25 steps to enjoying London (based on my all too few, all too brief visits)
- Plan your days carefully, don’t try to do too much. The bottom line is there’s never enough time, and you’ll never cover everything. Prioritise.
- Take decent shoes – you might be surprised at how far you can walk. I got the worst blisters in my life walking in London in what I thought were comfortable boots.
- Take photographs. Yes, you’ll look like a tourist. Who cares?
- Visit the Houses of Parliament (open Saturdays and in summer for foreign visitors). Westminster Hall alone is worth it.
- Go to a local pub for a beer or a glass of NZ sauvignon blanc, a favourite London tipple. There is a great, cute pub on the corner down from Westminster Palace (Houses of Parliament) and Big Ben.
- Book for the London Eye.
- Get an Oyster Card if you’re there longer than a few days.
- Ride a double-decker bus. The Tube is great, but you get a better feel for the city overground.
- People-watch on the Tube.
- Take the Paddington Express to/from Heathrow. Yes, it’s more expensive, but after 24 hours in the air, and longer travelling, it is so much more convenient.
- Take the Eurostar to/from the Continent and enjoy a pre-departure champagne at St Pancras. So much more relaxing than Heathrow.
- Walk past the Houses of Parliament, across the Thames, and then back along South Bank, then (after a drink or meal by the river), back across the Thames over the Wobbly Bridge (Millenium Bridge).
- Walk through Hyde Park, sit at a bench and watch the squirrels, or the swans in the pond near Kensington Palace.
- Plan at least a day for shopping; my dream is for a week.
- Buy a picnic or dinner at the Food Hall of Harrods. The choice is ridiculous.
- Have a cream tea at St Martins-in-the-Field in the crypt near Trafalgar Square.
- Have afternoon tea at Claridges with a friend. Don’t eat lunch. When they ask you if you want more sandwiches, say “yes please.” Then don’t eat dinner.
- Eat Indian food – it’s practically nationalised by the British now.
- Eat at Yo! Sushi! (Gotta love a place with good sushi and that many exclamation marks!)
- Have a full English breakfast at the cafe at the National Gallery, with tea and The Times.
- Drink tea, not coffee. (This is a health and safety warning).
- Go to a show in the West End.
- Visit at least one museum and/or art gallery. More if your feet are up for it. Don’t forget the Tate Modern. The bar on the fifth (I think) floor has a great view of the Thames.
- Be prepared to pay for accommodation. Rooms and even showers are tiny in London, and outrageously expensive. But you’re in London, so suck it up.
- Vow to go back.
5 thoughts on “L is for London”
I have always wanted to go to London, & I have bookmarked this post in the event that I ever get there!! Thanks for some great tips!
If I ever get back to London, I will be printing out this list. And #17 not only made me laugh but is very good advice!
Yes – I think I would have been too shy to say “yes” to more sandwiches, but fortunately my friend had been before. And so she also knew to order the champagne afternoon tea too. (Forgot to mention that in my list).
Maybe I should go with your friend!
I’d add: Obtain tickets (at home, weeks and weeks ahead of time) for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. I’ve seen it at least 3 times and am awed by it every time.