As we landed in The Smoke city I was immediately rushed with a dozen emotions. The main emotion being excitement, excited to finally stand up and stretch my legs after an 8-hour flight. As I grabbed my bags from the overhead compartment my mind instantly started playing the iconic London Calling, with an immediate flashback to a late-’70s London, I smiled and thought “boy, is it good to be back!”
♦ Language: The official language is English
♦ Currency: Pound ($1 USD = £0.76 Pound)
*subject to fluctuate: current as of September 18, 2018*
♦ Weather: Temperatures range by seasons, but daily highs range from 47°F (8°C) in the winter to 72°F (22°C) in the summer
How to Get Around
The three main sources of transportation in London are:
From Gatwick Airport into London: Walk towards Gatwick Express located in the South Terminal, only a short walk from Arrivals. Once you get to the Gatwick Express there are self-service machines to your left and to the far north right, there are Ticket Booths. If you are not an England native or regular, skip the self-service ticket machines and go straight to the Ticket Booths. Gives you a chance to talk to someone who can correctly direct to you to exactly what train you should get on and get off on.
After purchasing your tickets head towards London Victoria Station. At the heart of London, London Victoria Station is the busiest and most central station and it’s only a 10-minute train exchange or a 20-minute walk to the main attractions in Westminister.
- If you’re more than 4 people: you buy 4 and get 2 tickets for free by purchasing the tickets at the Ticket Booth vs self-service machines.
- KEEP YOUR TICKETS! They can be reused until 11:59pm on the date of purchase at any Undergrounds (tube), Buses, Overground Trains, and Docklands Light rails.
What to Do
estimated prices only
With London you’ll never have to worry about there not being enough to see, the true issue is how to fit everything into your itinerary! I’m here to hopefully make it a little easier.
Depending on where you are staying this may vary, but I have found that the easiest way to see the “must do’s” in London is to take The Tube to Tower Hill Station. Once you have gotten out of the station in Tower Hill, walk towards the Tower of London.
- Tower of London: (Adult £26.80 Pounds|$35.15 USD) Built in 1066, the Tower of London has served many purposes, from housing the earlier royals, to housing soldiers, to a prison where many were tortured to now, a museum. The history involving this tower is enough to have you feeling as though your touring a Game of Thrones castle! I recommend wearing comfortable shoes as it’ll take approximately 2 hours to tour the whole castle and there are many uneven rocks and lots of stairs! click the title to book tickets online for a 15% discount.
After your tour walk towards the River Thames, there’s a perfect view of the Tower Bridge, perfect for taking photos and getting that perfect selfie with the Bridge!
- Tower Bridge: Once you’ve taken photos along the River make your way across the Tower Bridge, towards the SouthWest Banks where you’re able to walk alongside the river towards other attractions such as Londons City Hall, and it’s only approximately a 30-minute walk to the London Eye!
- London Eye: (£27.00 Pounds|$35.45 USD) This giant Ferris Wheel also known as the Millennial Wheel, is the 4th highest observational wheel in the world! If you decide you’d like to go up and see, I’d recommend doing it on a clear day or else you’ll get stuck seeing nothing but fog! *boo* click the title to book tickets online for a 10% discount
Around the London Eye are the Sea LIFE London Aquarium and the Jubilee Garden which are great locations to grab a quick lunch, and take in the outdoors beauty before continuing your explorations!
- The Houses of Parliament: (£18.50 Pounds|$24.29 USD) Also known as the Palace of Westminister, where the English make and change laws, but mostly known for being home to Big Ben! (Unfortunately, The Big Ben is under construction from 2017-2021, but don’t let this little inconvenience deter you from seeing this beautiful city.) Many enjoy just passing by and admiring its outer beauty but if you decide you’re too curious and you’d like to see inside, by all means! I do recommend booking online ahead of time as there are only certain times and dates you can visit the inside of the Parliament. click the title to book tickets online
- Westminister Abbey: (£20 Pounds|$26.27 USD) The royal coronation church, also known as The Abbey is one of the most remarkable religious buildings in all of the UK, it has hosted a total of 16 royal weddings and more than 45 royal coronations. Once you have finished seeing the Westminister area walk about 15 minutes west towards Buckingham Palace. click the title to book tickets online
- Buckingham Palace: (prices vary) As many would say, The White House of England. Buckingham Palace is The Queens main London residence, with 775 rooms, this palace is available for touring during the summer months of July through September. Where you can further explore the lavish interiors of the Queen’s prominent home. If it’s enough for you to just walk up to the gates and look through the rails I recommend going during the times of the Changing of The Guard, Monday thru Saturday at 11 am and on Sundays at 10 am. click the title to check prices + book tickets online
- High Tea: (prices vary depending on location) I don’t know about you but I love tea, so when I was visiting London I knew I needed an evening of High Tea. There are many places to chose from, some of the more popular options are The Langham, Sketch, and the awesome BB Bakery Afternoon Bus Tour!
Where to Eat
London is home to hundreds of different cuisines and hotspots ranging from traditional British food to Mediterranean to Mexican to many more. Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with anything you eat around London but here are a few of my favorite spots.
- Borough Market: ($) Still to this day, one of my favorite Markets I’ve ever visited. Located under the London Bridge, the Borough Market has been in business for nearly 1,000 years, filled with food all over the spectrum. They are open Monday through Saturday, with most vendors attending Wednesday through Saturday. Every third Saturday of every month, retail vendors join the market at Borough. The Market ranges from bakery foods to cured meats, to fish and seafood, to spices, preserves, to plants and flowers to my favorite, street food!
- Aubaine French Restaurant: ($$-$$$) It’s always Spring in this lovely modern French Restaurant, filled with craft and innovative cuisine. Aubaine truly takes the cake, with its pastoral ambiance and lively menu.
- Big Easy: ($$) Call me a good ol’ American for staying loyal to our BBQ obsession, but this place truly brought home all the way to London. Their hand-cut quality meats and their to-die-for lobsters from the icy waters of Nova Scotia, Big Easy sure makes it easy to stand out from their competitors.
Well, that’s a wrap for my must do’s in London, if you have any questions shoot me a comment below!