the main London attractions.

Cheap Holiday Deals to London for the Family

Perhaps more than any other city in Europe, London is the place to visit with families as there is so much to see and do for children of all ages. From all the different parks in the capital and the walks along the River Thames to the many different shops, museums and places of historic interest, you’ll never get bored on a visit to London.

Families in particular are always conscious of costs and exploring London can be done very cheaply. Unlike most other cities throughout Europe (and the rest of the World for that matter!), all museums in London can be visited free of charge – the Imperial War Museum, the National History and Science museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum provide hours of interesting and free fun for children. Likewise, the myriad of majestic parks throughout London provide free entertainment for the family. There’s nothing better on a sunny Summer day (and yes, we do have good weather in London!) than sitting with a picnic in Green Park or strolling through Hyde Park with the scenic Serpentine Lake and the neighbouring Kensington Palace Gardens with its Diana Memorial Park, an amazing kiddies playground with free admission which was constructed shortly after the death of Princess Diana as a tribute to her. If you feel like venturing out of the main centre, you can head for Greenwich Park with truly spectacular views across the Docklands area of London and home to the Royal Observatory and famous Greenwich Meridian Line, from which the World’s time is set.

London has so many different attractions too, many of which offer cheaper family entry – the famous Madame Tussauds has been making waxworks of the famous people for more than 150 years. There’s the iconic London Eye providing great views across London and nearby on the Southbank, both the London Dungeon and the London Sealife Centre. Bought in advance, all these attractions offer discounts and even fast track entrance to avoid the queues! Likewise the Tower of London with its 100 year old history is great for children as is the botanical Kew Gardens and Kensington Palace, erstwhile home to Princes Diana. A 3-Palaces pass can be bought online offering entrance to all three of these attractions at savings on normal prices.

Perhaps the best way to see London is on an open top bus where you can buy hop on hop off tickets giving you the flexibility to take your time and see London at your own pace and also saving money on normal bus and tube fares in the process! There are also out of town day tours to famous places like Windsor Castle, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon and Stonehenge, with reduction on ticket prices for families and children. The new Harry Potter exhibition opened recently by Warner to the north of London is also well worth a visit and can be reached inexpensively on public transport.

London has many different restaurants to entertain families and young people. Giraffe is a small chain of children friendly restaurants throughout the capital. There is also the Rainforest Café which is great for kids as is Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café too. On every street corner in London you’ll also find a pub and these are great places to have lunch or an early dinner before heading off to the theatre with a great selection of eye watering dishes at cheap prices. The musicals in London are world famous and there is a fantastic choice at any time available with shows to suit all the family. Booking online in advance particularly for midweek performances offers great savings on normal prices, even for all the latest shows coming to London.

Best 3 Views in London

The city of London covers 606 square miles within the United Kingdom. Founded in 43 AD as a Roman settlement, the population of London now soars to over 8 million residents. This makes it one of the most crowded cities in the world. It’s also recognized as one of the most diverse. Like most urban areas, there are quite a few high places to catch a glimpse of the city. This is a list of the top three views in London.

See London from almost 1,000 feet into the sky at the Shard

The Shard, formerly known as London Bridge Tower, is a 72 story skyscraper located in Central London. It’s a relatively new building designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Construction just finished in 2012. It was recently opened to the public to visit on February 1, 2013. It’s currently ranked as the tallest building in the European Union.

The Shard building is located at 32 London Bridge Street in the Southwark London neighborhood. No matter where you are in Central London, you’ll notice the Shard instantly as the giant skyscraper that looks like a shard of glass. The roof towers 998 feet into the sky. If you include the antenna, the building is 1017 feet tall.

Hands down, the Shard offers the best views in London. Once you walk through the entrance, two high-speed kaleidoscopic-style lifts will take you up to the observation deck. For a more spectacular experience, try arriving right before sunset. You’ll see London under a sunny lit sky, as the sun sets on the skyline, and during the evening. Tickets cost around 30 pounds on arrival. You’ll save 5 pounds by booking in advance. The Shard is open from 9AM to 10PM.

Get a panoramic view on St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome

St Paul’s Cathedral was built during the 17th century. Before then, this site was occupied by a previous church which was built in 604 AD. An entrance fee is required to go inside, but you’ll also get an audio guide to learn more about the church’s history and architecture.

Inside St Paul’s Cathedral, visitors will find the Whispering Gallery and several famous artifacts. There’s also a crypt where historic figures lay to rest.

Although the building and history is interesting, many visitors come here for the gorgeous views of London. After entering St Paul’s Cathedral, simply climb 500 steps to reach the top of its dome. St Paul Cathedral sits on top of Ludgate Hill, the tallest hill in Central London. Its construction site, along with the dome, offers an unobstructed view of London. It’s a photographer’s dream come true.

Take a spin on the London Eye for views of Central London

The London Eye is the tallest ferris wheel in Europe. It’s located right between the River Thames and Jubilee Gardens in Central London. A spin on the ferris wheel lasts about 30 minutes. You’ll be sharing a pod with other riders.

At its highest point, the ferris wheel is 443 feet tall. This means you’ll have great views of all of Central London, especially the River Thames. Even if you don’t go for a ride, the London Eye is a magnificent piece of architecture to look at. In the evenings, the ferris wheel is lit up with blue lights.

Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. You’ll also receive a slight discount when booking online. The London Eye is actually the meeting location for New Year’s Eve. When the clock strikes midnight, fireworks are launched into the sky at London’s South Bank.

How to Relive History in London

The area currently known as London has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. It was officially founded until 43 AD, when Romans settled down and began building bridges over the Thames River. They thrived until sometime during the 5th century. The Roman city collapsed and the medieval era, for which London is famous for, began until Queen Elizabeth’s accession in 1558. Does all of this history intrigue you? In this guide for tourists, I’ll show you have to relive history during your trip to London.

Watch a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Watch a stunning re-enactment of Shakespeare’s plays at his very own theatre. These plays are acted out authentically. There’s no electronic audio system. Instead, actors use the theatre’s architecture to naturally amplify their voices. There’s no lights. Instead, actors use the natural lighting available because of the huge sun roof. Original plays still done here are the Tempest, Macbeth, Henry VI, Taming of the Shrew, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. Check their calendar for details. Also be sure to reserve tickets online to guarantee a seat.

Shakespeare’s original theatre was constructed in 1597 but was soon destroyed in the fire of 1613. His company rebuilt it, but it was later demolished in 1644. This current theatre stands just a few feet away from the original foundation. It’s also an almost exact replica, there were a few safety upgrades to prevent it from easily burning down in a fire.

While the theatre is not being used for performances, it acts as a Shakespeare museum. Come during the day to walk through its exhibits and learn more about the playwright. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to see the actual theatre where performances are done. You’ll also learn about how theatre was shunned upon during Shakespeare’s time. In fact, London’s parliament actually enforced closing the bridge at night to deter residents from attending the Globe Theatre.

Learn about World War II and Winston Churchill at the Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms is split into two sections covering World War III and Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill. Churchill was born in 1874 and lived until 1965. Churchill was the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945. He also held that title from 1951 to 1955.

The entire museum is located underground at a former secret military base. Back in World War II, this was the headquarters for the United Kingdom where officers made strategic military decisions. The Cabinet War Rooms displays historic artifacts from the war including documents, weapons, and audio recordings. There are plenty of interactive exhibits so feel free to bring your children.

During World War II, there were 115 Cabinet meetings that took place in the Cabinet War Rooms. Imagine military officers discussing intelligence about the war. A visit to the Churchill War Rooms will be like taking a step back in time.

Visit the Charles Dickens Museum

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born 1812 and passed away in 1870. During his lifetime, he wrote notable works of literature such as A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.

The Charles Dickens Museum teaches visitors all about his life, work, friends, and family members. The museum is actually located in the author’s former house. He lived here from 1837 to 1839 with his wife. You’ll see Charles Dickens’ former living quarters. Visitors will get to see where the author did some of his best work.

Perhaps some of the most interesting aspects of this museum are the actors. Museum workers are dressed up in their pre-Victorian era clothes. They’ll also be careful to role-play correctly, using the actual language from Charles Dickens’ time. Visitors will feel completely re-immersed into the 1800s.

Walk the routes of Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was an unidentified serial killer in London. He roamed the Whitechapel neighborhood where he captured and killed his victims. Jack the Ripper was active during 1888. His infamy has lived on to this day. The cases still remain unsolved, though many historians have their conflicting theories.

Many tour companies offer Jack the Ripper walking tours. You’ll walk along the same streets that the serial killer walked back in 1888. Tour guides will show you the same spots where his victims were discovered in the Whitechapel area of London. Your professional guides will also explain to you all the different theories that historians have come up with regarding the serial killer.

Walking tours generally last about 1.5 hours. They’re also available during different parts of the day. If you want the full experience, try picking one of the night tours.

Visit the Museum of London

Founded in 1976, the Museum of London documents London’s fascinating and long history. The exhibits cover everything from prehistoric time to the modern era. Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history, meaning before the invention of writing systems existed. Prehistoric time includes the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The Museum of London has several permanent galleries including London Before London, Roman London, Medieval London, and War Plague Fire.

The London Before London gallery tells the prehistoric story of Thames Valley. This period of time occurred from 450,000 BC to 50 AD, when the Romans arrived and began their settlement. In this gallery, you’ll find several ancient relics including a skull that belonged to a wild ox living in Thames Valley sometime in 245,000 to 186,000 BC. You’ll also see the remains of a Shepperton woman that’s over 5,000 years old.

The Roman London gallery covers what life was like during the peak of the Roman civilization. Romans settled in this area around 50 AD and began constructing bridges over the Thames River. This marked the official founding of London. Their city thrived for centuries, until their collapse in 410 AD. Historic artifacts in this gallery includes a Roman leather bikini and several Roman marble sculptures.

The Medieval London gallery covers London’s famous medieval period, which lasted from 410 AD until Queen Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne in 1558. There are over 1,300 exhibits in this gallery. Expect to see medieval technology and weapons.

The War, Plague, and Fire gallery ranges from the 1550s to the 1660s. This was time when Shakespeare lived, wrote, and performed in London. You’ll learn about London’s incredibly bad luck within a century. The city had to live through several plagues and devastating fires. In this gallery, you’ll find a model of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and Oliver Cromwell’s death mask.

