London's Calling! Home to a whole bunch of famous historic attractions, galleries and museums, London is a cultural hub with a split personality. More like a series of distinct villages than one city, Londoner's are often keen to show off their own particular patch.
Vibrant and diverse, London may once have been best known as the heart of the British Empire, viewed as a place where aristocrats and royals enjoyed an afternoon tea and Dickensian characters frolicked and strived, but today it is a culturally diverse metropolis.
There almost as many Londons, it is said, as there are people living there. London can be almost anything you want it to be and whatever you are looking for in London, there is little doubt that you will find it. The streets may not really be paved with gold, as legend once had it, but this is still an exciting place – a place laden with history, legend and myth, where dreams have and do come true.
When To Visit London
While London can be lovely at any time of the year, it is worthwhile remembering that the British Isles can be rather chilly in the winter months. That said, London is warmer than most of the UK and there are plenty of places to warm up and get out of the wintery weather. Another thing to bear in mind when visiting London is that things get much busier (and prices will often be much higher) during the school summer holidays, so if you want to keep costs down, this period in July and August is best avoided.
The Weather in London
The winters in London are chilly but not excessively cold. The coldest months are December and January, when the average high is around 9 degrees Celsius and the average low is around 4 degrees C.. Spring and autumn are temperate and variable, with weather patterns that can vary considerably from year to year. The weather can be very pleasant any time between May and September, though July and August are the warmest months they are usually not excessively so, with average highs of around 23 degrees C. and average lows of around 15 degrees C.. Rain can come at any time of the year in this temperate, oceanic climate.
While there are no specific vaccine requirements for travel to London, or to anywhere in the UK, it is recommended that you make sure you are up to date with routine vaccines before every trip . These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and perhaps a yearly flu shot.
Top Tourist Attractions
London is a treasure trove for history lovers. Top historic tourist attractions include Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral, & the Tower of London. Those interested in London's past, in art, culture and learning should also visit popular museums, such as the British Museum, the National Gallery & the Tate Galleries, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Churchill War Rooms and many, many more institutions throughout the city.
Secret Gems in London
Here are five secret gems in London – shh – don't tell anyone!
- Camden Passage – hidden in behind Upper Street in Islington, this is a treasure trove of cute boutiques, vintage shops and cosy cafes.
- Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park – London has loads of lovely green spaces and this Japanese garden in leafy Kensington is one of them.
- Chelsea Physic Garden – this is another 'secret' London garden. It was established in 1673!
- Liberty's Rug Room – hidden on the fourth floor of this famous store you will find a stash or rare rugs, which feels like a souk in Morocco.
- Ruislip Lido – a beach, in the city! A great place to swim or sunbath, and while popular with locals, there is still always space to spread a towel.
5 Tips For Your Visit to London
- Don't just stick to the city centre. Visit different boroughs to really get to know London.
- Easily get around London on the London Underground (Tube), the underground railway network.
- Remember that many of the main museums are free to enter.
- Save money on entry to many key attractions with the London Pass.
- Eat and drink away from major tourist centres to save money while in the city.
What Not To Do While in London
- Don't hire a car and try to drive in the city. It is congested, expensive and pointless, since the public transport system is generally perfectly adequate for getting around.
- Don't spend money on expensive tourist tat as souvenirs, find genuine handicrafts and unique, beautiful items at one of London's marvellous markets.
- Don't waste money on tickets from ticket touts, buy genuine tickets if you want to see a musical or a West End Show.
- Don't try to strike up a conversation on the Tube – it is just not done. Londoner's can be friendly – but only in the right setting.
- Don't get into an unmarked, unofficial cab. If you want to travel be taxi, take one of the traditional Black Cabs.
Budget Accommodation Options in London
There are plenty of places to stay in London for all tastes and budgets. Though the capital can be very expensive, there are plenty of good quality yet affordable hostels that offer an affordable way to stay in the capital. Three of the best examples are:
- Palmer's Lodge, NW3 – a grade II listed Victorian building with shared dorms or private double rooms from £16 pppn. ($21-22 USD)
- Clink78, WC1 – a former courthouse where the Clash stood trial and Dickens had the idea for Oliver Twist. Private rooms and dorms are available. Prices start from £16 pppn. ($21-22 USD)
- YHA Holland Park, W8 – this lovely, relaxed hostel allows you to walk in the footsteps of Byron, Wordsworth and Dickens, staying in a building with a wing that was built in 1607 as a Jacobean mansion. Prices start from £16.65 pppn. ($22-23)
If you have a slightly higher budget, you can also seek out hotels for less than £100 ($133-134USD) per double room per night, including:
- Green Rooms, Wood Green – a beautiful, arty art-deco building housing a social enterprise hotel. Doubles from £66 ($88-89 USD) per night.
London has a plethora of choices when it comes to accommodation for your family.However, one of our favourite places to stay while vacationing in London will be Sweet in on Oxford street because of its excellent location, comfort, nearby parks ,city walks and it feels like home. We also like Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London located on theSouth Bank opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
Local London Food Tips
- Buy fresh, local produce at one of the many London markets. Soho vegan market is one great place to get affordable, delicious street food - but plenty are popping up in neighbourhoods all over the city.
- Try traditional Pie & Mash in the East End.
- Try ice creams frozen with liquid nitrogen at Chin Chin Labs in Camden.
- Have afternoon tea at the Ritz, or another swanky London hotel.
- Check out Feast Bar & Kitchen, in a cool inside/outside space at the old BBC television centre.
London has been home to many, many well-known figures over the years, from Shakespeare, to to Samuel Pepys, to Charles Dickens – many famous writers are associated with the city. But London has also produced famous figures in almost every arena, from monarchs like Queen Victoria to politicians like Winston Churchill. In the world of film, London gave us Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock, Daniel Day Lewis and many more... in music, David Bowie is only one of London's famous sons, while David Beckham is one of London's best known sporting stars.
A London Proverb
There are a wealth of proverbs in the English language, of course. One that really could be worthwhile bearing in mind when in London is:
'You can't judge a book by its cover.'
London has many hidden gems – restaurants, cafes, hidden gardens which don't look great from outside but which offer a lot if you take the time to go within. Some of the oldest, dingiest looking places, for example, often serve some of the best food.
5 Places To Visit With Kids in London
- King's Cross Station – Take your kids to see Platform 9 ¾, where Harry Potter and his friends took the Hogwart's Express to the wizarding school!
- Kensington Gardens – Spend some time in lovely Kensington Gardens, where kids will love the Diana Memorial Playground, Elfin Oak and the statue of Peter Pan.
- Harrod's Toy Department – Harrod's new toy department must be seen to be believed, but expect to be badgered for treats at this famous store.
- Hamleys – The other toy shop option is this famous store. Founded in 1760, it is said to be the 'finest toy shop in the world'.
- Hackney City Farm – Arguably one of the very best attractions for children in the whole of London, here you can pet the pigs and see other animals too.
These are just some of the family-friendly attractions in this child-friendly city.
Hot Trends With Londoners for 2018
Green is the hottest trend in London right now. But we are not talking about the colour, but rather about the environment. Awareness is definitely growing about the problem of plastic waste and the latest must-have accessories are eco-friendly water bottles, which eliminate the need to buy plastic bottles when out and about. Urban food growing is growing in popularity, with a rise in rooftop gardens and urban farms around the capital.
While this guide really only scratches the surface of this exciting city, it should help you plan your visit to England's enticing capital. Once you get there, you will discover that no matter how long you spend in London, there is always more to explore – and that is even before you leave the city and consider day trips to England's other premier attractions.
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