Is there any destination as great as London? I think not. But hey, I’m biased: I lived there, and still visit two or three times a year. I never understood people that were in love with London: it isn’t as grand as Paris and lacks perhaps a clear identity upon first sight. But then it happened to me: on my second visit I wandered around the city, stayed away from the big landmarks, and… I fell head over heels in love. Suddenly I understood why London was so well loved: it has to do with its vibe, its energy.
London is whatever you want it to be. It allows for quite and relaxation in one of the many parks or cafes. It allows for culture in one of the high class (free) museums, or grand musicals on West End. It has world class food: from Michelin star restaurants, to that cute local-owned curry shop in a shabby area. London has both majestic Vistorian-era mansions (in West), and the edgier hipster parts with street art (east). You can have a romantic date with stunning views over the skyline, or go to a morning rave.
London is the greatest city in the world. It has room for everyone, from any culture. No matter who you are, you will blend in and find your tribe. It is the best example of multi-culturalism I know. When I lived in London I would walk past loud singing from a Nigerian church, on my way to a gentrified coffeeshop that sold 20 pound bouquets of flowers and sat opposite an arthouse cinema.
Just writing this ode to London makes my heart yearn for it. London really, above everything else, is a feeling. I highly recommend going beyond the traditional highlights and discovering London as I love it. This list is the ultimate London bucket list: it lists everything you should do in the city. It lists all the areas, highlights, castles, viewpoints and other things you should do and visit while you’re there. At least 85% of these tips have been tried and tested by me, the rest are a collection of tips by my London friends and some themed experiences you may love.
I present to you: the ultimate London buckletlist! Print it out and bring it on your trip with you! :)
Sights in London
Get off the tube at Green Park, enjoy the sun while taking a stroll through said park, flash a smile to the hardworking businesspeople who are on a lunch break, and follow the masses of tourists to Buckingham Palace. Do this in the morning around a quarter past eleven to see the changing of the guards. Buckingham Palace with the statue in front of it, always reminds me of Paris: so big and dramatic. I think the white marble stones, and the adjacent road (arc de Triomphe flashback) have something to do with that. It’s just wonderful to sit there and watch people. And who knows, maybe you will spot Queen Elizabeth looking out of the window. You can also visit the art treasures of the palace. Check ticket prices here.
Big Ben & Houses of Parliament
He is the King of London (as long as Charles isn’t yet): Big Ben. This mighty man towers over the city and peacefully keeps an eye on everything from its location the Houses of Parliament. Impressive is the right word for The Houses of Parliament that houses 1000 rooms, 100 staircases and 3 kilometers of hallways (can you imagine having to clean all of those…?). Did you know that the tower is actually called the Elizabeth Tower? The clockwork itself is called Big Ben.
What can I say about one of the most recognised landmarks in the world? It is beautiful, it is iconic, it belongs to the London skyline. And that is why you should visit it. Next to this you’ll find the Tower of London (‘see castles in London’). You’re still seeing a piece of the old London that is left behind. You can also climb the bridge, for which you can buy tickets online. This way you will also get access to an exhibition about the history of this bridge.
This is the impressive church that is located next to the Houses of Parliament. The church was built in a Gothic style and is especially famous since it is the place where coronations and funerals of the English royal houses are being held. When you visit the church you will get an audio guide to learn more about the history. Check ticket prices here.
I first got to Trafalgar Square by accident. I don’t even remember what I was looking for, but I decided to go down a road and suddenly thought: hey, I know this place! That giant pillar and statue can’t be missed after all. The building of the National Gallery is nothing short of impressive, and even gave me flashbacks to the monument and pillar collection city: Washington Dc.
Musical at West End
I’m not the biggest musical fan, but I was lucky to see The Lion King! It was such a lovely experience. I remember that I didn’t fully understand the show (there were no subtitles after all), but it did make a deep impression on me sitting in such a beautiful theater with so much live entertainment. My friend Annemarie says that the tickets are cheapest when buying them at the ticket booth, ór by keeping an eye on Timeout.com/London of Lovetheater.com.
In the middle of Soho you will find China Town, which you definitely shouldn’t miss. Suddenly it’s like you’ve ended up in China since all the signs are indicated in Chinese. Though I can’t say it’s very authentic, with buffet restaurants lined up everywhere (full of Chinese tourists), it’s still very nice to stroll through here.
