Things to do in London.
19 May 2022
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We went to London in March 2019 for 4 days. Don’t underestimate London’s weather, everything is like in the movies – cold and rainy. Great Britain is an island, and there is always a cold wind there. Keep this in mind and bring a scarf and windproof clothes, as well as waterproof shoes and an umbrella. We were lucky and it didn’t rain, it was just cloudy most of the time.
Spending time in London is expensive. The bill in a normal restaurant is at least £20 per person (one meal and drink). Any entrance to any attraction – starting from 30 £. The good news is that the entrance to the state museums is free, and the museums in London are one of the greatest in the world, and you can’t miss them.
If you are asking where to have dinner in London, then I would say – in any restaurant! The fact is that London is simply full of restaurants of different countries’ cuisine, and the quality of food and service is on top! By the way, we never tried fish & chips in London, as we considered this food to be too ordinary. Who knows, maybe we made a huge mistake? Don’t forget to visit a local pub and enjoy local beer, they have it in every color and taste. Visit London and not visit a pub?
We stayed at Clapham South Belvedere hotel through Booking.com, located around 5 km from the city center near a metro station. You can reach the center by metro in 20 minutes. It is an ordinary hotel with small rooms, but with a private bathroom. At that distance the hotel cost us 60 £ per night (cheap for London). The price-quality ratio is excellent, the main thing was that the room was warm, quiet and comfortable.
At the metro station you can buy a travel card for 5 £ in the ticket machine, and charge trips to it (any public transport), each trip will cost you about 2 £. At the end, you simply return this card to the same machine, and it gives you these 5 £ back.
We started our London tour at night, landing at the Charing Cross station. From the Trafalgar Square you will reach the Hungerford Bridge, you can take beautiful photos from here.
London eye. Looks like an ordinary Ferris wheel, but no, it turns out to be the highest wheel in Europe and one of the most visited attractions in the United Kingdom. The London Eye was the highest in the world in 2000, the year it opened to the public. If you’re interested in doing a round trip, then purchase your tickets online in advance – cheaper and without queues (“only” 29 £ per person).
Unfortunately, in 2019, probably the most suitable place for a photo of these most remarkable objects of London was exactly this point on the other side of the Thames. Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster were under reformation, which, of course, spoiled the overall impression of the city. Reformation works of the tower began in 2017 and continue until today. The Parliament´s official website explains that the restoration was vital for the tower, as since its construction in 1859 the building has suffered typical problems of its age: crumbling stones, rusty metal structures, leaking roofs and, in this case, an aging clock.
The tower itself is called the Elizabeth Tower. It was named so in 2012 in the honor of the 60th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II. Big Ben is the largest of the five bells of the tower, it weighs 13 tons. The origin of the name of the bell is still an open question. There are two versions: either the bell was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who led its installation, or after heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Count. The Elizabeth Tower is recognized as the brightest symbol of the United Kingdom and parliamentary democracy.
The history of the Palace of Westminster fits in a big thick book. The first palace was built in 1016, it was rebuilt in 1840-1876 after fire. The palace serves as a meeting place for the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Unlike the Elizabeth tower, the palace can be visited today for 29 £ (free for residents of the UK). You can book a tour, for example, on the Parliament’s official website. If you can’t visit the palace, then you can visit it for free in the digital environment.
Westminster Abbey is a gothic style stunning royal church. Since 1066 it has been one of the most famous churches in the United Kingdom, as well as a traditional coronation and burial place of British monarchs. Those who want to visit monarch´, as well as Newton`s, Charles Darwin´s and Stephen Hawking´s (!) graves, should buy a ticket for 25 £. You can also visit it virtually.
Natural History Museum
In 4 days we saw only 3 museums in London. We had to choose where to go as visiting a museum in London takes a whole day. One of the museums we decided to visit was the Natural History Museum. It contains an incredible collection of dinosaur remains and fossils. If you’re traveling with kids, your kids will love a life-size moving T-Rex mannequin (actually, not only kids)! Obviously the museum does not contain only dinosaur bones, you can also find a 4.5 billion year old meteorite, the skulls of our ancestors, showing human evolution and many-many other things. In general, you will learn a lot about the creation of the world and the development of our planet.
Sherlock Holmes museum
If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, then you must go to 221B Baker Street and visit the museum dedicated to the famous Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels main character. The museum completely recreates the atmosphere of the time in which this non-existent person lived. We did not go to the museum, we only purchased some souvenirs from the souvenir shop. Entrance to the museum costs £16.
Walk through a beautiful Regent’s Park and go to a colorful and famous Camden Town district. You will find the most varied and unusual street markets of all of London in the Camden Town district. Different musical cultures representatives perfectly coexist here. Camden Town is considered the capital of alternative rock in the UK. Jazz lovers have a direct way to Jazz Cafe, where international artists perform. Camden Town is full of life all day and night. Even just walking around this unique area is a real pleasure. Amy Winehouse died of a drug overdose in Camden Town and you can find her statue on one of the streets of the district.
Night streets of Camden town
Finally, the most important building in London is the Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen of the UK. The first house, which was the beginning of the construction of the future palace, was built in 1703. The palace became the royal residence during the reign of Queen Victoria, in 1837.
You can visit Buckingham Palace. The price of the regular adult ticket is £30. Young people between 18 and 24 will pay only £19.50. Different exhibitions also take place in the palace. You can book a visit on the official site.
There is also a possibility of a virtual visit. Thanks to technologies.
After visiting the palace, you should definitely take a walk in the nearby gardens.
There are the royal gardens which belong to Kensington Palace not far from Buckingham Palace. If you are willing to take a long walk, then the gardens are worth a visit, as well as the palace. Princess Diana lived in Kensington Palace until her tragic death. There is the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, dedicated to her, in the park. You will also find a huge monument dedicated to Prince Albert in the park, who was a beloved husband of Queen Victoria and who suddenly died in 1861.
The British museum
The British Museum is the greatest museum in the world along with the Louvre. It was first opened to the public in 1759. The Egyptian collection of the museum is simply amazing. Here you will find mummies of domestic animals who were sacrificed to the gods by their owners and even the mummy of Cleopatra, even though she is not the famous Cleopatra VII. In general, get ready to spend at least a whole day in this great museum. The British Museum will not leave anyone indifferent.
There is a colorful Chinatown between the British Museum and Buckingham Palace, which certainly deserves attention. This district consists of many Chinese shops, souvenir shops and restaurants. In fact, Chinatown is an almost entirely commercial area and only few people live in it. Chinatown is considered relatively safe. We walked there late in the evening, and nothing made us feel unsafe. In any case, the policemen are constantly patrolling the streets.
Piccadilly Circus is a famous road junction in central London. Known for its neon signs and displays. You can find important tourist attractions such as the Shaftesbury Memorial, the Criterion Theater, the London Pavilion as well as numerous nightclubs and bars on Piccadilly Circus.
If you are traveling to London, then you should definitely take a walk along the River Thames and visit some of the most important objects of the city. Go to Tate Modern and lift to the top floor to contemplate panoramic views of a beautiful London. At the time of writing this guide, the building is closed for unknown reasons. Check for updates either on Google maps or on their official website.
There is a modern art museum in the Tate Modern building that you definitely should visit. The exhibitions are simply incredible, the expositions show us how deep and unpredictable the human mind can be. I am sure that even those who are not really interested in contemporary art will be very excited. The entrance is free.
Finally, the icing on the cake is undoubtedly another bright symbol of London – the Tower Bridge. This drawbridge was built between 1886 and 1894 due to the communication needs due to the rapid trade development of the city. The bridge was reformed several times between 2008 and 2016. Entrance to the bridge towers costs £11.40 and you can book a visit on their official website.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you can queue in order to take a photo with a cart disappearing on the wall. I took a picture of an unknown person, but you can insert any face. The Harry Potter cart is located at the King’s Cross railway station. It is a very beautiful and full of life station. There are many interesting shops here. There is a cozy bookshop on the station where I bought a Stephen Hawking’s book as a London souvenir. We were lucky, and the train to the airport departed from this station.
London impressed me so much and left a very vivid imprint in my mind. If you are looking forward to your personal culture level development you should definitely visit this great city. I would go back there again and again, and hopefully I will have this opportunity!