Heading to London? We share these essential travel tips for visiting London so that you can plan your next trip with ease.
London is a bustling, never-ending city that can be exciting, engaging, and wow you at every, and any, given moment. It can also be confusing, frustrating, and make you want to throw up in the nearest bin – but good luck finding a bin on the underground or at any train station! I digress.
So, for those wanting to visit, here are the essential travel tips for visiting London. Planning a visit on a budget? Head over to Emily’s post on the best hostels in London. On the other hand, if you want to live it up, check out these gorgeous luxury flats to rent in London in coveted neighbourhoods, like Notting Hill, Richmond, Kensington, Chelsea, and Mayfair. Staying in one of these neighbourhoods will make your trip even more memorable since you’ll get to discover cafés, restaurants, pubs, markets, and boutiques.
The UK uses the Great British Pound and very few shops accept anything other than the Pound or card payments. Money can be withdrawn from any ATM but to avoid transaction charges, head to an ATM outside a chain supermarket or a bank. Some hotels and larger stores in London may accept the Euro.
ATM machines are abundant in the city, but it will be more convenient to go cashless since most establishments accept credit and debit cards.
The weather in London is hit or miss. November through to March is fairly cold and windy, and June to August is (most of the time) warm and sunny but incredibly crowded. April, May, September, and October give temperatures around 14-20 degrees and are my favorite time to head into the city. Regardless of when you visit, bring an umbrella – it will randomly rain at any given point! London is a great place to visit at Christmas but don’t bank on snow!
When to visit London
London gets very busy during the British school holidays. Through the months of July and August the queues are long, as our the Christmas events during the week leading up to Christmas. London is one of those cities that are always busy, but to get the best weather and least crowds, September or June are great times to explore.
However, many people would tell you that London is best to visit during the summer months not only because of the fair weather but also because of exciting events that are held, such as music festivals and open-air screenings.
If it is your first time in London, the underground can be slightly daunting but is by far the best way to get around the city. Taxis are too expensive, buses are too slow and the city is far too big to spend all day walking around. Instead, pick up an oyster card, use the machines to top it up and download the London underground map onto your phone to help you. The TFL website also gives you specific directions from one attraction to another and tells you exactly where you need to change or get off.
The Cost of London
London is expensive. Unfortunately, it is just one of those cities that is very pricey – but for locals like us, it does make everywhere else look ridiculously cheap! Expect to pay around £100 a night for a decent private room, at least £4 for a pint of beer, £7+ for a lunch at a café, and upwards of £25 per person for a meal.
To see all the historic sights, plan at least 4 days in London – which will cost around £600 for those on a budget (not including travel to and from London).
Save Money in London
Yes, London is expensive but there are a few ways you can save money. For a cheaper pint, head to the Wetherspoon chain pubs, which are also a great place to have a cheaper meal too. Visit the free attractions to save some money too.
Food in London
The UK has a few must-eats when you visit the UK and London offers them all. Book yourself an Afternoon Tea at one of the fancy hotels (The Ritz or The Kensington Hotel are popular choices), go to a small local café for a Full English Breakfast, and don’t forget to try some fish ’n’ chips.
Things to do in London
Of course, there is so much to see and do in London. The most popular attractions include seeing Big Ben, watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, exploring the Tower of London or shop ‘till you drop on Oxford Street.
But don’t miss some of the other amazing attractions in London; take a canal boat up the river at Little Venice, sample the flavors of London Borough Market and get an amazing view of the city from the Sky Gardens.
London has a lot of amazing attractions and neighborhoods to explore, perfect for all types of travelers. If you are traveling with family then make sure you check out these things to do in London with teenagers.
Accommodation in London
Book your hotel or hostel in advance. London is not the type of place you show up and walk in – unless you want to be charged triple the prices on booking.com.
If you are looking to save some money, check out the budget chain hotels like Travelodge, Premier Inn or Ibis – just make sure to check reviews online before you go because chain hotels in London can be hit or miss.