London is a place much like New York where you can find pretty much anything you might want or need at almost any hour. We love London and love to visit at least once a year but we have friends and family that have never been.
London is worth visiting on a trip to England if you’re looking to explore some of the most iconic landmarks in the world such as Big Ben or the London Eye. However, London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, therefore if you’re on a budget then the city might not be right for you.
In this article, we are going to go through some of the frequently asked questions about London, give you some helpful tips and hopefully help you decide whether a trip to London is worth it for you.
Table of Contents
- Who Should Visit London
- When Should You Visit London
- How Long To Spend In London
- How Much To Budget For A Trip To London
- What Is Unique About London?
- Is London Safe For Solo Travellers
- Is London Worth Visiting For Couples?
- Is London Worth Visiting For Families?
Who Should Visit London
There are many different regions in London, all of which offer slightly different things to different tourists.
For example, London has a world-famous theatre district known as the West End. This region of London has been the center of British theatre for decades, and hosts plays and musicals from huge productions like The Lion King, to much smaller productions in much smaller theatres.
If that’s something you’d be interested in, then that region of London would be a wonderful place for you to visit. There’s such a wide variety in the London theatre scene that you could be sure to find something you enjoy, whether you’re traveling alone or with some little ones.
London also boasts a number of museums and art galleries which would be sure to be appealing to couples aiming for a city break to absorb some culture. As well as having the British Museum, London also has the National History Museum and the Science Museum. This may be the ideal traveling destination for a couple or a small family who love history. A similar thing could be said for The National Gallery, which is a huge and utterly lovely gallery, a must-visit for any lovers of art.
Finally, London boasts a number of attractions that may be good for any demographic, provided they enjoy dipping their toes into pop culture. A great example of this is the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London, which is a huge and interactive exhibition of sets, costumes, and props from the Harry Potter franchise.
As I’m sure you know, movies from that franchise were and still are super popular among people from any generation. Warner Bros has dedicated space just outside of London to exhibit a wide variety of different bits and pieces that made up the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, and you can now buy a ticket to go on a walking tour of the space.
Speaking as someone who’s been, it’s a great experience! Admission is scheduled to half-hour specific windows, so provided that you turn up on time, you’ll get in fairly quickly and be able to see everything well. This admissions system also means that the exhibits don’t get too busy, and you feel free to take your time enjoying yourself.
When Should You Visit London
London is a wonderful city to visit at any time in the year, though the weather does vary a lot in different seasons.
For example, in the summer the temperature is likely to reach up to thirty degrees Celsius in central London which, while normal for a lot of countries, is particularly hot for the UK. On the other hand, there’s often an awful lot of rain and sleet during the winter, which can be a bit of a pickle to contend with.
One truly wonderful feature of London, however, is that there are plenty of indoor attractions which are open all year round, sure to welcome you in if the rain pushes you off the street.
The only times of the year that it isn’t wise to come to London are bank holidays. These days are specially designated holidays during which shops and a number of attractions will be closed.
Luckily, these days are known about far in advance, and you can find them easily online. Varying numbers of shops and attractions will be open depending on which holiday you happen to want to travel on, however.
For example, the UK typically gets a nationwide bank holiday on the twenty-fifth of December for Christmas Day, and on that day absolutely nothing will be open.
On other bank holidays, however, the majority of shops and attractions are likely to be open. You can reliably find out which days a given attraction or store is open by looking at the establishment’s website.
How Long To Spend In London
Of course, the amount of time you want to spend in London will depend on the number of things that you want to see in London. I would recommend spending anything for 2-3 days up to one week in London, I would advise the latter for those who are travelling from further afield to acclimatise to the time zone.
There are some attractions, such as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour which calls for a whole day. The reason for that is that not only is it a particularly big attraction but also it’s a little outside London.
Depending on where you’re staying your journey may be different, but when we went we had to travel from our accommodation to Euston station, and then to another station by train, and then to the studio tour by shuttle bus.
While the travel was easy (Warner Bros have made it easy as many people want to do it), it was time-consuming. This time is worth bearing in mind if there are lots of things you want to see.
