is a busy, modern capital city with its roots firmly planted in history. A
melting pot of international cultures creates a destination of diversity.
London itself is made up of an eclectic collection of boroughs, each with its
own sense of character.
avoid the cold of winter and the crowds of summer, visit either between late
April to early June;
or from September through to October.
through to May can be extremely varied and
unpredictable, with hot sunny days
mixed with long bouts of rain
June to early September is usually warm. However,
British summers are notorious
for being unpredictable so be prepared for showers and occasional drops in
From September to late November the weather is usually dry but cool, with
temperatures dropping in the evenings
From November to late February expect cold days and colder nights. Prepare for
possible snow or sleet in December and January
Images: Spring Clock Tower by Magnus D / Summer Deckchairs by Richard Whitikar / Autumn Squirrel by Steve Webster / Winter Phonebox by Robert Wiegmann
London's long and intricate history, couples with its status as a cutting-edge modern city, means there
is always something new to discover. Time Out London is a great resource for finding out about the best
attractions, events, nightlife and restaurants around the city.
Houses of Parliament: Officially the Palace of Westminster, this is one of London’s most recognised buildings, home to UK parliament and the famous clock tower
Southbank Centre: This is Europe’s largest art centre, offering
various free and ticketed performances and exhibitions of music, dance, art and photography
St Paul’s Cathedral:
Sir Christopher Wren’s 17th century masterpiece is one of London’s most iconic
sights. Take the tour to “the whispering dome” and marvel at the architectural
The London Dungeon:
This interactive all-ages attraction combines history with entertainment, using
scary rides and real actors to showcase gory facts and stories from London’s dark past
Museum of London:
This unusual-looking museum documents the city’s fascinating history, from its
prehistoric beginnings through to the present day as host city of the 2012 Summer
Founded in 1066, this ancient fortress has played a vital role in London’s
history, used as a royal residence, prison, and execution
Tate Modern Museum:
Discover the latest exhibitions and over 70,000 works of
modern art at this
iconic museum, housed in a former power station
The EDF London Eye: Take a ride on the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. Built to commemorate the new millennium, it is now a popular landmark on London’s riverbank
This tall stone column was built in the 1670s to commemorate the Great Fire of
London. Climb the 311 steps to the top
for incredible city views
London’s nightlife is as diverse as the city itself; from the familiar to the
outlandish, you can find something going on to suit your mood. Whether you want
to enjoy some stand-up comedy, take in a West End musical or dance the night
away at an East End club, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice.
East London: Enjoy cocktails at eclectic clubs
and shabby-chic bars
Soho: Discover fast-paced nightclubs and laid-back jazz and blues bars
See a world-class theatre show or musical in the West End
Angel: Find trendy bars and late-night restaurants in the vibrant heart of Islington
Take in a play at the Shakespeare’s Globe
or The Old Vic theatres
Trips from London:
exciting as London is, it’s also worth exploring the surrounding areas outside
of the capital. Take a
day trip and explore Brighton’s seaside pier or Oxford’s
literary avenues; it’s as easy as hopping on a train.
Oxford:Home to one of the world's oldest universities, the pretty city of Oxford
home to museums, gardens and cathedrals.
Travel time: 1 hour.
one of London's most popular seaside resorts, home to boutique
shops, parks and
the iconic pier, complete with funfair.
Travel time: 1 hour 5mins.
This historic spa town is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture,
springs and ancient Roman baths.
Travel time: 1 hour 30mins.
Charming little villages surround this largely untouched national
park, an ideal place for walking or cycling.
Travel time: 1 hour 30mins.
the National Rail website
for times and fares.
Images: Houses of Parliament by Nigels Europe on Flickr / Museum of London by Ewan Munro / EDF London Eye by Kevin Gibbons / Oxford by OxOx on Flickr /
Brighton Pier by Dawarwick Photography / Bath by Mario on Flickr / New Forest by Hardo Müller
time for some retail therapy and you’ll soon see why London has a reputation as
one of the world’s leading shopping destinations.
From the vintage market
stalls of Portobello Road to the high-end elegance of Harrods, there’s a
shopping experience here to suit all tastes and budgets.
a modern luxury department store on Oxford Street
an iconic Knightsbridge department store, known for elaborate
decor and plush merchandise
Images: London shoppers by Herry Lawford
a multi-cultural melting pot, an aspect which brings a diverse
range of cuisine to the table. From street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, you can find ample options throughout the capital. Ask locals where they recommend, or simply explore your nearest neighbourhood
something intriguing. Keep an eye out for pop-up food markets, or book ahead at
some of the restaurants run by celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver.
most major cities, London can be pricey. However there are a
number of sites
which promote great deals and offers.
Popular Dining Hotspots:
famous for vibrant culture and great Indian curries
a slice of China in Soho; home to authentic Asian dishes
farm-grown fruit and vegetables, fresh cheeses, and home-baked goods
discover stylish delis, cafes, and high-end restaurants
Images: Curry by James Vreeland / Sushi by Zoe Shuttleworth / Fish & Chips by OliBac on Flickr / Tea by Craig Morey / Brownie by Advencap on Flickr / Noodles by Star5112 on Flickr
its own culture and way of doing things, but naturally, few are obvious to
first time visitors.
It’s OK to get things wrong but taking note of these tips
could make your experience much easier.
street” – an umbrella term, referring to affordable retail chain stores
Tube” – the common name given to the London Underground metro
bikes” – the nickname given to London’s
public bike-hire scheme, named after
Mayor of London Boris Johnson
stand on the right side of escalators, to let those in a hurry pass on the left
move down the carriage and stand in the aisle when the Tube is busy
let passengers off the train or Tube before trying to get on
leave bags unattended; not only for the security of your belongings –
unattended luggage on or near public transport can create a security alert
and bars will often add a service charge to your bill. If there is no charge
listed, then it is
customary to tip 10-12.5% of your bill. With taxis, people
tend to simply round up their cash fare.
Images: Tube escalator by Dave Bleasdale
may seem like a huge place, given how much is packed into one city, yet
geographically it’s quite compact. Even so, the capital has a world-class
public transport system, helping you get from A to B with ease. If you’re in a
hurry the Underground is quick, or take the bus for a more scenic journey.
London Underground, or Tube, is a metro system covering much of Greater London. It can get very crowded at peak times but is the most popular mode of public transport in the city.
London also has an extensive bus network. The Docklands
Light Railway (DLR) is an overground train system connecting East London and Docklands to the London Underground network.
Alternatively, you can opt for one of London’s famous black cabs to get around.
all five London airports there are rail connections to the city. See the National Rail website
for more details on your journey.
card: Save money by purchasing an Oyster card. Top this up with credit and
touch in and out
when travelling on buses, inner city trains and the London
hour: Peak times are 6.30am - 9.30am and 4.00pm - 7pm Monday through Friday.
by travelling outside of these times if you can.
A travel card gives you unlimited travel on the zones it is valid for and can
be used on buses, the DLR and the Underground.
if you are using an Oyster card your daily travel costs will be capped at the
price of a travel card.
more information and up-to-date fares see the Transport for London website.
Images: Bus by Bob Garland / Underground Sign by Andrew Bowden / Oyster Card by Tom Page / Black Cabs by Garry Knight
Pete Stean – Londoneer.org
“Take a risk and leave Zone 1 behind - Londoners know that the city's real treasures lie well beyond tourist spots such as the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, so why not take a leaf out of their book and do something unique? You could take the opportunity to visit one of the city's smaller museums, such as the Petrie Museum of Egyptology near Euston Square, the Horniman Museum at Forest Hill or the Cinema Museum at the Elephant & Castle. If you're thinking about the theatre consider something other than a glitzy West End musical - check out the latest show at the Courtyard Theatre in Shoreditch, see something edgy at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston or take in a stirring drama at the Jacksons Lane Theatre in Highgate. If you want some fresh air eschew Hyde Park and take a stroll around the walled gardens of the Fulham Palace at Putney Bridge, walk the Regent's canal from Camden Town to Little Venice or go and see the dinosaurs of Crystal Palace. London is full of wonders, waiting to be discovered.”
JJ Miller – ThisLittleLadyWentToLondon.com
“There's one piece of advice I've always given first time visitors to London and it's simply "look up". London is packed with breathtaking architecture, much of it high above street level, and you can miss it far too easily in amongst the hustle and bustle. These days I'd also recommend hiring a Boris Bike for the day and cycling along the Thames, around our beautiful parks or to our stunning markets, which are usually just outside the most obvious areas. This City has so many treasures just a short cycle or tube ride from Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square, from historical hidden churches (such as St Bartholomew the Great) to quirky hotel rooms (such as The Market Suite at The Fox & Anchor, or The Rook's Nest at The Rookery) that you might miss if you don't venture a little outside the centre of town.”
“ Jo Harris-Cooksley: SheLovesLondon.com
"If you’re visiting for a week, skip the tube where possible and get a bus. It’s a lot cheaper option than the tube, and most central routes take you past some of London’s most famous landmarks (and the traffic gives you enough time to photograph them!). The new Route Master buses are easy to hop on and off whenever you want, and aside from the convenience, buses are a great way to get your street-bearings in what can be a big, confusing city.”
Jonathan – Londontopia.net
"Don't try to do everything on your 1st trip. There's so much to see and do in London it can be tempting to pack your itinerary too much to try and fit it all in. This will exhaust you and leave you with little time to savor London. London is like a fine wine, opened and enjoyed slowly with an aroma that develops and enhances the taste. Don't worry, you'll love London enough to want to come back, so save things for your future trips - you'll need the extra reasons to come back!"
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