London Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Quick tip: Looking for the London Travel Map? Click here!
London on C&C
Best Time To Visit London
Where to Stay in London
Let’s Go For a Drink
What to See and Do
Tipping in London
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
London Travel Blog: Where, How?
London, England, United Kingdom, Western Europe, Europe
Population: 8.674 million (2015)
Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)
Heathrow Airport (LHR) , London Gatwick (LGW), London City Airport (LCY), Luton Airport (LTN), Stanstead Airport (STN), Southend Airport (SEN)
London’s airport situation is chaotic at best.
Heathrow is Europe’s largest airport. It is also the world’s busiest with regards to international passenger movement. It has 5 terminals though T5 was closed for refurbishment in 2015. The airport is dominated by British Airways which is the UK’s flag carrier. There may be delays at Heathrow due to air traffic or waiting for parking slots to free up.
London Gatwick also serves several places worldwide. It is the world’s busiest airport with a single runway. It has two terminals: North and South that are connected by a free shuttle train found in the South Terminal.
London City Airport is located just east of London city center. It mostly serves European countries and other parts of England such as Amsterdam, Exeter, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome and so on. It is a small airport, with only one terminal.
Luton is another small one-terminal airport north of central London. Its main airlines are EasyJet, TUI Airways, Ryanair and Wizz Air.
Stanstead Airport is the newest out of all six London airports. It is the largest base for RyanAir, as well as other low-cost European airlines.
Southend Airport is the furthest from central London out of all six airports. It is the base of easyJet airline, serving flights to 20 different locations.
Transportation to-and-from the airport:
At Heathrow, there are car rental depots concentrated on the northern side of the airport. Public transit options at Heathrow include local and express buses and rail services. They are the most preferred by travellers heading to Central London. They include The Tube (London Underground), Heathrow Express, SouthWest Trains, Heathrow Connect. There are Black Cabs, the city’s famous taxis outside each terminal. There are also minicabs like Easy Private Taxi, Heathrow Airport Taxi and Airport Minicabs that are cheaper but have to be called in advance. Heathrow Express and Dot2Dot are cheaper, faster and easy to use.
At Gatwick, there are various rail and bus options to the city center. They include Gatwick Express, Southern Railway, Thameslink, easyBus and National Express. You may also use a car rental but the journey is slow and you are better off using the rail system. The adventurous even have the option to cycle.
London City Airport is accessible from central London within 30 minutes via public transport. Take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which is connected to the tube network from the city. Alternatively, take a bus or a taxi for step-free access to the airport.
Similarly, there are many way to get to Luton Airport. The East Midland Trains from London St Pancras take you to Luton Airport Parkway, where a shuttle bus then takes you to the actual airport. There are also buses from different companies that run between central London and Luton Airport.
At Stanstead Airport, he Stanstead Express takes you between the airport and London Liverpool Street station, about 50 minutes away. There are also other train services that take you to other parts of England. As for buses, there are links to and from stations at the city center such as Stratford, Victoria Coach Station, Liverpool Street Station and Golders Green.
Southend Airport is connect to central London via train to Liverpool Street Station. If you’re transferring between airports, there are bus services taking you between Stanstead and Southend Airport. Otherwise, unfortunately most buses only serve the Essex area.
London’s public transport system is one of the most comprehensive in the world. You’ll obviously end up spending at least some time in the tube. The double-decker buses are world-famous. There are commuter boats and cruise ships you can float in down the Thames. There is a tram service that runs in the Southern suburbs.
There are also railway lines that run both in Central and Suburban London. The city is relatively compact making it the fastest way to move around. Also due to the city’s compactness and travel expense, cycling is a great way to get around.
A Note on Taxis:
The black cabs are the only ones you can hail off the street. London’s taxi drivers are second to none in service, courtesy and knowledge – but they aren’t cheap. There also are minicabs that you have to pre-book.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
Notting Hill-North Kensington is diverse with an interesting history and is home to a world-renowned carnival and a lively market. Soho, London’s gay village is filled with jazz bars, cafes, clubs and high-end restaurants. South Kensington-Chelsea is a very wealthy inner city neighborhood with expensive hotels where to stay in London and home to Hyde Park and King’s Road. Westminster is the seat of government and is home to Buckingham Palace, The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, it also host amazing but expensive places where to stay in London. Hammersmith and Fulham borough is very diverse and home to the BBC. It is also a hotbed for those who are pro-football.
And that’s just a glimpse. There’s something to discover absolutely everywhere.
