Complete guide to visiting London

If London is on your bucket list, but you don't know where to start exploring the city, we have all the information you need: how to get there, what to visit, where to sleep and where to eat.

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London is a city full of places to explore, from cultural venues, fashion, sports and gastronomy. Although almost always cloudy, the city has a special light and charm.

How to get to London?

In London there are six airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City and Southend), but only three are advised:

Heathrow

Advantages: Less time and cost to travel to central London.
Disadvantages: Due to its size a lot of time is wasted in moving within the airport.

Gatwick

Advantages: Easy travel within the airport and access to low-cost airlines.
Disadvantages: Higher cost for low-cost flights compared to Stansted. Travel
time to the centre: 26 minutes (44 km)

Stansted

Advantages: Cheapest airport in the city.
Disadvantages: Long journey time to central London. Travel
time to the centre: 50 minutes (62 km)

What to visit in London?

London Eye

From the London Eye you have access to a 360-degree view of London at a height of 135 metres. The structure is located on the south bank of the River Thames and you can buy tickets online. Currently, this is one of the most iconic stops of the city, also known as the Millenium Wheel, since it was built in 2000.

London Eye

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster

The Elizabeth Tower, whose bell in the clock tower is nicknamed Big Ben, is one of London's most iconic landmarks. The structure has more than 96 metres and 334 steps. If you are interested in attending a committee or participating in a debate, when parliament is in session, check the official website of the Houses of Parliament before your visit.

It should be noted that Big Ben is seen as a symbol of parliamentary democracy, since it is an integral part of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster

Buckingham Palace

The building was acquired by King George III in 1762 and to this day it delights those who pass there. The main attraction is the Exchange of the Guard which always takes place at 11:00am on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays.

Buckingham Palace is the official British residence and has a total of 775 rooms. During the summer, when Queen Elizabeth II used to spend some time in Scotland, it was possible to visit some comfortable rooms, such as the State halls and the royal stable.

Buckingham Palace

Chinatown

Chinatown is home to a large East Asian community and belongs to the West End, close to major attractions such as Leicester Square, Theatreland and Soho.

If you want to see Chinatown in all its splendour, then you can't miss the Chinese New Year celebrations in the capital between mid-January and February — dates vary from year to year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

This place is also great for those who like to shop, as not only can you experience the magnificent gastronomy - Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Japanese -, but also buy cosmetics, jewellery and clothing.

Chinatown

British Museum

The British Museum brings together two million years of history and attracts more than six million visitors a year. In the museum you can see Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Sculptures, among other points of interest. Entry to the British Museum is free.

British Museum

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is a must-visit in London. Through the bridge, you can cross the River Thames and watch the drawbridge lift — all free of charge. If you want to take advantage of the “Experienced Tower Bridge” (with a cost of 13.5 euros per adult), you will be able to visit the suspension bridge, 42 metres high.

Tower Bridge

London Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum houses authentic treasures of planet earth, some 2.5 billion years old. The star of the museum is Hope, a huge blue whale skeleton in Hintze Hall. For those who like wildlife this is undoubtedly a must visit. Entry to the museum is free.

London Natural History Museum

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is a paradise filled with celebrities, all made in wax, and life-size. There, you will be able to meet various historical personalities, such as Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley, Churchill, Gandhy, Obama and the Beatles.

The museum is divided into several areas, from celebrities, to characters from mythical films, sports, royalty, Chamber of Horror & Scream, Star Wars, among others.

Piccadilly Circus

This is one of London's most popular destinations, with Piccadilly's iconic canvases — so it's best to visit in the evening. Piccadilly Circus is filled with world-famous theatres, amazing restaurants, bars and pubs, as well as plenty of shops.

Piccadilly Circus

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of London's best-known neighbourhoods, located in the heart of the West End. There you can visit several internationally known brands, take a trip through gastronomy and, for Harry Potter fans, visit some of the places where the saga was filmed.

Covent Garden

Soho

Soho is located in the West End and there you can enjoy the most traditional and the most daring things. From restaurants to various bars and pubs with jazz, this is a space for culture. This is another place that delights Harry Potter fans, as it features House of Minalima, a space full of graphic arts, but with special emphasis on Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts.

In the 60s, Soho was the centre of fun and also the shelter of several musicians such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

Soho

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a space used for several large-scale festivals and events, such as Winter Wonderland, which features an ice rink and ferris wheel.

The park is free of charge, and you only need to pay at the Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre facilities. Don’t forget to start the  visit to the park from the Memorial Fountain of Diana.