If you want to shop at big chain stores, then Oxford Street is your place to be. But make sure to go on a weekday: it was a nightmare to walk around the GI-NOR-MOUS Topshop store on a Saturday. The music was way too loud, it was extremely busy and after a while I fled outside… Locals avoid this street like the plague.
St Pauls Cathedral
There is nothing more spectacular than an impressive church. I am not religious, but the magic of a cathedral is never lost on me. The giant space, the silence, the smell, the art on the walls… And that was the plan when I wanted to visit St Pauls Cathedral. I was already swooning when I got a glimpse of the dramatic dome, and dreamed further as I walked through the surrounding garden. However, I came back to reality as soon as I saw that the entree ticket costs around 20 euro’s. Perfect to admire it from the oútside. If you would like to visit the church, it is best to buy your tickets online. Not only does this save you money, you can also skip the queue.
This is, next to the Tower Bridge, one of the most iconic bridges. The modern bridge is located between Modern Tate and the St Pauls cathedral. This way you get an amazing view of the cathedral. You can take some great pictures here when there aren’t a whole lot of people.
Piccadilly Circus is the Times Square of London. And yes, I realize that I keep comparing London to other cities. It is very special when new cities bring back old memories of other places you’ve visited. But still, London is a memory on its own. What a magical city. Piccadilly Circus is what its name suggests: a circus. Figuratively, of course. A chaos of flickering lights, rushing cars, and an enormous mass of people. Six years ago I remember eating a Haagen Däsz ice cream here. It’s the little things you remember right? However, I when I lived in London I went here there very little because of the many, many tourists.
This is an old fashioned indoor market, with many beautiful (though expensive) shops and restaurants. The atmosphere is very cozy. Street musicians often perform here for free, giving it a romantic vibe.
Its location nearby Liverpool Street makes it the perfect place to spend some time when waiting on a bus or train. Not only can you find restaurants here (I ate at Leon’s once), but also market stalls where they sell clothing, bags and belts.
Parks in London
Let me just say one important thing: Hyde Park is motherf*cking big. I got out at the wrong underground stop, and had to walk back the whole width of the park. Carrying a weekend bag ánd backpack. But Hyde Park ís a nice place if you just want to go for a walk or have a picnic. It’s a popular running spot, tourists feed the ducks in the pond, and it is the perfect way to get from the chic Kensington to the trendy Notting Hill (see ‘Fun districts in London’).
St. James Park & Green Park
This truly is a lovely park, and almost impossible not to notice, since it is located near Buckingham Palace. The reason I added these two together is because the park is being intersected by a road, and the park is called St James Park on one side, and Green Park on the other. I especially love the pond in the middle of St. James Park, which is impossible to miss. During summer you can sail here on a boat. The (protected) swans swim around in the pond, and in the background you can see Buckingham Palace and the London Eye (see ‘London attractions’). Super romantic. I once had a picnic in Green Park with a friend during summer.
Regents Park & Primrose Hill
This one of these lovely parks where I spent some time on a lazy Sunday. Great fun, because on Sundays there are amateur cricket competitions being held here. I spent some time watching, butt I still don’t fully understand the rules. Anyway. You can also find the London Zoo here. From the park you can peek inside the Zoo. Primrose Hill has an amazing view of London. This park is located nearby Camden (see ‘fun districts in London’). Right next to it you can also find the Sherlock Holmes museum (check ‘Museums in London’).
Hampstead Heath & Parliament Hill
During weekends locals in Northern London visit the Hampstead Heath for hiking and picnics, and it isn’t hard to understand why. I also went there, and the area is nice and quiet. On top of that, you can even climb Parliament Hill. From here you will have an amazing view over London, which is very impressive. Nearby you can find the Highgate Cemetery (see ‘Original things to do in London’).
Another romantic park, but this time it is located in Eastern-London. During summer you can see swans swimming in the pond, boats cruising the waters and dogs running around. Have some brunch at the Pavilion and sit between the locals. The surroundings of the park, Stratford, isn’t necessary really special, but the connection between Stratford and the center of London is really good (there are many locals living here), and that is why there are many hotels located there.
