London Roundup – The Best Things to Do, See and Eat

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What to Do See and Eat In London Travel Tips

This week we’ve scoured the amazing world wide web, gotten help from our fellow traveling friends and put out a call to other travel writers to bring you their very best things to do, see and eat in London, England.

We hope this roundup of tips and tricks will give you some helpful hints and inspire you to travel to one of the world’s true great cities, London, UK.

Top London Tips

Top 10 tips for your first trip to London 

London is a big, busy city, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all there is to do and see in your first visit. Ceri at A Luxury Travel Blog gives some great tips for first timers to the city.

12 Tips for Navigating the London Underground

The maze of lines and connections in London’s famous Tube system can be overwhelming. Bucket List Journey writer Annette has some great tips for navigating the underground, including tips for using the Oyster Card and the Smart Card.

Take a Hike

London’s main attractions are surprisingly walkable. We like the Kamino app, which will GPS guide you on hikes through the city designed by other travelers. You can take a funky Camden walking tour, a walking tour of literary London  or even a quintessential London pub crawl.

Avoid the Tourist Traps

Let’s face it: London can be busy. From picnics in the park, to village shopping and swimming in lidos and ponds, Dave and Deb at ThePlanetD have some great suggestions for getting away from the crowds.

London: 60 Things to See and Do

London’s a great big place, and it’s easy to miss some of it’s best attractions if you stick just with the guidebooks. Jen, The Trusted Traveler has come up with a pretty comprehensive list here of London’s 60 best that should be enough to satisfy any overplanner.

View from the London Eye by Tom Thai on Flickr

View from the London Eye by Tom Thai

Budget

Free Things to Do in London

Even though London can be one of Europe’s most expensive cities, there are still a lot of great free things to do in the city. Michael from Changes in Longitude dishes on hidden freebies like the Evensong services at Westminster Abbey, and even crossing Abbey Road for Beatles Fans. Don’t forget to check out National Army Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Wallace Collection. All are free.

5 Places to See the London Skyline – For Free!

With a ride on the London Eye costing a whopping 20.95 £, it may just pay to take Alyssa from Alyssa Writes advice and find a cheaper place to see the London skyline. Her top picks include Alexandra Palace, Parliament Hill Hampstead Heath, and Greenwich Park in South-East London from the Royal Observatory.

London on a Budget

You can save money in London by taking free guided city walks, traveling on the train and getting 2 for 1 entry to many attractions. Lucy at On the Luce also recommends picking up an Oyster card for the Tube.

Things to do in London on a budget

London is almost as famous for being expensive as it is for iconic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Talon from 1dad1kid.com has tips ranging from food to ways to save on transit and admission prices.

How I Had a 10 Day London Vacation for $700
It’s an oldie for sure (written in 2011), but this post from Nomadic Matt is packed with tips, including some travel hacking advice, that can still save you good money in this pricey city.

Free Attractions on a London Stopover

The London Underground makes a quick, efficient way to check out some of London’s biggest attractions. Planned correctly, Allan at Live Less Ordinary says you can take in the Houses of Parliament, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Trafalgar Square and more on a budget, and quickly as well.

Abbey Road by Jamie Frith

Abbey Road by Jamie Frith

Off the Beaten Track – Quirky London

Architecture of London streets by Panorama Streetline 

If you’re an architecture buff, you’ll get a kick out of Jörg Rom’s images of the streets of London, including Camden Market, Picadilly and Portabello Road.

London ghosts, the Burial Spot of Benedict Arnold

You’ll find the remains of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor of the American Revolution just a stone’s throw from the murky River Thames. Michael at Changes in Longitude has even more for you if you’re in the mood for more Americana; check out The Benjamin Franklin House in London, where Franklin lived for nearly 16 years.

An Amazing Time At ClueQuest!

Looking to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes (or James Bond). Sarah and her kids from Family Travel Times dishes on the closest thing you may be able to find in modern London: ClueQuest. Cluequest lets you play secret agent for a few hours, as you use your deductive skills to make your way out of a series of locked room, using a series of clues.

East London Street Art & Graffiti – An Alternative London Attraction

If you’re looking for an alternative look at London, check out the East London Street Art scene. Amar from Gap Year Escape even has suggestions for a few places that you can buy graffiti art on Canvas in East London.

