London is the largest city in the UK, and without doubt one of the country's most interesting and exciting destinations. It’s here you can see where the Queen lives, rub shoulders with celebrity shoppers, and re-enact your very own real life game of Monopoly.One of the best things about London is that despite the size of the whole city, the centre is small enough to explore on foot, with all the major sights viewable within a day of foot-based exploration. This means that you can also find accommodation right by all the main attractions. There are some great apartments to rent right by sights such as London Bridge and Trafalgar Square, or for the more adventurous, countless outer areas to explore – from the edginess of Brixton to the ever Hugh Grant flavoured Notting Hill. Try the endless carnival that is Camden or the celebrity footballers home of Chelsea. Rentals and apartments in these London districts are plentiful, although be sure to get accommodation on a tube route, as this will speed up your travel across the city. You are never going to get bored on a visit to London!
Finding Apartments, Holiday Rentals and Accommodation in London
London is a very diverse city, and this is reflected in the range of accommodation options the English capital has to offer. Penthouse apartments sit just a few miles from tiny, yet more affordable studio flats, and despite the city's reputation for expense there are many options for those on the lower end of the budget spectrum. Look for less well known areas of the city. Areas such as Hammersmith or Shephard's Bush offer apartments at half the price of neighboring Chelsea and Kensington, and share all the transport links. For cheap apartments look east to the Isle of Dogs and the Docklands as these areas have gentrified but the price of accommodation has not rocketed as much as more affluent areas of the city.
On a sunny day, the South Bank is a wonderful place for a stroll. Stretching along the – you guessed it – south bank of the River Thames, this bit of river frontage is home to sights including the Tate Modern Art Gallery, the giant ferris wheel known as the London Eye and the bizarrely angular National Theatre. You’ll also be able to see the landmarks on the other side of the river, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Houses of Parliament, home to Big Ben. In fact, in just a few hours of walking from the east end to the west end, you’ll be able to see nearly every famous sight that London has to offer! Don’t miss the never ending second hand book store that appears on tables underneath Waterloo Bridge, open every day, nor the display of street skating just nearby at the world famous South Bank Skating Centre. One of the nicest things about London is that despite its status as the most populated spot in the UK, it has loads of parks to visit and explore. Hyde Park is a favourite in the summer, although the mighty Regent’s Park (also home to the London Zoo) should not be missed. Although everyone secretly hopes to spot her, unless you happen to visit London during a huge royal event like a birth or a marriage, you are unlikely to actually see the Queen. Luckily, you can do the next best thing, and take a look at Buckingham Palace to see where she lives. From beyond the fence you can watch the Changing of the Guard and for keen Royal watchers ayou can at certain times of the year take a tour of the palace itself. For a truly English experience, although admittedly one from a bygone era, you can’t beat experiencing a high tea, ideally with scones and jam. If you have the budget to spare, then you should pop along to somewhere like Claridges Hotel in Mayfair, or The Savoy on the Strand. Sure, tea and scones for £54 might sound a lot, but you only have to do it once, right?
Shopping in LondonIf your idea of the perfect trip is less about the sight-seeing and more about the shopping, then you are going to love London too. The mile long marvel that is Oxford Street is home to nearly every type of store under the sun, and if you head south from Oxford Street into Mayfair you will quickly find yourself surrounded by luxury brands.On the other hand, if you prefer your shopping to be of the alternative and kooky variety, then a trip up to Camden Market might be a better option, where you will find everything from clubbing attire to outfits that Dracula would be happy with. Enjoy!
Going out in London
One of the best things about London is that there is always something going on, no matter what time of the year or day of the week. The West End, around Covent Garden and Shaftesbury Avenue, is England’s equivalent of Broadway, with stage shows and musicals to tickle any fancy. If live music is more your thing, then there are no shortage of intimate venues to discover the next big thing, or even have a go yourself at one of the countless open-mic nights in the pubs and bars across the city. You are never going to have time to be bored, that’s for sure! If you want a real look at what Londoners get up to for fun and refreshment, head to one of the cities countless pubs with beer gardens on a sunny afternoon or evening, and pass the time with a fine British Ale. You’ll make new friends, discover new flavours, be shocked that not all English beer is served warm, and wonder why you waited so long to make the trip to the UK’s capital.
Eating in London
English food has long suffered a rather poor reputation, although happily it is no longer the case that you need to fear for your taste buds when you order. From the gastropubs on Bermondsey Street to the spicy flavours of Brick Lane through to the duck of China Town – you aren’t going to be short of choice! Two standout options for eating are Camden Market, worth a visit all of itself, where you can find everything from goat curry to pie and chips, and Borough Market, where there is both pre-cooked food to buy, and an enormous selection of fresh delicacies to take with you.
Getting Around London
London has an excellent public transport system which includes buses, boats, the Underground and, of course, the iconic black cabs. The cheapest option is to walk everywhere but if time is tight or the weather is being English, then you’ll probably find a combination of the tube or bus system will work best. The cheapest way to navigate the public transport system in London is with an Oyster Card, a pre-pay system that offers far cheaper rates than buying tickets individually. The card can be bought at nearly every public transport station, and will make your journeys a lot easier.