I haven’t been here myself, but many people I know have. It is still on my wish list, by the way. My friend Kasha has been there and wrote about her visit. Kew Gardens is a bit outside of London, but it is accessible by subway and is definitely worth the trip. This is one of the most important botanical gardens in the world, with over thirty thousand plant species. You can easily spend a few hours here. The entrance queues seem to be pretty long, but with these online tickets you can skip them (it also saves you money!).
Fun areas in London
Notting Hill & Portobello Road
Can you believe that the movie Notting Hill is almost twenty years old! How? I’ll just go cry in the corner thankyouverymuch. Anyway, the district still looks much like its cinematic image. A mix of chic and shabby artistic. I especially liked Portobello Road, where you find a clothing & fruits market, and all sorts of cool stores.
My neighborhood! I lived here during the first half of 2016 in London, in Bermondsey to be exact. So I spent a lot of time here and couldn’t possibly be any happier with this neighborhood. I lived just around the corner of Bermondsey Square (check my favorite coffee place: Hej) and Bermondsey Street (have dinner at Franco Manca). Maltby Street Market is nearby as well during the weekends (check ‘Food Markets in London’).
After my shopping adventure on Oxford Street, (check ‘Attractions in London) I randomly wandered through some streets, through Soho Square Gardens, directly into Soho. A district full of cute cafes, pubs, secondhand bookstores and Chinese restaurants (Chinatown is located in Soho – check ‘Attractions in London’). This is also where people go to party. My boyfriend also lived and worked here for a few weeks and he really liked it.
If you avoid the touristic hot spots, Camden can be pretty fun. Camden High Street is for me personally too packed and touristic. However, Camden Canal Market (a food market) is really fun. You can also take a walk along the gorgeous canal, which is pretty romantic.
East London: Shoreditch, Whitechapel, Hackney, Hoxton & Dalston
‘You have to visit Shoreditch!’. Everyone practically screamed in my face. I had the feeling I would be tried for reason or something, if I didn’t end up visiting the district. Shoreditch is a trendy (and also: hipster) district in London. But after living in London, and going there countless of times, I can tell you in one sentence: Shoreditch is fun. It has a lot of authentic and original restaurants, clothing stores, and on the Sunday I was there I saw two separate public photo shoots. The best thing about Shoreditch is the colorful and stylish graffiti, which is seen as art instead of vandalism, and is being appreciated that way as well. In the surrounding districts Hoxton and Dalston there are many nice restaurants as well.
You may know Greenwich from the Greenwich Mean Time. This is the time zone that England is located in, and that corresponds with the UTC (the coordinated world clock). The district Greenwich is one of the best districts in London. A lovely residential area, but also because of the Royal Observatory (which has an amazing view) and the Cutty Sark ship there are many things to do. Great place for a date!
Although isn’t really a district, but more of a general area, South Bank is still one of my favorite parts of London. There’s often food markets going on, but there are also a few restaurants that are there fulltime. During winter there is a Christmas Market as well. You can stroll along the river bank with a nice view of the Big Ben (check ‘Views in London’).
This street in Soho deserves it’s own place in this post, because this is where the most beautiful Christmas lights are displayed during winter. Also, don’t miss the Liberty, a shopping mall with a gorgeous exterior.
This is a small alleyway near Covent Garden (see ‘Attractions in London’), which may be the most colorful street in all of London. It is a mix of different styles, colors and flags. A great place to get some coffee.
This is the English equation to the nine streets in Amsterdam. All fashionista’s in London gohere to shop at the local boutiques. It’s the perfect place if you are done with the high street brands that all sell the same items. During winter there are beautiful Christmas lights here.
Nearby Bermondsey, so I came pretty here often as well. I really like Southwark, especially the part near London Bridge. From there you can walk to Southwark Cathedral, go down a stairway and you walk underneath the railway bridge. You can find all sorts of delicious restaurants here, especially during weekends. A bit further you can find a replica of a big ship from 1577. Finally you end up at the Clink Street, where you can find the ruins of Winchester Palace. The area is an old dockyard, which is pretty obvious by the design. It’s almost like you can touch history here. At the end of the street, you pass underneath a railway bridge and walk along the water, into the direction of Tate Modern. One of my favorite parts of London.
