Travel to London

Tue, May 28
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Travelling to London

How to travel to London cheaply?

Flying to London

London Heathrow airport is located about 22km (14 miles) west of Central London. The Heathrow Express offers the fastest connection to London Paddington. The London Underground is also available from the airport, and the Piccadilly Line takes about 1 hour to get you to and from the city centre. National Express also has coaches departing from Heathrow Airport to London Victoria station in central London.

From Gatwick Airport the Gatwick Express train offers a direct service between to London Victoria. Thameslink and Southern also run regional train services to London Bridge, London Victoria and Clapham Junction. National Express offer a coach service from the airport to London Victoria that takes around 1.5 hours.

Stansted is located 48 km (30 miles) northeast of Central London in Essex. The Stansted Express offers the quickest journey to central London, calling at Stratford and Liverpool Street Station. National Express runs a coach service from Stansted to both Stratford and Liverpool Street Station as well.

Taking the train to London

London St Pancras International is home to train providers Eurostar, Southeastern, East Midlands Trains, Thameslink, and the London Underground. The station is served by London Underground trains at King’s Cross St. Pancras Station, which combines St Pancras with neighbouring station King’s Cross. A large number of London buses also stop outside the station.

London Euston serves as a central London hub with its connections by bus, coach, underground, overground and national rail services. The London Underground Circle Line, Hammersmith and City Line, Victoria Line, Metropolitan Line and both branches of the Northern Line (Charing Cross and Bank) stop at Euston station. The London Overground to Watford Junction also stops here.

Getting the bus to London

Main rail providers for Paddington station are First Great Western, Chiltern, Heathrow Express, and Heathrow Connect. Paddington is located in Zone 1 of London, making it very central and easy to get to. It is connected to the London Underground on the Bakerloo Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Circle Line and the District Line. Many bus routes also pass by the station.

The London Victoria Coach Station is the largest coach station in London and was opened near Victoria Station and Buckingham Palace in 1932. The station serves long distance coach journeys (both domestic and international). Major bus providers found at the station are National Express, Eurolines, Ecolines, iDBUS, Megabus, Evan Evans, David Urquhart, Interbus Kosice, Premium Tours, and Sindbad. The coach station is adjacent to Victoria Station and Victoria Bus Station (approximately 300 metres away), providing transport connections via London Buses, National Rail, and the London Underground Victoria Line, District Line and Circle Line.

When is the best time to visit London?

Top things to do in London

You could spend months in London and still not see everything there is to see. If you're a first-time visitor then make sure to see Buckingham Palace or check out some of London's best museums. If you're looking for something a little different head to one of the pie & mash shops in the east of the city for something a little more local. Here are some more great things to do in London during your visit:

Broadway Market, in London's east end, is the closest you're going to get to the traditional cockney wheeler and dealers of London! Although in recent years the hoards of hipsters have taken over, you'll still find stands that have been there since the 70s. It's also close to Regents canal which is great for a stroll in the sun and people watching.

Somerset House is a multi-purpose art gallery with everything from a posh restaurant to an outdoor cafe to a grand water fountain on the grounds. Aside from hosting some of the finest pieces of art in the UK, Somerset House also hosts numerous seasonal events including open air cinemas in the summer & an ice rink in the winter.

It may not be London's most beautiful park, but the atmosphere and surrounding areas of London Fields more than make up for this. London Fields is perfect for those who want a relaxing day with the family or a picnic with friends. It's also within the vicinity of loads of great old man pubs around Broadway Market.

Getting Around London

London has one of the oldest, most extensive and famous public transport systems in the world. Transport for London (TfL) oversees the London Underground, London Overground, London Buses, Dockland Light Rail, and London Rail. The network is an essential way to get around, there are 9 zones in total, with buses, tubes, overground, DLR and national rail services connecting the entire Greater London area.

Cycling is growing in popularity and while in London you will see hundreds of cyclists, but it still can be dangerous due to all the traffic. High visibility gear and wearing a helmet is always recommended.

Taxis are very common and are an iconic part of London. The infamous black cabs can be hailed if their light on top is light up. Black cabbies are some of the most knowledgeable when it comes to the streets of London, as they have to take a qualification exam about all the streets and routes across the capital in order to be licensed.

Walking is an essential and fun way to explore the capital, and there are many sidewalks and parks to walk through - but always be careful when crossing busy streets as crossing lights change quickly and most cars do not give pedestrians the right of way.

