This guide is designed to inspire you.
Here you will find all the information and inspiration you need to put together exciting itineraries and fantastic events showcasing the best that London has to offer.
Enjoy your stay!
TOP 3 LANDMARK
The EDF Energy London Eye is a major feature of London’s skyline. It boasts some of London’s best views from its 32 capsules, each weighing 10 tonnes and holding up to 25 people. Climb aboard for a breathtaking experience, with an unforgettable perspective of more than 55 of London’s most famous landmarks – all in just 30 minutes!
Take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around the Tower of London, one of the world’s most famous buildings. Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo! Gaze up at the White Tower, tiptoe through a medieval king’s bedchamber and marvel at the Crown Jewels.
London’s Tower Bridge is one of the most recognisable bridges in the world. Its Victorian Gothic style stems from a law that forced the designers to create a structure that would be in harmony with the nearby Tower of London.
The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London’s most iconic landmarks. Technically, Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg). The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
MUSEUMS CLOSE TO OUR FLATS
SOUTH KENSINGTON: LONDON’S MUSEUM QUARTER
South Kensington is home to a cluster of free museums, making it the perfect destination for families and adults alike.
The family-friendly Science Museum caters for kids of all ages. The interactive Garden area is specially designed for under fives, while the hands-on Launchpad gallery is perfect for teenagers.
The world-famous British Museum exhibits the works of man from prehistoric to modern times, from around the world. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection. Entry is free.
Trafalgar Square, at the heart of London, is one of the city’s most vibrant open spaces.
It is a lively place often used for a wide range of activities including: special events and celebrations like the Royal Wedding, Olympics One Year to Go, St Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year; filming and photography; and rallies and demonstrations.
In Trafalgar Square you can also visit the National Gallery one of the world’s greatest collections of European paintings from 1250 to 1900.
1. TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRES (TICs)
London EC4M 8BX
2 Cutty Sark Gardens, London SE10 9LW
London SW1 4QP
Additional TICs in Gatwick, Harrods, Heathrow & Tower of London.
2. TRAVEL INFORMATION CENTRES
Opposite platform 10
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays
Sun & Public Holidays 08.15-19.15
Western Ticket Hall near St. Pancras
Mon-Sat 07.15 -20.15,
Sun & Public Holidays
Opposite platform 8
Sun & Public Holidays
3. ON STREET INFORMATION
You may also meet one of the city’s 300 London Ambassadors on the streets who will be happy to provide you with on-the-spot information.
4. TRAVEL FROM AIRPORT
London has five airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City, all of them well connected with the centre of London through tube, bus, train and taxi.
- HEATHROW is located 19.3 miles west of downtown.
- GATWICK is located 28.6 miles south of downtown.
- STANSTED is located 33.7miles north of downtown.
- LUTON is located 34.1 miles north of downtown.
- CITY is located 6.9 miles east of downtown.
5. OPENING AND CLOSING TIMES
- BANKS – Open: Mon-Fri 09.30-16.30
- SHOPS – Open: Mon-Sat 09.30/10-18.00 · Sun 12.00-18.00
- SUPERMARKETS – Open: Mon-Fri 06.00-23.00
- MUSEUMS – Open: Mon-Fri 09.30-18.00
- PUBS – Open: Mon-Sun 11.00-23.00
Summer, from June to mid-September, is simply unpredictable in London. Tourists could get a week of continuous rain or a week of wonderful sunshine with temperatures in the high 20s. The average maximums stand at 22°C. However, sometimes it may climb to above 30°C.
Autumn comes in mid-September and lasts till the next month in London. Throughout September, the average high temperatures fluctuate between 19°C to 20s.
Winter, from December to February, remains cold in London. The average temperature in the winter stays at 5°C, with maximums averaging 7°C and minimums 2°C.
Like summer, spring too is a season of unpredictable weather in London. The period can be chilly, damp and grey or sunny with a pleasant temperature, of up to 20°C. During March the city’s average highs stand 10°C, while this climbs to 17°C by May.
There are 11 colour-coded Underground or ‘Tube’ lines. Services run regularly from around 05.00 to 00.30 (Sun 07.30 to 23.30) on most routes. The network is divided into nine zones, with Zone 1 being the most central area.
Buses generally run from 05.00 to 00.30. Night Buses operate on many major routes from around midnight to 05.00, and some routes operate a 24-hour service. Cash fares are not available for bus passengers in Zone 1; therefore passengers must obtain a valid ticket or Oyster card before boarding. Some routes are especially good for sightseeing including routes 9 and 15 which use heritage Route master buses during the day.
Key bus routes in central London
Hail one of London’s famous black cabs (some are multicoloured!) when the yellow ‘Taxi’ sign is lit. Please note fares increase after 20.00. Private hire/minicabs must be booked in advance. We advise you against getting into any vehicle that approaches you in the street purporting to be a minicab.
Driverless trains run from 05.30-00.30 Monday to Saturday and 07.00-23.30 on Sunday. There are trains every 4-10 minutes running on routes from Bank and Tower Gateway to Docklands, East and South East London.
