Highlights of LondonUnited Kingdom
London is a place very close to our hearts, and the thought of doing this blog was incredibly overwhelming! We both packed up our lives in Sydney and made the move across the pond in 2013, spending 2 years living in this vibrant and bustling city. With such a sentimental attachment, we will try to highlight some of the top tourist things to do on your visit to the British Capital.
– Buy yourself an oyster card from the airport, or any underground station. By topping up this card you will be able to ride the Underground and the buses.
– Do yourself a massive favour and download the Citymapper app, it literally was our go-to app while living in London. With up to date arrivals of tubes and buses, it will direct you to almost anywhere you want to go! More info can be found here.
The residence of Queen Elizabeth, standing at the gates of the Palace and seeing the Changing of the Guards is definitely not to be missed. It can get very crowded and involves some of the streets around the palace, so if you want a good look get there early. We recommend checking this site during your travels for updated times as they change throughout the year. If you visit around July through to September, you can book a tour inside Buckingham Palace when Queen Elizabeth is staying in her Summer residence. Again, we recommend checking this link for more details.
Kensington Palace and Gardens
In the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensington Palace is the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince William and Kate. You can have a picnic in front of the Palace, walk though the gardens and even visit some of the State Rooms.
The largest of the 4 Royal Parks, Hyde Park covers 350 acres of London and merges with Kensington Gardens. You can hire a bike to ride through the park, or stroll around at your leisure. Inside the Park there are many different sculptures and memorials, including the Princess Diana Memorial. Being so large the Park is easily accessible from 5 tube stations: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Queensway, Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch.
If you are willing to brave Oxford Street, there are many shops and Theatres along the way. But brace yourselves for the crowds! Here you will find Selfridges, a high end department store.
Royal Albert Hall
In South Kensington, this beautiful theatre is just as famous as the stars who have performed here. Hosting more than 390 shows a year, it plays home to musicians, orchestras, ballets and even sporting events and banquets.
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
In Westminster along the Thames, these golden buildings literally house the Parliament of the UK. Equally as pretty at night, it is one of the most visited attractions in London. You can buy a ticket to explore the insides of the Parliament and see it all up close.
This gothic Abbey is another iconic piece of London history. From Coronations to Royal weddings, it is well worth visiting and taking a tour inside.
From the Eye you get great views over the Thames and the houses of parliament. We suggest buying your ticket online to avoid the queues, this way you can also pick the time you want to go around.
Take a cruise down the river and take in the sights either side of you. You can choose to hop off the boats, or stay on for a round trip.
This beautifully designed bridge often gets mistaken for London Bridge. You can both drive and walk across this bridge, and if you are lucky enough you may get to see it open up!
Tower of London
Tower of London is a historic castle which has now been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and open to the public. You will find actors inside who can give you an idea of how this fortress was used in history.
Home to the West End, this is where you will find tickets for some theatre shows and many of the beautiful theatres. This pedestrianised square is also home to the Odeon theatre, which hosts many blockbuster movie premieres.
A short walk from Leicester Square, Piccadilly is home to many theatres and the famous neon signage. You will also find Cool Britannia, a massive souvenir shop to meet all your tourist desires!
Commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar, four lion statues surround Nelson’s Coloumn in this open square. Featuring beautiful fountains and backing onto The National Gallery, it is a short walk from Leicester Square and it’s surrounds.
London is a city full of history from around the world, and there are no shortages of museums to get your history fix. The most visited museums include the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery.
This infamous luxury department store located in Knightsbridge is a must visit. The store occupies a 5-acre site and has 330 departments covering one million square feet of retail space. Even if the prices are too pricey for purchases, it’s still worth a visit to check out this incredible place. We do recommend checking out the food hall – your stomach will thank you for it!
With almost a quarter of a million visitors each week, you will definitely find something that tickles your fancy here! From delicious food stalls to eclectic clothe shops, these bustling markets are well worth the visits. Camden Lock Market, Stables Market, Camden Lock Village, Buck Street Market, Electric Ballroom and Inverness Street Market.
Notting Hill and Portobello Road Markets
This wealthy neighbourhood lies in the upper area of Kensington borough, with pretty pastel coloured houses that you could only dream of living in. Take a stroll down Portobello Road and visit the markets selling antiques, fresh food and clothing.
Lords Cricket Ground
Any cricket fan will love a visit to Lords, the “Home of Cricket”. You can book a tour which takes you around the grounds, into the team rooms and even to the commentators box.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do and see in London, so needless to say there will be many more blog posts on this location to come!
Did you have a question or would you like us to concentrate on any place in particular for our next blog? If so, please comment below!
Emily & Kristy