Subterranean London – five unmissable sights below the city

While most of London’s most famous sights are firmly above ground, there’s a whole secret world hiding beneath the city streets. Caz at yTravelBlog shares London’s subterranean secrets, including the Cabinet War Rooms, Chislehurst Caves and the London Tombs.

Rabbit by Belgian street artist Roa by Leigh Harries

Rabbit by Belgian street artist Roa by Leigh Harries

The Best Eats and Pubs in London

Drink Pints & Eat English Mushy Peas at the Princess of Wales Pub 

London is packed with great pubs that are perfect for grabbing the quintessential British pint. Annette from Bucket List Journey gives two thumbs up to the brew, but isn’t so keen on the mushy peas at the Princess of Wales Pub in Charing Cross.

Searching for the Elusive Grenadier Pub in London 

If you’re looking for a bit of history with your pub food, The Grenadier, is a well-preserved pub that lets you experience what London used to be like. Liz at Travelogged says it’s a bit on the small side, and rumored to be haunted.

The Highlight Of Vegetarian Cuisine In London – tibits

Vegetarians in London are in luck; with an ever growing range of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Dale and Franca at Angloitalian dish on some of their favorites at tibits in London, where you can load up on a buffet that offers vegetarian, vegan and even gluten free options.

British Food Souvenirs from the Supermarket (Tesco Editon) 

This may not be the first place you’d look for a souvenir, but your local London supermarket is probably full of great London eats to take back home. Kristin of Souvenir Finder suggests Branston Original Pickle, piccalilli, beef-flavored or prawn cocktail crisps, and British rhubarb in a can.

A Taste Explosion At London’s Borough Market 

Set inside an Art Deco building, Angloitalian says that Borough Market has something for everyone, from traditional English pastries to international favorites, curries, and fresh veggies and fruits.

Review: Dinner by Heston

If you’re looking for somewhere upscale to eat in London, Carmen from Double-Barrelled Travel dishes on Dinner by Heston in Knightsbridge that offers up food based on old English cuisine.

London Borough Market by Garry Knight

London Borough Market by Garry Knight

Where to Stay in London

An Affordable Design Hostel In London – Generator Hostel

Newly redecorated, Dale and Franca at Angloitalian dish on this hostel that mixes affordable prices with funky decor that even incorporates Willy Wonka, Mary Poppins, Ali G, James Bond and Austin Powers.

Quirky, fun and eco-friendly QBIC

Like any big city, accommodation in London can be pricey and hard to find. Erin from Travel with Bender dishes on her stay at Qbic London, a newly renovated option that proves that quirky, eco-friendly hotels can leave a good lasting impression.

Apartment Stay in London

Given that London’s accommodation options can be pricey, especially for couples and families, getting an apartment rental through a site like Airbnb can be a great option. Dave and Deb at The Planet D found out how great it was and give a nice rundown on things to look for when renting a place. Not only that, but if you sign up using this link, you can get $20 USD in Airbnb credits the first time you use them.

Apartment rentals can be a great alternative to hotels and hostels. You can get more space and privacy than at a hotel, and even have a kitchen to save a bit of cash on eating out. You can even get a great apartment in downtown and pay a lot less than a similar hotel.

Tip: If you’re looking at splurging in a more upscale hotel, check out TravelPony, a hotel booking site that often offers unadvertised discounts for medium and higher end hotels. You’ll need to create an account with your email to see the deals. Use this link to get $35 in travel credits on your first $200 or more stay.

Tower Bridge & Skyline by Jim Trodel

Tower Bridge & Skyline by Jim Trodel

What to See and Do in London

Attend a Proper British Afternoon Tea in London 

It doesn’t get much more quintessentially English than attending a proper British afternoon tea. Annette of Bucket List Journey dishes on proper tea time etiquette.

Photos of London at Night: A Walk Along the Thames 

A walk along the Thames is the perfect chance to take in some of London’s most iconic sights, including Big Ben, Westminster Bridge, Millennium Bridge and the London Eye. Kellie of Destination Unknown, an expat who has lived there nearly 15 years and now calls the place home, dishes on her favorite sights along this famous river.

My Favourite Place in London – The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew 

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, just on the outskirts of London, make a fantastic break from the business of London. Jen at The Trusted Traveller says to just take the Tube on the District Line or the Overground, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

A Spin on the London Eye 

The London Eye, a giant ferris wheel, is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Not only does it offer one of the best views of London and the River Thames, but Annette of Bucket List Journey notes that you can catch glimpses of the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Alexandra Palace, Hampton Court and many other landmarks.

