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London

Transportation and Accommodations

To/from the airport

Heathrow

This is where we flew into from the United States. Our airbnb host messed something up and then offered to pay for an uber for us from the airport into the city. However, I would NOT recommend doing this if you are paying. It is very expensive and it is a far drive. We were in the car for almost an hour and a half.

The Tube can take you from the airport directly into the city. Depending on where you need to go, it may require a change or two, but the Tube is very easy to figure out

Gatwick

We flew out of this airport when we were leaving London heading to another European country. I would recommend getting the Gatwick express from the Victoria station. It takes 30 minutes, runs frequently, and is very easy. You simply need to get yourself to the Victoria tube station (we took the tube closest to our airbnb to Victoria and then followed signs to find the Gatwick express).

Around the city

Tube

The Tube is London’s metro system. It can get you close to just about anywhere in the city. Switches may be required but that is not complicated.

Purchase an Oyster card at any stop and put money on it (amount depends on the length of your stay). It is easy to add money onto it.

Make sure to keep your Oyster card handy as you need it to get into the station, but also to get out of the station after you arrive at your destination

Buses

The red double decker buses (not the ones designated for tours) operate on the Oyster Card as well. I never used these while I was there, as the Tube is much faster usually, but this option is there if you need it

Accommodations

We stayed in an airbnb located in Pimlico. It was clearly a residential area, but a very short walk to Westminster and there was an easily accessible tube station.

Stay near some of the sights you’d like to see or at least near a tube station.

We spent one night in the Double Tree Hilton hotel West End because our airbnb host double booked the place we were supposed to be staying so he paid for one night there. This place was very nice and was more than we needed, but no complaints as we were not paying

Things to do and see

Buckingham Palace

Changing of the guards happens at 11:30 everyday

Westminster Abbey
Big Ben
House of Parliament
London Eye

I would recommend booking tickets ahead of time and book the ones for the full day, not a 15-minute time slot so that you have more flexibility especially since it is only a few pounds more

Trafalgar Square

Just sitting here and listening to one of the street musicians was relaxing and nice

Tower Bridge
Tower of London
London Bridge

Good view of Tower Bridge from here

Borough Market

Wasn’t open when I was in town since we were there a few days after the Borough Market attack; however, I’ve heard great things

Paul’s Cathedral
Strolling along the river

Path along the river starts a bit after the London Eye, but gorgeous to walk along the river path to the Tower Bridge

Shakespeare’s Globe
Churchill Arms

Cute pub that is beautifully covered in flowers on the outside

Kensington Palace
Harrods

Can get tea here or just walk around – large department store in London

Parent Trap house

Near Harrods—29 Egerton Terrace, Kensington, London, England, UK

Covent Garden

Area and market

Neil’s Yard
Piccadilly Circus

Central area; lots of tourists; area with all the billboards making it have a slight Times Square feel

Afternoon Tea

Would recommend Sketch or Harrods

Notting Hill area

Colorful houses on Portobello Road, Lancaster Road, Denbigh Terrace, and Westbourne Park Road

Portobello Road Market
Leicester Square
Tate Modern Museum

Some exhibits free

Soho

Nice area to walk around in

South Kensington

More residential and wealthy area

The Shard

Tall glass building; has a bunch of restaurants inside

Sky Garden
Camden Market
Abbey Road

Food and Drink Recommendations

London is definitely not known for its food, but we had a few favorites

Punjab

London is supposed to have great Indian food. This place came highly recommended to us and was located near Neil’s Yard and Covent Garden

Franco Manca

Pizza chain

Crosstown Donuts

Multiple locations; we went to the one in Soho

Ben’s Cookies

Delicious cookies (we bought them at the Covent Garden Market)

Milk Train

Ice cream with cotton candy around it

Farm Girl Café

Great breakfast place in Notting Hill area

Princi

Italian restaurant ~ okay

Sketch Tea

AWESOME tea place. You should know before you go that it is quite pricey. The atmosphere is set up by this trendy pink room with lots of pictures covering the wall. The bathroom is almost the coolest part as it is all white and each stall is its own egg and yes I mean egg. Then the ceiling is a variety of colored glass panels. The base price for tea is around 58 pounds and includes unlimited tea and unlimited tea snacks that come with it. It also includes a tasting of caviar and a starter egg dish as well as a piece of cake and a scone. We opted to pay the extra 15 pounds and get champagne too – overpriced because you only get one glass but I guess you pay for the full experience. Although it was very expensive, it was a very cool thing to do.

Bubblewrap

Offers freshly made waffles as large cones with gelato and a variety of sauce and topping choices