Tourists Guide to London, the Capital of England

A world powerhouse and Europe’s biggest city, London is one of the ultimate city-break destinations. Whether you enjoy its fabulous art, history and architecture, breathtaking sights, world-class cultural events, fine dining and vibrant nightlife or top quality theatre, ballet and opera, this pulsating metropolis fits the bill. While the capital often enjoys the limelight thanks to a number of high profile sporting events such as cricket at the Oval and Lords, tennis at Wimbledon and this year’s Tour de France, there’s even more of a buzz these day as it limbers up to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

There’s a wide range of accommodation from budget youth hostels to some of the most luxuriously expensive hotels on the planet. It’s not cheap but it’s certainly unforgettable.

Getting there/getting around London

London is easily accessible by road. Of the major motorways, you can travel to London from the M1 in the north, the M4 and M40 in the west, the M3 and M23 in the south and the M2 and M20 in the east. If you’re flying, choose from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and City airports. By coach, nearly all national services come into Victoria coach station. Once you’re in London, you can choose the bus, train or tube.

You’ll also spy plenty of the capital’s iconic black taxi cabs, but they do tend to be on the expensive side. Driving in London is quite an experience and not for the faint-hearted. If you do drive or hire a car, remember that during the week you’ll have to pay the congestion charge (£8) between the hours of 7am and 6pm.

Sightseeing in London

You’d need a few weeks to tour all of London’s famous landmarks, galleries, museums, parks etc. Probably the best way to get your bearings and take in as many famous landmarks as possible is aboard an open-top bus. There are tourist bus stops all over the city and one ticket enables you to hop on and off as and when you need to. Most routes take in Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and Piccadilly Circus. The London Eye is one of the city’s most popular attractions and offers fantastic views.

Top museums include Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. There are wonderfully relaxing parks like Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, St James’s Park and Richmond Park or you could explore some of the city’s interesting markets at Camden, Notting Hill or Spitalfields.

London family attractions, day trips and shopping experiences

Family attractions in London

The Natural History Museum is superb for children and there are lots of interactive exhibits. You can experience what an earthquake feels like, get up close and personal with dinosaurs such as the terrifying T-Rex and examine weird and wonderful specimens in the Darwin Centre.

London Zoo and London Aquarium are popular destinations for animal lovers and the Tower of London and the London Dungeons make for an entertaining few hours. See your favourite celebrities (not quite in the flesh) at Madame Tussauds or head to east London to check out the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood.

Day trips from London

Windsor Castle sits on the River Thames about 20 miles west of London and a tour of the world’s oldest occupied castle is extremely popular. If you fancy heading down to the coast you can catch a train to Brighton from Victoria Station and be sucking in the sea air in around one hour. Hampton Court Palace in the south west of London is probably one of the most spectacular palaces in the world and its famous maze should keep you busy.

Visit in the winter and you can ice-skate with the palace as your backdrop. Theme parks such as Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park lie on the city’s outskirts and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is around 30 minutes north of the capital.

Shopping in London

A shopping splurge won’t be cheap, but there’s not much you couldn’t buy. You’ll find high street fashion in Oxford and Regent Streets and big department stores like Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and world-famous Harrods in Knightsbridge. Around Covent Garden you’ll find exclusive boutiques and more high street names and the markets are great for variety. Portobello Market’s great for jewellery and Camden draws a very mixed crowd in search of ethnic arts, crafts, jewellery and second-hand clothing.

If you’re feeling peckish then Borough Market is wonderful for all manner of organic, regional and international produce. Just don’t go on an empty stomach or you’ll end up spending a fortune.

London nightlife, restaurants, bars and clubs

Restaurants in London

London’s fast becoming a culinary capital of the world and a place where you can try almost any kind of cuisine including Iranian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, Argentinean, Nepalese, Greek, Turkish, American and Mexican. Many traditional English pubs in London serve excellent cuisine and you can’t visit without trying a traditional Sunday roast.

If you really want to splash out, dine at one of the restaurants of the many ‘celebrity’ chefs in the capital like Gordon Ramsay’s Claridge’s restaurant or Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. There are also more than 30 Michelin starred restaurants including Hakkasan and Yauatcha (Chinese), Nobu and Umu (Japanese) and Aubergine and Chez Bruce (French).

Nightlife in London

Some of the world’s best nightclubs, theatre, dance and music are found in the capital. Plays in the West End can be very expensive but the UK’s best actors (as well as a few stars from the States) love to tread the boards. The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden has ballet and opera and there are live music venues all over the city where you can watch the planet’s best-known groups.

London’s nightclubs attract top DJs from all around the globe and hotspots include Fabric, China White (full of celebs) and Funky Buddha.

London has a massive choice of accommodation from simple and cheap guest houses and hostels to internationally famous five star hotels such as The Savoy and The Ritz.

London Travelers Talk About the Benefit of a London Vacation Rental

Our agency has run a survey with their clients to find out what makes them choose a vacation rental over a hotel stay during their trips to London.

We asked our guest to give us their opinions on the benefits of apartment rentals as well as any of the downsides. Here is a compilation of interesting points made by our clients which we believe can help you weigh your options when choosing which type of accommodation is most likely to suit your style when traveling to London for a holiday.

There is a belief that visitors to London who opt for a hotel stay will often see much of their holiday budget being spent on accommodations alone. Our guests found this to be rather true. For the same rates as a typical hotel, an apartment rental provided them with more value for their money and more choices regarding sizes and style. Cleaner and quieter, rentals have the added benefit of a kitchen. Our guests found that they could save money by dining at home rather than in restaurants every day. Even London studio, the smallest sized vacation rentals, is often larger and better equipped than a simple single standard London hotel room.