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace 

It’s probably one of London’s most iconic sights, with crowds to match. Annette at Bucket List Journey shares some great photos, and a rarely seen look at an Irish guard escorting his Irish Wolfhound.

Tourist Tips for attending a Barclays Premier League Football Match 

If you’re a football (or soccer, as we say in Canada and the USA) fan, then London is a fantastic place to get your game on. It’s a great way to get a deeper feel for the English culture, as their love of the game is legendary. Kristin at Souvenir Finder gives us the highlights.

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace by Gabriel Villena

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace by Gabriel Villena

London with Kids

Things to Do London With Kids

Like most European cities, London is surprisingly walkable, making it a great destination with little ones. Kids will love the Changing of the Guard and the Royal Parks of London, and Jen of The Vacation Gals suggests taking kids to see the Millennium Bridge (which was destroyed by Death Eaters in the last Harry Potter movie).

Experience the Magic of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

If your kids are huge Harry Potter fans like ours (Cole’s Halloween costume for two years in a row), they’ll love tour of the former Leavesden Studios, located outside London. The Leavesden Studios were the production home for all eight Harry Potter movies, so you’ll be seeing a lot of the authentic props and sets used in the film. Lisa from Gone With the Family dishes on walking through the Great Hall (with tables set for dinner), as well as the Gryffindor House Common Room, and costumes and props used in the movie.

London – Dining With The Kids 

Canadian Traveller has some fun, quirky, and even healthy picks for eating out with the kids. We’re itching to check out the rock and role vibe at Sticky Fingers, founded by Rolling Stones’ bass player Bill Wyman, and rosemary chips at Honest Burgers in Soho.

Hop On Hop Off In London With Kids 

If you’re touring London with little ones, Alan of Wagoner’s Abroad suggests a hop on, hop off bus tour as a great choice. Open-top buses give you a great view of London’s neighborhood, and you can get off and on at some of London’s biggest sights.

The 15 Best Things To Do with Kids in London 

London with kids is a lot easier when you’re armed with the basics about where to go, when the attractions are open, and what will interest kids most. David from My Little Nomads has a great list here, ranging from the predictable Royal Air Force Museum to the less likely National Portrait Gallery.

Millennium Bridge by Garry Knight

Millennium Bridge by Garry Knight

Look like too much work?

If you’re looking for a tour that will help you navigate London, Viator offers a few highly rated and popular options.

You can even opt for small group or private tours. Check out details on Viator here.

Paris Tours

If you’re looking for a simple way to ease your aching feet, try Big Bus Tours London. They use a fleet of double decker open top buses and you’re able to hop on and hop off at your leisure at of the more than 50 stops along the route.


More Information About London

These guides should give you a helpful overview of London.

A Londoners Life How to Travel in London like a Local

A Londoner’s Life – How to Travel in London like a Local (London England Travel Guide Book)

Lonely Planet London

Lonely Planet London (Travel Guide)

Rick Steves London 2014

Rick Steves’ London 2014

Photo of Big Ben by Grand Parc – Bordeaux, France.

Have you visited London? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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26 Responses

  1. Gran Canaria Local

    Wow, this is a monster of a post. We may have gone local in Gran Canaria but we’ll always be a London native. It’s our city. However, we hadn’t heard of Chislehurst Caves, despite the fact we used to play football in “glorious Chis” as our captain coined it. We can, however, confirm that The Grenadier is well worth searching for and that you should never, as in never ever, eat mushy peas in a location other than a fish-and-chip shop.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..7 wonderful things to see and do in Las Palmas de Gran CanariaMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Monique van Tulder

    Hello, So much to read, so much to do! We love London and visit regularly (my sister lives there). I thought we knew our way around; however according to your amazing post we have just scratched the surface. I am even sending this to my sister – even a local loves new places to go. I look forward to reading more posts. Cheers Monique

    Reply
  3. Rose

    We recommend just going out and exploring the city. The subway/bus system is really good in London. We use to just go to a subway stop, just off and walk around for a few hours. There is soooooo much to see in this huge city that you will never get board.

    Reply
  4. Jörg

    This has become an immense list of London Tips! Thanks for sharing all these infos and thanks for including our London Architecture Panoramas amongst them!

    Reply
  5. Henry Perazo

    Very beautiful. Thank you for sharing the article. Hope to hear more from you.

    Reply

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