Hello everyone! Like promised, here is a post on my travel tips regarding London! It’s an amazing city, and definitely worth visiting!! But before you do–check out some of these tips!
Keep calm and visit LONDON…
- The Underground (also called the Tube) is London’s metro system! It is very easy to navigate but relatively expensive. For a one way ticket on a bus/metro it is a little over 2 pounds.
- I recommend purchasing a metro/bus day pass for 8 pounds! One way trips add up quickly, and since London is such a large city, you are going to want to take advantage of the day pass!
- The busses are also relatively easy to navigate, but the Tube is much quicker/simpler in my opinion!
- If you are flying Ryan Air and landing in Standsted, I recommend using Terravision bus (just like I mentioned in Rome) because it is very reliable, and there are busses every half hour or so! http://www.terravision.eu/london.html
- I do not recommend Easy Bus! Since we missed the last bus at 1:00am because our flight landed late, we had to sleep in the airport. They also made us re-purchase a ticket to catch the 4:30am bus! Terravision is you’re best/cheapest option to get into the city, and the busses run much more frequently!
- Big Ben/ Parliament. When most people think of London, they envision Big Ben. You must snap a quintessential picture by the phone booth in front of Big Ben!
- The London Eye. Although I did not venture for a trip on the actual London Eye, I did snap some pictures and view it’s beauty from a distance. For those interested in actually taking the trip, it costs around 20 Pounds and I heard the wait is very long. I would consider buying your tickets online, ahead of time, to avoid the lines! London Eye Tickets
- Buckingham Palace. Besides taking a few pictures in front of Buckingham Palace, and admiring it’s beauty, the only other thing we did was watch the changing of the guards. It’s best to arrive early, about half hour-45 minutes before in order to get a good spot! For information about dates/times check here: Changing of the Guard
- Abbey Road. For any Beatle’s fans, take the time to head out of the bustling city on a bus for about 15 minutes to find yourself in the quiet area of Westminster. Abbey Road studios is right next door to the famous crosswalk. If you can avoid getting hit by a car, have a friend snap a picture of you crossing!! (Just note, there are multiple Abbey Road bus stops to get off at–we made the mistake of getting off the bus too early and had to walk almost a half a mile up the road to find the studio and crosswalk!)
- Westminster Abbey. Although we actually did not go inside, it’s a beautiful church and I recommend taking the time to go in! (It’s where Princess Kate and Prince William were married!!) For information about prices and times, check out this link. Westminster Abbey
- St. Paul’s Cathedral. The beautiful cathedral where Princess Diana married Prince Charles. Definitely worth a visit inside (although we also did not have the time) St. Paul’s Cathedral Tickets
- Tower Bridge. Many people think this is London Bridge, but it’s not! However, it is an image that comes to mind when you think of London, especially thanks to the last summer Olympics where the rings were hung from!
- Piccadilly Circus. This is sort of like London’s own version of Times Square. Worth checking out for sure!
- Covent Gardens. This area was recommended by a friend who studies abroad in London. It has really cute places to eat and a lot of great outdoor markets to shop at! It’s the perfect place to find hand-made goodies to bring home for friends and family!
- Millennium Bridge. This is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Thames! You might recognize it from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.
- King’s Cross Station. Also for Harry Potter lovers, home to Platform 9 3/4! Where you can take an awesome picture before you board the Hogwarts Express!
- Camden Town. This is actually the area Kayla and I stayed in when we visited London! It’s really a hidden gem! It has cute restaurants, pubs and markets to shop at! I recommend going to Poppies for lunch or dinner (home to the best fish & chips in London!!). Also, if you’re interested in grabbing a beer, check out “The World’s End”.
- Museums. Great news, all museums in London are free to the public! So if you’re a museum lover like myself, and have the time, go check some out!!
- Fish & Chips. Go to Poppies in Camden Town!!!!!!
- Beer. London is known for having pubs all over the city!!
- London is an amazing place but is very expensive. When you consider the Pound to US dollar, or Euro exchange rate it can make you a little nauseous, especially if you are on a budget like me! Try not to think too much into the prices, but be cautious of you’re spending! 20 pounds is really more like $40!
Cleanliness: * * * *
- London gets four stars for cleanliness. Similar to most large cities, you can’t help but feel dirty touching the handle on the metro or walking along the street! However, when you consider the size of London, it’s cleanliness is very impressive. (I couldn’t imagine New York City ever being that clean!)
Safety: * * * * *
- London gets five stars for safety. I felt very comfortable and at ease in London. It could be due in part to that fact that I understood what everyone was talking about around me, but it seemed like a very safe atmosphere. Some police officers were not even carrying guns! This definitely made me feel at ease!
Transportation: * * *
- London gets three stars for transportation. Although the transportation system is very easy to figure out, it is very pricey! If you are not careful, the price of metro and bus tickets can add up quickly! For those who live/study in London, transportation costs can be a big hassle. I highly recommend getting a day pass when visiting!
Food: * * *
- London gets three stars for food. I had great meals at all the places I ate, but I give it only three stars because it was very similar to home for me. There were no particular foods that I felt inclined to try other than the fish. In comparison to Rome and Paris, London food is significantly less impressive.
Friendliness of People: * * * * *
- London gets five stars for friendliness. Maybe it was the comfort that everyone spoke my native language, but it seemed to me that every person was willing to point me in the right direction when looking for help. The people who worked at the metro stations were always available to ask questions on which stop will get you closer to where you want to be, etc. In my opinion, the people of London were very friendly!
Overall Cost of Visiting the City: *
- London gets one star for the overall cost of visiting. As a college student on a budget, the exchange rate to the pound is enough to make you cry! Just realize that when planning a trip to London, things are going to be almost twice as expensive as you would expect in the states, and relatively more expensive than those places that use the Euro. Although a price of coffee might look the same to you, remember that it is in pounds! London, however, can be done on a budget if you’re aware of the high exchange rate!
Days Needed to See the City: 1 Week
- You definitely need at least a week in London to enjoy all it has to offer! Our two days in London were spent frantically running all over the City to see everything quickly! To have a more relaxed time in London, and be able to actually go up on the London Eye, visit some of the cathedrals and museums–take a week! If you’re a college student like me who’s studying abroad, you can make due with a weekend, but rest up–because it’s going to be a crazy trip!!
London is an amazing city!! After spending over a month and a half in a Spanish speaking country, it felt almost as if I was home again being surrounded by English speakers and American-like-food. I also was able to see one of my best friend’s from home, which was awesome! I really want to visit London again, next time for more than just two days!! It is a huge city, with so much to offer! The farther you go off the beaten path, the cooler the city gets!
Again, let me know if you have any questions about London!! Hope you guys get the chance to go someday, if you haven’t already! It’s an incredible city!! xoxo