London has been dubbed the most popular city in the world. It is a travel destination that offers visitors everything they could possibly want. From grand palaces to world-class shopping and world famous museums and galleries, there is no time at all to be bored in London.
London’s allure and appeal comes from its rich multi-cultural history; it has been influenced be a variety of Empires and civilisations from around the world from the Ancient Romans to the Saxons of Scandinavia. Its history is filled with great stories of Kings and Queens and at one point the British Empire was the largest formal Empire in the world (they ruled approximately a third of the world, not a bad feat for such a tiny island). To this day it is one of the world’s most forward thinking, innovative and politically triumphant nations.
A trip through London today will see you surrounded by the beauty of its history, but also the excitement of its modern day culture. It is a fashion and music capital of the world, not to mention a gastronomical wonder with so many traditional, modern and multicultural restaurants and dining experiences all side-by-side.
The City of London is actually a square mile in the middle of Greater London – this is the financial hub of the UK and there are sky scrapers and fine dining experiences to be had here. Interestingly the city of London actually has its own police force and until 1994 there were no official roads within its boundary.
“London is an infinitely rich onion. It has layers of delicious elements to explore; the world’s greatest museums, vibrant boutique neighbourhoods, a blend between modern and ancient history, literature, film – you name it.”
By Alex Berger, Virtual Wayfarer
To ensure we’re providing the best possible information about London tourism to you all, we got a Londoner to write this tourism guide for you. Read on to find out more about the tourist places you must see and the lesser known destinations that will ensure you get the best experience possible. London is also a great place for solo travellers, there are so many pubs, dining experiences, galleries and museums that are easy to enjoy on your own, but also places where you can make friends quickly.
- The Romans were the first to settle where London is today and referred to it as “Londinium”
- The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.
- Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms with 188 staff bedrooms.
- Marble Arch was originally built as the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but was never used.
- Getting an Oyster card is worthwhile as it’ll reduce the expensive travel related costs when it comes to travelling on public transport. Grab an Oyster card for free and ask at the station’s helpdesk on how to load it with some money. The great thing about an Oyster card is that there is a maximum daily capped amount that you can spend in a day and once you reach this, the rest of the day’s travel will be free! But be sure to check that you’re travelling within transport services that accept the Oyster.
- Walking between stops may be wise as some stops in London are very close together making it quicker to reach by foot than by tube. For example, the walk between Leicester Square to Covent Garden is less than three minutes.
- If you want to grab a bargain on west-end theatre shows and aren’t too fussy on the production, then head over to the TKTS Booth in Leicester Square. The unsold tickets for shows on the day will issued at a discount price.
Getting Around London
Image Source: mattbuck
The simplest way to get around London is by using the intricate and handy underground system (known as the tube) and bus network. Jumping in the famous black cabs or ordering an Uber are alternative ways, however, the traffic in London is well-known to be quite something to behold. We would recommend downloading the CityMapper app or the Tube Map app, as this will allow you to see the different ways to reach your desired destination.
You should buy a Visitor Oyster Card; you can pre-purchase this at home and have it delivered, ready to use when you get to London. You can pre-load your card with a number of different amounts of money, and it can be used on the Underground, buses and the Thames Clipper boats. Visit the Transport for London website to find out more information.
“Every time I travel to London, I make sure to first map out my journey at home. That way I can check which tube station is closest to the places I want to visit and I don’t waste any more time underground than I should. I also have my own Oyster Card, which is cheaper than regular tickets.”
By Sofie Couwenbergh, Wonderful Wanderings
The London Underground
There are 270 Underground stations in the Greater London area; this is split into 6 different zones. Simply tap your Oyster Card on the readers at the station and start on your journey. There are tube maps at all of the stations, but remember the maps are not geographically representative. There are a number of stations that may appear further apart than they actually are; here is a more visually accurate version of the map.