There are other attractions which you could easily pack into one day, either because they’re close to one another or because they’re short attractions.
A great example is the houses of parliament and the London Eye. A tour of the houses of parliament lasts a few short hours, and the London Eye is a five-minute walk away. Therefore, you could potentially do both of those attractions in the morning if you were feeling particularly industrious.
It is advisable to make a list of the things you really want to see and do, things you would like to see and do and then extras which are great to see but you could go home happy with that you prioritised.
How Much To Budget For A Trip To London
London is a particularly expensive city to visit. As it is the business center of the whole of the UK, a lot of costs associated with traveling to and around London are artificially inflated, as well as prices of living in London, for example, food and drink.
According to statista.com, the average room rate for hotels in London is £172.57 per night. Compared to prices in other UK cities, this is extremely high. The next highest price, outside of London, is the price of a night in Manchester – £99.34.
Of course, these prices are averages so they can’t be taken too literally, but they’re a great indication, especially considering the extreme difference between the two prices. This price difference can be felt at a number of hotels in London, and even in non-hotel accommodation such as Airbnb.
The next most expensive part of a time in London is travel costs, by a huge margin – especially if you’re visiting as a tourist. The most expensive way to see different parts of London is by using black cabs which can be found on nearly any street in London.
This is also the easiest way, especially if you’re a tourist who doesn’t know the local area. The cabs can afford to charge a premium as the drivers are extremely knowledgeable, resulting in a very high cost overall. To minimize travel costs in London, it’s worth riding the tube. It’s a relatively low-cost way to get around, and there are a number of people and online solutions who will be able to help you figure out some of the more complicated aspects of the service.
Make no mistake, London is an expensive holiday destination. For a seven-day trip to London, you can expect to pay £1,500 as a solo traveller, £2,700 as a couple, or £5,000 as a family of four.
This is assuming you get everything at the rough average rate and includes travel and accommodation costs. While London is a fairly expensive trip, there are plenty of attractions that make the city particularly worth visiting.
What Is Unique About London?
London itself is unique and is a diverse city to explore, with that in mind I decided to list a couple of the things below that makes London unique and definitely worth visiting.
Bear in mind that there are so many other things you can do from seeing a show at the West End, shopping on Oxford Street, visiting small galleries, markets and finding new and exciting experiences hidden on back streets.
Hyde Park is certainly one of the most famous parks in London and featured in countless movies and tv shows. The park itself actually has a pronounced historical significance, as it has hosted a great number of protests and demonstrations over the years. Most notably, it held a protest staged by the Suffragettes.
The park has a famous Speaker’s Corner, where people are welcomed to come and perform however they see fit when they’re in the park. To this day, it is packed with debates, protests, and performance artists every week.
Also in the park are two bodies of water, which are known for their paddle-boating and swans.
Buckingham Palace is probably one of the most iconic and popular places to visit in London. As it is home to the Royal Family who are iconic in their own right. During the summer months since 1993 tourists can take a tour around Buckingham Palace. There are 19 magnificent State Rooms to see and you can get a sense of the opulence and grandeur that the Queen of England and her family live in.
Buckingham Palace wasn’t always a palace in fact it was built in 1703 as a home by the 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, John Sheffield. The home was then transformed into a royal residence when King George III bought it for his wife Queen Charlotte.
Here you can stand outside the gates and look at the magnificent architecture, take some pictures and watch the changing of the guard.
Westminster Abbey is a hugely famous building as it is the political hub of London as well as, in truth, the whole of the UK. Westminster is home to both the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and it is an attraction that you truly can’t appreciate until you’ve stood in front of it and been amazed by its sheer size.
While in Westminster, you can find Westminster Abbey, one of the most famous religious sites in Europe. Westminster Abbey is open to the public on most days, though you might have a wait on your hands.
Camden is a very popular and extremely well-known neighborhood in London, which has been a cultural hub for centuries. It’s is renowned for its alternative culture, and the crowds are typically packed with goths, punks, and tourists alike.