Sightseeing in London
My favorite bus line is bus 453 to Marylebone. I usually hopped on around the area of Elephant and Castle and drove along the beautiful Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Regents Park. An absolutely beautiful route, and it only costs you £1.50 using your Oyster Card. (To learn more about the Oyster Card and how it works, check out ‘Public transport in London’)
If you want to see London from the water, I recommend going on a cruise by City Cruises. I did this at a private party, but was really impressed of how beautiful the boat is, with big windows to get a good view, comfortable chairs, and a big deck on which you can replay scenes from the Titanic with your loved one (I’m talking about the scene at the front of the boat, not the one fighting over the life rafts). It was amazing to view the sunset over my favorite city, and to drink champagne while watching all of my favorite landmarks.
What a lot of people don’t know is that you can use your Oyster Card for a boat trip and it only costs a few pounds. The boat is called the Thames Clipper. It is actually just a ferry that locals use to cross the river, a so called ‘River bus’, but there are many different routes that you can take to get a look at all the highlights from the water! Read more about that here.
Hop on Hop off bus
Personally, I think taking the bus is best way of exploring London, especially when you sit on the top floor of the double-decker bus. It is best to take it when you aren’t in a hurry (heavy traffic is a real problem in the city), but you see a lot more than taking the Underground. If you only have one day in London and still want to get a good view of highlights of the city, while listening to the history, I recommend taking a hop-on-hop-off bus. This way you get to see all the highlights you will want to see, without the hassle of public transport. Big Bus is the one you see the most throughout the city, and they drive three different routes. Check ticket prices here.
Emirates Cable Cars
Would you rather see the city from the sky for the same price as a bus ride? That is possible too! You get on at the O2 Arena, check in with your card, and you fly over the river in a cable car with a gorgeous view over the financial district of London. You end up at ExCel London, a huge conference center, where I have been for work multiple times.
You see the Santander Cycles at almost every corner in central London. The bicycle, also known as ‘Boris Bikes’ after former mayor Boris Johnson who installed the plan, can be used for a small fee. You can hire them and put them back at any station. You pay a fee of £2 for 24 hours (using your debit card). The drives are free if you bring them back within thirty minutes, otherwise you pay £2 for every thirty minutes extra. Do mind that you have to drive at the left side of the road and please be careful, cycling here isn’t as safe as it is in the Netherlands (where I am from).
Museums in London
Sherlock Holmes museum
I have a small crush on Benedict Cumberbatch, and also love the masterpiece show that is Sherlock. On one of my first trips I decided to go to the Sherlock Holmes museum in London… where I ended up waiting in line for two hours. While in the museum I discovered I never really knew that much about Sherlock Holmes (other than the movies and series). The museum is pretty cute: it is located in a 19th century old Victorian house, which is completely furnished according to the 19th century standards, and according to the Sherlock Holmes books. You have the bedroom of Sherlock and Watson, the living room, and rooms with dolls from specific cases of Sherlock Holmes (I only recognised a few). It is very small, you only need about twenty minutes, but it would definitely a lot of fun for the real Sherlock fans. (I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed that Benni wasn’t there…)
Museum of London
I already said it once, but I am a real history nerd. Instead of art museums, you will always find me at a history museum (quite literally: when I was in Museum of London, I suddenly heard my name – turns out it was someone I knew!). I especially like free museums, like this one. And I couldn’t wait to find out more about the history a fascinating city like London. And boy… this museum is amazing. From ancient times to modern times, all periods are included. With gorgeous rooms to walk through, videos to watch, and things to touch, the museum is highly interactive. You can easily spend hours walking through here, and definitely recommend it!
Fans of architecture will love this museum. This world-class museum has a lot of old art, so if you want to see beautiful paintings then this is a tip for you.
National History Museum
My second favorite museum. Since almost all museums in London are free to enter, I spent most of my weekends in the museum. I think I visited the National History Museum about three times. Especially the dinosaur skeletons are really cool, but the architecture of the building feels magical. If you are here during Christmas, or during a busy weekend, it is best to go as early as possible, because the queues can get extremely long.
