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London Tourism And Travel Guide
11.5° C / 52.8° F
April to September
7 to 8 Days
King's Cross Station
They say, ‘a bad day in London is better than a good day anywhere else.’ Probably that is true. For a city that is so rich in history, so endowed culturally and so lively that it literally leaps out to you, there cannot be anything else to say. London, the capital of UK, is a hub of almost all of Europe, having been a stronghold of economy and politics and culture and urbanism since time immemorial. So it comes as no surprise then, when London attracts tourism like a big, black magnet. If you are already in the crosshairs of London’s charm then worry not, we have a sorted travel guide here to help you plan your trip to London.
How to Reach
The easiest way to reach London from India is by flight.
London has three main international airports - Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. You have a ton of flights plying from Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata etc to London on a daily basis. While some flights may be connecting and stop at a gulf country, most are direct and reach London within 9-10 hours. British Airways, Air India, Qatar, Etihad etc are some regulars on this route.
You can drive to London from neighbouring countries like France, Scotland, Wales etc. The roads are well paved and the English countryside is pleasing to the eye. You can either drive yourself or if you are on budget, then book a seat in a bus.
The British Rail Network operates trains in the United Kingdom and London is the hub for most rail routes. Eurostar Trains also come into London from international destinations like Brussels, Stockholm, Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt etc. The main railway station of London is King’s Cross.
The best way to get around in London is using the public transport - red double-decker buses, underground tube trains etc. The roads are usually so jammed with traffic that private vehicles are hardly used, even by the locals. Black cabs are expensive so try and either book a rental car or travel on foot for short distances.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
With its temperate climate, best time to visit London is from spring to summer. Autumn is good too, if a bit more rainy than the rest of the seasons.
Spring (March to May):
With mild happy temperatures of 20°C, melting frost and longer sunny days, spring is a brilliant season in London. The rains are unpredictable as always, but less likely to disturb. Spring might not be as warm as summer therefore there is less tourist crowd in the city, giving you more breathing space at visits.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is the high tourist season in London and temperature goes up to 30°C in the peak months. The days are long and sunny, rainfall down to negligible and festivals make the atmosphere ripe. The best time for outdoors.
Autumn (September to November):
Autumn turns green to gold in London, as temperatures start to drop and dryness engulfs the air. Some rainfall might be expected and fog may cover the golds and browns of the trees from time to time. Halloween is a festive time, as is the beginning of Christmas month by November end.
Winter (December to February):
Winters are very cold, dark and gloomy in London, except, probably, the Christmas month of December. Rainfall and snowfall are expected, days become very short and sun sets by 3 pm. There isn’t much outdoorsy stuff to do in winter but if you like the vibe of London streets and shops in winter then by all means, you are welcome.
Things to Do
Witness Changing Of Guard at Buckingham Palace:
The Changing Of Guard at Buckingham Palace is a great symbol of British Monarchy’s fluid tradition. Every morning at 11, the ceremony takes place outside the gates of the Palace, lasting about 45 minutes. It is free to watch.
Ride the London Eye:
The giant ferris wheel called London Eye gives you a stunning bird’s eye view experience of London. You can book your tickets on the spot or in advance and are given a capsule to ride up. The ride lasts 30 minutes and is recommended to be taken by dusk or nightfall.
Making Of Harry Potter Tour:
Harry Potter is one of the world’s most loved series, and it is heavily based in London, manifested from the imagination of J. K. Rowling’s perception of the city’s iconic places made into Diagon Alley, Platform no. 9 and 3/4 at King’s Cross etc. You will enjoy the Warner Bros Studio making of Harry potter tour as well, get to see the sets and props.
Get Drunk in SoHo:
SoHo or South Houston is a haunt for night mongers and party people. It was once a sex industry hub of London and today is lined with bars, pubs, jazz cafes, theatres, stand-up comedy houses and more. Nights in SoHo are the best and must be enjoyed to the fullest.
Go for a Thames Cruise:
London is a city built on the banks of River Thames, and it looks the best when seen from Thames. Take the cruise down Thames river to discover London with virgin eyes again, pass though landmarks like Tower Bridge, London Eye, Parliament and more while you enjoy a glass of champagne and some finger foods.
What to Eat
London is today a city that serves every type of meal in the world, caters to international tastes and cuisines. But it’d be a shame if you came as far as London and didn’t try the traditional British and London style things. So start with Fish & Chips, bought off the road in newspaper packets or ordered at a quaint cafe with beer, then go for the very heavy and very yummy Sunday roast, served with Yorkshire Pudding. This one is a staple for the locals, eaten usually on Sundays for any meal between breakfast and late lunch. You can also go for Banger and Mash (sausages and potatoes) or a legit English breakfast of toast, eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding and eggs.
Deserts in London are another delight, and quite weird in their nomenclature too. Like the Eton Mess, a lovely fruits and cream/custard desert that is actually a mess of berries and custard. Then there is the sticky toffee pudding, chocolate pudding and treacle tarts (which are a favourite). You must also not miss the hour of afternoon tea or high tea in London; and enjoy a nice mild cup of English tea with finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and crumpets.
Where to Shop
London is a shoppers’ dream come true. Remember all those books from the Shopaholic series? Well, they were written and based in London! So imagine Harrods and Bond Street, Oxford Street and Camden markets, Westfield and Knightsbridge and Covent Gardens… from upscale brands to luxury items, and high street to knick-knacks, you will find whatever your heart desires in London. For Luxury shopping, head to Harrods, find your way to the iconic Oxford Stret and its many brands like John Lewis, Debenhams, Topshop and Primark. There is also Jermyn Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Mayfair, where you will find the dreamy boutique stores of Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Louis Vuitton etc. Westfield has two major shopping malls and high street brands like Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, Next etc.
Now, if you want to go street shopping or look for things that are not so heavy on the pocket, then try Covent Garden for local fashion, hippie stuff, antiques, gifts, jewellery and shoes on bargain rates. Another great place for street shopping and everyday urban wear is off the racks on Camden Street.