Camden is also famous for its market, which is exceptionally eclectic and diverse. With a variety of inexpensive street food booths and restaurants, you’re sure to find somewhere to eat for all dietary requirements and tastes.
If all that wasn’t enough there is a number of stalls selling trinkets and unique, beautiful artwork and vintage/retro clothing.
Personally, whenever I’m in Camden I always try to find a stall with a huge stock of second-hand books. There are always a few hidden gems that are impossible to resist!
A trip to London is almost always highlighted by a trip to the London Eye. It’s a hugely famous London landmark that was originally built to celebrate the millennium.
Nowadays, it’s just as popular as ever and offers incredible views of the surrounding city. At night, the wheel is typically lit up in beautiful colors that change according to the season. These lights are typically the centerpiece of London’s annual New Year’s fireworks display.
The pods are often shared with other people who are keen for a short ride, though you can splurge and indulge yourself with a private pod for you and someone special. Though marvelous, a ride on the Eye is typically short, so we’d recommend popping down to the nearby London Aquarium afterward to see some beautiful sea creatures.
Soho has long been one of the trendiest and most cultured parts of London, and it is no exception in the modern-day. Mostly, the area is a famous and particularly busy nightlife spot with a huge number of clubs and bars.
Soho also has a huge number of theatres, jazz bars, and restaurants which you can explore – these all combine to make it a very rich cultural spot.
If you’re looking to try a new cuisine or a take on old classics then be sure to check out one of the vegan restaurants here. In my opinion, Soho has the best vegan restaurants in all of London.
Soho is also particularly close to Leicester Square, meaning that you’re never far from a quick post-theatre meal or drink. During the daytime, Soho is still extremely charming – featuring quaint bakeries and cafes, you can stop for a coffee and a pastry anytime.
Shoreditch has recently undergone extensive regeneration, making it one of the most exciting and energizing places in London. It is a really busy nightlife spot, plus it’s filled with really cool places to stay.
Shoreditch is a brilliant place to spend a day and an evening, as it’s filled with wonderful attractions to fill the day, and spellbinding restaurants to fill the evening. For example, you could check out Trapeze, which is a circus-themed bar that serves super inventive drinks in popcorn-tub-style cups. There’s no shortage of bars and restaurants in Shoreditch that offer similarly impressive themes, food, and drink – you can’t go wrong!
Hampstead heath is another of London’s many parks, and it’s actually one of the biggest! It covers a sprawling 790 acres, sitting on one of the highest points in London. This size and placement mean that it offers superb views of the whole city.
The heath features all the things you’d expect of a park, from fields to wooded areas and bodies of water. There are also a number of swimming lidos for anyone who feels up to swimming in the famously chilly British weather. The park is packed full of attractions, and can easily be explored for a day or more – it’s a wonderful palace to get lost in the woods!
The British Film Institute is a wonderful attraction that any film lover is sure to enjoy visiting. It’s situated on the Southbank – which is a lovely spot for a stroll at any time of the year – and is famed for showing a huge number of different movies every single day.
The BFI shows mainstream blockbusters, cult classics, and one-off screenings. Truly, they have something for everyone! Within the BFI, there’s also a bar and a riverfront restaurant – both of which are perfect settings to chat about the latest blockbusters over some wonderful refreshments.
The Thames is one of the main reasons that London is such a wonderfully built-up and historical city, as it provides great access to the water from far inland. The bank of the Thames was actually the site of the original Roman settlement Londinium, which has become London over time.
A huge number of companies run cruises up and down the river at varying times of day, and we’d heartily recommend taking a look at them. Some of the best cruises take place at night because then you can observe the wonderful riverside buildings lit up in all their glory.
Sherlock Holmes is, perhaps, the most famous British cultural export ever, and therefore it’s no surprise that 221b Baker Street is a very popular attraction. Near Baker Street station you can find the Sherlock Holmes museum, which is particularly popular after the modern BBC series Sherlock, which revived the character impressively.