Victoria Albert museum
I loved this museum as well, and especially because of the old artifacts. It also has a really nice courtyard garden. Absolutely gorgeous.
Imperial War museum
If you are interested in war history, then you will feel right at home at the Imperial War museum. It is not as big as I had expected it to be, but it was most definitely impressive.
That one building at Trafalgar Square? Yes, that is this one. The National Gallery is a world famous art museum with paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Vermeer.
If you like modern art, or -again- architecture, then the Tate Modern is great choice. It was all a bit too abstract for me, but you do have an amazing view over the St. Pauls Cathedral from the cafe.
Food markets in London
If there is one place you have to be on a Sunday, it is Brick Road: a street full of stalls selling vintage clothes, ethnic food, music… and a lot of people. There is such a buzzing festive atmosphere at the market stalls on the road that connects Shoreditch to Whitechapel. I dove into a hall with upcoming designers, visited vintage clothing stores, almost bought some books at a small bookstore, and mentally ate all the food that I saw there. The vibe was hip, trendy, young and festive, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. In every alley there were even more stalls, or more trendy stores. Highly recommended for a lazy Sunday.
Maltby Street Market
My favorite street food market! This is the place to be for all the hipsters, and I was in luck because my house was only ten minutes away. So I went here a couple of times. On Saturdays and Sundays you can find the market in a alleyway and under a railway bridge. The food is more hipster (and pricey) It is still a bit unknown, so don’t tell too many people about it :).
Borough Market (or Southwark)
Borough Market is one of the most well-known food markets in London, if not the most famous one. I went here multiple times (this was not too far from my house either), but I have never bought something here. It is really overpriced if you ask me. I’d rather go to Southwark, a few dozen meters further down the road, near the cathedral I mentioned earlier.
Camden canal Market
Just like I mentioned before, Camden is not really my favorite district, but what it does make it very special is the Camden canal Market, where you can find all kinds of food stalls. This is especially great during summer, and I think it was open every day of the week, though I was there on a Saturday (very busy).
Leather Lane in Farringdon
The fun thing of being a local, is that you get to experience the normal life in the city. You could often find me in the Islington district for work (see down below), and sometimes I walked to Leather Lane, to go to the market there that is open from 10 am to 2 pm. They prepare food freshly so you can get a nice lunch here.
Exmouth Market in Islington
About two or three times a week I strolled to Exmouth Market for lunch (is it located at the corner of the Expedia office, a client of my business), and it is still one of my favorite streets. Food is freshly prepared in stalls during lunchtime on weekdays, but there are also many great restaurants to get lunch. My favorites are the salmon bagels from Brill, the pizza from Pizza Pilgrims, or Italians cuisine from Sontorè.
Chapel Market in Islington
Another one that is located just around the corners is Chapel Market. Here it’s the same story, fresh food is cooked and sold during lunch. I love this tradition to sell food to hungry businesspeople in their lunch break. It’s a great way to support local businesses.
Original things to do in London
Street art viewing
You either love it or hate it: EasterLondon. This traditionally used to be a poor area where factory worked lived. You can still see this very well. But the best part of these districts are that hipsters and students come flocking to the low rents and make the streets look pretty and colorful. If you want to learn more about the art pieces that you come across, it is best to go on a street art tour. This tour takes you to all of the street art of East London, including artworks from Banksy.
Maybe a bit of a dark tip, this one, but it’s a great attraction to visit when you’ve done all the standard highlights of London. In North London you will find Highgate cemetery near Hampstead Heath which you can visit with a tour. It is the best known cemetery in London. The cemetery dates from 1839, and is full of gorgeous family graves and tombs. During this tour you get a lot of background information about mourning in the Victorian era. You can also find Karl Marx’s tomb here.
Jack the Ripper Tour
I start to see a little trend in my unusual activities… What can I say? I think the darkness of a city often tells a lot about the daily life during that time. Jack the Ripper is of course one of the world’s best-known serial killers, and remains an unsolved mystery to this day. I loved doing a walking tour where got to know more about the locations, the murders and daily life during the end of the nineteenth century. Highly recommend it!
