According to a report published in the Independent last 2016, the UK welcomed 37.3 million tourists from across the globe. Although these holidaymakers visited or made their way to different parts of the country, it is safe to say that a lot (if not all) of them spent some time in England’s capital city: London.
It is a well-known fact that London has a lot to offer to tourists. Whether you’re interested in history, arts and culture, nature, entertainment, food, shopping, or a combination of any of these, you’ll find all of these in this well-known global city.
Although it may be your first time to explore London, it doesn’t mean you have to go through the usual costly and stressful mistakes most tourists make during their initial visit. You will have a more enjoyable, comfortable, and even safer time going around London by following these 6 helpful insider tips:
1. Rent a car.
London has one of the best, safest, and most reliable public transport systems in the world. You won’t have a lot to complain about when you try riding the bus or train. However, you have to strictly follow the train and bus schedules or else, you’ll have to wait for another one to arrive. Also, not all tourists can easily follow or understand the tube maps and even the bus routes. You can avoid all these hassles by opting for a luxury executive car. Although you may feel nervous about driving on the other side of the road, give yourself some time to adjust. Within moments, you will feel more confident and comfortable driving around and you’ll certainly savor this experience.
2. Go on guided tours.
Many of London’s world-famous attractions are grouped together or near each other. For instance, Big Ben and the Parliament are literally just sitting beside each other, with the London Eye within walking distance from these two. On the South Bank, you can follow the Thames from the London Eye to the Tower Bridge and you’ll soon pass by some of London’s most famous buildings, such as the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Tate Modern. Unless you did some extensive research or have a local accompanying you, you may miss out or forget to visit some of these spots and waste time and money going back to them. For this, you can consider a London city tour.
Also, take advantage of guided tours offered in most local attractions. By doing so, you will learn interesting things you didn’t know about and in a much shorter time.
3. Enjoy everything that London offers for free or for really low prices.
You’re on a holiday; this means you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending money. But there are many attractions in London that you can visit for free or for a cheap price.
You can start by visiting the British Museum and National Gallery – these establishments don’t charge entrance fees. You can also visit other smaller museums such as Sir John Soane’s Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms, which are also free for tourists.
If you’re looking to commune with nature, London has plenty of public parks and gardens. You can check out Hyde Park, St. James Park, Kensington Gardens, and Hampstead Heath.
4. Go on a food adventure.
While in London, take your palate on a culinary journey. Savor authentic Yorkshire pudding, bangers and mash, Cornish pasty, spotted dick, full English breakfast, and of course, fish and chips. You can find a list of the most recommended restaurants in London that serve traditional English fares.
If you’re looking for a more formal and royal-like dining experience, you won’t go wrong with an afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason or the Orangery at Kensington Palace.
Aside from traditional British cuisine, you’ll can also find and sample dishes from other parts of the world in London. A lot of restaurants and eateries serve Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Turkish, and even American fares. If you want to try some local street food, check out the Portobello Road Market and the Real Food Market on South Bank.
5. Enjoy a pint or two.
You can’t leave London without trying out the city’s nightlife. There are various pubs, bars, and clubs where you can enjoy both local and international brews and alcohol brands. They serve cocktails and other beverages, too, if you’re not up to drinking hard liquor. Some spots you shouldn’t miss include The Eagle, The Bell & Crown, Duke’s Head Highgate, and The Golden Heart.
6. Shop like a local.
Finally, when you mention the word shopping, your immediate thought might be to go to Harrods. However, there are other ways you can satisfy your need for some retail therapy.
If you’re looking for some vintage clothing and antiques, check out the Portobello Road Market, Camden Market, and the Columbia Road Flower Market. If you’re partial to chain and big department stores, drop by Oxford Street. Carnaby Street, Covent Garden, and the King’s Road also have a variety of interesting independent shops worth checking out.
Although you are a tourist in London, you don’t have to be literally one. Start by following the tips shared above by locals so that you’ll have a more enjoyable and memorable holiday in this amazing city.