After touring the Sherlock Holmes museum, perhaps take a look at Madame Tussauds, which is just around the corner. The world-famous museum offers you the chance to pose for a selfie with all your favorite celebrities in one day!
After you’ve escaped Baker Street and Tussaud’s crowds, perhaps go to the nearby Regent’s Park, or scale Primrose Hill for a stunning view of London.
Is London Safe For Solo Travellers
London is actually one of the safest large cities in the world. The violent crime rate in London is substantially lower than it is in New York, LA, and Dallas.
To keep safe while traveling throughout London, it’s the same advice as for any major city – plan your route in advance, keep to well-lit areas at night, and be wary when using headphones as they can reduce your sense of what’s around you.
The only thing that’s different from other cities in Europe is that in London, cars drive on the left of the road. Keep this in mind when you’re crossing the road so that you can spot oncoming traffic well and reliably.
The other pieces of advice for staying safe in London are the same as in other countries, always remain vigilant and keep your belongings close to you. Remaining aware of your surroundings and any suspicious activity around you is always sensible.
London is remarkably safe, from the underground to the tube thanks to the combined efforts of the metropolitan police (who you may see patrolling the city), and the British Transport Police (who police both national trains and the London Underground).
For example, the British Transport Police (BTP) has an initiative designed to deal with suspicious items that have been found in train stations which they call ‘See it, say it, sorted.’
The idea of the system is that if you see a suspicious bag or another item in a train station, you can pass on that information to a member of staff at the station. In turn, they will contact a member of the BTP, who will deal with the suspicious item.
Another thing that makes London safer is the black cabs which are always dotted around. These Hackney Carriages (as they’re officially known) are driven by qualified drivers who have to pass a number of complex and difficult tests to even begin the process of becoming a taxi driver.
Therefore, if you ever aren’t sure where you are, a black cab will be able to give you a hand, and potentially take you home. While black cabs are more expensive than ride-sharing services such as Uber, the drivers are much more knowledgeable.
There are a number of useful resources online which will help you navigate the London Underground. It’s a unique and particularly complex transport network, but it’s also very well mapped out, from the obvious tube maps to ultra-specific guides online.
For example, Google has a built-in tube map system, which will plot you a route via the tube when you provide it with your starting and ending points.
Speaking as someone who goes to London regularly, I use it all the time. If searching up a map on your phone doesn’t agree with you, the staff in Tube stations are always really helpful and knowledgeable, and will be happy to give you comprehensive directions should you ask.
Is London Worth Visiting For Couples?
London can be extremely romantic and makes a great place for those looking to have a getaway together. It was infact one of our first trips together as we headed to London on the train in a cold November and headed to Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland pop up the theme park.
No matter the time of year you choose to visit London has something for everyone to enjoy. Spring and Summer are great as the weather is dry and warm so you can enjoy walking along the Thames and spend time dining out at the boutique restaurants.
Though Autumn and Winter bring the spectacular show of the Christmas lights, lined up and down the streets of London in areas such as Covent Garden, Oxford Street and Carnaby street which has a magnificent display of lights each year.
There are also a whole host of lovely places you can stay in London which are both romantic and fun for a long weekend. London is perfect for couples looking to enjoy some quality time together and explore a new place as it has so much to offer you can both do something you enjoy.
Is London Worth Visiting For Families?
Visiting London as a family can be a little harder on hotels but as there is so much variety you can find something that suits your family size. London can be incredibly educational for children no matter their age as it is such a large and diverse city.
As London is the capital of England it happens to be home to some of the most influential and educational buildings and people in the UK. Depending on your main reason for your visit with your family will depend on what you choose to see and stay and where you stay.
Though there is so much to see and do from museums and galleries to large historic buildings and fun activities to do on some of the tours such as The Tower of London and London Bridge. You can also go shopping in places like Covent Garden or Camden Market which is full of exciting and colourful things and beautiful exotic foods.
If you are fans of Harry Potter then you can take a short train journey out of London to Watford to spend a day exploring the sets, props and costumes of the films. This makes a great day out for everyone especially if you are fans of the films and looking to have a fun-filled day.