London is one of my favorite cities; there's so much to do and it is home to some of the best restaurants in the world! Even though it's the largest city in the UK, there are plenty of places to "escape the city" while staying in the city. Here is the ultimate guide to London:
What to Expect:
Temperatures in London in summer are typically in the 60s, while they are usually in the 40s and 50s in fall and spring. London usually sees temperatures in the 40s in the winter. Expect rain basically any time of the year.
Although English is the most commonly spoken language in London, there are so many different languages spoken. There are actually over 250 languages spoken in the city.
Royal Quarter Cafe
Royal Quarter offers reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I loved this cafe so much, I went there several times in the span of 48 hours. The pastries are homemade and delicious!
The Red Lion (Parliament Street)
The Red Lion Pub is the place to go for typical British food. They offer fish and chips, several pie options, and puddings! If you can't choose one pie, they offer a tasting board with mini pies of different kinds and beers.
Tower of London
Built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, the Tower of London is full of history! You can see the Bloody Tower where Sir Walter Raleigh was held prisoner and Edward V was murdered. Not only can you explore the different sections of the Tower of London, but you can also see the Crown Jewels and the Royal Mint! You can easily spend half a day or more exploring!
Tower Bridge is located right next to the Tower of London. As a matter of fact, go for a stroll across the bridge once you're done at Tower of London! The iconic bridge was built in the late 19th century and still lifts to this day. The lift schedule can be found on the official Tower Bridge website. You can even see inside the bridge! They have a walkway with glass floors to see a different view of the bridge, and they have tours of the old engine rooms!
Hop-on, Hop-Off Bus Tour
Yes, this is very touristy and a bit cliche, but it really is worth it. Taxis and Ubers can add up and sometimes you just don't want to take public transportation. A hop-on hop-off bus tour will take you to all the famous attractions and it will offer information about the city. There are different companies that offer bus tours; they all have practically the same routes. Some offer night tours or package deals.
Churchill War Rooms
Churchill War Rooms is a must when visiting London! This underground bunker, also known as the Cabinet War Rooms, is where British government leaders strategized and planned during World War II. Churchill and his cabinet worked and sheltered from bomb raids here. On display are items used in the War Rooms and some of Churchill's personal items! You could easily spend a couple of hours here.
Another place you can't pass up when visiting London is Westminster Abbey. Not only have royal coronations taken place here since 1066, but many famous weddings, funerals, and burials have occurred here. You can see the coronation chair where kings and queens were crowned and you can see the graves of historical figures, like Charles Darwin and Elizabeth I. I recommend buying tickets ahead of time and spending a couple of hours here.
Buckingham Palace & Gardens
At certain times of year visitors can tour the Buckingham Palace Garden and even some rooms in the palace itself! The garden is home to many different types of plants and trees, some of which were planted by Queen Victoria! The palace tour offers visitors the opportunity to see State Rooms, like the Ballroom, Throne Room, and Music Room!
Kensington Palace & Gardens
If you aren't all palace-d out, Kensington Palace is a great historical, royal place to visit. Go on a self-guided tour through the King's State Apartments, King's Gallery, Queen's State Apartments, and Gardens to learn all about the palace's history and royals and to see relics, like Queen Victoria's doll house. The Palace Pavilion and Tea Room also offers food and afternoon tea (on palace grounds just to make you feel like royalty 🙂).
Where to Catch Some Zzz's:
The Resident Victoria
The Resident is in the middle of the city; you seriously walk out of the door and Buckingham Palace is across the street! There are restaurants and shops all around. Guests also receive discounts and offers for restaurants, stores, and activities around London! The rooms are quaint and nice, and the location is perfect!
As always, Airbnb and VRBO are another great source for accommodations. There are different types of accommodations from different price ranges to fit the budget of any traveler. You can even choose a place that is close to the attractions you'd like to see. Of course the majority of the less expensive options will be further from the center of the city.
London is one of the best cities in the world and has so much history. Whether you're staying for a weekend or a week, you are sure to find things to keep you busy while you're there!