London is a must visit city for those who love bustling streets, endless tourist attractions and a bounty of lively night clubs.
Getting there: London is one of the cheapest and easiest cities to fly to, especially now after the Brexit. I would recommend flying Norwegian if you have the opportunity. Flights are cheap and the planes are new and comfortable, you will not feel like you are on a budget airline. Another budget airline to consider would be WOW Airlines. I would avoid flying out of Gatwick if there is a comparable flight out at another London airport. The airport is a disaster and has a mile long river of duty free shops going through the entire airport. Flights can range from $300 USD to $2,500 USD depending on the time of year and the airline you fly.
Stay: We stayed in the Wombat’s Hostel which is located in White Chapel which is a little outside of the city center but very easy to get to. Located near the Aldgate East tube station the walk is only a few blocks. This hostel was very clean and reservations included breakfast with the room reservation. The building is several stories and can accommodate hundreds of guests, this is the perfect place to stay if you want to meet other backpackers! On the bottom floor of the hostel there is a huge underground bar (Welcome drink included) that plays great music and has plenty of room to sit and mingle with other hostel guests. There is a communal kitchen and a few laundry machines. The rooms are basic but the bathrooms are updated.
Transportation: The first thing you want to do when you get to London is rent an oyster card (£5 deposit that you receive back when you return the card) and use the tube to get around. You can pick up a map at the visitor’s center in the Liverpool train/tube station. The tube can get very crowded in the early evening and can be pricey, but it is the easiest and quickest way to get around and see all the sites. If you aren’t interested in using the underground transportation or have trouble walking far distances, I would suggest taking the hop on/off bus to see the sights and get around the city.
Day 1: First and foremost, you must plan to attend an afternoon tea while in London. There are plenty to choose from, some that serve alcohol and some that are just for tea and crumpets. We had afternoon tea at The London EDITION in the punch room. This afternoon tea, also known as Scandal Water, was quite different from others but had delicious treats, tasty tea and exquisite cocktails (punch). **keep in mind most alcoholic afternoon teas are only served on the weekend – so plan ahead!
The pairings of teas, small bites and punches are mouthwatering and the staff is very knowledgeable. Reservations are required for Scandal Water and are every Friday through Sunday beginning at 3PM and 4PM at £35 per person for the choice of three pairings. The London Edition is in Soho and the best tube station to get off at is Oxford Street.
Other Afternoon Tea Suggestions:
- Tipsy Tea at Mr. Fogg’s Residence: Saturday 2-7pm and Sunday 3-5pm – £38 per person for a single pot or unlimited for £62-£72 per person depending on whether you order gin tea or champagne tea.
- Brown’s Hotel Teatox: offers a variety of different menus some including champagne and others more traditional. £52.50; champagne afternoon tea £62.50
Day 2: The city center of London is fairly easy to navigate and most of the big tourist attractions are within walking distance. I would begin by taking the tube to the Waterloo Station on the Northern Line and walking to the London Eye.
Admission to the London Eye can be anywhere from £21-£40 depending on whether you book online or buy at the ticket office. I would just book online to receive the best rate. You have the option to purchase drinks during the 30 minute rotation, the best views of London can be seen during this ride.
Walk across the River Thames to see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abby.
Follow the signs for St. James Park.
This was not an attraction that was on my list while visiting London, but it was one of my favorites. St. James Park also known as the birdcage walk is filled with all kind of birds and other small critters.
From woodpeckers and pigeons to swans and pelicans and everything in between, you can watch them interact in this beautiful park.
At the end of the park and before the beginning of Green park, you will find Buckingham Palace.
Be sure to plan ahead if you would like to see the changing of the guards, to view the schedule click here.
Continue through Green Park and the Wellington Arch into Hyde Park, this park is much larger than St. James Park and Green Park.
At the far end of Hyde Park is Kensington Palace, be sure to check out Kensington Gardens!
Finally, reward yourself with some traditional British food at Maggie Jones’s just a few blocks away.
Day 3: Today will involve a lot less walking and a lot more… beer! First on the list would be the London Bridge, except that it burnt down during a fire that broke out on both ends of the bridge simultaneously, trapping many people in the middle and burning down all the houses located on the bridge. The modern day London Bridge is an anticlimactic cement road-like bridge, which we didn’t find out until we were literally standing on it. The much more famous and wonderful bridge is the Tower Bridge.
I would suggest taking the tube to the London Bridge station and walking on the London Bridge for a brief moment to see the view of Tower Bridge. From there you can walk along the River Thames to get to the Tower Bridge.
After enjoying one of their heavenly daily beer flights (and maybe a few more beers) head back towards the London Bridge Tube station and on the way, you can see the Shard formally known as the London Bridge Tower. The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, the 105th-tallest building in the world, and the fourth-tallest building in Europe.
If you are looking for a fun party night, check out XOYO or any of the clubs in the Shoreditch district. If you are headed to a club, make sure you purchase tickets ahead of time as they often sell out before the event begins.
Day 4: Whether you are a soccer (football) fan or not, you must make it a point to visit a stadium while you are in London. London and the United Kingdom are known to have some of the best team’s and players in the world. I am a huge Chelsea Fan and that is why we decided to visit Stamford Bridge. You can take the District Line to Fulham Broadway which is about a 20 minute journey outside of the city center.
The guided stadium tour is the only way to enter the stadium if you do not have tickets to a match. The tour costs £19 for an adult and includes a tour of the stadium and access to the museum. During the tour, you will get to sit in the stadium seats, see the visiting and home teams locker rooms, the press room, and the field. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about Chelsea as he has been a blue’s fans since he was born and both his father and grandfather before that.
I learned so much about the Chelsea Football club and this was probably my favorite tourist attraction in London. You don’t have to be a Chelsea fan to go on this tour, there were fans from AC Milan, Barelona, Juventes, Manchester United and even Tottenham (shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!)
Other Suggested London Attractions: