Welcome to London
Welcome to our London Guide which is packed with everything you need to make the most out of your trip to the UK’s capital. The busy city of London is bursting with world-class attractions, sights, restaurants and theatres; it also attracts thousands of visitors each year. During your visit you can enjoy some history at the many free museums, explore the stunning St James Park and catch the breathtaking changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.
Need a little more inspiration? You will find our London Guide can help you plan your visit giving you tips on the best bars and restaurants and must see attractions. You can take a trip on the EDF Energy London Eye, enjoy a spooky visit to the London Dungeons, sing and laugh along with a show in the West End or simply enjoy one of the many Michelin Star restaurants across the city.
London has over 40,000 shops, 6,000 restaurants and 200 free attractions and is perfect for a weekend getaway or a trip for the whole family. Whatever your reason for visiting, London has something to offer everyone and the London Guide is here to lend a hand in creating a short break to remember.
Must do's by day
Head to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards
Hop onboard the Original Tour Bus and see the sights of London
Swing by Covent Garden for some street theatre and quirky shops
Must do's by night
Catch one of the incredible West End theatre shows!
Catch some of the best live Comedy in the fantastic Jongleurs
Soak up the nightlife in the vibrant Soho
Travelling to London
Multiple motorway networks, rail links across the UK and Europe as well as 3 international airports make the fantastic city of London not just easily accessible from anywhere in the UK, but from practically anywhere in the world.
With King’s Cross, Waterloo, Victoria, Paddington, Euston, the Eurostar at St Pancras and many more mainline stations, London is easily accessible via train from all over the UK and Europe. You will find regular direct service from and to the capital from all major stations across the UK.
The M25 Orbital Motorway circles London, with the M1, M11, M4 and multiple A Roads coming off the M25 leading into the centre of the capital. From the North the M1, M11 and M40 all lead to the M25. Meanwhile, from the West take the M4, from the South East the M2 and the South the M23 or M3 to the Orbital Motorway.
Between London City Airport, Gatwick and Heathrow you will find daily flights to and from pretty much anywhere in the world! London City Airport is easily accessible via the DLR whilst Heathrow is on the Piccadilly Underground Line and Gatwick has its own train station with regular links to London Bridge and London Victoria train stations.
Getting Around in London
A trip to the capital may seem daunting but with plenty of tubes and buses running regular services across the city you will find it easy to get around.
The iconic red buses of London are a great way to get around and take in many of the famous sights along the way. With multiple lines all over the city and Oyster Card facilities on the buses it is a quick and easy way to get around London.
The Black Cabs of London can be found all over the city and are a great way to get about. London Black Cabs can be booked from your hotel, picked up from the multiple taxi ranks in the city or just hailed down in the street.
With 11 lines, 270 stations and nearly 3 million daily users, the London Underground is the main way to get around the capital. With a convenient Oyster Card and a handy tube map you will find it quick and simple to get about on the Underground.
Getting to London
Being the UK’s biggest city, London is easily accessible whether you’re travelling by rail, road or air. The city’s three international airports, London City Airport, Gatwick and Heathrow, make London easily accessible not just from the rest of the UK, but from practically anywhere in the world. The multiple motorway networks ensure London is easy to reach from the north, east, south and west and excellent rail links across the UK and Europe mean this vibrant capital city is easy to reach, however you plan on travelling.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- Buy train tickets as far in advance as possible to make sure you get some of the best deals
- The centre on London experiences high levels of congestion, so driving is not advised
- Taxis from the three airports to central London are plentiful. Booking private hire taxis in advance is advised for the cheapest fares
London is the hub of the British Rail Network with most cities and towns providing frequent train services to the capital. London Kings Cross Station serves many UK destinations including Cambridge, Leeds, Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh. You can travel to St Pancras International from the likes of Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield. St Pancras is also home to the Eurostar, providing journeys to and from Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and many more. London is home to 9 mainline railway stations including St Pancras, Kings Cross, Euston and Waterloo. These stations are all well connected to London’s underground tube system so you can continue your journey with ease.
Getting to London by car is easy thanks to the M25 orbital motorway which encircles the city. Most of the major routes from England, Scotland and Wales end up here. From the north you can find the M25 by following the M1, M11 and M4. If you’re travelling from the west the best road to take is the M4 and from the South East you should take the M2. I you’re travelling to London from the South the M3 and M23 Motorways will lead you to the M25. Once you’ve reached the M25 the capital is within easy reach.
In London you will find flights to and from practically anywhere in the world from London CityAirport, Gatwick and Heathrow. The airports themselves are easy to reach from throughout the capital: London City Airport can be reached via the DLR line, Heathrow is on the Piccadilly Underground Line and Gatwick has its own designated train station. From there you can catch regular links to London Bridge and LondonVictoria railway stations.
Getting Around in London
Once you arrive in this vibrant and bustling city, there are multiple options you can use to get from place to place. From buses and taxis to the tube and the DLR, you can get around London with ease thanks to all the modes of transport on offer. Plus, there are many different ticket types available such as Oyster cards, travel cards and standard fares, so you can find the best option to suit your budget and travel needs however you plan on travelling.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- An Oyster Card is the cheapest way to travel on the underground and on buses, the Visitor Oyster card is recommended for tourists
- Off-peak travel cards are also good options and can be used up until 4am the following day on the tube and the city’s buses
The tube system is broken down into 11 different zones. Central areas of London fall into zones 1 and 2
The iconic red London buses run throughout the capital and with frequent services it couldn’t be easier to get around. You can take in many famous sights along the way making this one of the more scenic transport choices during your London short break. Travel Cards and Oyster Cards are both accepted on the bus so it’s a cost effective way to travel, saving you plenty of money. The average cost of a single journey on London buses is £2.30 but with a pay as you go Oyster Card the price will be just £1.35
London is served by thousands of distinctive black cabs which can be found all over the city. You can book a cab in advance from your hotel to ensure you arrive at your destination in plenty of time but for extra convenience they can also be found at taxi ranks throughout the city or flagged down in the street. A fifteen minute journey between 12 and 8pm will typically cost somewhere between £8.40 and £13.40. There is a minimum fare of £2.40 for all journeys at all times
The tube trains are efficient and run every 2-3 minutes. They provide access to destinations throughout the central area and suburbs and are split into 11 different colour coded zones. A number of different ticket types can be used on the tube. A daily travel card can be used throughout the day and is also valid on London buses; the average price of an off-peak travel card is £6.60. An Oyster Card is a contactless electronic smartcard which is the more cost effective option; it can be topped up with money at stations through the city.
Shopping in London
The world-famous department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols store everything you could possibly desire and the infamous Oxford Street is a hive of shopping activity. With over 4,000 shops for you to discover on your short break, the capital is the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy. London has gained a reputation as the number one UK city for shopping and there’s a good reason why. The city is home to independent markets like Camden Stables and Brick Lane where you can find cool one-off buys alongside vintage pieces.
The East End of London is a great area for shopping and this vintage find is our pick of the bunch. The shop is a treasure trove of clothing, shoes, bags and accessories, so be sure to pop in and discover your latest must-have piece.
Top 5 Department Stores & Shopping Centres
Selfridges. 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB
Dominating the west end of Oxford Street, this legendary department store has everything you could ever need spread across six floors, including high fashion departments, eleven places to eat and two exhibition halls
Harrods. 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL
This iconic department store is always the first stop for fashion lovers visiting London. What’s more, you’ll also find a food hall, designer collections, a toy floor and even a pet shop
Harvey Nichols. 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1
Browse the latest designer clothing collections, enjoy a bite to eat in the restaurant or relax in the fifth floor bar while taking in great views of the city; Harvey Nichols has it all
Westfield London. Centre Management Suite|Unit 4006, Ariel Way, London W12 7GF
Located near Wood Lane underground station, this is one of the UK’s largest shopping centres. It’s home to big brand clothing names and an excellent selection of food.
Fenwick. 63 New Bond St., W1
Situated in the up-market Bond Street area, Fenwick is modern department store selling fashion and homeware. For an added touch of luxury take full advantage of the restaurant, bar and spa facilities.
Top 5 Trendy Markets in London
Portobello Road Market. Portobello Road, London W11 1LU
Portobello Road hosts to one of the UK’s largest street markets, home to everything from antiques and fashion accessories to maps, toys and games
Borough Market. 8 Southwark Street,London SE1 1TL
Open on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, this market is a must-visit for anyone interested in food. You’ll find an eclectic mix of stalls from greengrocers, fishmongers and butchers.
Camden Market, Camden High Street, London, NW1 8NH
One of the biggest markets in Europe made up of hundreds of stalls and shops selling clothes, jewellery and accessories. Perfect for a spot of gift shopping
Old Spitalfields Market. 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, London
A bohemian market which has become synonymous with interiors, design, food and art. It’s also home to some great places to eat out such as Androuet and Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Columbia Road Flower Market. Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
You will find an array of vibrant and colourful flowers at the market, but it’s also a great spot for buying jewellery, vintage clothing, art and furniture. A real Sunday morning treat
Top 5 Shopping Districts in London
Oxford Street. London W1H 6HB
With wall-to-wall high street shops including a flagship Topshop store, Oxford Street is the destination of choice for avid shoppers in the capital
Covent Garden. Covent Garden, London WC2E
Covent Garden is a premiere shopping location for visitors to the city and is home to numerous restaurants, bars, markets and boutiques
Carnaby Street. London W1F 7DL
This shopping street is rich is history, with the first boutique opening here in 1958. Now it’s the first port of call for designer shops and an array of eateries
Soho. London W1F 0AZ
Soho is a lively London neighbourhood and even though the streets are small, they’re still packed with cafés, shops and theatres
Bond Street. London W1U 2SA
The street of choice for those on the hunt for luxurious designer goods. Lovers of designer fashion labels will be in their element here
Eating Out in London
Whatever time of the day you want to eat out, you’re spoilt for choice in the capital. Celebrity chefs have chosen London as their city of choice for opening their own restaurants and you’ll find eateries from the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal dotted around the city. If you’re after something more family friendly there are still plenty of choices to suit your needs. From chain restaurants like Frankie and Benny’s and Wagamama to one-offs like the authentic Rainforest Café, you’ll find the perfect place to have a bite to eat with friends or family.
The Albion is the oldest operating country pub in London, but it’s the food that keeps customers coming back time and time again. The award winning Sunday roast has people travelling from all over the capital to see what the fuss is all about
Top 5 Restaurants for a Special Occasion
Club Gascon. 57 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9DS
A Michelin starred restaurant specialising in cuisine from the South-West of France. The restaurant provides an à la carte menu as well as a 5 course tasting menu available for lunch and dinner
Fifteen London. 15 Westland Place, London,N1 7LP
Founded by Jamie Oliver in 2002, this restaurant gave 15 unemployed young people the chance for a better future. The restaurant serves the finest Italian food in stylish surroundings and all proceeds go to the Jamie Oliver Foundation
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London,SW1X 7LA
The restaurant features dishes inspired by traditional recipes from the past. Heston’s take on English fare is as innovative as we’ve all come to expect
Tamarind. 20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PR
Set in trendy Mayfair, this Michelin starred restaurant has a reputation for providing excellent Indian gastronomy. Now in its sixteenth year, Tamarind offers a sophisticated dining experience to all of its guests
Hakkasan. 8 Hanway Place,London, W1T 1HD
A luxurious Chinese restaurant with a Michelin star to it’s name. Specialising in Chinese and Cantonese cuisine, Hakkasan will provide you with an authentic Chinese dining experience
Top 5 Family Restaurants
Planet Hollywood. 57-60 Haymarket, St Albans House, London, SW1Y 4QX
Inspired by the glamour of Hollywood, this is a unique dining experience. The international menu has a wide range of dishes including pasta, fajitas, ribs, steaks, salads and delicious deserts
Spaghetti House Kensington High Street. 9 Kensington High Street,London, W8 5NP
Home to no-nonsense Italian food, you will find a range of seasonal pasta dishes, stone baked pizzas and classic Italian meats, so fussy eaters will still find something they like
Maxwell’s Bar and Grill. 8 James Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8BH
Maxwell’s Bar and Grill is an American style restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden. They serve generous portions in an upbeat atmosphere with a set children’s menu priced at just £6.45
Rainforest Café. 20-24 Shaftsbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, London, W1D 7EU
The Rainforest Café is fun for all the family and brings together all the sights and sounds of the jungle, including animatronics and waterfalls, to accompany your dining experience
Sticky Fingers. 1A Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, London, W8 7QG
A family friendly restaurant inspired by the music of the Rolling Stones. At Sticky Fingers you can expect tender steaks, fresh fish and award winning burgers
Top 5 Cheap Eat Restaurants
Masala Zone - Covent Garden. 48 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DA
A casual Indian restaurant serving good value, authentic dishes in comfortable surroundings. A variety of regional curries are available including vegetarian options
Mestizo Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar. 103 Hampstead Road, Euston / Camden, London, NW1 3EL
Mestizo Mexican restaurant serves traditional, authentic recipes from throughout Mexico. Their bar is also ideal for cocktails, tequila and Mexican tapas
The Banana Tree. 412-416 St. John Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4NJ
This oriental canteen-style restaurant serves a wide variety of Indian food to spice up your short break in the capital
Fishcotheque. 79A Waterloo Road, Southwark, London, SE1 8UD
For some traditional English food, head to Fishcotheque for some hearty fish and chips as well as pies, sausages and fishcakes. Vegetarian options are also available
Wagamama. 10A Lexington Street, Soho, London, W1F 0LD
This Japanese restaurant chain has established itself as a firm favourite, serving an array of noodles and other Japanese dishes to its customers
London’s effervescent nightlife helps to set it apart from other cities. The capital is the best city to be in to see a theatre show or performance thanks to the wide range of venues including the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Royal National Theatre. If you’d prefer to see a film you’re spoilt for choice as London is jam packed with multiplexes and small independent cinemas including the Everyman Cinema in HampsteadVillage where you can see the latest releases in a cosier setting. The list of things to see and do is endless from burlesque shows to comedy clubs and live music venues.The O2 Arena hosts an array of events from pop music superstars to world class sporting events and comedy favourites to make sure there’s something to suit all audiences. Piccadilly Circus is a great London landmark to visit by night thanks to its vibrant screen displays and there’s no shortage of bars, restaurants and clubs in the surrounding area. You will have plenty of things to do by night during your time in London.
Top 10 London Nightlife
Royal Opera House. Covent Garden, London WC2E9DD
The well known theatre is home to the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera, featuring a host of productions and world famous stars throughout the year
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1
The theatre is dedicated to performing and exploring the works of Shakespeare as well as being home to Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition
The O2 Arena
After being transformed into a world class entertainment venue The O2 has hosted everything from international superstar musicians to exhilarating sporting events
The Comedy Store. WC1, near Picadilly, London
The Comedy Store is a popular comedy club where you can enjoy improvised stand up at its best for an evening out with a difference
Everyman Cinema. 5 Holly Bush Vale | Hampstead Village, London NW3 6TX
A small and friendly cinema where you can see highly anticipated blockbuster releases alongside a host of cult independent productions
Southbank Centre. Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
With a programme containing classical and world music, dance, literature and visual arts, this diverse venue attracts visitors from far and wide
Royal National Theatre. South Bank, Waterloo, London SE1 9PX
The Royal National Theatre is a venue that the entire family can enjoy, showing classic musicals, new plays and special events
The Barfly. 49 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AN
The Barfly is an iconic live music venue which historically helped to launch the careers of Coldplay, Blur, Oasis and Franz Ferdinand
Volupte. 7-9 Norwich Street, London, EC4A 1EJ
Volupte is an entertainment venue providing its visitors with show stopping burlesque and cabaret performances accompanied by sophisticated cocktails
Piccadilly Circus is one of London’s most famous landmarks. It attracts large crowds and is considered to be the hub of the capital
Bars in London
Our guide to London bars covers every kind of drinking spot. Stylish wine bars can be found throughout the capital and Kensington and Chelsea should be your destinations of choice for extensive wine lists and expensive tipples. If you’d prefer to enjoy an afternoon cocktail or spend some time in a classic beer garden you’re in luck. Leicester Square and CoventGarden are jam packed with casual bars and outside seating areas, perfect for watching the world go by and doing a spot of people watching. Oxford Street is another good area for a daytime drink, the side streets are populated with intimate pubs and bars serving an array of drinks throughout the day. Many bars including Agenda Bar run happy hours throughout the day so you’ll be able to pick up drinks at cheaper prices, perfect for if you’re on a budget. When exploring the London bar scene you’re sure to find something a bit different. From New York-style cocktail bars like Idlewild to bars set in skyscrapers like The Drift in Heron Tower, the capital is the perfect place for finding some hidden gems.
