Ah, London – the land of double-decker buses, the changing of the guard, and the infamous red telephone booths. While those booths may get less use in modern times, one thing that hasn’t changed is London’s popularity as a travel destination. One of the most vibrant cities in the world, London is a seamless blend of old and new, from the somewhat stodgy Buckingham Palace to raging all-night parties at Phonox or the venerable Ministry of Sound. Whatever you want, London has it – you just need to know where to look.
Best Time to Visit
London doesn’t suffer from harsh winters or sweltering summers, which means it’s ideal for a visit any time of the year. However, sometimes are more ideal than others, particularly during the fall.
February – May: During spring, you can count on the temperatures to be reasonably comfortable, but you can also expect plenty of rain. That being said, the mass hordes of tourists have yet to arrive, leaving you free to explore and more friendly interactions with locals.
June – August: The prime tourist season, long waits for attractions will be common and you’ll need to get used to meeting plenty of other people doing exactly the same things as you. The good news is that the weather is perfect for the many music and other festivals going on in town.
September – November: With the crowds headed back home, you might not have London all to yourself, but there won’t be enormous lines at the Tate or Windsor Castle. Our pick for the best time to go, seeing London in the autumn is experiencing the city at its very best.
December – January: Still warmer than many European cities, keep in mind that city services can operate on a skeleton crew over the holidays. However, if shopping is your thing, the big sales in January will play host to plenty of excellent deals.
The Shard – While opinions about The Shard’s architecture can be polar opposites, there’s one thing that everyone can agree on – the view is spectacular. On a clear day, you can see up to 40 miles away and it’ll change your perspective of the city.
A Half-Pint at The French House – For a back-to-basics, classic English draft, it doesn’t get much better than The French House (despite the ironic name). No technology allowed, so you’ll have to stow your phone and join the conversation.
Harry Potter tour – If you’re a Potter fanatic, then seeing many of the sights that made the films (and books) famous has to be on your bucket list – Platform 9 ¾, 12 Grimmauld Place, and the Leaky Cauldron are all included on this tour.
The British Museum – The British Empire stretched around the globe, so it’s no surprise that treasures of every shape and size have made their way back to London. For the best of these, the British Museum is the place to find them and it’s well worth the time spent. Oh yeah, and it’s completely free.
One of the great things about London is that it’s easy to get around. The city offers locals and travelers a multitude of ways to get from point A to point B.
Airport: London has three major airports. Depending on where you are coming from and where you plan on going will determine which airport is most convenient for you. London’s major international airport is LHR and you will usually find that the tickets in the LHR can be slightly less expensive however one thing to keep in mind is that London is a large city so although you may save a few bucks flying into LHR you may want to consider the transportation fees getting from the airport to your accommodation.
- London Heathrow Airport, main international airport in Greater London
- London Gatwick airport: the second busiest international airport in London located in Crawley, West Sussex
- London Stansted Airport, in Uttlesford, Essex
- It’s important to note there are many other smaller airports located throughout London.
London’s underground railway also known as the tube is how many locals and tourist commonly travel around London.
Dockland light rail:
The light rail is mainly used to travel between southeast and east of the city.
These busses are infamous for being seen in movies. They provide a great way to go sightseeing throughout the city. If you are short on time in the city this is a great way to cover all of the major tourist attractions without having to map everything out on your own.
Trains and trams:
The trains and trams run throughout the city to get you to whatever neighbor your heart desires for an affordable fee.
Field Day – Summer in London means music and Field Day leads the way for genre-spanning festivals, featuring headliners like Aphex Twin, PJ Harvey, and the Pixies. Tickets sell out quick for the June festival, so get yours early!
London Craft Beer Festival – As one of the true epicenters of the craft beer revolution, London is the perfect place to experience the height of brewing ability. The world’s top alemakers will be there and an all-in ticket for the August event gets you unlimited pours for 3 days and plenty of swag.
London is a big city with many must-see neighborhoods, popular landmarks and an array of bars and eateries that can keep you busy for weeks on end. Good things there are many helpful apps that keep tourist informed of the best places to see in the city as well how to get around the bustling city.
The official London city app
London has an array of things to do and this app shares the best of the best so that you can make the most of your trip while visiting the city. The app offers a list of neighborhood guides featuring places to eat, drink and shop as well as shares spots hidden gems frequented and favorited by locals. Not only does the app share the best thing to do it the city but it offers offline maps and directions so that you can get around without having wifi or international cell service.
Santander bike app
Biking your way through the city is a great way to view all the nooks and grannies London has to offer. London offers a bike share program where you can easily rent a bike by the hour or length of time needed. The Santander bike app will let you know where there are available bikes for rent in the city.
London has an abundance of public transportation options available to travelers to help you get to where you want to go. The city mapper app allows you to receive up to date info on when the bus is coming. This handy little app will save you time of waiting around and second-guessing your travel routes and times.