Santander Cycles is a public bicycle sharing scheme in central London. There are over 700 docking stations and more than 10,000 bicycles for hire.
Travelling on the river can be a relaxing way to travel whilst taking in the sights, and Oyster cards can now be used on Thames Clippers services.
There are 13 National Rail termini in London for connections to all parts of the UK, plus Eurostar services from St. Pancras International.
London Overground has four routes which run from Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford, Watford Junction to Euston, Gospel Oak to Barking and Highbury & Islington to West Croydon. Trains run approximately every 7-15 minutes during peak hours on most lines.
If you are driving in London you need to pay the central London Congestion Charge, which is in operation Monday-Friday 7.00am-6.00pm excluding bank and public holidays.
London’s main coach services use Victoria Coach Station. Operators include: National Express, Oxford Tube, EasyBus, Green Line Coaches and Megabus.
London’s heart is made up of many districts, from the iconic City of Westminster to the City of London, the main financial area of the capital. This central zone has a dense concentration of landmarks, theatres, museums, nightspots and famous shopping areas like Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and Oxford Street.
Over 120 languages are spoken in this region, which is steeped in history and renowned for its culture. Areas of interest include Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill with their huge green spaces and characterful Camden with its electric market and live music scene.
The South is appreciated for its array of open spaces such as Clapham Common, the World Heritage Site at Greenwich and riverside Richmond. It’s popular for sporting attractions such as the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and cricket at the Brit Oval. It offers wonderful opportunities to escape from the hustle and bustle, from the village atmosphere of Barnes to historic stately homes and palaces such as Ham House and Hampton Court.
The East now claims its place in the limelight and played a huge part in the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The area is home to a unique arts scene and popular markets like Spitalfields, while the nightlife here in Hoxton and Shoreditch rivals that of the West End. Further east, Lee Valley Regional Park is London’s biggest open space.
It is remarkable for its leafy squares, fascinating museums and vibrant street markets. Here you will find upmarket Kensington and Chelsea, the peaceful streets and canals of Maida Vale, Hammersmith, which is home to some great riverside pubs, and the multicultural communities of Shepherd’s Bush and Southall.
D COLLECTION TIPS
Explore London’s Lungs
London has more open space and green space than most major capital cities and the parks vary hugely in flavour. Many are away from the centre but are well worth the journey. Of particular note are Hampstead Heath – a large slice of countryside in a hilly part of the city, with some stunning views, tube at Hampstead; Regent’s Park – a large formal park in the Victorian tradition near to Baker Street, with an excellent open-air theatre; Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens – a huge open space a short stroll from south Kensington; Wimbledon Common – wild open countryside perfect for cycling, next to a picture perfect “village”; and the myriad tree-lined squares of Bloomsbury and Finsbury.
Buy an Oyster Card
London’s transport is pretty expensive, so unless you are going to make one single journey on public transport in London, then you should really be looking to either purchase an Oyster or Travelcard and not pay for single tickets. In this way you’re going to save some money. This is an absolute MUST. Pay-as-you-go Oyster is ideal for visitors; Travelcard is best for residents.
Sandeman’s Walking Tour
This is the quick easy way to see all the big tourist attractions without spending a lot of money. They take you to most of the major sights, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the guard stables, London Bridge, and even some lesser known historical spots. And best of all, it is free! You simply tip the guide however much you would like to give at the end.
This 2.5 hour tour covers:
- Buckingham Palace
- Churchill’s War Cabinet Bunker
- The Houses of Parliament
- St. Martin-in-the-Fields
- Westminster Abbey
- Trafalgar Square
- St. James’s Park
- Big Ben
Visit Borough Market and Portobello Market
Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce.
It is a haven for anybody who cares about the quality and provenance of the food they eat – chefs, restaurateurs, passionate amateur cooks and people who just happen to love eating and drinking.
London’s Portobello Road is probably the world’s best known market, and is nearly 150 years old. Though famous for antiques (and rightly so), it’s also a haven for lovers of fashion, food, books and music. It’s the place for anyone who wants to find something really unique or just loves a great bargain.
Reserve your transport
The typical mistake made by visitors to London. They didn’t book their travel from the airport to London in their country, and then they have to pay more on arrival. So, if you book your transport from the airport more than 30 days before you come here, you could save money.
THINGS TO DO
2 Lower Regent Street, Piccadilly, London, SW1Y 4LR
Situated on Lower Regent Street, the restaurant is split over two floors into a casual pintxo and open grill area and a more formal dining area offering modern Basque and Spanish dishes with the winner of Masterchef Ash Mair in the kitchen.
THEATRE & MUSICALS
We Will Rock You
Ben Elton and the remaining members of Queen bring you We Will Rock You, a musical which regularly tops the list of the most popular London musicals (according to visitlondon.com ticket sales). Set in a futuristic world where rock music has been banned, it’s up to Galileo to save the world!
The Lion King
The award-winning adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King features music by Elton John, plus outstanding costumes and wonderful special effects. Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains to the evocative rhythms of Africa, The Lion King will dazzle all ages.
Lion King at the Lyceum theatre