Top 10 Places to Visit in London

London for the past few years has been consistently top of the most visited cities around the world according to Mastercard’s Global Cities Index. London has many iconic areas, buildings and monuments which are famous around the world. Living here I don’t see things in a tourist’s point of view but here are my personal top 10 places to visit within the city.

10th) Kew Gardens

London’s Botanical Garden makes it to my top 10. This Garden houses a collection of over 50,000 living plants and is known to be one of the worlds leading Botanical Garden. An interesting note is that Kew Garden is actually a UNESCO world heritage site.

9th) Oxford Street

London’s and Europe’s most popular and busiest shopping street with over half a million visitors every day. A must for tourists who look to shop for the latest fashion trends. One of the oldest, largest and most famous toy store Hamley’s is located on Regents street another shopping road which connects with Oxford street. Other iconic stores which resides around or within Oxford street are include Selfridges, Liberty, Nike town and many more.

8th) Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar square is a public square in central London, commemorating the victory of the Battle of Trafalgar. Iconic for its centrepieces such as the Nelson column which honours the British admiral and the beautiful fountain right next to it. Nearby attractions are the National Gallery, Charing Cross Station, the Mall and many more. One of the best places in London to rest and have a snack.

7th) Shoreditch Graffiti

Shoreditch Grafitti

A new trend for London’s east, Shoreditch is home to a thriving and ever popular street art scene. Something new for London away from its traditional attractions, popular for the younger and more artistic travellers.

6th) Piccadilly Circus

Just like Trafalgar square, Piccadilly Circus is also a public space. However instead of it being surrounded by Museums, Piccadilly Circus is surrounded by shops and restaurants. This intersection connects the busy shopping district to the parliament square and Green Park. Nearby places are London’s china town, Leicester square and many others.

5th) The Shard

Europe’s tallest building makes it in my top 5. One of the newest skyscraper in the city the glassed building includes hotels, restaurants and an observation deck at the top. Considered to have the best views of London, so visiting here would could be very valuable.

4th) Tower of London + Tower Bridge

The Tower of London is the most popular historic castle within the city. The castle has lots of exhibits including the castle itself, the yeoman wanderers, various ghost stories, tortures and execution but most importantly the crown jewels.

Right next to the castle is another of London’s iconic structure the Tower Bridge. Sometimes confused as London Bridge due to its popularity. Visitors may go up the towers for panoramic views of the city and have a walk on the glass walkways.

3rd) British Museum

Quiet to my own surprise the British museum has constantly been high on respectable travel guides such as Lonely Planet and Timeout. Unofficially dubbed as the treasure chest of the world’s cultures, the museum keeps the most comprehensive collection of historic artefacts from around the world. Although many of the exhibits are not of British culture this place is a must visit whilst in the city.

2nd) Buckingham Palace + Green Park

Photo by DAVID ILIFF

One of the most popular and important building (in my opinion) in the capital. Buckingham is the residence and administrative headquarters of the royal family. Popular for tourists due to special royal events, the changing of the guards, summer floral displays and many more. Surrounding the palace is Green park which is also very popular for a walk.

1st) Parliament Square + London Eye

The centre of British politics and the area I believe is the cover attraction of the city. The Parliament square includes many popular monuments, statues and structures including the Big Ben, Red phone boxes, Winston Churchill Statue, the Parliament itself, Westminster abbey and many more. The London eye which stands just across the bridge is also one of London’s top icons and below this are attractions such as the sea life aquarium, London dungeons and more. I cant think of any other locations which would beat these in London.

 

Non of the photos used are my own please see below where I got them from

Photos from:
10. Daniel Case https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daniel_Case
9. Tony Webster https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/12297634063/
8.  Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben124/14695359673
6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/7221539@N06/8070261694
5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lynxman/37040486935/
4. Diliff Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3. Eric Pouhier https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Eric_Pouhier
2. Diliff Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
1.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Misterweiss
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Travelling around London

Travelling in London is very easy, maybe even one of the easiest in the world (in my opinion). Buses, Underground, Overground and even the Thames clipper connect every region and area within the city. London prices are determined by zones and the duration of travel, buses are £1.50 (as of 2018) for any 1 hour of travel, meaning you can use as many buses within the hour. The underground is charged through the number of zones you pass through, zone 1 is the most expensive to travel, overground is the same whilst the Thames clipper is a little different. London transport are also connected with the Oyster card which is used instead of cash and the paper tickets. Oyster cards can be used with any of mode of public transport apart from the taxis.

The iconic London buses is great for tourism as they journey to nearly every location and attracti20170406_122541.jpgon in the city. Each driver or conductor (which some buses have) are trained very well to answer any enquiries from tourists. London buses are also very easy to ride as you will just tap your oyster card or credit/ debit card upon entry. You may ask the conductor or driver for assistance  whilst audio and visual aid are also available to determine the current location. Like many cities across the world bus journeys are determined by the number and destination at the front of the bus. Be aware that London buses no longer accepts cash and tickets (fares) must be bought before including oyster card credit unless you are using your contactless enabled debit/credit card.

Underground (tube) in my opinion is more comprehensive than its European equivalent, it is a quick and convenient way of getting around London especially for longer distances. The only downside could be in peak times (rush hours) around 07:00 – 09:00 / 15:00 -17:00 when the underground is jam packed full of people, which is undesirable to tourists. Oyster cards are used in tubes and are credited depending on the journey you take (not the time). The tube system is divided into zones, with zone 1 being the most expensive and outer zones being cheaper. The London underground basically covers 80% of the city’s area and there are many different lines specified by colour and special names (such as jubilee line, Piccadilly line and many more).  Many of the Underground stations are just a 15 minute walk form each other so going to your target attraction could be accessible by 2 or even 3 stations.

 

tube_map (2).jpg
Tube map on from tfl.gov.uk

 

The river transport called Thames clipper is an incredible way of getting around London however can be varied in destination and somewhat slower than other modes of transport. Nonetheless the Thames Clipper has the best views and go to the main riverside sites such as Westminster, Temple, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Greenwich and many more. The Thames Clipper can also use the oyster card but will be more expensive than other modes of transport.

thames clipper
picture from thamesclipper.com

 

Taxis in London are one of the most iconic in the world, they are also known as the “London Black Cabs“, they can be taken and stopped anywhere in the streets or designated taxi bays.

Santander Cycles or better known as the Boris Bikes are available and used by both locals and tourists. All you will need is to find a cycle bay, input a credit card, take a bike and ride until your heart desires (or when you reach your destination). It is charged by how long you use the bikes, and when you are finished you simply find another bike bay and re- dock the bike so that the timer stops. The charge will be put on your credit card.

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As a tourist there is no need to rent a car as London has one of the most accessible public transport in the world. However walking is not advisable as London is one of the largest city in Europe.

Overall London is a very tourism friendly city in terms of transport, unlike many places around Europe, London have help present in every underground stations, whilst bus drivers would be happy to help with any knowledge they know. All transport is safe and very comfortable.

Reference

https://www.thamesclippers.com/
Tfl.gov.uk


Photos

thames clipper map  https://www.thamesclippers.com/
underground map tfl.gov.uk

(other photos are own)