Navigation tips: London is incredibly well-signposted. It’s also built on the Thames, which should be used as a point of geographical reference.
London Travel Blog: More About London on C&C
- OUR RECOMMANDATIONS TO EAT WELL IN LONDON
- LONDON NEIGHBORHOODS, IN AN ENGLAND STATE OF MIND
- LONDON IS EXACTLY ITS STEREOTYPE
- QUICK GUIDE TO: MY FAVORITE THINGS TO SEE IN LONDON UK
- LONDON: ALL OF THE RESTAURANTS PICKED BY ANTHONY BOURDAIN ON PARTS UNKNOWN
Best Time To Visit London
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Hours Of Sunshine
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
London Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Well, London, England, is one of the most important cities on earth. It is home to some of the most important sites on the planet: Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, Hyde Park, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, the Shard, the Natural History Museum, Kensington Palace, and of course, the Tate Modern Gallery. It is one of the most important places on the planet and everybody knows it.
London is a modern city that has history, architecture, art – both modern and very, very ancient. It is also one of the most important places on earth for archeology.
On the music front, many of the most important musicians and writers of all time have either come from there or have ended up establishing themselves in the city which is alive with culture and entertainment. In addition, it’s a very important hub for the sport of soccer – or football as they call it there.
London Travel Blog: What’s Great and Fun?
Well, being simply by virtue of being one of the most important cities on this planet, London is probably one of the only places where just seeing the sites is spectacularly wonderful and enthralling. But it’s also a great place to live. It’s safe, there is a lot of money, there are a lot of jobs there and the subway system, the underground, is one of the most efficient on earth.
It’s somewhat strange that my personal anecdote about such a beautiful, wonderful and exciting city is a negative one. However, London has a very strange airport situation. In many cities, you will have one main airport and maybe a second one, especially in very large metropolitan areas. In the case of London, there are several different airports serving the city and they are very far apart from one another. There’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton, London City and Southend. If you don’t know what you are getting into, and have a transfer within London, then you are in trouble.
Getting from one airport to another is not easy; it takes a long time. You have to get through a lot of hurdles. There’s traffic, there are different buses, there are different systems, there are different companies as well. So my personal anecdote is that I missed a flight for the very first time in my life, and I have to say that I was completely devastated that I had to spend money to sleep at the airport of Stanstead. On top of that, I was with a friend. I was the one who was in charge of scheduling the whole thing – going from the hotel to the airport and taking the flight. I was the one who messed it up. On top of the stress of the situation, I had to deal with the shame of having misdirected someone else who trusts you.
London Travel Blog: Where to Stay
The UK can be an expensive place both to stay and visit. There are, however, several budget options where to stay in London to balance things out… Even though “budget” never means cheap in this city
South Kensington, is a great place to wander a whole day. It has three of London’s biggest and best museums, there’re plenty of other things to do that are sure to entertain and amuse everyone in your group. Hotels where to stay in London in this area are expensive but luxurious, options include: Holiday Inn London Kensington High St, Copthorne Tara Hotel London and The Franklin Hotel.
The City of Westminster is the place of some of the finest and most historically important buildings in England and includes some of the most desirable residential properties. Besides it offers the most expensive hotels where to stay in London: Central Park Hotel, Sofitel London St James, ME London by Melia and The Langham London.
Spitafields has one of the the finest surviving Victorian Market Halls in London with stalls offering fashion, antiques and food. Also, Devonshire Club & Hotel, Batty Langley’s, Dorsett City London and The Culpepe Bedrooms are great places where to stay in London. This is perhaps the best answer to the question of London tourist map.
Paddington is an area of West London where you can wander through the suburb and see pretty parks, gardens, squares, cafes and hotels where to stay in London, these are: Balmoral House Hotel, Paddington Court Executive Rooms and Blakemore Hyde Park.
If you like things eco-friendly and chic with a touch of style, head over to Qbic. This compact quirky space is one of the greenest where to stay in London. Everything is recycled, they use solar panels and their toiletries are completely chemical-free. Additional perks include late check-outs, early check-ins and free bicycle rentals.
If you are in a hurry and don’t want to waste much time on searching London tourist map, go here straight.
For an affordable stay, this city has several interesting and cheap hostels available where to stay in London. Friendship House, Park Villa Boutique Hostel and Wombats City Hostel London are my suggestions.
Safestay Holland Park offers a bed where to stay in London in a beautiful dorm room setting at very affordable rates, proving to be one of London’s cheapest. What’s more, both the interior and exterior are very easy on the eye. There are far too many options on London tourist map. All you have to do is keep eyes and ears open.