Walking Around in London

One of the world's largest capitals, London, can be a daunting prospect for a complete exploration on foot, even for the fittest visitor. The city is broken down into distinctive districts, which are central areas rich in sightseeing potential. An ideal starting point would be the capital's oldest quarter, the City of London, where the original  Roman and medieval lanes can still be discovered in the heart of one of the world's great financial districts. Striking examples of innovative 21st century architecture, like the Shard, dominate a skyline once ruled by the Tower of London, the capital's medieval castle still guarded by Beefeaters in their heraldic uniforms. Alternative walks include a Thames stroll, encompassing the South Bank and the contrasting theaters of Shakespeare's Globe, with its beams and thatched roof, and the National, a classic example of 1970s brutalist design. On the other side of the river, the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall offer the chance to see the buildings at the heart of the British government. The gondolas of the London Eye on the South Bank provide panoramic views over the city - the ideal vantage point for planning the location of your next London walk.  

Coffee Shops in London

London's coffee culture has long been supported by leading coffee roasters such as Square Mile and Workshop Coffee. Over time, more roasters including Dark Arts and Alchemy have emerged to help anchor this growing trend, especially with the emergence of numerous third-wave coffee shops in the city. Modern coffee shops such as the Alchemy, Store Street Espresso and Iris & June in London have fast and free WiFi that is accessible to customers. The coffee shops double up as a great place to work from for customers. The Alchemy is a favorite among Londoners for its delicious flat whites and cold brew coffee. Coffee lovers who make their way to Iris & June should try their Sandows Cold Brew and expansive lunch menu. Store Street Espresso is famed for its friendly and efficient staff, unique décor, sandwiches and toasted banana bread. With its location inside St. Mary Aldermary church, the Host coffee shop stands out from all others. It has the perfect ambiance and it's conveniently located at the heart of the city. A stop at the 130 year old Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho is a must-do for their legendary caffeine fix!

Eating in London

London's restaurant scene is diverse, with casual dining chains, curry houses, sustainable eateries where seasonality is king, farmer's markets, gastropubs, and upscale options that include 67 Michelin-starred standouts. And there should be great food at almost any price point. If visitors want a classically English meal, fish and chips is a great starting point, and there are a few pie and mash shops dotted across the capital as well. But London is a place where culinary change is constant, so the dishes on offer will always be in flux. Street food is increasingly popular, with venues like Camden Market, the South Bank, and Borough Market offering global cuisines. And London is also Happy Cow's number one vegan dining city in the world. So if visitors are keen to find vegan pizzas or meatless sushi, they are in the right place. Even so, carnivores won't feel neglected. From bulky Argentine steaks to gourmet hot dogs, London's chefs work wonders with meat. Overall, the UK capital is a meeting point for global styles, a place where visitors can find almost anything edible, cooked to a very high standard. Whether they want scorching curries or veggie feasts, travellers rarely leave disappointed with the capital's cuisine.

Public Transport in London

The world's oldest underground railway, the London Underground or popularly known as the Tube, is still the easiest way of getting around central London. There are 11 different lines on the 250 mile network, each with a name and color code. First-time visitors may be a little baffled about how to negotiate the complex network, but the classic schematic color map of the Underground is fairly simple. It offers a quick guide to routes, stations and where to change trains. The system is divided into zones, with ticket prices adjusted for distance traveled. Most central locations are within zones 1 and 2. Londoners tend to use prepaid Oyster cards, which are simply tapped to the barrier gates at stations for entry. Visitors can buy these or individual tickets, and can use contactless credit and debit cards at the same barriers. London transport is integrated, so Oyster cards can also be used on the famous red London buses. Thanks to London traffic, buses are slower than the Tube, but arrive frequently, are perfect for sightseeing, and also include night services which run after the Underground has stopped. For exhilarating, fast transport in central London, River Buses are fast ferries offering connections along the Thames between Putney and Woolwich.

Best Time to Visit London

The city of London welcomes millions of tourists each year, and the majority of people will visit in the warm summer months or in late spring. There are plenty of outdoor events taking place in London during the summer such as London Pride or the Notting Hill Carnival. Fans of the British Royal Family should time their visit to the summer for a high chance of seeing the royals at the Trooping the Colour which celebrates the Queen's birthday. The summer temperatures in London are moderate so bring a jacket for the evenings and an umbrella for the occasional rain shower. Christmas is also a good time to visit London as the whole city is filled with festive lights and Christmas markets. Fans of Harry Potter can visit Hogwarts in the snow at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Get into the festive spirit at the famous Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Those wanting to avoid the crowds may want to visit between September and November. The temperatures are cooler and visitors will need to bring layers of clothing to keep warm. September is London's Fashion Week which brings top designers from around the world to the city.

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