Recently I had the opportunity to do a Ghost walking tour. Creepy! The tours are organized by Strawberry Tours, and the fun things is: it’s free! Of course, you should give your guide a well-earned tip if you enjoyed the tour. We walked through the center of London for about 2 hours and heard all about the ghosts and urban legends that happen in this part of London. Heads will roll! You will be sleeping with the lights on :-)
I had high expectations for my first escape room. I LOVE riddles. In that aspect I am just like a laboratory monkey: let me solve a mystery and the amount of dopamine released in my brain is enough to produce an entire interesting scientific study. Anyway: you can try and solve riddle after riddle at one of the six rooms at HintHunt near Euston. You can do this with groups of 3-5 people. We sadly didn’t make it out in time, but we did have lot of fun! I will definitely try this again :).
Best views over London
A giant Ferris wheel from which you can see all of London: awesome. The entree fee is pretty pricey, so I have only seen the wheel from the outside. But anyway, it is still an iconic picture, with it being 135 meter in height. From the cabins you will have a 360 degrees view of the city, it turns around slowly and lasts about thirty minutes. Keep in mind that it is pretty much always busy, so buying your tickets online is a good idea if you don’t want to wait for too long. Buy the cheapest tickets online for fast track entrance.
Although I’ve walked past it several times (I lived about ten minutes away from here), I have never been all the way to the top. The Shard is the highest viewpoint of London, and also the highest building of West-Europe. The name comes from the resemblance to a piece of glass, which gives it its iconic look in the London skyline. I think it is one of London’s most beautiful buildings. By buying your tickets save some money by buying your tickets here.
This is my secret tip. You can get a free view of the city at Skygarden. However, you will need to book tickets in advance, otherwise you might miss this chance. I loved the view, and there is also a cafe where you can get something to drink.
To be honest I have no idea if this is actually open during winter, but during summer this is one of the best places in London. I accidentally stumbled upon in when I saw some people walking up the stairs and decided to follow them (curiosity pays off well). Then I discovered a super cool rooftop where you can get drinks while having a great view of the Big Ben and London Eye. Since then I give this tip to all of my friends. Not really an amazing view like the ones mentioned above, but still a really cool rooftop bar with a great view.
The best tours in London
If you ever wanted to experience London from a different point of view, you can always go for a cycling tour (check ticket prices here). This way you get to all the highlights, but you are also being active. It’s a fun and active way to learn all about the history of the monuments and about the history of London. And another great thing is: you don’t have to look up the route and just follow the guide!
Free walking tour
One of my favorite things to do in a city is a free walking tour. I always go with the SANDEMAN organization. There are several tours that you can follow, but you can of course always take the standard tour. Gather at the mentioned place and don’t forget to tip the guide at least seven pounds per person, because they don’t get paid by the organization (they even have to pay the organization to be allowed to give the tour).
Soccer fans couldn’t be any happier with top clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in London. The latter currently plays at the world-famous Wembley Stadium (online tickets), this is where the English soccer team usually plays. You can visit this stadium with a tour. The Emirates stadium from Arsenal (tickets online) and the Stamford Bridge (tickets online) from Chelsea can be visited with a tour.
Wimbledon is world famous. During summer, the Wimbledon tournament is played every year, but if there are no matches, you can also visit the complex with a tour. Check prices and tours here.
Sherlock Holmes Tour
If you love Sherlock Holmes, and read the book, then a walking tour with this theme will be great. During this tour you’ll visit all the places that you find in the books ánd the BBC series Sherlock. You can buy tickets for the tour online. Check ticket prices here.
Harry Potter in London
Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station
This is obviously not to be missed for a true fan: the platform from where Harry starts his journey to Hogwarts in the books. And while that of course does not really exist, Kings Cross does have a tribute to the books, where you can take a photo of yourself pushing the trolley through the wall. There is usually a queue so you can hardly miss it. It is in the back on the right side of the main hall.
Harry Potter Studio Tour
True fans don’t just want a photo, they also want to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour for a look behind the scenes at the Harry Potter movies. You can board the Hogwarts Express, visit the Diagon Alley and the other sets, and learn more about the way the movies were shot. On this tour you will depart with a luxury bus from Victoria coach Station to the studios, where you can take a look around for yourself. The return trip is also included. Very convenient as the site is located just outside of London! Check ticket prices here.
