London is one of my all time favorite cities! I’ve done quite a few posts on London, but below is my all around travel guide. London can be quite expensive, especially because the British Pound is usually so much stronger than the US Dollar or any other currency, but you can still have a great time no matter what your budget is.
Where to Stay: This the most common question, especially when trying to find something affordable. I did an entire post on where to stay in London in 2017 here. My personal favorite place to stay as of recent is The London Edition, but it can be very pricey. I usually use my Marriott Points when I stay here to save some money. I also will often stay at the St. Ermin’s Hotel, which is a Marriott Hotel too, but it is much more affordable. The St. Ermin’s is an older hotel, but it is in a great location and is super cute. Below are some of my other recommendations on places to stay:
- The London Edition– Expensive, but amazing hotel in SOHO.
- St. Ermin’s Hotel– Affordable Marriott Hotel near St. James Park.
- The Curtain– A trendy, hip hotel and member’s club in Shoreditch.
- The Mayfair Hotel– Also, pretty expensive, but a great hotel if you can afford it.
- Airbnb– As always, you can find some great deals on Airbnb, just make sure to check the reviews.
- One Fine Stay– This is an excellent option if you are looking for an apartment/house, as it is more reputable and reliable than Airbnb.
Where to Eat: My favorite topic to discuss! There are soooo many places in London it’s going to be hard to touch them all. However, my absolute FAVORITE British Tradition is a Sunday Roast, so you MUST have one if you are in London on a Sunday. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Brits pretty much celebrate American Thanksgiving every single Sunday and I just love them for that. A proper Sunday Roast is enjoyed with family and friends and entails a roasted meat with gravy, roast potatoes, vegetables, and the best part—Yorkshire Pudding. Many times, a Sunday Roast is made at home, but other times they will go to a local pub to enjoy. I enjoyed a local Sunday Roast with some of my British friends at Earl of Essex Pub. Another one of my favorite things to do in London is to eat at the outdoor markets. There are numerous in London, but my favorites are:
- Portobello Road Market
- Borough Market
- Camden Lock Market
- Old Spitalfields Market
- Maltby Street Market
- Southbank Centre Market
Some of my other favorite spots to eat at are:
- Bubble Dogs
- Dalloway Terrace
- Duck & Waffle
- Bob Bob Ricard’s
- Milk Train Cafe
- Peggy Porschen Cakes
- Dominique Ansel Bakery
Where to Drink: To be honest, there is no where more I like to drink in London, than a traditional British Pub. And to me, a British Pub is a British Pub, I really don’t discriminate. Usually when I’m visiting London, I’ll just walk around with friends and pop into pubs along the way as we sight-see and shop. I don’t even have a list of pubs because I’ve probably been to 100 and love them all the same. In addition to pubs, some of my favorite spots to drink at in London are:
- The Ned
- Archer Street
- Sushi Samba
Where to Sightsee: Below are the top things you must see if you’re going to London. If you’re one of those people that has a bucket list of touristy things you must see before you leave, these are my top 15 picks:
- Buckingham Palace
- Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
- The London Eye
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Trafalgar Square
- Piccadilly Circus
- Tower Bridge
- Westminster Abbey
- Covent Garden
- Leicester Square
- Tower of London
- Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
- Changing of the Guards
- Visit one (or 23) of these amazingly FREE Museums
Tips and Advice:
- Buy an Oyster Card upon arrival and figure out the Public Transportation System– the tube. London is super expensive and your taxi’s will add up. The tube is a much cheaper option and will probably get you wherever you’re going in half the amount of time.
- I know I mentioned it before, but have a traditional Sunday Roast! It is my FAVORITE British Tradition.
- My favorite way to see a city is by foot. I’ve put together this 3 mile/km walking tour where you can hit half of the sights I mentioned above. Start in Covent Garden, detour through Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus until you loop around to Trafalgar Square. From there stroll down the Mall to Buckingham Palace and cut through James Park to see Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. You’ll then find yourself at the River Thames where you can get stunning views of the London Eye.
- Don’t exchange currency at the airport. Exchange rates at the airport are always terrible, and they are usually accompanied by numerous high fees. Order British Pounds from your local bank in your home country to get the best conversion rate. If you run out of cash on your trip, your best bet for getting local currency is to use your bank’s ATM network in London to take cash out. Many banks have international branches, or they partner with institutions in different countries, so that you can withdraw cash for little to no fees.
- If you do end up taking one of the cute black taxi cab’s in London, ask your driver 1 million questions. British cabbies have to go through extensive training and studying to earn their licenses and are some of the most knowledgeable people you will meet in London. Not only will they know every road and turn in the city like the back of their hand, but they are also experts on each landmark and the history of their city. So make sure you take advantage and learn something if you’re going to splurge on the ride 🙂