Hotels may provide breakfast and, if you are lucky, a little kettle in each room. Our clients state that this simply does not match up to the pleasure of doing your morning food shopping in the markets of London and meeting back “home” with friends and loved ones for a convivial meal.

Tips from our guests: If you are on a budget but want to avoid the terrible one/two star hotels of London, consider a vacation rental outside of the first zone of London. By renting in the Battersea, you are next to Chelsea and Knightsbridge is a short distance too.

An apartment like Eternity may be a perfect choice at a very affordable rate. Hoxton Square is also kissing the border of Shoreditch – a hip and happening place in central London. Opting for a 2 bedroom like Firefly can be an excellent way to save money, while being steps from Bloomsbury.

An area like Tower Bridge will put you close enough to enjoy Tower Hill and Saint-Paul’s Cathedral. Consider a property located near a beautiful market called Othello or Hamlet, a one bedroom – 1-bathroom accommodation practically on the Thames river banks.

When choosing a London vacation rental you will have access to amenities that would be impossible to obtain in any place other than a 5 star London palace. A two bedroom apartment in Earls Court with its own garden such as Twelfth Night or a gem like Duchess, a Tower bridge penthouse with a terrasse overlooking London’s skyline are real treasures and will make a London vacation unforgettable.

It is no secret that fans of short-term rentals are travelers with a taste for things private, charming and personal. If you like to do things your own way, at your own pace without rigid hotel rules, curfews, impersonal service then a vacation rental is for you. Not your first time in London? Some of our guests suggest that when traveling with friends in London, a personal home away from home adds amazing value and a richer experience to your stay. Entertaining friends in your London home with a great meal prepared in a fully stocked kitchen can make for an unforgettable evening…

Whether you are traveling with adults only, children or are just a group of friends looking to spend a fun time abroad, our agency caters for large and small groups. We asked families what made them opt for a vacation rental rather than a hotel suite.

As you can imagine, for a large family a single London hotel room will rarely provide sufficient accommodations every one. You can choose to pick two room and cross your fingers that they will be on the same floor, relatively close to each other, safe, and if very lucky, adjoining one another. But there is always a price for this sort of “luxury” and with little children this avenue is not even a valid option. Being confined in the small space of one hotel room presents a problem for little ones who have nowhere to roam and may very well turn the trip sour.

On the other hand traveling together is a great way to reduce costs by allowing everyone to share one lodging together. A vacation rental is the best solution for this type of vacation.

Some apartments welcome up to 6 or 7 guests with 3 bathrooms and separate toilets. South Kensington’s Concerto is a very good example of this, as is Delicious, a luxury hideaway near the Portobello Market and Notting Hill. The benefits of this type of London rental are numerous; each guest will enjoy an intimate space to retreat to, while social gatherings can be made in the living room or meals enjoyed in the kitchen. Separate bathrooms allow guests to make use of the sink and bathtub in different rooms without creating traffic in the morning.

Of course, with individual rooms at a London hotel you may get individual bathrooms, bedrooms and privacy at night since everyone is separated, but let’s not forget that you sacrifice the pleasure to spend time together and share a unique experience in a relaxed way – the very reason you opted for a family/friend vacation in the first place.

One of our guests who has a family of three young children suggests that one the plus side of a London rental is not having to dress the kids up and race down to the breakfast lobby of a hotel before the morning meal wraps up. This is perk that is hard to ignore!

So you are sold on the idea of vacation rentals? In our next article we feature the benefits of renting via an agency rather than through private owners… Read what our guests have to say about this!

London Hideaways is an entity of Charming Hideaways Ltd, and is registered and based in London. Katia Provencher is the Director of Charming Hideaways, and has several years experience in the vacation rental and tourism business, including being vacation rental owner herself and also having been a long-term resident of London.

London Travel – Top Things to Do in London

When in London make sure you don’t miss these London highlights.

2012 Olympic Games will be held in London on 27 July-12 Aug 2012, which makes London the first city to hold the Olympic Games three times, having hosted the games previously in 1908 and 1948. The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held on 29 Aug-9 Sept 2012.

Original London Sightseeing Tour (Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour) is an open-top double-decker bus for visitors to enjoy London’s most famous attractions on 3 tour routes. The tours visit Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Dungeon, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Covent Garden, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Madame Tussauds, Shakespeare’s Globe, The London Eye, London Bridge, London Aquarium, and Westminster Abbey. The Museum Tour gives you easy access to many of London’s top Museums, shops and attractions such as Kensington Palace, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus, British Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Albert Memorial, & the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Trafalgar Square is considered the centre of London and home to Nelson’s Column which was completed in 1843 to commemorate Admiral Nelson’s victory over Napoleon off Cape Trafalgar, Spain in 1805. To the north of the square is the National Gallery and to the south-east is Admiralty Arch, built to honour Queen Victoria. Beyond the Arch is The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace.

Whitehall is the avenue, leading from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, lined with government buildings and is the center of British government. Along Whitehall is Downing street, the site of the Prime Minister’s home. Further along is Big Ben, the famous tower clock, the Houses of Parliament and Westminister Abbey setting for royal coronations since 1066 and most recently that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The Tower of London dates from 1078 and was London’s original royal fortress. In the middle ages the Tower of London acted as a royal residence, treasury, mint and a prison. Located near the Tower Bridge on the Thames River, the Tower is a very popular tourist attraction where visitors can view the Crown Jewels, the various towers, Armouries, Barracks, Chapel and the tower green where seven people (including two of his wives) were beheaded during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Tower Bridge is the famous 19th century bridge across the Thames River located by the Tower of London. The bridge was an architectural and engineering marvel featuring a drawbridge so tall-masted ships could pass underneath. Tourists can take the Tower Bridge Experience to visit the north tower and engine room to learn how the bridge is operated.

HMS Belfast is a large, light cruiser naval ship that was built in Belfast, Ireland and launched in 1938. The Belfast served in many theatres of war during WWII and the Korean War. The ship is moored on the Thames near the Tower Bridge and open to visitors.

The London Eye is a large Ferris observation wheel located on the South Bank of the Thames River giving visitors spectacular views over London.

London Dungeon is a gruesome experience of London’s past where visitors can learn about and see reconstructions of executions, the French Guillotine in action, Jack the Ripper’s handiwork and various other ingenious methods of torture.

Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience is an educational attraction about World War II. Visitors are taken into a reconstruction of an underground station and progress through rooms displaying wartime themes emerging into a shop that has been destroyed by a bomb.

Shakespeare’s Globe & Exhibition is the reconstructed Globe Theatre popularised by William Shakespeare and an exhibition on Elizabethan London.

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the Queen and the most famous palace in London. Located at the end of The Mall, the palace was built in 1803 for the Duke of Buckingham and has been the London home for the royal family since 1837. Open for tours during the summer months only. Changing of the Guard takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace every day at 11.30am during summer and on odd days the rest of the year.

Charles Dickens’ House, located at 49 Doughty Street WC1, is where he wrote his famous novels – Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby.

St Paul’s Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1710, after the 1666 Great Fire of London. The walkway around the base of the dome has such good acoustics that it forms a “Whispering Gallery.” The stairs continue to the Stone Gallery and up to the Golden Gallery for one of the best views over central London.

London Imax Cinema is the largest in Europe screening 2-D and 3-D movies and documentaries.

London Aquarium is one of the largest in Europe featuring a wide range of marine life including sharks and a coral reef display.

The London Eye, also known as the ‘Millenium Wheel’, is one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels with 32 enclosed gondolas that give visitors spectacular views across the capital. [Operates daily, opposite Big Ben and Houses of Parliament]

Kensington Palace dates from 1605 and has been the home of many royals including Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. Queen Victoria was born here in 1819. Visitors can take a tour of the State Apartments from 10am to 5pm daily.

Hampton Court Palace was built in 1514 and became the residence of King Henry VIII. The palace has a long history and visitors can tour the stately rooms and get lost in the famous 300 year old maze.

Madame Tussaud’s is the famous and very popular wax museum exhibiting movie stars, pop stars, world leaders and the royal family. The Spirit of London taxi ride takes visitors through a summary of London’s history while the Chamber of Horrors displays the darker side to human nature.

London Planetarium is located next to Madame Tussaud’s and has wax figures of great scientists as well as a great show of the stars and planets.

The London Pass: Enjoy The Best of London

Are you looking for a London Pass so you can enjoy the best of London? The London Pass in my opinion is one of the best secrets of traveling in London. It is so helpful when you plan your trip overseas and what is more, you can even buy it ahead of time online, so you can start to use it as soon as you arrive in town.

The London Pass is convenient to use

The London Pass saves you a lot of money and time. When you have this card, you can get free entrance into more than 55 different attractions in the greater London area. These include places such as the London Zoo, The Tower of London, Hampton Court and even Westminster Abby. It’s really nice to have free entrance to the most popular London attractions. It’s true that it may be hard to choose what to see on your visit to London, but it is nice to have all those choices just the same. You will also enjoy the time savings when you see long lines to get into museums and attractions, as the London Pass lets you walk right to the front of the line, like a VIP. What’s more, you will enjoy discounts on movies, shopping and some restaurants as well.

This was my favorite part about the London Pass: You know when you travel how all sorts of last minute stuff comes up. It could be a rainy day, a surprisingly clear and beautiful day or a day where you just want to change your mind on that day’s plan. When you have the pass, you can quickly and easily do this without a lot hype. You can just open up the little booklet that comes with the pass, and find something else that you would rather do. This is a nice feature as sometimes it is very overwhelming to change your mind about the plan that day and then you might waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to do instead. When you have the London Pass traveling in London is much easier.

Shopping online is convenient as well

When you are planning a big trip like visiting London, there are so many things to do. Luckily shopping online before you visit London is very convenient and will save you a lot of time. You will not have to spend your first day in the city trying to purchase a London Pass when you could be visiting the Zoo or another attraction already. Instead you can shop in the privacy of your own home, long before you pack up and leave town.

Another feature that I enjoyed was the fact that you can purchase months in advance of your trip. This way you will have plenty of time to better plan each day of your trip and get the most out of your pass. What’s more, (and another part that I really liked) you can help your travel budget as you can spread out the cost of your trip if you purchase many months in advance. You will love the fact that you can buy it up to a year before you go.

How to get a London Pass

So if you agree that shopping online will save you time and money and you are looking to find out more about the London Pass, there are a couple of things you can do. One is to start to search online and visit all the sites that pop up. Check them out one by one and then you will figure out which one has the best deal. You can even make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the different web pages that you checkout.

What Are the Best Tourist Attractions in London?

Vibrant, noisy, and truly multicultural, London is the capital of England and largest city in Western Europe with a population of a little over 14 million. Regarded as one of two of the leading “global cities” in the world, London remains an international capital of music, culture, education, politics, finance, fashion and trade.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is located in central London just nearby the River Thames and it is one London’s famous tourist attraction. Throughout the years, the Tower of London has been used as royal palace, armory, prison and even a zoo. Constructed by William the Conqueror over 900 years ago, the Tower of London is rich with history where it was used by Royals throughout the years as a place of refuge and base of power. The Tower also showcases her majesty’s Crown Jewels which are guarded by the infamous Beefeaters. In prime position within the Tower of London lies The White Tower, a huge and beautiful stone building currently home to the exhibition of Tudor, Hanoverian, Stuart and Windsor armour. The exhibition begins with the armour created for both the sports and battlefields with Henry VIII’s and Charles 1’s magnificent armour as the main highlight.

Westminster Abbey

Just a stone’s throw from the Thames, Westminster Abbey is London’s most prominent landmark and a must-see tourist attraction of London. This stunning gothic church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rich with fascinating history. Many of the Kings, Queens, aristocrats, statesmen, poets, heroes, villains and priests were buried at the Abbey including Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Dr. Samuel Johnson. The Abbey has seen the crowning of many Kings and Queens and has been the venue of many Royal Weddings which includes the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. Westminster Abbey London is a truly magnificent building and the exterior offers wonderful photo opportunities for its visitors. Among the highlights within the Abbey is the statue of the Virgin Mary carrying baby Jesus, the Little Cloister leading the College Gardens and the Nave with an unknown warrior’s grave

The Monument

The Monument is dedicated to the Great Fire of London and it is designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Located on pudding lane, 202 feet from the spot where the great fire is believed to have started and it is 202 feet tall, The Monument is the World’s oldest stone column. Visitors will have to climb the 311 steps to enjoy the spectacular views of London and be awarded a certificate as well

Thames river cruise

Thames river cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy London’s famous tourist attractions. Experience the grandeur of London from the comfort of an open top boat, cruising by many of London’s most famous tourist attractions. The feature of Thames river cruise include the site of the Cutty Sark, London’s iconic buildings of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, HMS Belfast, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. And from the boat, you’ll get a closer look at the controversial Millennium Footbridge.

Tower Bridge London

Since 1894, Tower Bridge London has been one of London’s most impressive structures and one of world’s most recognizable landmarks. Over here, interactive videos and displays provide an informative and entertaining guide to London’s Tower Bridge. Learn about the Tower Bridges’ history and how it was built over the River Thames. Use the Tower Bridge Exhibition tickets to go up to the high-level walkways and enjoy stunning views of the city. London’s famous historic buildings and museums are also nearby to the Tower Bridge including Tower Of London and HMS Belfast.

Windsor Castle

Built over 900 years ago, Windsor Castle is the official home of Her Majesty the Queen and world’s largest and oldest castle. This popular London tourist attraction is located in the outskirts and visitors can reach Windsor Castle from London Waterloo or London Paddington Train Stations within 30 minutes. Picturesque gardens and the beautiful English countryside surround this castle and within the castle grounds lay St George’s Chapel which features Henry VIII’s tomb. Currently, Windsor Castle hosts the “The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years” special exhibition which is to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. Visitors can admire the State Apartments, furnished with extravagant treasures from the Royal Collection, including masterpieces by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Brueghel. Ticket holders can also enjoy a very informative 2-hour audio tour about the royal residence.

The Churchill War Rooms

Churchill War Rooms is a museum dedicated to the life of Sir Winston Churchill, and the secret base of operations located for Britain’s during the World War II. Visitors can learn about all ninety years of Winston Churchill’s life through five chapters, firstly his childhood years then his early political career followed by him being the British Prime Minister in early years starting May 1940, his later years and the finally the infamous ‘Gathering Storm’ period. The Churchill War Rooms uses unique media displays and cutting edge technology to showcase the life of Winston Churchill, including a ‘Lifeline’ which is fifteen metre long whereby visitors can access a digital ‘filing cabinet’ of Churchill’s life, divided by time.

London Eye

Launched in 2000, The London Eye is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel and was designed by architects Julia Barfield and David Marks. This magnificent and triumphant structure allows people to see London from a completely different perspective as they go through a 25-minute slow-motion ride inside one of the capsules. On a clear day visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of London’s most famous landmarks as they go through the 360 degrees turn. To avoid the long queues, be sure to buy your tickets online and get a 10% discount and for an additional £10, visitors can check in 15 minutes before “departure” with a Fast Track flight, thus saving more time. Visitors can also enjoy a 40-minute sightseeing voyage on the Thames on board of the London Eye River Cruise

The Top 50 Places in London

London is one of the most exciting cities to visit, full of magnificent architecture and steeped in history. The city is vibrant and buzzing with life and you can’t help but get caught up in the wonderful atmosphere of this magnificent place.

It is true to say that there is something for everyone and one thing for sure is you will not get chance to be bored. Many of the city’s attractions are absolutely free and can be visited on foot, so long as you have some comfortable footwear.

Here are 50 of the top places to visit, although I could go on and on. I have not listed them in any specific order as everyone has such different tastes. If there’s anywhere not listed that you are interested in let me know and I’ll see if I can find some more information for you.