Harry Potter walking tour
Want to see all the places in London where they shot scenes for the Harry Potter movies? Then a Harry Potter themed walking tour would be a great option. Immerse yourself in the world of your favorite movie series, and see a magical side of London. Tickets for the walking tour are available here.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
As a true Harry Potter fan, you probably know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play is being held at the Palace Theater. The two-part play gets great reviews and almost everyone that I know who saw it, is wildly enthusiastic. Unfortunately, tickets are very popular and you will have to book them more than a year (!) in advance.
Castles in London
Tower of London
This castle is not to be missed it is located next to the Tower Bridge. I lived close by, so I went past there often, and I was always happy to see a piece of the old London between all the new and shiny buildings. The Tower dates back to 1078 and has served as a fort, palace, jail and more. So much history in between these walls. You can also visit the crown jewels here. It is literally álways busy (I have never seen short queues) so I suggest you buy tickets in advance. Find your online tickets here.
Want to see where the royal family of England lives? Yes, Queen Elizabeth actually lives in Buckingham Palace, but the rest of the family (William, Kate and Harry) live in the chic Kensington Palace. Princess Diana lived here too. Next to the castle you can also visit the gardens. Buy the cheapest tickets here.
Hampton Court Palace
This castle dates back to 1514. If you love the Tudors, and the history of the English royal house, then a visit to this palace is something you should do. It was the palace of King Henry VII, who is especially known for his collection of wives (most of which did not survive their marriage). You can buy your online tickets here.
If you are planning a city trip to London, the London Pass is worth considering! This is a city pass that lets you access more than 60 attractions for free, get priority access, get access to the hop-on-hop-off bus, and discounts at selected stores, theater shows and restaurants. Take a look at the list of attraction that are included in this pass, and if you are interested in visiting a few of these, the pass may work out to be cheaper for you! Check the included attractions and prices here.
Free in London
London is absolutely a bucket list destination, one you have to visit at least once in your life. But London is also one of the most expensive destinations in the world. Luckily there are a lot of fun free things to do in London. Just a hint: almost all museums are free. For more tips on free things to do in London, check out this article.
Day trips from London
Are you staying in London for a longer time? Or have you been there so often that you want to see something else? There are many nice towns and sights in the area. When I lived in London I would go on day trips all the time, so these are all tried and tested! Check out this article.
Restaurants in London
London truly is a culinary destination, with cuisines from every corner of the world at your disposal. I have already given you many tips for fun food markets in this article, but if you are looking for nice restaurants, cafes or bars (my favorites) for each budget then you should check out this article that has 50+ of my favourite places. For now it’s only in Dutch, but you’ll still be able to see the names!
Public transport in London
Public transportation can be complicated in a new city. Fortunately, I wrote a very extensive article about how public transportation in London works, since I lived there for seven months. Check out the article here.
How much does a city trip to London cost?
If you wonder what the costs are of a city trip to London, then this article will give you all the answers. I kept track of all my expenses over my four day trip, so you will have a good idea how much to expect.
My favorite hotels in London
I have stayed in London several times and collected some of my favorite tips and places for you on every budget!
My favorite hostels are the Wombats city hostel and the Dictionary Hostels in London. The first one is part of a chain of trendy and luxurious hostels, and I loved the great security, the nice bathrooms and having your own private sockets. It is located east of the Tower of Lo6ndon, a great location in central London. The Dictionary Hostel is trendy, and has more of a party vibe to it. Since it is located in Shoreditch, it is located near all the trendy cafes and restaurants.
People who love simple no-nonsense rooms, feel right at home at Tune Hotels. Here you get a simple room in central London for an affordable price (you can pay for the extra’s, such as internet and blow-dryers). Its location near Liverpool Street couldn’t possibly be better. My personal favorite is is Qbic in Whitechapel, less than three minutes from the trendy Brick Lane. The rooms are perfect for design lovers and the location is perfect for a city trip.
If you have a love for high tech gadgets and four star comfort, than I really recommend CitizenM in Shoreditch. I spent a wonderful night while playing with the mood lights on the iPad and watched free movies (new) on the television. One step out of the door and you step straight into the super trendy Shoreditch. Big thumbs up!
Don’t forget to pack these on your trip: