London, the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, with its rich history, aesthetic architecture, and dynamic presence is a poet’s refuge, a shopper’s paradise, and a lover’s dream. Albeit, one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, it has something to fulfill everyone’s taste and there’s little wonder as to why every soul should visit this constantly evolving and astounding city to visit at least once in a lifetime.
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While most people would think that a luxurious city like London would have few accommodation options for those with a slightly less budget, the truth is far from that. There are a variety of hotels, apartments, and hostels that one can choose from depending on their pocket size and tastes.
Among the swanky hotels are Blakes Hotel, Cadogan Hotel, The Lanesborough, The Ritz, The Savoy, The Regency House, and Claridge’s. Each of these guarantees a quintessentially English experience rich in history with subtle touches of modernity. With stunning décor and flawless service, each promises to make your stay unique, memorable, and magical.
For those who cannot afford a royalty lifestyle, there are hotels that offer an unforgettable experience at a more affordable price. These hotels include The Gore, Beaufort Hotel, Ibis Budget Hotels, and Hampstead Guest House.
However, if these hotels do not cut the deal for you, more wallet-friendly options include The Mayflower Hotel, Fuller’s Hotel, and the Arriva Hotel. You could also stay in one of the many hostels offering dorm rooms for extremely affordable prices. Dover Castle Hostel, The Queens Hostel, and Astor Kensington Hostel are just a few of them, and they can be booked on Booking.com. Additionally, you can find lots of affordable places on Airbnb.
Pubs and Restaurants
One of the key tourist destinations in the world, London is full of world-famous landmarks, museums, shopping streets, theatres, and restaurants. To truly enjoy this majestic city and its wonders, one needs plenty of ample time. London pubs can be found on every corner, however, unlike American bars, British pubs usually limit their offerings to drinks at the bar (no food) and tipping is not expected. As a multicultural city, you will find plenty of restaurant options to choose from in London. The good news is that in the UK, your restaurant bill will usually include tax and service, so no need to do any mental gymnastics after a long dinner with friends.
No trip to London is complete without visiting Buckingham Palace. Sadly, it is open to the general public only from July to October. It is however completely worth the wait. The public is allowed access to the Queen’s Gallery and the 19 State Rooms including the Throne Room and the Ballroom. The Queen’s private apartments, swimming pool, and garden are unfortunately off-limits.
Westminster Abbey is one of Britain’s finest gothic buildings. It has played host to coronations, funerals, and marriages of British monarchs and is a must-see tourist location. Here you can also find the royal tombs of 30 kings and queens including Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary I, Mary Queen of Scots, King Henry V, and many others.
Another architectural landmark that you cannot miss is the Clock Tower also called Big Ben, which was completed in 1859, but is currently undergoing the biggest conservation in history. Other landmarks include the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and The London Eye, which is the world’s largest observation wheel that allows you to view the city in all its glory.
London is full of museums and art galleries including the British Museum, which exhibits works from across nations and times (and where you can experience a traditional Afternoon Tea), the National Gallery, which houses one of the greatest collections of European paintings, the Tate Modern, which houses modern art, and the Science Museum, which is dedicated to the scientific developments of the past 300 odd years or so. And, of course, you’ll find Madame Tussaud’s, the world’s largest wax museum housing wax statues of prominent personalities from across the world.
London offers one of the best shopping experiences in the world. One can choose from the 2km long Oxford Street which is probably London’s busiest shopping area to Regent Street to the more upscale Knightsbridge, Mayfair, and Chelsea area. Harrods and Harvey Nichols are undoubtedly the most popular departmental stores here. Soho is the area to shop in for music-related products, and Bond Street is perfect for designer clothes and other expensive items. London is also world-famous for its markets, where people go not only to find rare, genuine bargains but also just for the experience. Camden Passage, Chapel Market, Leather Lane Market, and Portobello Road Market are just a few of the many markets that this city is filled with.
After a day full of exhausting sightseeing and shopping, you need some rest and one of the best ways to do this is to party in one of London’s many clubs and bars including Fabric, Cargo, and 93 Feet East. But if partying is not your style, you could spend your evening watching a performance in one of London’s many theatres or laugh your guts out in one of the many comedy clubs here or simply enjoy a quiet meal in one of the restaurants across town.
London truly offers a multifaceted experience. Its streets merge the past and the present into a beautiful, rich fusion. Vibrant, exciting, and beautiful, London is THE place to be.
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About the Author: John Thenappan is a Londoner and true travel lover. He was also a chief editor for his website London Stopover, where you could find London tourist information.