Before you start your journey it’s worth knowing about the London transport system. There is an underground train system that interconnects throughout London. It is commonly known as the ‘tube’. It’s probably the quickest way to get around. At first it may seem daunting but with a little help from London Underground’s friendly staff and a tube map you will be on your way in no time.


You may also be familiar with London’s famous red buses. Never run for a bus as there will be another along in a matter of minutes. This is not always the quickest way to travel, but by far the best for viewing the beauty of the city.


Hackney carriages or black cabs – stick out your arm and hail a cab. Just not in rush hour as you will pay dearly. There are plenty of unlicensed cabs, cheaper but personally I wouldn’t take a risk as a Tourist.

The Oyster card – is what all the locals use. If you are staying in London for more than a few days it’s certainly well worth buying one. As I speak (September 2012) they are 5 English pounds to buy, and then you top up as you go. Within 2 to 3 journeys you will have got your money back. You can use them on buses and the tube.

Travel cards – allow you to travel around London for a set price depending on what zones you are visiting.

The London pass – is a pass that allows you to visit many attractions free or for a reduced cost. This includes some travel. It also allows you to skip the queues

A – Z Guide – The A-Z is a street index of London. You can buy one from most news agents. If you are at a tube/train station then nip into WH Smith’s (news agents) and you will most certainly see a copy to buy. They are easy to use and will help you find your way around very easily whilst giving you a sense of where everything is situated.

1. Tower Bridge – over 8 years to build and more than 11,000 tons of steel were used to construct this great bridge. The high walkways allow you to see the River Thames. The bridge opens it bascules once or twice a day. There is also a permanent exhibition with the towers of the bridge.

2. Tower of London – Almost next door to the Tower Bridge, you can get a good view from the bridge down onto the 900 year old fortress built by William the Conqueror. You will see the infamous Beefeater’s dressed in their red uniforms guarding the tower. Every English school child pays a visit to the tower at least once during their school years. Her majesty’s crown jewels are kept here and well worth a look, amongst all the other exciting things to view.

3. St. Pauls Cathedral situated in the Diocese of London attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. It was designed by Architect Christopher Wren and built between 1665 and 1670. It is described as a ‘House of prayer for all people of all nations. It is to protect against injustice and public expression to hope for a better society’ Martin Luther King collected his Nobel Prize here in 1964. Royal weddings and state funerals are also held here.

4. Buckingham Palace – official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II. The palace opens its doors to visitors once a year.

5. Westminster Abbey – if you love history you will not be disappointed when you visit this fascination building. Over 1000 years old it has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place for 17 monarchs.

6. Big Ben (formal name Elizabeth Tower) – The Londoner’s favourite icon. The huge bell’s chime is loved by the locals. Standing tall on the banks of the river Thames next to the houses of parliament it’s certainly a sight to see.

7. Houses of Parliament – next door to Big Ben you can walk around the Houses of Parliament or take an official guided tour.

8. The Natural History Museum – you can spend hours wondering around this superb museum. The huge dinosaur in the main entrance is a real hit with the kids, as is the enormous T-Rex in the dinosaur exhibition. Admission is free.

9. The Science Museum – this spectacular museum will hold you in awe and capture your imagination. There’s a whole are in the basement of interactive play designed specifically for children. Admission is free (It’s next to the Natural History Museum).

10. The V& A (Victoria and Albert) Museum – described as the world’s greatest museum of Art and Design. It’s definitely worth a look even if you think it may not be your thing. Admission free (next to the above museums).

11. The National Gallery – Houses one of the world’s greatest exhibitions of Western European art. Admission is free.

12. The Tate Britain – Gallery – a wonderful gallery with many fascinating art and photography exhibitions. Admission is free.

13. The Tate Modern – Sister museum to Tate Britain, but located on the South of the river. If you like something a bit more contemporary then this is the place for you. Admission is free.

14. The British Museum – Arts and Artefacts from British history. Admission is free.

15. Madame Tussauds – The famous wax work museum. Loved by tourists.

16. London Planetarium – Just next to to Madame Tussauds is the London Planetarium. Get a real feeling for the night sky. Both are very near to Baker Street (home of Sherlock Holmes) and beautiful Regents Park.

17. Hyde Park – One of London’s most famous parks. Popular with everyone. Visit speaker’s corner and listen to the latest debates or simply wander around these glorious grounds. At the top of busy Oxford Street.

18. Green Park – Another glorious park close to Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. The famous Ritz hotel is nearby.

19. Greenwich – Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Observatory – catch a boat down the Thames to Greenwich Village. You can visit the fascinating Maritime museum, have a tour around the Observatory and view the famous Cutty Sark.

20. The Ritz – Anyone for High Tea? If you fancy some afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings then you can book in for one of the five daily tea sessions. If you have a healthy budget you can stay at the hotel, visit the ballroom or cinema. Close to Piccadilly and Green Park.

21. The Savoy – the famous Savoy hotel with panoramic views of London skyline and the river Thames. If you book far enough in advance you may be able to grab a deal.

22. Camden Market – is one the most popular London markets. Bustling at the weekend with tourists and locals. You will find funky clothes, music, great food, bars, pubs and restaurants. A great atmosphere, right on the canal. It’s a little quieter during the week as there’s no big market but plenty of shops to visit.

23. Portobello Market – the famous market is full of vintage clothes and antiques. If you are looking for something a little unique then take a trip, you won’t be disappointed.

24. Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath – The heath spans across North London and is the perfect place to stretch your legs, have a picnic or visit the historic Kenwood House. There are also natural pools where many of the locals swim. A word of advice – take a map as you can spend hours wondering around if you get lost. It’s big and beautiful.

25. Carl Marx and Highgate Woods – About a 20 minute walk from Hampstead Heath is Highgate Village. Here you will find the famous Highgate cemetery, the final resting place of Carl Marx just one of the many famous people buried here. Highgate itself is a quaint Victorian village with some good pubs and restaurants (The Flask is very old and particularly good).

26. Brick Lane – Once home to the Jewish community it is now housed with Indian restaurants. Actually, most of the curry houses are run by the Bangladeshi community who make up the majority of the local community.

27. The Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green) – something for the children. Artefacts, costumes, arts and activities, treasure hunts and more. Check out the exhibitions. Children and Adults will love this family day out.

28. The Royal London Hospital – (Whitechapel) has a museum open to the public. It was here that Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) spent his last few years. Displays include those of Joseph Merrick, Edith Cavell and original material on Jack the Ripper who committed his crimes around this area.

29. Walks around London – one of the best ways to see London is on foot. There’s the ‘Charles Dickens’ walk, Haunted Holborn, Money trail through the city’s square mile and much more.

30. Borough Market – Opposite London Bridge Tube Station. This is one of London’s biggest wholesale food markets. Delicious game and fish supplies as well as Artisan Bakers, Specialist Beers stalls and fresh fruit and vegetables. Open on Friday and Saturday. There is a pub just along the road called ‘The George’ one of the oldest pubs in London – worth a visit.

31. Colombia Road Market – in the East End. If you like flowers then this is the market to visit (Sunday’s only and it usually closes around 3pm). Close by is the famous Spitalfields market.

32. Shoreditch – Trendy Shoreditch with its warehouse conversions, art galleries and very cool bars is also worth a visit.

33. Soho – once home to the ‘ladies of the night’ it now a bustling cafe community. A popular place to drop into for a drink or bite to eat before you visit theatre land.

34. Covent Garden – one of London’s most popular tourist spots. Street theatre acts, arts and crafts as well as a huge choice of cafe’s bars and restaurants.

35. Oxford Street – home to all the big stores including the famous department store Selfridges. From Oxford Street you can easily access most central locations on foot.

36. The Globe Theatre – is associated with William Shakespeare. Originally built in 1599, later destroyed by fire 1613. The theatre that stands here now is approximately 750 feet from the original site. This newest site was opened in 1997 and is a popular theatre with all ages.

37. River Cruise – take a river cruise along the River Thames. You will get to see some of London’s great architecture and learn about its history.

38. Canary Wharf/London Docklands – is one of London’s tallest buildings situated in a busy financial district, alive with shops, cafés and accessible on the DLR (Docklands Light Rail).

39. Kensington Palace – in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Home to the late Princess Diana. Visit the beautiful gardens, have lunch or afternoon tea. Close to Central London.

40. The Kings Road, Chelsea – One of the posh ends of town. The Kings Road used to be home to punks, mods and rockers. Now a bit more sophisticated. There are some beautiful shops, including the famous designer Vivienne Westwood. It’s also close to Chelsea Pier, as well as Chelsea and Fulham football clubs.

41. South Bank – Cross the bridge at embankment to the South side of the river and as your descend the stairs you will be at the doorstep of The Festival Hall. This is just one of the many attractions situated along the south bank. It’s a great area of riverside with views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You will find shops, café’s, bars, fabulous entertainment/exhibitions at the festival hall and access to the Oxo tower.

42. London Zoo – close to Camden and Regent’s Park is London Zoo. You can see some spectacular animal’s right in the middle of the city, although you wouldn’t believe it.

43. Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus/Shaftesbury Avenue/Theatre Land – In the heart of London you can easily walk between these bustling areas of London. Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are full of shops, cinema’s pubs and café’s. Running alongside Leicester square is Shaftesbury Avenue where many of the popular theatres are situated.

44. China Town – official name is Gerrard Street. A stone’s throw from Leicester Square to the south and Shaftsbury Avenue to the North. Even if Chinese food is not your favourite, it’s worth a stroll through the vibrant streets of Chinatown.

45. Trafalgar Square – a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the city. Home to the National Gallery, Nelson’s column and St. Martin’s-in-the-field, plus quite a few pigeons.

46. The Royal Academy of Arts – Green Park. The academy is an independent institution founded by George III in 1768. The original members wanted to provide a venue for British Arts and Architecture to be displayed to the public in which their skills could be passed onto future generations.

47. Hamley’s Toy Store – one of the finest toy stores in the world. You will find it on Regent Street. Don’t expect to ‘pop in’. There are 4 or 5 floors packed with every toy and game you could imagine. I’ve never managed to get in and out in less than an hour.

48. Hampton Court Palace – Former home to King Henry VIII. This Tudor building houses tapestries, artwork and activities for guests. There is the famous Hampton maze if you have a few hours to spare.

49. Harrods Department Store – Situated in Knightsbridge in the Royal Borough of Kensington. This upmarket store is worth a visit just to see the building. You will find luxury items of every description and the most amazing food hall.

50. Kew Gardens – The Royal Botanical gardens of Kew. Situated just 10 miles outside of London can be reached easily on the tube.