The capital of England and the United Kingdom, London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. These London bucket list tips will help you to make the most of your time in The Big Smoke.
LONDON BUCKET LIST TIPS
In the words of the great English writer, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. London is definitely a city that you won’t get tired of easily.
From the best places to stay to the most Instagrammable cafes in London, you’ll find lots of advice on what to do in the capital. We’ve lived there for over 10 years so know London like the back of our hand.
PLACES FOR YOUR LONDON BUCKET LIST
- The Houses of Parliament – Elizabeth Tower, nicknamed Big Ben is currently under renovation.
- Bond Street and Regent Street – for luxury shopping.
- St James’s – for St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace and the traditional English shops.
- Trafalgar Square – The National Gallery and Nelson’s Column.
- Notting Hill – the main Portobello Market trading day is Saturday.
- South Kensington – Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the V&A Museum.
- Knightsbridge – Harrods department store and Hyde Park.
- Covent Garden – a popular meeting point with many restaurants and shops.
The British Museum – more than 8 million artefacts!
- South Bank – the London Eye, theatres and bars with river Thames views.
- Hampstead Heath – for quaint pubs and green space.
- Tower Bridge and Tower of London.
- Spitalfields – the market is open all week. The craft market takes place on Sundays.
- St Paul’s Cathedral and Sky Garden – in the City of London.
Borough Market and The Shard – near London Bridge.
- Traditional British pubs – Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden, Prospect of Whitby in Wapping.
GETTING AROUND LONDON
As London is such a large city, you can’t walk everywhere. Public transport is readily available, including the London underground (nicknamed the Tube), buses and river boats.
At the time of writing, masks must be worn on all public transport in London, but check before you go. You can also hire a Santander cycle (the former Boris bikes) or an electric bike in London.
The most popular are Lime bikes, which have recently taken over Jump bikes by Uber. Having tried them out, we like the red Lime bikes that were formerly Jump by Uber best as they go faster and are a smoother ride than the green Lime bikes.
If you prefer to take a taxi, you can hail them in the street or wait at a taxi rank. If a black cab has it’s orange roof light on, that means it’s available for passengers.
AREAS OF LONDON
There are 32 London boroughs, and quite a few distinct areas within these. London spans 607 square miles, so although there are over 8 million inhabitants, it doesn’t feel all that crowded.
Upmarket London districts like St James’s and newly renovated areas like King’s Cross give the capital a very cosmopolitan feel.
LONDON ANNUAL EVENTS
- London New Year’s Day Parade – through the West End on 1 January.
- London Marathon – usually held in April but taking place at the beginning of October in 2021.
- The Boat Race – students from Oxford and Cambridge universities compete in the first week of April.
- Chelsea Flower Show – takes place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in mid May.
- Trooping the Colour – ceremony usually held at Horse Guard’s Parade and St James’s Park in June.
- Wimbledon – the famous tennis tournament takes place at the end of June and beginning of July.
- Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – held in the grounds of the palace in July.
- The Proms – musical concerts at the Royal Albert Hall from the end of July to mid September.
- Notting Hill Carnival – a celebration of Caribbean culture at the end of August.
- Lord Mayor’s Show – this procession takes place in the City of London on 13 November.
- Bonfire Night – celebrated with fireworks to commemorate the failure of Guy Fawke’s Gunpowder Plot in 1605.
THINGS TO DO IN LONDON
Whether you’re interested in visiting famous landmarks or seeing a film at one of the best luxury cinemas in London, there are lots of great things to do in London. Here’s a selection of our favorite places in the capital.
BEST TIME TO VISIT LONDON
Any time of the year is a good time to see London. We have a personal preference for Spring and Autumn, when accommodation costs are slightly lower yet the weather is still pleasant.
In Summer, London hotels are generally more expensive and get booked up further in advance. There are quite a few festivals and outdoor events taking place in the parks, so it can be crowded in certain areas.
December is another popular time to visit London if you like seeing the festive window displays. Alternatively, you could wait until January to snap up some bargains in the sales!
WEATHER IN LONDON
The temperature in London varies depending on the season. From December to February, the average low is 41°F (5°C) and the average high is 48°F (9°C).
Generally, the hottest month in London is July, when the average temperature is 19°C (66°F). The driest month is April, with 22 mm rainfall on average, while the wettest month is October, with an average of 71 mm of rain.
FOOD AND DRINK IN LONDON
From fine dining restaurants to casual cafes and chic cocktail bars, you’ll be spoilt for choice in London. There are lots of London outdoor dining terraces and food markets that are fun to visit.
Here’s our pick of some of the best places to eat in London.
LUXURY LONDON HOTELS
These are some of the best places to stay in London:
Batty Langley’s – boutique hotel in Spitalfields.
Mandarin Oriental – great location overlooking Hyde Park.
The Corinthia London – situated just off Trafalgar Square.
The Landmark – known for its spa and magnificent atrium.
If you have any more questions about visiting London, let us know!