Tuesday 13 November 2018

London Travel Guide - Where To Stay, What To See, Christmas & More

I've loved posting travel guides throughout the year from York to Manchester and even Paris so I thought it was about time I shared my tips for my favourite place in the world, London! I'm sure most people who read my blog know by now just how much I adore the city - I feel totally at home whenever we return so I've documented all of our trips over the last few years. As we've been so much I feel I've got quite a lot of tips to share so hopefully if you love London like me or if you're planning a visit, this will be useful and give you some inspiration.
Big Ben and The London Eye, London

Where To Stay

As always, I'm starting with my advice on where to stay but really London is full to the brim of brilliant hotels so you'll never struggle. There are two hotels we've stayed at various times that are both great in terms of price and location, those being County Hall Premier Inn and Mercure London Bridge. County Hall is where we stay most often and I couldn't recommend it enough - it's just down the road from Waterloo station, literally next to the London Eye and just across from Westminster so you are right in the heart of everything. As it's such a brilliant location, this is obviously reflected in the price but the earlier you book, the better the deal you'll find. We only tend to stay in the Mercure if we're visiting for a work trip but everytime we've been impressed. It's a 5 minute walk to Southwark station and about 10 minutes to London Bridge station or you can walk straight down to the Southbank so for location it's pretty great. It's also got a beautiful view of The Shard and The Tate. You can find a plethora of affordable chain hotels in London but if you want something a little higher end, of course it's full of gorgeous boutique hotels. Air B&B is also great for a short stay in London.
The Shard, London

What To See

Piccadilly Circus & Leicester Square - One of the first places we always head to in London is Piccadilly. It just epitomises the city for me and there is so much to see. If you visit make sure you pop to Whole Foods for the best doughnuts ever! Just down from Piccadilly Circus is Leicester Square where you'll find some of the best shops like M&M world and it's also where lots of film premiers are held.

Notting Hill - I only got round to visiting on our last trip but I already can't wait to go back with George in the future. Full of pastel coloured houses, beautiful bakeries and even famous film locations, it's a bloggers dream.
The Notting Hill Bookshop, London
The London Eye - Whilst I haven't actually been on the London Eye yet it's definitely near the top of my list for the future, it's a perfect way to take in some of the sights. As we stay literally next to it most visits, I'm always just in awe of it, it looks absolutely incredible up close and it's the thing that always makes me so excited to be back in London.

Westminster - Just across from the London Eye you'll find Westminster and the whole area is actually really lovely to walk around, especially when the sun is setting. Here you'll find Big Ben and Westminster Abbey which looks incredible in the evening. 

Covent Garden - Probably my favourite area of London. Of course like anywhere you go it's busy but there's just something about it that I always find relaxing. You'll find loads of quirky shops here aswell as Laduree for divine macarons, Shake Shack for the best burgers ever and there are street performers on all day which is always fun to sit and watch.
Covent Garden, London
Borough Market - I am so glad George and I were told about Borough Market as until a few years ago it was a place we had no idea about. Now it's one place I recommend to anyone planning a trip to London. If you're a bit of a foodie, you'll be spoilt for choice. Stall after stall of the most delicious food and drink - fresh juices, the best Indian food, homemade fudge, huge doughnuts, it's just heaven.

Buckingham Palace - I think a trip to Buckingham Palace is a must when you're in London. It took us a while to actually get round to it and when we did, I can't say it was as special as I expected it to be but I am glad we did it. It's such a major part of London and if you're a fan of the royals then I imagine it's amazing to see up close.
Buckingham Palace, London
See a show - For me a trip to London wouldn't be complete now without seeing a show. We've been lucky enough to see 3 so far and I'm so excited to see more in the future. London's West End is just fabulous - the range of shows available is insane so no matter what you like whether it's something a bit cheeky like Kinky Boots or a classic like Phantom Of The Opera, you'll always have plenty to choose from.

Oxford Street - For all your shopping needs, Oxford Street is the place to go. It's full to the brim of high street stores mixed in with high end and you can find pretty much everything. It's brilliant at Christmas time and the lights all along the street are stunning.
Oxford Street, London

Christmas In London

You can't beat Christmas in London. It makes me feel so festive each year, everywhere you look is decorated so beautifully and it's impossible to not get excited.

There's Winter Wonderland which takes place in Hyde Park and it's absolutely huge! I think we walked around the whole of it twice last year so by the end we were knackered but wow it was worth it. Stalls upon stalls of the most delicious food (halloumi fries HELLO), hot chocolate, ice skating, rides, an ice bar and so much more. If you want something a bit more chilled out though the Christmas Market along the Southbank is much more relaxed. You'll find an array of stalls offering the best in street food, craft beers, gifts, activities and more. Leicester Square is also another option for the markets.

If you're a fan of ice skating and want to do something a little different whilst in London, Somerset House and the Natural History Museum are both worth a visit and it makes for such a fun afternoon.

For Christmas lights, Carnaby Street currently looks absolutely incredible. This years lights are lyrics from Queen and lit up in neon they look stunning. Another place is Kew Gardens where you'll find a chorus of singing trees, giant light up piano keys, laser beams over water and more. Apparently they change the lights each year so if you've been before expect something new for 2018.
The Southbank, London

Travel & Getting Around

London is absolutely massive and there really is so much to do it's unreal but luckily it's really easy to get from one place to another. I've found public transport to be excellent every time. The tube whilst at first might seem like a minefield, soon becomes easy to navigate, it's affordable and it's the quickest way of getting to where you want to go. Buses are constantly running aswell though if you'd prefer to do that and there are also several bus tour companies which are great if you want to be able to hop on and off. Companies like Big Bus Tours go past all the main attractions so are really useful if you have a short trip planned and want to see as much as possible. 

I absolutely loved putting this travel guide together and I hope it's helpful for you if you're planning a trip to London in the future. I've tried to include as much as possible without this going on all day!

What do you like to do in London?

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