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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

London - top places to visit

Updated: Jan 6

London is one of the cities that does not need much introduction. Certainly, most of us recognize it immediately in photos in which iconic buildings appear, such as the Big Ban, or the famous phone booths and red double-decker buses.


It is officially bigger than New York, both in terms of area and number of inhabitants, it has over 170 museums, over 30 theaters, more Indian restaurants than Mumbai and as a joke (or not), it is illegal to die in the parliament building.


I had the opportunity to visit this city twice, both before the pandemic and recently, and if I had the opportunity, I would like to visit it again, because I still have a lot to see from this place.


Although Great Britain has left the EU, it is still possible to enter as a tourist (if you're EU citizen), for a maximum period of 6 months, without the need for a visa. The British Government have recently started debating a new law regarding EU citizens coming to the UK, so it is possible that additional documents may be required, but it is best to check their official website, gov.uk, which has information at day, always.



TRANSPORT TO LONDON AND IN LONDON:


London has 4 airports and there are international flights on all of them. Normally, the plane tickets to this city are quite affordable from the major European cities.


As transportation in the city, I used the subway every time, it is quite complex and there are stations near most of the tourist attractions.


As a recommendation, if you choose to use Google Maps as a navigator, search first on the map for the name of the nearest subway station to the location you want to reach and take the train according to this. If you need to change certain metro lines, the navigator will not tell you. It will recommend you to take the bus or to walk, instead of changing the line. This way you save both time and money. You can also pay on the subway with Apple Pay, contactless card or Oyster Cards and are charged according to the distance traveled.



WHERE TO STAY IN LONDON: Regarding the accommodation, I did not have the happiest experiences. In general, accommodation is very expensive, compared to what it offers, in all of Great Britain, not just London. To be sure you're choosing correctly, check the reviews before booking. Among the options on Booking, I found the most reasonable:


- Half Moon - accommodation unit that has both double or twin rooms, as well as suites. It has access to the terrace, cleaning is done daily, and the internet is included in the price of the reservation;


- The Grafton Arms Pub & Rooms - accommodation unit located near the British Museum. It has double or twin rooms, terrace and internet included in the booking price. Laundry services (for personal items) and parking are paid separately.


- Crashpads Shoreditch the Club Row Collection - apartment accommodation unit, with one or two bedrooms. All available apartments have their own kitchen.


- room2 Chiswick Hometel - accommodation unit that has both double rooms and studios. It is modernly furnished and decorated, with a 24-hour reception, fitness room and garden.


- The Fox & Goose Hotel - accommodation facility with double and twin rooms, modernly furnished and decorated. The reception is open 24/7, and parking is free.


All the ones that I have shown you are in good locations, close to some tourist attractions.



PLACES TO VISIT IN LONDON:



London Eye is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London and one of the places from where you can admire the city from above. There are 4 types of tickets you can choose from: single, in the private cabin, in the cabin with open bar or with champagne included. We opted for single tickets, sharing the cabin with 23 other people. Fortunately, there is enough space for everyone to enjoy the view.


Tickets can be booked here.

London Eye - one of the places to visit in London
London - view from London Eye

Sky Garden is another place where you can admire the city from above. The entrance is free. We chose to go there in the evening, hoping that the view would be more spectacular, but I was a little disappointed, since absolutely nothing could be distinguished behind the glass walls. Because of the darkness outside, the whole interior is reflected into the windows. Therefore, I recommend to get there during the day, I am convinced that it is much better.


Also here you can find a bar and a restaurant. Reservation is required for access to the restaurant.

Sky Garden - a place where you can see London from above

Madame Thussauds is a museum of wax figures. These figurines represent the perfect copy, imitating down to the smallest detail, the shape of the face, the body and the height of various stars and famous people. I have to admit that I didn't have high expectations from this place, but in the end I was impressed by what it offers. It is a place I recommend, especially if you have children, they will have fun, guaranteed! Tickets here.