Of course there are the major chain hotels where to stay in London such as London Marriott Hotel Kensington, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard. However these will definitely be on the pricier side.
Just like everywhere, Airbnb is a very interesting option. If you’re not already a member, you can use this Airbnb link to get $40 off your first reservation.
London Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Famous Foods and Specialties
- Bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes)
- Bread and butter pudding
- Cheese toastie
- Cottage pie/shepherd’s pie
- Chicken tikka masala
- Fish finger sandwich
- Fish and chips
The Best Drunk Food
- Chips and Cheese
- Dodgy fried chicken
London Travel Blog: Our Suggestions – Dishes And Restaurants
Eating in London is one of the great joys on this Earth. It’s also a serious drain on the wallet.
Note that London is a gigantic city and I couldn’t possibly list all of the interesting restaurants in this column. I’ll only stick to the places I know and love.
I’ve already written a detailed blog post about my favourite London eateries! Look: OUR RECOMMANDATIONS TO EAT WELL IN LONDON
On top of that, I’d like to point out that every single ethnicity is represented in London and there’s some of the best of every type of food in this city. If you want to make a right choice on London tourist map, be aware of the food and dining options in the city.
All and any of these will convert into a spectacular meal:
Shoryu – The Other Naughty Piglet – Osteria Dell’ Angolo – Polpetto – Au Lac – Chop Shop
Note: Polpetto has since closed its doors.
London Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
What Do the Locals Drink?
Beer, wine and cocktails
Drinking in Public
The legal age to drink in London is 18 and above. It is not allowed to drink on any form of public transport, including buses, trams, and tubes. It is common to see locals drinking outside of pubs, and it’s fine to drink on the street as long as you’re not causing nuisance.
London Travel Blog: Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
Listen, this is a gigantic city and it has a pub and club culture like nowhere else in the world. There are more watering holes of any kind in London that one can count in a lifetime. These are just suggestions like that, off the top of my head. I could write a book about drinking in London!
If you want to make the best choice on London tourist map, you need to know the location of the best bar in the city. It is always better to keep both near as much as possible.
Bardens Boudoir was known to showcase new musicians right before they blow up, then they cannot afford them anymore. It was an underground music venue whose sounds and styles vary. Bardens Boudoir made its final adieu on July 4, 2010.
Lounge Bohemia is low-key and is just the place to drop in for a cocktail and a chat. This laid-back basement bar with a retro feel is a great place to start of the night. Plus there are complimentary canapés!
The Fox Public House on the other hand is great to go to for a drink, to eat and chat. The backstreet pub has amazing food and friendly staff.
Here’s a very well researched article about the oldest pubs in London.
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
London Travel Blog: What to See and Do
Prance about London streets with a bunch of fancily-dressed elderly men in the middle of the night in a bid to ensure the Tower of London is properly locked up in the 700-year-old Ceremony of Keys ritual.
Retreat from the city’s sprawl to Hackney Marshes nature reserve for a stroll along the river as you watch wildlife and feed on a fry-up.
Watch as puppet masters do what they do best at the Little Angel Theatre and later sit on a bench at New River Walk and be one with your thoughts.
Take a No. 11 bus through the tourist heartland instead of a tour for way cheaper.
Sit and relax as you read a book on a sunny day at the Chelsea Physic Gardens.
Tango the night away or just meet up with a diverse range of people with the same interest at 33 Portland Place.
Wander as you please on the outside of the beautiful and historic Inns of Court, the workplace of many barristers.
Listen to music from different countries and times, look at unique bizarre objects from all over the world and dress up as a crab all under one roof at the Horniman Museum.
The best way to view London and its skyline are from the river, specifically aboard Thames Clippers.
Soar through the air at tree level at London’s oldest forest, Queens Wood Highgate. Believe it or not, it’s free and you most probably won’t find a queue.
It is always better to decide on London tourist map after checking the connectivity to the places that you want to visit in the city.
Get your funny bones tickled at the Canal Cafe Theatre for four nights in a week if you would like!
Tipping in London
Just like in most of Europe, tipping is not expected but it is a nice gesture. If a service charge is not included in your bill, it is common to tip 7-10% of the total cost.
London Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
London is generally a very safe city, but of course the regular warnings apply. It is always a good practice to decide on London tourist map away from these places.
How to Stay Safe: Tips and Tricks
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for the United Kingdom.