Hyde Park

Where to sleep in London?

Londoner

The Londoner is a luxurious hotel with 350 rooms and suites, including a tower penthouse suite with panoramic views. This hotel features six restaurants and bars, including a rooftop lounge, a spa with pool, gym and hairdresser. Piccadilly Circus is 300 metres from the guest house, while Buckingham Palace is 1.3 km away.

Check prices and availability
Source - Booking - The Londoner

Aldwych

The five-star One Aldwych has luxurious accommodations, restaurants and a health club. Ultra-modern facilities at the hotel include a swimming pool with underwater music, luxurious steam rooms and a sauna. The restaurant serves British dishes, all dairy and gluten-free.

Check prices and availability
Source - Booking - One Aldwych

Hotel Cafe Royal

Cafe Royal is yet another five-star option you can't miss. From this accommodation you are close to points of interest such as Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Prince of Wales Theatre and many others.

At the hotel you can relax in the Holistic Wellness Centre, which features a gym, an Olympic-size swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath and spa treatments.

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Source - Booking - Hotel Cafe Royal

Corinthia

Corinthia London is in one of London's most privileged areas, just metres from Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. Here, you can book award-winning spa and health treatments at ESPA Life at Corinthia, as well as a luxury hair salon by renowned hairdresser Daniel Galvin.

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Source - Booking - Corinthia London

Sofitel London St James

Sofitel London St James features a spa, spacious rooms and a wonderful newly Michelin-starred café- restaurant, Wild Honey St.James. All rooms have Hermès toiletries, iDock sound system, Nespresso coffee and JING tea.

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Source - Booking - Sofitel London St James

Stafford London

The magnificent Stafford London is ideal for those looking to enjoy the food and shopping of the West End, as well as art galleries and museums. In the space you will find The Game Bird, a fine restaurant serving contemporary British cuisine.

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Source - Booking - The Stafford London

Where to eat in London?

London is an amazing city to explore dishes from all over the world. The gastronomic variety will make you travel to several other places. In London the typical dishes are the famous Fish and Chips, - fried fish with potatoes -, Bangers and Mash, - sausage and mashed potatoes - Steak and Ale Pie, - meat pie and Wellington Beef - meat wrapped in puff pastry.

Novikov Restaurant & Bar

This option is located in the centre of Mayfair and features two restaurant spaces — one Asian and one Italian — and a Lounge Bar.

At the Asian Novikov the kitchen is open and the atmosphere evokes the atmosphere of an Asian food market, as it showcases seafood and vegetables. At the Italian Novikov there is an imposing wood-burning oven and a menu with regional dishes, with a contemporary twist.

At the Lounge Bar you can count on some of the best DJs in the world. In this space there is a “dress code”, so you should not wear sportswear, hat and shorts.

Rudie (Brixton Village)

Rudie's, spread across many parts of London, is known for marinated meats for 24 hours in a mixture of secret herbs and spices, before being grilled and slowly smoked. This space excels at traditional Jamaican food.

Kricket

Kricket is a chain of Indian restaurants that combine British ingredients with the flavours and aromas of India. Located in the heart of Soho, it features several long shared tables, perfect for group dinners.

Santo Remedio

Santo Remedio is a restaurant that mirrors the best of Mexican cuisine. Created by Edson and Natalie, the restaurant is dedicated to the flavours of Mexico. The food was considered Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The cuisine is traditional and to accompany, you have several cocktails at your disposal. If you like margaritas, then you must visit Santo Remedio.

Fishcotheque

Fish and ships is one of London's typical dishes. Thinking about it, we have  to suggest Fishcotheque, a fast food restaurant that serves the famous “fish and chips” dish. If you want a cheap alternative that allows you to buy and eat along the way, this is an excellent option, since you can eat for 15 pounds.

Golden Chippy

Golden Chippy is one of the most popular Fish and Chips Takeaway in Greenwich, London. The fish is fresh and cooked to perfection, with a beautiful and thin crispy layer of pasta.

Nando’s

At Nando's the king of the menu is the grilled chicken with peri-peri, in a project created by two Portuguese friends. Currently, the business has already expanded to various parts of the globe and you can even try the flavours of Nando's at home, since they sell the famous sauces in jars. On a visit to the restaurant you will be able to enjoy the modern decor, with lamps made of recycled bottles and earthy colours that mirror the Afro-Portuguese heritage. At Nando's you can also enjoy Afro-Portuguese music.

Complete guide to visiting London
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Complete guide to visiting London