There are plenty of kid-friendly places to visit in London. Get up close and personal with underwater creatures at SEALIFE London Aquarium or explore the Science Museum, London’s interactive hub of science and technology. Both are perfect for fun family days out in London. You could also soak up some culture at London museums, visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace, or take the perfect picture with Big Ben; just some of the many iconic places to go in London. Don’t miss out on some of London’s best attractions during busy times. Book online to avoid the queues.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Have a magical day out with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. See first-hand the sets, costumes, and props used in all the Harry Potter films, and step inside some of the films’ locations including the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office and Hagrid’s hut. It’s the ultimate Harry Potter experience!
Hop on hop off bus tour
Book in advance for one of the bestselling London tours. Buy a 24-hour ticket and enjoy the freedom to hop on and off the sightseeing buses and explore some of London’s most famous places, such as Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square.
Coca-Cola London Eye
The Coca-Cola London Eye is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. Climb aboard one of the 32 capsules for a breathtaking experience and unforgettable views of some of London’s most famous landmarks. Book ahead to skip the queues.
Delve into the ancient capital’s most horrible history at the London Dungeon – experience live actors, thrilling rides and exciting special effects. Step back into the darkest of times… are you brave enough to face 90 minutes of London’s dark past?
The Royal Balcony at Madame Tussauds. Image courtesy of Madame Tussauds.
At Madame Tussauds, you’ll come face-to-face with some of the world’s most famous faces. From Shakespeare to Lady Gaga you’ll meet influential figures from showbiz, sport, politics and even royalty. Strike a pose with Usain Bolt, get close to One Direction or receive a once-in-a-lifetime audience with the Queen.
A Brief History of London
The history of London stretches back as far as Roman times, when Londinium was established as a civilian town founded on the point of the river. As a strategic location that provided easy access to much of Europe, London was used as a base for many early conflicts.
Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the Saxons took over the founding city, where it flourished for centuries until they fell at the hands of the Vikings.
Fast forward several hundred years, and the London that we know and love today really started to take shape during the 16th and 17th Centuries. While the city suffered dramatic and devastating losses during the plague of 1665 and the Fire Of London in 1666, it was still able to rise from the ashes to become a bigger and more eminent capital for the Britons than ever before.
During Edwardian and Victorian times, London was (as it still is) very much at the heart of British royalty and Government. With 2 World Wars destroying parts of the city, the one thing that never disappeared was the determination and community spirit of residents, or their love for the city they call home.
With so much history before us, and as a world-leading city for innovation, London really is the undisputed capital of the world.
Every borough of London has its own distinct character and ambiance. From the curry houses of Brick Lane to the Victorian terraces of Chelsea, London is a collection of suburban villages that together create one of the most interesting and eclectic cities in the world.
Do you need to know where to go around in London? Read my review on Travel Guide About London
Few Facts about London
Population: 8.6 million
Area: 610 sq miles (1,584 sq km)
Time Zone: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) applies from late October through until March. When the clocks are adjusted after daylight saving time, the UK joins British Summer Time (BST), which is GMT + 1
Currency: Pound Sterling – GBP – £
Country Dialing Code Prefix: +44
Emergency Numbers: Dial 999 and ask for the service your require (police, fire service, or ambulance)
Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton airports are all important transportation hubs, both for the UK/Europe and the rest of the world in general. With direct flights from over 190 destinations and over 650 flights a day from Heathrow alone, London airports are some of the busiest and best in the world
London is home the world-famous London Underground system spanning the central and greater metro area. The Underground (also known as the “Tube”) is one the most efficient public transport systems in the world.
First built in 1863 to service 6 intermediate stations between Paddington and Farringdon, the network now covers over 402km using 11 separate lines and stops at 270 stations.
The colored lines and easy-to-read maps make traveling on the Tube simple. Transport for London offers full details of timetables, ticket prices, and station information at www.tfl.gov.uk
Black cabs are a familiar sight on the streets of London, and they are an integral part of the capitol’s culture and community. Black cabs can be hailed on sight from anywhere in the city, and their drivers are legendary for having friendly personalities and extensive general knowledge.
Alternatively, you can use Uber and book where you want to go and when by using the app on your smartphone.
Cabs, Uber, and other private hire vehicles will accept most forms of payment, including cash, credit, or debit card. Most taxis can also be pre-booked using any form of electronic payment.
Few tips on your discovery
Don’t pay for an empty room
Do you plan to be in the hotel a lot when in London? If the answer is no you can stay at a cheap Bed & Breakfast where the room really only consists of one bed. Hotel rooms have more space and facilities, but cost at least twice as much. Buy a universal adapter that fits UK plugs before you head here.
Here’s how to find the way
If you have the address of a hotel or landmark then there is a good trick to find out where in London it is. The letters in the zip code indicate the direction, for example it says “SE” and the address is located in the southeast (southeast).
Transport to and from the airport
Million City London has five major airports, but most Norwegians land at Heathrow or Gatwick. Both airports are far from the city center. If you are not busy you can get to / from Heathrow by subway. But if you are in hurry you can take Heathrow Express Rail which is a bit more expensive.
Discard the Oyster card
You don’t need it.
It’s no secret, but few know that you can use your debit card the same way you use the Oyster card. It costs just as much, an adult ticket – and is perfect if you do single trips.
Your card must be contactless and have a fan symbol. Remember to stamp with the same card you start the trip with.
Citymapper is your friend
When you enter where you are going you are given options for walking, bus, bike, subway, rail or Uber. All trips state the price and how long it will take to get out of the traffic on the road.
The best thing about Citymapper? It operates in 39 major cities around the world.
When the meal is not “up to par”
Is the piece of cake dry? Is the pizza roasted at the edges, or does it look different than described in the menu? Norwegians are insecure and eat everything in the restaurant. In London, the threshold for sending food back is lower – just be polite and factual when you do. The waiter did not cook.
Following some scandals where food is not properly labeled, London restaurants are on the alert.
SEND BACK: It’s completely fine sending the food back if you’re not happy. It is much more common than in Norway, just think about how you do it.
How much do you tip?
Dinner is consumed and the bill comes. Almost always, the restaurant charges a 12.5 percent service charge. Sometimes it is mandatory, other times it is voluntary. If it is voluntary it says “to your discretion”. You should always get this information in the menu.
You will pay this after normal practice and use – then you can tip further if you were very impressed.
If the food was disappointing and the waitress was unavailable or sloppy throughout the meal, it is entirely within saying that you will not pay the service charge. Be clear on why, and keep in mind what kind of place you are in. If the restaurant is “high end” you can expect more than a fast food place.
The spontaneous theater tour
You can decide to go musical a few days before traveling to London. Much cheaper, too. Go on Today Tix before entering the theater.
Don’t forget to use a card abroad that’ll earn you lots of valuable points – such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card which earns you 2pts per $1 spent on ALL travel and dining purchases. But at the very least, do make sure you’re using a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees! Finally, make use of all the lounges opportunities that are available at London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted by having a credit card that gets you lounge access – it’ll make for a much more relaxing experience at the airport.
Do you have any additional advice for visiting London? Then I love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.