Top 10 London Bars
Agenda Bar. Minster Court, 3 Mincing Lane, London,EC3R 7AA
Located in the centre of London, this airy and spacious bar provides the perfect setting for evening drinks. Plus you get 50% off drinks during Happy Hour, running from 5-8pm daily
Soho Theatre Bar, 21 Dean St, London, W1D 3NE
A trendy spot for a pre-theatre drink, the Soho Theatre Bar is also a popular hang out for London's bright young things.
The Cork and Bottle. 44-46 Cranbourn Street, London Chinatown, London, WC2H 7AN
Situated in the bustling Leicester Square, The Cork and Bottle boasts an impressive and extensive wine list, meaning you’re sure to find a tipple to suit you
Davy’s St James. 20 King Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6QY
This traditional wine bar and restaurant is in an ideal location near Green Park tube station. It offers a relaxed atmosphere, candlelit tables and an excellent selection of own label, vintage and modern wines
The Drift. Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
A striking bar and restaurant located in Heron Tower, the impressive new skyscraper on Bishopgate. Choose from a selection of innovative cocktails and try your hand at making your own at the mixology table
Eight Over Eight. 392 King's Road, Chelsea, London,SW3 5UZ
Set in the affluent area of Chelsea, this vibrant bar has it all. The bar provides an extensive wine lists and a seemingly endless choice of cocktails
The Thirsty Bear, 62 Stamford St, London, SE1 9LX
London's first self-service pub, pull your own beer at your table or order drinks or burgers at the touch of a button on the handy touch-screen tablets.
The Grenadier, 18 Wilton Row, London, SW1X 7NR
Originally built in 1720, The Grenadier is as traditional as they come - set in Belgravia, the supposedly haunted pub invites patrons to attach money to the ceiling to pay off the ghost's debt.
The Terrace Bar and Food. South Bank, Southwark, London, SE1 9PX
The Terrace Bar is perfect for a pre or post show drink. Sporting views over the Thames, the bar is a welcome respite from the bustling city
BrewDog Camden, 113 Bayham St, Camden, London, NW1 0AG
BrewDog Camden is one of the city's highest-rated bars - the decor is starkly minimalist and matches the edgy ambience of this cool pub, just minutes from Camden High Street.
London is the top UK city to go to for sightseeing and attractions and is visited by millions of people every year. Whether you want to soak up the culture in the galleries and museums, visit some famous landmarks or explore the parks and gardens come rain or shine, London has a lot to offer its visitors. London is full of iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Sqaure, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. Newer attractions like the Cutty Sark are growing in popularity and rapidly making a name for themselves. Not forgetting some of the classic attractions including the London Eye, the Tower of London the London Aquarium and Madame Tussauds. The list of attractions is seemingly endless so you won’t run out of things to see and do. Entertainment venues are certainly worth a visit during the daytime too. The O2 Arena is no longer just a concert venue, it’s now home to the informative British Music Experience Museum and you can even climb up to its roof as part of the exhilarating Up at The O2 attraction.
Top 10 London Attractions
Tower of London. Tower Hill, Tower Hill tube, London EC3N 4AB, England
The Tower of London is one of the city’s most famous historic landmarks and is home to the famous crown jewels. It also acted as a prison cell for the famous Sir Walter Raleigh
Up at The O2. The O2, London SE10 0DX
You can now get a completely new perspective of the capital from the roof of The O2 Arena. Climbs take approximately 90 minutes and promise to be an unforgettable experience
Cutty Sark. King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10
This English clipper ship was built in 1869 and is a fun and informative way of delving into English history
Trafalgar Square. Centre of the City, London SW1A
This spacious square is considered as the centre of London, marked by Nelson’s Column, standing at 145-foot-high
Buckingham Palace. London SW1A 1AA
This world famous royal residence contains priceless works of art, fine furniture and decorations from the Royal Collection
Natural History Museum. Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD
A fascinating way of exploring the natural world throughout the ages; the Life and Earth galleries are a must see
St James’s Park. Horse Guards Road, The Storeyard, London SW1A 2BJ
St James’s Park is the oldest Royal Park in London, spread over 90 acres the park is a wildlife sanctuary for ducks, geese, swans and pelicans
St Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
This majestic location has played hosts to such historic events as Winston Churchill’s state funeral and the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales
ZSL London Zoo. Regent's Park | Outer Circle, London NW1 4RY
With over 720 species to see and a growing number of new exhibits, this is fun for all the family
National Gallery. Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Home to one of the greatest collections of European paintings in the world, the National Gallery is a must visit for anyone interested in art