Sea Life London, where you can admire various species of fish, sharks and penguins. I can't say that I was impressed by this place. In many of the fish tanks are the same species of fish and everything seems very outdated. It was opened in 1997 and I don't think they made any changes since then. I want to mention that it is a purely subjective opinion, based on my own experience.

Sea Life London - sharks in the tank - a place to see in London


The natural history museum, where there are over 80 million items (not all are exhibited at the same time) and whose building is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and outside. Here you can admire various species of animals, birds, insects, pieces of cosmic elements and even dinosaur fossils. Access to the museum is free.


Also, if you arrive during the winter, you have the option of going to the nearby skating ring.

The natural history museum - London, UK

British museum is the second most visited museum in the world (in first place being the Louvre in Paris) and it is worth dedicating a whole day to it. Here you can find exhibits dating back to the beginning of humanity, from Great Britain and other parts of the world as well.


Before visiting this place I hadn't searched any information about it and later I was surprised to see many exhibits from Egypt. Later I found out that this museum was the main sponsor of the archaeological excavations in Egypt, as a result many of the treasures found there were donated to them.


There is free entrance at this museum.

British museum - a place to visit for free in London

Wallace Collection is a place where you can admire paintings, luxury furniture and various decorative objects, all dating from the 18th century. The objects are nicely arranged in several rooms and you have the impression that you are visiting a palace. Even if it is not very big, it is a wonderful place, and the entrance is free here as well.

Wallace Collection - a place to visit for free in London


Chinatown of London, is a fairly vast area, where you will find all kind of restaurants, shops with various Chinese products, bars, clubs, even a hairdresser/barber, all offering a small part of what Asia means.




Hyde Park, the park full of squirrels, which are not scared of people and which you can feed. If you choose to do this activity, you must make sure that the nuts/seeds are not salty or have other ingredients that can be harmful for them. The safest, buy them from a pet shop. You can also feed the birds here, it was a pleasant surprise to see them come to eat right out of my hand. See video.

Feeding the squirrels in Hyde Park - London

Near the park, there is Buckingham Palace, which I admired from the outside. If you arrive at the right time, you can see the changing of the guard, and you can find the calendar with the times when it happens here.


If you arrive in London, you must not miss taking a walk on the most important streets: Oxford Street, Regent Street, Old Bond Street, Trafalgar Square.

Oxford street London

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


If you are passionate about Harry Potter, then it is worth putting a Harry Potter performance on your list of tourist attractions. You can also opt for a walking tour to the most famous Harry Potter locations (details here), or you can visit the Harry Potter Studio, with transfer included (details here).

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

These are the places I visited in London.

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN LONDON: As I said at the beginning of the article, London is one of the biggest European cities and there are a lot of things to do and places to visit. I leave a short list below, to which you can even add day trips outside London. I wrote in a separate article about Stonehenge and how to get there from London. - Victoria and Albert Museum; - the National Gallery; - Tower of London; - Cathedral of St. Paul; - Westminster Abbey; - Tower Bridge; - The Shard; - Borough Market;

- Soho District;

- Little Venice;

- Parliament Hill;

- Cruise on the Thames, tickets here;

- Emirates Stadium, tickets here;

- Harry Potter Studios, tickets here;

- Day trip to Windsor and Bath, tickets here;


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT LONDON:


For me, London is one of those cities that I would visit a thousand times without getting bored and to which I would return every time with the same enthusiasm. Whether you arrive here in the cold season, or in the summer, if you manage to overcome the negative points that any big city has, I am convinced that it will have your hart too. Moreover, it is good to mention that London does not necessarily mean the UK, being a very different place from everything that the rest of the United Kingdom means. Therefore, if you have the opportunity, do not miss to discover the rest of the country.

Read about other locations in England: Durdle Door, Bibury, Bath, Tintagel Castle or York. If you liked this article, you can share it.


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