As the capital of England and the United Kingdom, London is that ever-changing metropolitan melting pot that everyone looks forward to visiting. Legend has it that London houses over 8 million residents speaking over 300 languages.
With such diversity, this city attracts millions of foreign tourists, students and new residents every year, making it one of the most international and most visited cities in the world.
London is home to some of Britain’s most beloved sites: the majestic Buckingham Palace, the British Royal Family’s humble abode; the iconic Big Ben, London’s most famous landmark; Hyde Park, the largest of four Royal Parks located below central London’s Marble Arch and Oxford Street; and lastly, the panoramic view of the Thames River and the city skyline seen from the impressive London Eye or far-reaching Emirates Air Line cable car near Canary Wharf.
With a long and interesting history, London boasts plenty of historical and cultural sites, as well as modern and unusual attractions, to keep you busy no matter what time of year you are visiting.
Reasons to go
From an exciting and varied food scene to exceedingly good entertainment, London has something to offer everyone.
Here are some of our favorite secret spots in this exciting and modern city:
- Hidden London Tours: In the London Transport Museum, you can take a hidden London tours where you can explore the uncharted side of the London Underground and visit disused stations and secret sites across London.
- Chin Chin Labs: Visit this unusual ice-cream parlor in three London locations, including a Soho branch just moments from Leicester Square, to indulge in an ice cream made using the freezing properties of liquid nitrogen and see how it is made.
- Dennis Severs' House: Deemed one of London’s most original and immersive experiences, the rooms in this home-turned-museum were recreated by Dennis Severs as a time capsule of what life would have been like in that house in a former century.
- Camden Passage: Located behind Upper Street in Islington, this small tucked away street is filled with cute cafes, independent boutiques, antique markets and vintage shops.
- Speakeasies and secret cafes: London is known for its many secret bars and hidden venues and places like The Luggage Room and The Little Yellow Door are some of the most beloved speakeasies. And if you are not in the mood for an alcoholic beverage, you can visit London's hidden cafes, such as People’s Place on Regent Street or Swans Bar on Piccadilly.
- Lewisham Micro Library: Head to the corner of Tyrwhitt Road in South London to find a phone box turned miniature library. It's free, you can pop in and take any book, just make sure to leave one behind.
- High Street Kensington Farmers’ Market: Undiscovered and new for 2020, this outdoor market features 30 stalls with fresh seasonal produce and delicious lunch bites, set in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
- Stephen Wright's House of Dreams: Every surface inside and outside this London home is adorned with outsider art – found objects collected over 20 years, including everything from dolls' heads and false teeth to wigs and trinkets.
- One-of-a-kind neighborhoods: London has some of the most unique and picturesque neighborhoods. Neighborhoods like Soho feature a variety of dining, nightlife, and shopping options, including popular spots like Soho Theatre and Kingly Court. For a little bit of retail therapy, you can head over to Covent Garden, the shopping and entertainment hub in London's West End, or visit some of the city's most beloved and popular shopping streets, such as Carnaby Street and Oxford Street. For a more tranquil and posh experience, you can explore Mayfair, one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, and experience some of the best things in fashion, art and gastronomy that London has to offer.
When to go
No matter when you choose to visit, you're bound to run into heaps of tourists.
Months like December are always particularly busy due to the holiday season. However, during this time, the festive atmosphere in the capital is truly magical as the city is adorned and lit up with Christmas lights decorations.
Despite being another one of London’s prime tourist seasons, late spring is the best time to visit this busy city. From March through May/June, you can enjoy mild temperatures and the season’s colorful foliage.
The capital can be a confusing – and expensive – place to navigate but if you are using the London Underground to explore the city’s many attractions, make sure to purchase your tickets using your contactless card or an Oyster (which you can preorder online) instead of a travelcard. The London Underground is the best way to explore the city as it is not only an extensive network that covers London and its surrounding areas, but it also perhaps the most budget-friendly means of transportation available. If you’re arriving into Heathrow, The Underground also takes you all the way from its terminals into central London on the Piccadilly Line.
One final and important travel tip to keep in mind while in London is to remember to always stand on the right when travelling on escalators. Remember, the left side is reserved for walking riders.
So, are you ready to wander through London Town? Check out our area hotels to find your ideal base for exploring.